Pool betting is a particular love of mine, for two main reasons: fun, and value. Whilst these are not mutually exclusive, they are not necessarily mutually inclusive, either; which is to say, sometimes I bet for the hell of it - a placepot for a bit of interest, let's say - and sometimes I bet because there is tremendous value to be had (as well as the fun) with a chunky rollover pool.
Anyone who believes in holding multiple accounts in order to secure value - which will be most reading this - should have a tote option in the portfolio, in my view.
Here are a few things that appeal to me about the 'nanny'.
Free bets when you join up
As soon as you register and bet £5, you'll get two £10 free bets. One of these free bet tokens is for use in the placepot pools, and the other can be used in the single race pools (e.g. win, place, exacta, trifecta). So that's deposit and bet £5, and get £20 of free bet vouchers to play with.
No Limits Pool Betting & No Account Closures
As a pool operator, Tote pay out from the funds that are bet in, and so will not close your account because you are successful punter. As it is pool betting, they also won’t limit your stake just because you might actually be a winner!
It is quite a regular occurrence for the jackpot pool to roll over: after all, it's often a tricky bet to land given that you have to find six consecutive winners. Often, but not always. Here's an example of a rollover last week:
The cumulative starting price odds on those six winners amounted to 1,509/1, with none of them returning bigger than the first leg's 10/3. The tote return for that bet was £4,202.90!
There are jackpot rollovers every week and, sometimes, these bets are extremely winnable.
Price match guarantee
If you place a win bet with Tote, 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. Of course, if the tote return is bigger than SP, you're getting the tote return!
One of the best things about tote these days is their tote+ concession. This is available on most tote markets (and is denoted on the tote website by a 'tote+' icon).
The concession pays an additional 10% on winnings in these markets when bets are struck either on the tote website or via their app.
So, in the two examples above, the dividends were topped up to £4,623.19 (vs 1509/1 SP) and £6,790.08 (vs 2,439/1 SP). Nice!
Using a random example of the race that has just finished at time of writing, the 8/13 fav beat 3/1 clear second favourite. Here, the straight forecast (SP derived bet involving choosing the first two home in the correct order) paid £2.76, whereas the exacta paid £3.40 which was boosted to £3.74. In old money, that's getting 11/4 about a 7/4 shot!
Guaranteed pool sizes
Tote guarantees the jackpot pool to a minimum of £10,000 for a £1 winning unit.
Why is this good? Because sometimes it's free money. In this case, the 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, assuming you think the cumulative odds will pay less than 9,999/1 and you believe the pool will be won by one unit or less.
Look at this example from a few days ago:
This time the cumulative winning odds were 2,439/1 and the biggest-priced winner was 9/2.
There were 3,705 units (and so £3,705) in the pool, which was guaranteed to pay winners a share of £10,000.
The dividend returned £6,172.80 for a £1 stake. Value. Fun. And more value. (Except I left Felix out, sigh).
These are bets I play all the time: the jackpot at least once a week on average, and the placepot almost every day somewhere (though, as I said, not always 'seriously').
There is currently a promotion running called 'Stayers Club' whereby six bets placed of at least £2, £5 or £10 will qualify for a free bet to the same value the following Monday. Players need to opt in for this from the 'Promotions' page.
Free placepots / first leg insurance
Hardly a life changer, but a nice little extra, are the occasional £1 placepot free bets I've found in my account. Use it/them to try and string six placed horses together, and if you manage that, you'll have a bit to make a wider perm, or to withdraw and have a pint. Either way, you'll get a bit of fun for nada. I like those odds.
Also, on selected days/meetings, there is a first leg insurance in play whereby tickets going down on leg one will be refunded as credit (up to the value of £10). That's a nice way to take a banker in the opener and get the chance to try again another day if it fails to make the frame. All of those little concessions add to the bottom line, both financially and entertainment-wise. Even though many of us bet to win, that latter point should never be under-played; after all, if it's only for the money, we might as well go get a(nother) job, right?
I've played in a few of these and they're great fun. You need to opt in, like most enhanced components on the site (terms and conditions, etc), and when you do - and place three bets with a combined total stake of at least £10 - you'll be eligible for the betting tournament. There's one on King George day (23rd July 2022) and others on each of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 26th to 28th July when both Goodwood and Galway will be racing.
The prizes are very healthy. For example, on King George day, the top three are as follows:
1st - £1,000
2nd - £500
3rd - £250
And the top ten players qualify for the final on British Champions Day (October 15th), which is a winner takes all prize of £50,000!
Performance is calculated by profit minus stakes, so the player with the most clear profit wins.
To keep it interesting for a larger number of players, there is a 'Beat Benson' bonus fund. Benson is Jamie Benson, tote writer, and he has a £300 tank to splurge each tournament day. For every player in the tournament, tote add £10 to the Beat Benson pot; the pot is shared between all players who make more profit than he does.
For example, let's say there are 1000 players: that's 1000 x £10 = £10,000 in the Beat Benson chest. And let's say you won £35 on a tricky day's betting, and Jamie Benson makes a loss. Let's finally say that there were 100 players who managed to secure a profit in the competition: those 100 (which includes you) all beat Benson and equally share the £10,000. So, £10,000 / 100 = £100.
£100 would be credited to all of those players in the tournament who beat Benson's losing score. Make sense?
I managed to get credited about £275 on one of the days at Royal Ascot: basically, you want Jamie to do well but every so slightly less well than you have fared! That makes for you being a winner, and fewer people sharing with you. Greedy, moi? 🤣
World Pool Days
These tend to coincide with betting tournament days, or vice versa, and they bring massive liquidity from around the globe into the British tote. One of the features of a global audience betting on British racing is that they - like us when we're wagering overseas - tend to focus on the names they know. So winners ridden by Frankie or Ryan are not generally the way to go, but those value five pound claimers are likely to pay notably over the odds as result of large chunks of cash dodging the international no-names. Obviously that's a broad brush statement, but the gist is that you and I know the form book here better than millions of the overseas cash, which gives us an edge.
It is also fair to say that the deep pools attract their share of whales - sophisticated heavy hitters - but there's more than enough to go round on days when the cumulative handle (total wagered) gets up around the £35 million mark thanks to players in Hong Kong, America and around the globe.
I absolutely love the tote, mainly because they give me plenty of chances to win more money by not being especially clever much of the time. And I feel this is one of the best value betting opportunities available right now, and really a lot of fun, too. Fun, and value/profit. That's the geegeez way. And, it appears, the tote way.
If you don't yet have an account, you can open one here. After you've staked your first £5 you'll receive £20 in free bets. Click the image below to bag your bonuses. Good luck!