Pool Betting Explained

Pool betting has evolved a long way since Sir John Moores founded Littlewoods in 1923 and sold entries to his “football pools” competition. A betting pool is simply a form of gambling where people pay a fixed price to enter and then once taxes and profits are removed the remaining funds are shared amongst those who have made the correct predictions.

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Bet on Totepool

One of the main attractions of pool betting is the opportunity to win large amounts from a very small stake and while the chances of landing the big jackpot are remote, they are still far better than let’s say trying to win the National Lottery. At least in sports pool bets players are able to make their selections on some form of educated/sophisticated process rather than just six random balls in a very elegant gold fish bowl – this is why sports pools attract millions of pounds from players and syndicates every week! Let’s take a look at some of the popular pool bets that are available for horse racing….

How Does Totepool Work?

The Totepool operate all the pool betting business on horse racing in the UK and some of the more popular bets are the Quadpot, Placepot, Jackpot and of course the very popular Scoop 6.

Totepool is synonymous with sports pool betting in the UK. It allows sports betting fans to win more from a small stake, by pooling together the stakes of all players and sharing the winnings from correct bets.

Totepool – Single Bets:


A Totewin/place bet is quite simple. It simply means a bet on a horse to win a race or place; that is, to finish first, second or third, depending on the bookmaker.


A Toteexacta bet requires the punter to pick which horses will finish both first and second. For the bet to payout, they must finish in the correct order.


A Totetrifecta bet requires the punter to pick which horses will finish first, second and third in a race, in the correct order.

Totepool Multiple Bets:


Takes place at every race meeting in the UK and requires the punter to select a horse to be placed in the third to the sixth race of the meeting. The amount staked into the pool is then divided by all the winning tickets and a dividend is declared.


Identical to the Quadpot above except operates over the first six races of the meeting.


This is slightly different in that players are asked to pick the first six winners at the meeting nominated by the Tote. This is a daily bet and payouts are very good, as it isn’t easy to pick the first six winners at a race meeting. In this particular pool IF there are no winners for a day the betting pool will roll over to the next day. The Jackpot pool has been known to rollover many times and can grow to millions of pounds.


Is similar to the Jackpot except this bet was devised for terrestrial television audiences normally on a Saturday and occasionally on other big racing days such as Boxing Day. While the stake for entry to the Scoop6 (currently £2) is more than the other Tote pools this makes the dividends much larger and there are other dividends declared. For example there is a bonus fund where the previous weeks Scoop6 winner can try and select the winner from the most difficult race the following week and there is also a place dividend declared if you managed to have all six selections placed (same as the placepot above).

Pool Betting Tips

While there is no such thing as the perfect system in horse racing, here are some basic tips that may help you when entering some of these pools:-

  1. Don’t just pick the favourite in every race as this is what everyone else does and even if you do win the pool will pay very little.
  2. Be careful not to pick lots of selections in each race as the stake could well end up being more than the dividend
  3. When looking at the racing card try to keep selections to a minimum on stakes and maiden races so you can add a few more selections for the difficult handicap races.
  4. If you are looking for a selection to add then don’t forget to read our racing tipster’s here on – they may have covered the race.

Football Pool Betting

While the Tote has been established for many years servicing the needs of the horse racing punter there hasn’t really been any innovation in football pool betting since Littlewoods and Sir John Moores. That was until 2013 when Colossus Bets entered the market offering what they call “The Biggest Sports Bet in the World”, every week their customers can play for a guaranteed £10m football bet.

As well as offering a range of pool betting jackpot prizes from £1m to the huge £10m Colossus, they have also incorporated a unique twist that has previously been missing in pool betting operators. Colossus Bets offer their players the opportunity to “Cash Out” all or a fraction of their bet before the final event is completed. Also, I thought one of the early issues with Colossus Bets was that they made the minimum unit stake £2 but they have since looked at that and customers can now play for as little as 20p, making their product an exciting betting medium for all.

Every day Colossus Bets offer pool bets on major football matches throughout Europe. Sometimes they ask you to select the correct score in each of the matches, whilst other pools will require you to select the correct outcome (Home win, Draw or Away win). Some pools also offer a consolation prize. For example in certain correct score pools if you pick the correct outcome in each leg but not the correct score (for example you select Arsenal to win their game by 1-0 and they win by 3-0), you could win a consolation prize.

IF you haven’t already got a Colossus Bet account, then I would encourage you to give them a go and have a great sign up promotion click here to receive a free £10 when you bet £10. Pool betting is a great way to enjoy having a wager on the racing or football, with the dream of hitting the jackpot and we will be posting more about this style of betting in the future.

Pool Betting FAQs

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What is the difference between fixed betting and Tote betting?

Where fixed betting involves a bet where the price at the time of the bet is fixed, Tote betting is a pool system which calculates a dividend from the combined stake money and winnings, which go to the winning punters, after the bookmaker takes commission.

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What does Tote odds mean?

Tote odds refer to prices for the Tote betting system, which involves all the stake money for certain bet types on particular races being pooled together. The prize pool for all bets of a certain type is then divided among the winners after commission has been taken.

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What is the best Tote or SP?

SP, or starting price, refers to a bet which takes the starting price offered. Tote betting refers to a pool system of betting. Which is best will come down to the preference of the individual punter.

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What does the Top Tote mean?

Top Tote is a variety of the Tote betting system which ensures that punters get the best of the three Tote prices available, or the starting price (SP).

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Who owns Totepool?

Totepool is owned by Betfred, the sports betting firm which was founded by Fred Done. Since the creation of Britbet, on course pool betting is now controlled by a group set up by the racecourses themselves. The Britbet deal with the racing consortium was sealed in 2018 and ended the monopoly on Tote betting which was held by Betfred in the UK for over seven years.

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How to check Totepool tickets?

It is important that punters betting with Tote check their tickets before they confirm the bet. This is to avoid any mistakes or errors which cannot be rectified at a later date. It is a good habit to steer clear of any nasty surprises further down the line.

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How to claim Totepool?

If you have won a Totepool bet, you are able to collect your winnings from one of the many Betfred shops nationwide. Punters are also able to bet online by navigating to the Betfred or Totesport websites. While other individual bookmakers can offer Totepool betting, they may not be able to provide all the bet types which Betfred and Totesport can.

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How many places does a placepot pay?

Recognised as the most popular multiple bet type for Totepool, the placepot asks the punter to choose six horses to place - that is, come first or second in a race - in the opening six races of a meeting. You can find the placepot in operation for many meetings located in the UK at which there are six or more races. The minimum total bet is typically £1, and there is no limit on the number of horses you choose to place in a race. The more horses you choose in each race, the more the bet costs.