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It is quite rare for a bookmaker to consistently offer value bets almost every week. Indeed, not since the advent of Betfair - which was until recently not a bookmaker - have I known such a pocket of value on such a frequent basis as there is now with ToteIreland.
So why would a pool betting company offer better value than the bookmakers or, for that matter, the exchanges? Well, there are a number of reasons that I believe they are an excellent addition to your betting portfolio. Here are the main ones:
If you place a win bet with ToteIreland, and your selection comes first, you'll get the prevailing tote win dividend paid to you. However, if the industry starting price is higher, you also get reimbursed the difference. So you'll never endure that enormous irritation when you see what you believe to be a great price on the tote board only to cringe at the returned dividend which is below SP.
I've actually stopped betting on the UK tote as a result of this. But in Ireland (and they extend the offer to some major UK races), I'll happily bet on the tote knowing that I can do no worse than SP. This price match applies to win bets and the win part of each way bets of between €20 and €100, so it's a pretty good safety net. [A euro is roughly 80p just now].
The thing about some of the ToteIreland pools is that they're not actually that big. In some ways, it's like going back to the good old days of 'pool scooping' - when it was possible to be the only winning ticket holder and claim the entire net pool as your dividend.
This actually happens often enough in Ireland on the jackpot and Pick 6. But I'll come on to them in a moment.
As with rollovers everywhere, they are basically 'free money'. If you don't know, here's how they work. Say that yesterday the Pick 6 - a six leg bet where you have to find the winners of six races, like the UK jackpot - pool was €18,000 and nobody correctly selected all six winners. Now, that €18,000 is rolled over in to the next day's Pick 6 pool.
That means that before a red cent is wagered in the next day's Pick 6, there's already €18,000 waiting to be won. Nice, eh? The key is that the rollovers lead to massive value. Let me give you an example. Here's a bet I struck on 5th April this year, less than two weeks ago.
As you can see, I returned €351.40 for a €6 bet. This bet was in the jackpot pool, an bet requiring players to pick four consecutive winners. Not even nearly as difficult as picking six winners, and especially not when I tell you the odds of the winners.
The first leg was won by the 3/1 second favourite. The second leg was won by the 15/8 favourite. The third leg was won by the 5/4 favourite. And the final leg was won by the 13/8 favourite!
The cumulative starting price odds on those four winners amounted to 67/1. The tote return for that bet was 350/1 !!!
Why? Because there was a chunk of rolled over funds going into the pool and, on this day, focus was elsewhere on the Grand National.
There are rollovers in Irish racing almost every week and, unlike the impossible Scoop 6 and UK jackpot, these bets are extremely winnable.
ToteIreland guarantees all of its multi-race pools to be at least a minimum prize fund. The difference between UK and Ireland is that often, the actual money wagered into the Irish pool does not meet the guarantee amount.
Why is this good? Again, it's free money. In this case, the Irish tote are making up the difference between the amount bet and minimum pool size guarantee. What that means is that there are less people to compete with for more cash.
It is often the case that the Pick 6 - where you have to pick six winners, oddly! - has about €6,000 of 'real' money in the pool, but the guarantee is €25,000!! And, for the bigger meetings, the guarantees are higher.
For instance, this weekend at Fairyhouse, both Sunday's and Monday's Pick 6 pools are guaranteed to be a minimum of €50,000.
And, unlike the UK version (called the jackpot, confusingly), there is unlikely to be six impossible races to fathom. In fact, on the Sunday last year, there were three favourites and a 4/1 shot in the sequence of six, with the other two being 10/1 and 12/1 shots. Far from impossible. The Pick 6 was not won!
These are bets I play all the time: the jackpot at least once a week on average, and the Pick 6 more selectively, i.e. when I'm happy with a couple of bankers and the pool has rolled over a few times.
I'll be keeping a close eye on Sunday at Fairyhouse, and I suggest you do too.
I've mentioned it throughout this post, and I make no apology for giving it its own section. This is, in my opinion, the single greatest wager available right now. Why? Because it's a highly gettable bet which usually pays out disproportionately high dividends, and it can be approached using a clever perm structure to optimize staking. I regularly cash winning jackpot tickets. And I'd love it if some of you were doing the same!
Here's another winner, more recently than the example above:
And a slightly older one (like, about a month ago). This was a nice one
Do you know what was amazing about this one? As you can see (if you squint closely), I played a banker in the first race. Brave? Not really, as it was a 2/5 shot! The second leg was won by a 5/1 chance. Leg three went to a 7/1 co-favourite. And the final leg was taken by the 9/4 favourite...
So you see, I'm not being hugely clever here. In fact, let's be honest, the only cleverness involved is knowing where to go to find value.
I've got loads of screenshots like these, and I have losers as well - duh - but I'm thousands in front since starting to play this brilliant four leg bet a couple of years ago.
Each Sunday, race six at one of the Irish meetings is the Super Trifecta race. I'm not completely sure how the pool gets created, but there's something about half of 'not won' trifecta pools during the week get thrown into the Super Trifecta pot on Sunday. Anyway, be that as it may, here's what you need to know about this one.
There's almost always carried forward funds. This Sunday, 20th April, for example has €3,523.23 rolled into it before a cent is wagered on the day. And the race looks like being the 5.10 Fairyhouse, a novice chase with a maximum of eleven runners. Put another way, it's an extremely gettable trifecta, most likely.
And, with the bonus funds, it'll probably pay more than it should.
But here's the kicker. Those shrewdies at the Irish Tote have reduced the minimum stake to 10c (or 8p, if you prefer). So you can perm a few up in there to give yourself a better chance of catching at least a slice of it. In fact, as an extreme example, you could actually do the field to beat the field to beat the field for €99 here, assuming all eleven ran and you staked an even ten cents on every combination.
You'd be unlikely to get your stake back as it's unlikely to be a massive dividend. But it's highly likely to pay more than it should.
Value. Do you get it yet?!
The ToteIreland win dividend out-pays the starting price by an average of 24% - no wonder they're happy to offer the price match guarantee!
And the ToteIreland exacta (first two in the correct order) dividend out-pays the computer straight forecast by an average of a whopping 75% !!
Value. Getting more for your money.
Irish racing, like it's British counterpart, has struggled with funding issues and with racecourses and bookmakers taking out a lot more from the sport than they put in. Here in UK, even totepool is now owned by a bookmaker.
But in Ireland, their tote is still owned by Horse Racing Ireland, and the proceeds from betting on the tote are re-invested back into Irish racing. Which is nice.
You've had a bet with your bookie, and the race is off, and you're watching it on your computer. There are sixteen runners in the race, and they're tightly grouped...
...and you're watching the bloody thing in a two inch by three inch box trying to discern which microscopic cluster of pixels represents your investment.
Well, no more, my friend. No. More.
When I bet on Tote Ireland - minimum stake €1 - I watch my race in FULL SCREEN. No squinting. No irritaton. Full screen.
Have a bet, watch a race. Properly.
It's a little thing, but not so little that any of the other bookies afford their punters that luxury. And it makes a big difference in terms of enjoyment.
[Hint: a £1 placepot will allow you to watch all six races that comprise the bet]
As soon as you register and bet €10, you'll get ten more euros to bet. Then when you bet another €10 you'll get a pair of tickets to go racing. (Obviously, it's not such great value if you don't live near an Irish racetrack, but it'd make a nice little excursion if you were holidaying there, or of course if you live there already).
And after your tenth bet, ToteIreland will refund you the value of your average bet in that time, up to a maximum of €40.
As well as Irish racing, you can also bet on all UK racing, plus lots of racing from France, South Africa and America, if that sort of thing floats your boat.
And if you're worried that you don't know the Irish form, you could do what I do, and use the geegeez racecards. How do you think I picked out those winners up above?
I absolutely love the Irish tote, mainly because they make it easier for me to win more money by not being especially clever much of the time. And I think if you give them a try, you may very well feel the same way.
And I do honestly believe that this is the best value betting opportunity available right now, though how long it will last before the mainstream catches on remains to be seen. All I can say is 'make hay while the sun shines'.
Open your ToteIreland account here, and be sure to enter promo code geegeez1 in the promo code box.
I'm away on family duties this weekend, but will be focusing much more on the multi-race pool bet opportunities in Ireland in the coming months, and blogging about them here. And I may even arrange the occasional syndicate when the pools have rolled over for a few days, if that's of interest. Let's take down some of these pots together!