Totepool Betting, or simply ‘The Tote’ as it’s more commonly known is one of the oldest forms of betting in the world. It originally set out work in conjunction with horse racing, but over the years has been adapted into other sports such as football, along with a number of different betting variants.

The Tote is essentially a Pari-Mutual betting format, which means that you bet into a pool, rather than with a designated bookmaker. The pool means that the odds you get aren’t actually worked out until all bets have been entered and then divided between the number of people that have placed that bet. Once all this has been calculated you will be given a dividend from each pool to give you your final pay out.

Within the industry many people have mixed feelings on whether the value of Tote betting is better or worse than placing with a standalone bookmaker. In fairness, it’s a bit of gamble to begin with as you wont know your payout until the bets have all been placed. Sometimes this works in the punters favour seeing an increase in payout than they would normally see, other times it would be less than if you were to back with a bookmaker.

How it Works

The easiest to way to explain Totepool betting is to run through an example. For this example we are going to be using horse racing.

The first thing that you will see on your Tote card is the horses that are running a particular race. This may be nominated by either the number of horse or simply by the name of the horse. The next thing you will need to do is signify which horse you want to place your bet with and how much you want to bet.

Before the race starts and as you place your bet, you will have no knowledge into how many people have bet on which horse or how much money is the in the dividend for each horse. Lets say the horses are number 1 to 6 and the following has been staked on each…

  1. £60
  2. £390
  3. £140
  4. £580
  5. £210
  6. £30

As we can see, the favourite for this race based on how much has been staked is horse number 4. The total amount that has been staked is £1410. For each race the Tote will take their cut and for arguments sake, let’s say this is 10%. So, we now remove that 10% from the overall prize pool giving us £1,270 in total.

Let’s say that from this race that horse number 3, wins the race and everyone who backed that horse will receive their dividend. To find out how much that will be, we simply divide the amount staked on horse by the total amount in the dividend; £1,270/ £140 = £9.07. So, for every £1 staked the punter will receive £9.07, which includes their £1 stake (£8.07 profit). We can easily apply this into odds format, resulting in 8/1 or thereabouts.


The main advantage of betting on the Tote is the unpredictability of it all, which can actually be a disadvantage as well if you want. But, more often than not the price that you’re going to get wont be far away from the odds that you would have got at most other bookmakers. Remember, all bookmakers pricing will reflect the amount of money that has been wagered on each horse anyway.

The Tote will allow for those times where not many have wagered on one horse and then that horse beats a field with a high prize pool and low number of dividends. By placing the bet on the Tote you will always have a chance of getting significantly better odds than if you were betting with a bookmaker, but when you bet with a bookmaker you will always know the price in advance.

Another example is that the bookmaker’s cut is often much less on the Tote than it would be with a traditional bookmaker. We used 10% just as a guide below, but often it’s much lower than that. This always works out to be the same across the board as its just one cut, whereas a traditional bookmaker will take their cut from each horse accordingly.

We’ve also seen on article that states the Tote on average outperform bookmakers starting price by around 25% and can be as much as 70% better off on horses that are priced 7/1 or greater. Whilst we can’t verify these exact numbers, we can definitely see how this could be the case with the majority of Tote bets.

Horse Racing Tote Bets

As mentioned earlier, there are now a vast number different Tote bets for horse racing, of which we have outlined below.

Tote Win

The Tote win market is probably the most popular Tote bet and all this requires is for you to pick which horse you think will be the winner. It works in the same way as the working example we mentioned above in that you claim your stake for any of the horses in that race and if it wins, you get a share of the overall dividend for that horse.

Tote Place

The Tote place bet is where you are able to select a number of positions for your horse to finish in order for you get paid. It’s similar to each way betting in horse racing, but your stake remains as one and you don’t get any more or less money for your horse finishing 1st.

The number of places that are included will depend on the number of horses in that race. So, if there are 4 or less runners the place is not available; 5, 6 or 7 runners and first 2 places will be paid; 8-15 runners will include 1st, 2nd and 3rd to paid and 16_ runners will pay out the first 4 places of a race.

Tote Exacta

The Tote Exacta is where you are able to choose the first two places in a race. There are actually three variants of this with the first being that if the Single Exacta requiring you to choose the horse that will finish 1st and the horse that will finish 2nd in that order. The second is the Combination Exacta where you can choose two horses and they then can finish either 1st or 2nd in any order. The final one is the Banker Exacta where you pick the horse you think will finish first and any combination of three horses to finish second.

Tote Trifecta

The Trifecta bet is where you need to choose the order of the first three horses of any race. It works in the same way as the Exacta in that you can have a single, combination and banker bets if you wish.

Tote Quadpot

The Quadpot is where you will need to pick a horse that is placed in the last 4 races of any meeting. The place positions will depend on the number of horses in the race, as explained in the Tote Place section above and you need to choose a placed horse from each of the 4 races.

Tote Placepot

The Placepot works in exactly the same way as the Quadpot, instead this time you will need to choose a placed horse from all 6 races of the same meeting. This bet isn’t available at all meetings and you will likely have one to pick from on any given day. In the Placepot you are able to choose from up to 3 horses for each race, but the more horses you pick, the more money it will cost you in your initial stake.

Tote Jackpot

The jackpot is a very simple one in that you need to pick the winning horse from each of the six races at any one meeting. If no winner is found from the jackpot, it will roll over into the next day. The minimum bet for this is 50p.


The Scoop6 is one of the most popular Tote bets and is usually run on some of the biggest betting days of the year, such as Boxing Day. The Scoop6 is very similar to that of the Tote Jackpot except it’s minimum bet is that of £2 and often is based on meeting run on terrestrial television. Jackpots have been known to exceed £500,000 on occasions.

Football Tote Bets


Scoop6Soccer is a relatively new type of Tote betting, but this is exclusive to football. You need to select the correct score from 6 highlighted matches to have a chance of winning the £1 million jackpot. If you get all 6 selections right then you get to share the top dividend for that bet. If you are the only winner, then you scoop the lot! The winner then gets to play the jackpot game where the following week you will need to select the correct score for the highlighted match; if you do then you win the £1 million prize fund.

If you get 5 correct results then you will be entered into the second dividend fund and if you have 4 correct results you will be entered into the 3rd dividend fund.