The Beginner’s Guide to Tote Betting
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The Beginner’s Guide to Tote Betting

The Tote is about as old as English horse racing in general, and this ubiquitous institution is world famous for offering up some of the most lucrative and intriguing pool bets in the world of racing.

The “Tote” is short for Horserace Totalisator Board who operate hundreds of brick and mortar betting shops as well as having a presence at all 60 racecourses in the UK.

If you’re looking to bet on the Tote for the first time, it’s probably worth knowing a few basics about pool wagering. The Tote operates similar to the pari-mutual system used in France and North America: the prices fluctuate based on the total amount of money in the pools.

As opposed to traditional fixed odds, your Tote bets can fluctuate significantly based on how much betting volume comes in on a specific horse.

The Tote makes money on every single race by taking a fixed percentage out of the pools before payouts- this ensures that the Tote has no vested interest in the outcome of a race. If a horse is proving extremely popular, his Tote price will decrease as more volume comes in.

Many seasoned punters avoid early bets on the Tote as a 6/1 contender can easily be listed at 2/1 if he sees a substantial amount of volume. If you’re looking for the most accurate prices on the Tote board, you will always find them just before the off.

Betting on the Tote is a great way for a regular punter to give himself access to increased value, and it’s a generally acknowledged rule of thumb that longer-odds selections will be priced higher on the Tote than with traditional bookmakers.

Besides offering up access to a different selection of betting odds on win and place, the Tote also provides a few very lucrative special wagers. They include:

ToteExacta:This is a traditional pari-mutual wager also known as a forecast selection. You pick one horse to win and one horse to come second and if you’re correct on both then you’ll get paid out.

ToteTrifecta:This is another popular pari-mutual wager where you pick the first three finishers in order to receive a very large payout.

ToteSwinger:This wager is similar to an exacta but with a bit more leeway. A ToteSwinger is a two-line wager where you select a banker horse to win, and then your other selection must finish second or third. This is an especially popular wager in South Africa.

ToteJackpot:The Jackpot wager can occasionally offer up life-changing returns on a successful wager. In a ToteJackpot, punters must predict six correct winners on the same card.

TotePlacepot:The TotePlacepot is similar to the Jackpot but you’re given the ability to select horses to place instead of win- giving you a lot more leeway.

ToteSuper7:The Super7 is considered to be the toughest bet to win on the English Tote with punters being tasked with predicting 7 winners from 7 races unfolding all over the UK. 

ToteQuadpot:The Quadpot is like a mini Jackpot where punters must predict four winners from four specific races at one racecourse. These can be especially solid wagers when you’ve got a few banker selections to work with.

ToteScoop6:The Scoop6 is one of the most famous wagers in horse racing where punters must select the six winners from six individual races throughout the UK. There is generally a mix of high-class and low-class racing and punters generally have to navigate a few handicaps with more than 20 runners.

If long-odds and jackpot payouts are what you’re looking for, the tote is easily the best betting option for you. While it can be extremely difficult trying to get your Scoop6 spot-on, the reward can be more than worth the effort.

If you’re looking to bet on sports, such as football or cricket, than we suggest you take a look at our guide to betting exchanges.

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