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What Is Tote Betting? – Betting Guide 2024

Tote betting, otherwise known as pool betting, is different to a traditional bet. Instead of relying on betting odds calculated by the bookmaker, punters enter a prize pool. This money accumulates, and the sum is divided fairly to the winners.

 

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Mainly used in horse racing, tote betting is a great way to make some extra cash. However, as it is a different way to bet than what punters are commonly used to, it is normal to feel nervous before getting involved. In our guide, we will aim to explain what it is, its benefits and drawbacks, and the greatest strategies associated with it.

What Is Tote Betting?

By definition, tote betting is where punters pool their money into the grand prize pot. You can decide the size of your stake, depending on how much disposable income you have and how sure you are of your bet.

Once the winners of the tote bet have been announced, they will receive the funds. They are distributed amongst them, based on the size of each individual punters’ original stake. On the other hand, those who lost will lose their stake and won’t receive any of the prize pool money.

There are several types of tote bets. A common misconception is that there is only one market, for example the winning horse. This is incorrect, as there are a variety of diverse tote bets. Read on to understand what they are, and decide which ones your skills are most adapted to.

How Do I Place A Tote Bet?

Firstly, we must consider how to place a tote bet. Because this process varies slightly to a regular bet with odds and a bookmaker, it is normal to feel hesitant.

  • Open up the betting site which you wish to make a tote bet with (e.g. Bet365, Betway, Coral, Ladbrokes)
  • Click the ‘tote betting’ tab on your browser (all good betting sites should have a platform on both desktop and mobile app)
  • Select the sport you wish to bet on, as well as the type of tote bet, and your prediction.
  • Choose the amount you would like to stake (be aware that some betting sites have a €10 minimum deposit)
  • Place the tote bet. It’s that simple!

Once you understand this process, you may feel like this is easier than regular betting. There is no need to calculate odds or feel overwhelmed by the abundance of markets.

What Are The Different Types Of Tote Bet?

Primarily, tote betting is associated with the win wager. However, there are many different types. For this example, we will use horse racing, because this is the most common sport tote betting is used in.

WIN WAGERThe win wager is the easiest to understand. Simply put, you bet on the horse you think will win the race. If you are new to tote betting, we recommend this wager, because with thorough research it is the most predictable. In addition, many punters consider it to be the most interesting!
PLACE WAGERA place wager is when you bet on a horse to ‘place’ in the competition. Usually, this means Top 2, however in bigger races this can also mean Top 3 or Top 5.
EXACTAIn an exacta bet, you must predict which horse will place 1st, AND which horse will place 2nd. There are different types of exacta tote betting: Simple exacta: predict the 1st and 2nd horses in the correct orderReverse exacta: predict the 1st and 2nd horses in any order Combination exacta: predict as many horses as you wish to place in the 1st and 2nd place  
TRIFECTAIn a trifecta bet, you must predict which horse will place 1st, 2nd AND 3rd. There are two types of trifectas bet: Simple trifecta: predict the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd horses in the correct orderReverse trifecta: predict the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd horses in any order
SCOOP 6Every Saturday, six different races are selected. In this bet, you must pick the winners of all six competitions correctly. You can pick the same horses, but the stake will be greater if you choose different ones. As this is a much more advanced type of bet, ensure you have done your research in the different races before you take part in this prize pool.
JACKPOTThis is where you predict the winners of the first six races in a meeting.

What Are The Advantages Of Tote Betting?

When it comes to tote betting, there are an array of advantages.

Dividends are Higher

In ‘regular’ betting, you have fixed odds. This means that you know how much money you will win if your wager is successful.

  • For example, you may bet on Horse A to win, with odds of 5/1 and a stake of €10
  • If your bet goes through, you will get back your €10, as well as a €50 profit.

However, with tote betting, you are more likely to yield a higher profit margin. This is because the dividends match the starting price, and are generally greater.

Although you won’t know how much money you stand to gain, it is easy for the betting site to calculate. They simply add up the money in the prize pool, and divide it by the number of winners. Finally, the size of your dividend is calculated by the value of your stake in comparison to others.

Money Is Shared Between Punters

Another reason that punters prefer tote betting is because the money is shared between them. Although there are minor deductions, the prize pool is distributed only to the bettors. As a result, you may feel more comfortable knowing that even if you lose, your stake will be going to a like-minded individual.

Odds Are More Accurate

Because tote betting does not have fixed odds, it is considered to be more accurate. The profits are calculated based on how many people bet on the same horse, not on an odd calculated by the bookmaker.

In addition, when you back the underdog, you will make much more money than a normal fixed odds bet. As less people would place their stakes on this participant, the dividend value will be much higher.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Tote Betting?

Whilst there are so many benefits of tote betting, it is vital to also consider the flaws. Being reliable is an important attribute to us, therefore we must acknowledge the drawbacks. 

Unpredictable

Having no fixed odds can be deemed a good thing in terms of accuracy, and also has bigger potential of increasing your profit margin. However, it has its disadvantages. This is because:

  • There is no way to calculate the size of your profit if you win the wager. You will not know your profit until the dividend has been calculated. Whilst it may be astronomical, there is also the possibility that is it less than the starting price, especially if many punters bet on the same horse.
  • Betting sites don’t offer you a safety net if you don’t win e.g. early cash back. The Tote Guarantee ensures you will be matched with the starting price, but not all betting sites have this policy.
  • It is difficult to form a strategy when you don’t have odds e.g. spreading your bets