The Tote Placepot

If you walk into any bookie shop in the UK you’ll be inundated with little slips of paper with loads of boxes in a grid, much like a lottery ticket-type-thing.

These are tote placepot slips. What is the tote placepot?

A vast pool of users asks the question of where they can access this Tote Placepot (or any tote placepot, they’re not an exclusive offer associated to one bookie).

History of Tote Placepot

Although not tied to one particular bookmaker, the Tote Placepot is the work of the Tote Business. They do other things, too, like a jackpot and quadpot.

The business was bought out by Betfred for a mega £265m just shy of a decade ago.

It meant Betfred had sole control over operating pool bets at UK-based racecourses for 7 years, as well as the 500 Tote shops and their website (

What is a Tote Placepot

It’s much loved by both amateur and expert gamblers because it’s a means of winning a huge pot of cash for very little wagers.

The terms of the bet simply ask that punters pick horses that place in the first 6 races at a meet. That’s it.

Every meeting will offer a placepot. This typically only covers the first 6 races of the meeting, unless they’re feeling generous and do more. The prize is a pool made up of every bet put on the placepot which is then split between the lucky winners.

Winners Change

Winners change depending on how many runners there are:

  • If > 4 runners, you must pick the winner
  • Between 5 and 7 and your horse can win or come second
  • 8+ and your horse should place first, second or third
  • 16 and over with a handicap and you’re looking at the top 4

Admin Charge

28% of the pool is scooped off by Betfred because they need to pay their staff for the admin and they advance the sport itself by donating some cash. The other 72% is all for those who win. Following those 6 races that final amount is worked out to a stake of only a quid.

If you’re having trouble following, let’s use an example with actual numbers:

  • Say there’s £500k in the placepot.
  • Say there are 1,500 tickets who win
  • The payout will be £500k x 72% = £360k THEN divided by the number of winners (1,500) = £240

So, £240 goes to every £1 that placed. 5p is the absolute minimum wager you can put in the placepot. If you had 5p go in, you’d have £12. If you put a tenner in, you’d have £2,400. See the appeal, now?

Now that’s got your attention, you probably have some questions…

Why wouldn’t I just bet on the favourite and be quids in?

Because it’s not that simple or easy. If everyone did that, then the payout would be drastically low. People don’t just bet on the favourites in a one-off race, do they? Lots of punters do, mind. There’s even an option on the betting slip to back the starting place favourite for every race. The more punters supporting one horse only, the less dividend at the end there would be.

Remember the saying ‘it’s not about the winning, it’s the taking part that’s important?’. This time it’s actually true. The aim of a tote placepot isn’t to outright win the race. You just need your chosen horse to place. So, yes, it’s very tempting to back the favourite to win. It’s tempting to go with the best odds.

Why wouldn’t you want a little guarantee? If you pick the runners, though, this is a better long-term strategy because they have bigger odds.

There’s a chance that favourite could fall and then what? It won’t place at all. It would also demolish a huge part of the competition in the pool and those remaining would be swimming in their cash.

Is it worth it, if it’s not a sure thing?

This is sports betting. Nothing is a sure thing. A tote placepot is a good thing, though, for reasons you’re about to learn.

You’re not betting the bookie, you’re all betting each other. This is where some strategy can come into play and win some nice money. Loads of casual betters will put money just on the favourites, we know that. Ditto well-known numbers that do well (lucky number 7) and some will even back the near-lame horses just to ensure the pool is full of cash (and they might like an underdog).

The other reason is that you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck. 6 races at just one stake. Typically and accumulator would need your horse to win every single race but tote placepot, however, only asks that your horse places. This is much more feasible.

The final reason is that the tote placepot offers such good value for punters. Ignore what they take out, ultimately that money is going toward a good thing anyway. It’s not even that much when you think about it being taken out over 6 races. So if you look at the margins in comparison to, say, a multi-bet with 6 selections or an accumulator, the value is crazy good. The bookies have done the hard work in the background with the margins so your chance at winning is, realistically, twice as nice.

Are there limitations?

You’re not limited to the number of horses you can pick per race. If you chose a few per go, well the stakes can get a bit spicy. To figure this out, simply take the number of selections and times it race to race.

Here are some numbers to help…

2 per race – (x 2) 6 times is £64

3 per race – (x3 ) 6 times is £729

4 per race – (x4 ) 6 times is £4096

It’s not within the grasp of most punters to have more than one stake per race, nevermind 3 or more. More commonly a placepot would be 1 x 2 x 1 x 2 x 4 x 1, which is £16.

If someone is adamant about their choice or maybe there’s a favourite with a decent price in a win-only situation, they might very well just opt for the one line. Maybe there’s a 16 runner handicap on that same card and it looks fairly open so it’d be smart to back a few options to give oneself a good run at the winnings.

Can I join in with others?

Sure, and this is pretty smart.

Going in on a syndicate might be more beneficial to you, as well as a good laugh when it comes to a tote placepot.

Pooling your money with friends and putting in a joint bet can significantly improve what you get paid at the end. Granted, though, the prize itself will be big, but don’t forget those same friends are the very people you’ll have to split that win with.

What about when there’s a non-runner?

Good question.

It’s all pretty clever when things are automated online, so if you’re doing this on the web you won’t be able to put a bet on a non-runner and you’ll be told so. In a shop, ditto, but it’ll be the human behind the counter telling you this (if they’re nice enough).

If the horse goes on to become an NR once the bet’s been placed then your stake will go toward the starting place fav. If there happens to be two of them, you’ll get the lower racecard number.

This isn’t as straightforward as I first thought. What advice can you give me?

Gambling is, first and foremost, meant to be fun. A placepot bet can be a great way to enjoy yourself and make a decent profit. Maybe even more so than you could in an online casino.

That’s your call. It requires you to think outside the box. Swim upstream. Ignore what you’re usually told is a good thing and not bet on the favourite to finish. Bet on the lesser popular choices who might very well place. If you bet on one horse for every race you’ll no doubt experience a losing streak.

Pick two runners (or more) and you’ll get something big back. If you opt for the horse in which everyone is placing their hopes and dreams on to place (not win) whilst also picking a few runners in tricker races, you’ll win big at a low cost.

What else?

Give yourself a good chance of choosing right by looking at the horse’s performance. Pick one with consistency. One that doesn’t always win but does come in second, third or fourth. Not one that might win one day and not place at all the next, that’s too risky. You want a consistent runner. Something reliable will bode well.

A horse with a good track record of a solid performance under the same conditions is a great choice. A horse that has shown it has consistent form is a wiser pick than one that has never stepped foot on the same surface.

It’s worth having a punt on a runner that comes with a larger price tag who might outshine its odds. So check out the trainers and what record they have, any horses that are making a comeback from a break or went from a good streak into a dip and are coming back to that good form they previously showed.

Your money will come from unexpected places.

OK, I’m ready. I want to find a placepot.

Cool! So, as we said already, this isn’t something offered by one specific bookie so you’ll easily find one in a betting shop or online.

Go, have fun! Bet smart!

Other Bet Types

Here is the full list of horse racing betting types:

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