Pool Betting Explained

what is pool betting

Pool betting is a distinctive form of betting where punters place stakes into a pool, and those that have a winning bet share the pot. It differs from fixed odds betting, where the payout is determined at the time the bet is placed. Pool betting has a long history in the UK, particularly tied to horse racing, and continues to be an important part of the betting market.

It’s a communal approach to gambling that can yield substantial dividends when there are fewer winners sharing the total pool.

Its importance in the UK betting scene is vast. From the iconic football pools to horse racing events and beyond, pools betting offers a different dynamic to the betting landscape. The Tote, the primary operator for horse racing pool betting in Great Britain, has enhanced the sports betting experience by offering a variety of bet types and the chance to win sizable amounts from relatively small stakes.

Its popularity is not just confined to racing; it’s a concept that has been successfully implemented across numerous sports, including football, rugby union, and even the Mosconi Cup in pool.

Best Betting Sites For Pools Betting

Learning the ins and outs of pool betting is easier when you dive right in. Comparing the top bookmakers’ offerings firsthand will open your eyes to the range of options at your fingertips. You’ll quickly see pool betting provides more variety than fixed odds wagering alone.

Here’s an inside look at some of the best pool betting sites to help you get started.


Since its inception by the visionary Sir Winston Churchill in 1928, the Tote has been an integral part of British racing for over 90 years. As a pool betting operator, the Tote provides a secure and regulated environment for customers to bet together into one central pool.

When the results come in, the pool is shared between all winning bets after the Tote’s commission is deducted. Crucially, dividends are calculated based on the volume of bets, not fixed odds. This ensures the Tote always welcomes winners.

Their ongoing mission is to deliver greater value and a more exciting betting experience to all customers, with opportunities to wager small amounts and win big prizes. Major milestones include the 2020 launch of our user-friendly website tote.co.uk, followed by their Tote Placepot app featuring favourite Tote bets.

The World Pool invites you to “Bet With the World,” a concept birthed by the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

The pool spans across 20 nations, including the UK, Ireland, Hong Kong, the USA, Australia, and France, offering a broad canvas for betting aficionados.

The Pools

Finding the best pool betting platform can feel like searching for a winning ticket. With so many options, how do you know which site truly offers the best experience? Look no further than The Pools. Backed by decades of experience and a name synonymous with pool betting, The Pools deliver an unrivalled selection of football, horse racing and other sports betting.

Yet The Pools is more than a venerable betting brand. This innovative site adds extra prize money to many pools, allowing you to win bigger. Become a VIP member and you’ll receive free £5 bets for every 10 placed. With competitive odds, easy-to-use interface and excellent customer service, The Pools gives you everything needed to bet with confidence.

Rather than focusing on gaming or venues, The Pools understands your passion is winning. That’s why they offer over 25 sports, insightful tips and articles, and valuable bonuses to help increase your chances. When you’re ready to bet on the next big match or race, choose the pool betting leader. Discover for yourself why after all these years, The Pools remains the top choice.


For an amazing pool betting experience, check out QuinnBet. Right on their homepage, you’ll find the “Pools” tab leading to an impressive array of options. QuinnBet offers pool betting on major sports like football, horse racing, and NBA basketball. Within each sport, countless events are available for wagering. You’ll be thrilled by the extensive selection.

Beyond standard bets, QuinnBet also provides syndicate betting – a unique team approach. Syndicates allow groups of bettors to pool resources for bigger wagers and increased profit potential. By sharing risks and winnings, syndicates boost the chances of major payouts. They exemplify the cooperative spirit of pool betting.  

With easy access, competitive odds, and innovative formats like syndicates, QuinnBet delivers the ultimate pool betting adventure. Whether you prefer picking winners in the big match or the big race, QuinnBet has you covered. Their platform makes joining the pool betting action smooth and enjoyable.

Take your pool betting to the next level with QuinnBet. Their dedication to choice and innovation will enhance your wagering experience. When variety and excitement are your top priorities, QuinnBet satisfies.


When it comes to betting variety, industry giant Betfair delivers in spades. Best known for operating the world’s largest online betting exchange, Betfair also offers extensive pool betting options. This demonstrates their commitment to providing customers every type of wagering experience.

While the betting exchange remains Betfair’s crown jewel, this bookmaker does it all. You’ll find their world-class sportsbook, casino, bingo and more give you endless entertainment. Despite primarily focusing on their exchange, Betfair still manages to deliver solid pool betting.

At present, Betfair’s pool betting section caters to horse racing fans. Although limited to just one sport, they offer many ways to get in on the racing action. You can join the pool excitement through Win and Place pools, Quadpots, Placepots and more.

Betfair has room to grow their pool betting selection, but their current offers still impress. When you crave pool betting thrills alongside Betfair’s other world-class betting options, they have you covered. This bookmaker’s dedication to variety benefits every customer. Discover for yourself the many betting adventures that await at Betfair.


When it comes to pool betting’s rich history, no bookmaker compares to Betfred. For decades, Betfred exclusively operated the national totaliser, offering British punters their cherished pool bets. This legacy endures today through their continued pool betting excellence.  

Betfred provides a wonderful selection of horse racing pools like Win, Place, Exacta and Trifecta. Their dedication to this classic sport allows racing enthusiasts to enjoy America’s favourite racetrack bets. You’ll feel like you’re right there yelling for your pony down the home stretch!

Even if some bet types are unfamiliar, Betfred makes learning a breeze. Their helpful guides clearly explain how each pool works, the possible outcomes, and payout calculations. With this knowledge, you can confidently join any pool and try more exotic bets like Superfecta and Super Hi-Five.

Betfred’s enduring totalizer history informs their current pool betting mastery. Now this treasured wagering lives on for a new generation of punters. If you seek the authentic thrill of horse racing pools, look no further than Betfred. Discover for yourself why their decades of experience makes them Britain’s top pool betting destination. The long tradition continues today!

William Hill

Given the connection between bookmaking giants Betfred and William Hill, it’s no surprise pool betting excellence is a shared trait. Both offer exciting horse racing pools that demonstrate why Tote betting thrills punters.

William Hill’s wide array of pools provides plenty of ways to win. With options like popular Scoop 6, you could turn a small wager into a huge windfall. It exemplifies the big paydays Tote betting makes possible.

Beyond pools, William Hill delivers an overall stellar betting experience especially for horse racing. As a household name for generations, William Hill offers the expertise and reputation to make your pool betting journey easy and enjoyable.

By embracing Tote betting alongside their fixed odds and other products, William Hill does right by loyal customers. They smartly provide this classic wagering so more punters can discover its joys.

You expect an amazing experience with an established brand like William Hill. Their fantastic pools and service will meet those high expectations. For a trusted bookmaker who adds pool variety to their acclaimed offerings, look no further. William Hill gives you many more ways to win.

Understanding Pool Betting

Pool betting, also known as parimutuel betting, is straightforward: all the stakes placed on a particular bet go into a pool, and this total pool is then shared amongst the bettors who have made the correct predictions. For example, in a horse racing pool, if you place a bet on a horse to win, and it does, you’ll receive a share of the pool, with the amount determined after the race based on how many other winning bets there are.

This form of betting contrasts with fixed odds betting, which is more conventional. With fixed odds, you’re guaranteed a specific return on your bet if you win, regardless of how many others have bet or won. The odds are set by the bookmakers at the time you place your bet. Pool betting, on the other hand, does not establish individual odds per bet; instead, the odds fluctuate depending on the number of stakes placed and the number of participants who share the payouts.

The Tote: A Deep Dive

The history of The Tote is deeply intertwined with UK horse racing. It was established by the British government in 1928 as the Horserace Totalisator Board. The idea was to offer a safe and controlled betting environment, where a portion of the proceeds would be reinvested back into the racing industry. It has since become synonymous with horse racing betting, providing a valuable alternative to traditional bookmakers.

Tote betting is quite unique. Punters choose from an array of bet types – ranging from simply picking a winner, to selecting the precise finishing order of the top three horses in a race. Once all bets are in, the total pool is calculated. The Tote then subtracts its commission (which contributes to racing, amongst other costs), and the remaining money is divided among the winning bets. What makes it captivating is the potential for dividends to be much larger than fixed odds especially if the outcome is unexpected, as fewer people will typically have bet on that outcome.

Popular Pool Bets Explained

Among the most well-known single Totepool bets are the Totewin and Toteplace, where you bet on a horse to either win or place (finish in one of the top positions, which varies depending on the race). There’s also the Toteexacta, where you predict the first two finishers in exact order, and the Totetrifecta, requiring you to correctly guess the top three in the right order. These bets offer the allure of substantial dividends for small stakes, especially when the outcomes are less predictable.

Then there are the multiple bets, which heighten the excitement. Placepot is one of the most popular, involving picking selections that will place across the first six races at a meeting. Quadpot is similar but covers just four races. The Jackpot requires bettors to select six winners from six races, whereas the Scoop6 extends this with massive payouts, often attracting considerable attention and substantial stakes across the country.

Key Questions Around Pool Betting

When it comes to differentiating between fixed and Tote betting, consider the payouts. Fixed odds offer clarity from the onset, while Tote betting is dynamic. The Tote odds are not fixed and only become clear once the event has finished and the total pool is divided by the winning stakes.

Comparing Tote with the Starting Price (SP) – the fixed odds offered by bookmakers at the start of a race – the Tote often outperforms the SP with better payouts due to the Tote guarantee, ensuring a minimum payment that meets or exceeds the SP.

The Top Tote refers to the highest dividend paid out by any of the Tote operators. Multiple companies run their own Tote services, and the best return out of these for a particular bet is deemed the Top Tote. Speaking of operations, the Totepool used to be state-owned but is now privately held, after being sold to Betfred in 2011.

In 2018, however, UK Tote Group, formerly known as Alizeti, took over, intent on revamping the Tote with a strong commitment to the horse racing industry.

How to Participate in Pool Betting

Participating in pool betting is relatively straightforward. You can check Totepool tickets at the track, betting shops, or online on the betting site where the bet was placed. These platforms will clearly indicate if you have a winning ticket and guide you through the process to claim your winnings. The Placepot is a popular bet to get involved in pool betting, where you pick potential horses to place in each of the first six races of a race meeting.

Claiming Totepool winnings is quite simple. If you bet at a race track, you would go to a Tote window. If you placed a bet online, the winnings would be credited automatically to your betting account. All that’s left to do is to decide whether to cash out or keep the adventure going by placing more bets on the upcoming events.

Strategic Insights

Delving into pool betting tips can dramatically enhance your betting strategy. It’s about understanding the sport you’re betting on and applying knowledge about the conditions, competitors, and historical performance to make informed decisions. Some punters specialise in certain types of pool bets or focus on particular sports where they feel they have an edge.

Decision-making in pool betting also involves watching how the pool is shaping up. Larger pools mean more money to be shared, but also likely more winners to share with. Conversely, less popular events may have smaller pools but provide a bigger payout if you manage to score a winning bet. Recognise that pool betting can entail higher variance – the chance of frequent small wins is traded for a shot at occasional larger jackpots.

Digital Evolution of Pool Betting

Online pool betting platforms have modernised how punters engage with pool betting. These sites offer the full array of Totepool bets alongside a user-friendly interface, live updates, and sometimes additional features like bet credits or free bets to encourage participation.

These platforms often provide detailed information on the size of the pools and the current status of any given betting pool, enabling bettors to make informed decisions from the comfort of their homes or even on the go.

Pool Betting in Football

The introduction of the Colossus Bet has brought new life to football pool betting. With this, bettors can predict scores and outcomes in a series of matches with the potential for colossal payouts.

The interactivity and community aspect, akin to that of the traditional football pools, have been ramped up with this modern twist on an age-old concept.

These innovations have reaffitted pool betting‘s position within the football betting market.

Regulatory Aspects and Fair Play

Responsible gambling is paramount in pool betting, as it is across all forms of betting. Platforms operating within the UK are regulated by the Gambling Commission and must adhere to stringent standards to ensure fair play and the provision of resources for those needing help with gambling issues.

Compliance with regulations covers not just the operation of the pools but also issues such as advertising, security of funds, and the fairness of the games themselves.

Ensuring compliance with betting regulations involves obtaining the necessary licence from the appropriate authorities and adhering to the regulatory framework, including paying pool betting duty or general betting duty as required.

This ensures that all operators provide a safe and controlled betting environment, which is vital for maintaining the integrity of pool betting within Great Britain.


The future of pool betting looks promising, with innovations in digital offerings and expansion into different sports keeping the model vibrant and appealing. As it evolves, ensuring safe and informed participation remains the cornerstone of its continued success.

Pool betting sites are not just about trying to win; they offer a sense of camaraderie and shared experience that you might not find in traditional fixed odds betting, all while respecting the principles of responsible gambling.

Whether you’re a seasoned punter or new to the game, pool betting offers an engaging way to enjoy your favourite sports.