Horse racing “Tote” bet – Place Pots

Place Pots are a type of Horse racing “Tote” bet. That is where you do not have fixed odds but all the stakes are put into the middle and divided out between the number of winners. For example there are four horses running in a race and ten people each pick the winner betting $1 each. One person picks Horse 1, Two people pick Horse 2, Three people pick Horse 3 and Four people chose Horse 4. In the real World from the $10 that has been wagered some will be taken to cover running costs and the profit to the bookmaker, this will be about 20-30%. 

So let's assume the prize fund is now $7 as three has been taken by the organiser. If Horse 1 wins then they will receive $7, as they are the only winner. If Horse 2 wins they will each get $3.50, as they split the prize fund between them. If Horse 3 wins then they each receive $2.33 and if Horse 4 wins it is just $1.75. 

Your winnings are not known in advance and when you bet it can only tell you your expected return based on how everyone else has bet at that time, but as more people bet nearer the start then the returns to you will vary.

How to do it

In a “Place Pot” specifically you pick the first 1-3 finishers in a race, or depending on the field size the first 1-2 or even just the 1st placed horse sometimes. It occurs all at the same Horse racing meeting that day, and the vast majority of the time covers races 1-6. Like all forms of Tote bets the pay out is based on the total amount staked on the Place Pot that day, divided by the number of tickets that win. Because of this if all the favourites at the meeting win the return can be quite low because there are probably a lot of people who chose these horses, but if there are outsiders who do well and more importantly if you are one of the few people to have selected that outsider then.

When you place a bet it is known as buying a “line” and the most common way is to pay $1 and buy one line and you pick one horse in every race. Sometimes people want more chances to win and maybe in one race they are not sure what to pick, well you can pick 2 horses, or more, you can actually pick every horse in the race if you want, but it will cost you more money. The amount it costs depends how many lines, by that I mean how many possible combinations, of horses finishing positions result in you winning.

For example if I buy one Horse in every race, the cheapest option, this costs $1. It is 1x1x1x1x1x1. If I buy two horses in the first race and then one Horse in every other, this costs $2. It is 2x1x1x1x1x1. If I buy 2 horses in every race it costs $64 though, because it is 2x2x2x2x2x2. How much you end up paying can depend on not only how many horses you pick but also where in the race order you pick them. Having 1x2x3x4x5x6 is a total of 720 lines and you have picked 21 horses. However if you pick 21 horses but ordered 6x2x4x4x4x1 is 768 lines!

When choosing a horse you select its running number, so Race 1 you may pick Horse 3, Race 2 you may pick Horse 12, etc etc, you just put a cross next to the number of the Horse you want in that race, that is how your ticket will look. If you pick a horse in the morning and when it comes to the race he does not start, your bet is automatically transferred onto the SP favourite for you.

Again as it is a Tote bet working out your returns before the race is impossible to do exactly and you can only really have an estimate, this is because the returns depend on A) How many people enter and B) How many people have a winning ticket. As people enter the total prize fund grows (Usually by around 70%, as 30% is taken out as costs) but this may be split by many people as it is possible for several people to have the same bet. You wont know until you have won if you have to share the prize fund with anybody else.

Scoop 6

The most famous and most popular type of “Place Pot” in Australia is known as the “Scoop 6”, it is run by BetFred (Formerly the Tote) and covers all 6 televised Horse races on a Saturday over different meetings. To win the Jackpot you actually have to pick the winners, not just the first three, but with the same ticket you also win a smaller amount selecting the top three (which “place”). Because it is so popular there is so much money placed on it If you get all 6 winners and you are the only one to do so you can often win 10,000+ times your $1 stake and occasionally because if one week there is no winner it rolls over you can win 100,000+ times your $1 stake.