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Simple Guide To Betting

Betting has always had a certain stigma attached to it as a novice punter is never 100% sure how to place a bet, but don't fret, this section will explain how to go about placing your first bet as well giving key explanations on betting terminology.

The most important aspect of betting is the enjoyment of having a flutter and there's always a friendly rivalry created between the punter and the bookmaker when a bet is placed.

Take a look at the explanations below that will hopefully enlighten you on the types of bets available and how to place a bet with a bookmaker.

For those having a bet on the 2014 Grand National then click on our dedicated page for the Aintree marathon to see the latest odds and preview for the Merseyside showpiece.


No bet is simpler than the win bet as you know that your selection must finished first in the specified race.  When placing your bet with the bookmaker, state your stake and the number of the horse you have chosen to win.  You will then gain a printout from the bookmaker which will state how much you are set to win if your selection is first past the post.


Betting a horse for a place allows you a safety net if your horse fails to win as you have also allowed for your horse to finish in the placings.  The criteria for a place can change from race to race as it depends on how many runners are in a race.

In races that have between 5 and 7 runners a place constitutes the first two, whilst a race with 8 runners or more means your horse can finish in the first three.  Finally, in handicap races with 16 or more runners you will be paid out for a place if your horse finishes 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th.

One thing to watch out for are incentives from bookmakers that may offer more than four places in a certain race.  The Grand National is a prime example as 40 runners contest the Aintree marathon and bookmakers have been known to offer a place to 5 and even 6 places on occasions.

Each Way

Each Way betting effectively incorporates two bets rolled into one, the win part and the place part.  With having two bets combined into one you are obviously doubling your stake, so a £2 each way bet costs £4 in total, as you have £2 on the win and £2 on the place part.

One thing to be wary of when betting each way is the price of your selection.  The win part is paid out at the odds you have placed the bet out, but if your horse fails to win and comes second then you will get usually 1/4 of the odds displayed on the bookmakers board.

  • For Example:  If you bet £2 each way on a 12/1 horse and it wins you get £2 x 12/1, plus your £2 stake and £2 x 3/1 (1/4 of 12/1), plus your stake - Total return = £34.  However, if your horses finishes second you only get the place return and so your return is £8.

Betting each way on shorter prices can still mean that you don't gain a profit if your horse doesn't win but finishes in a place. 

  • For Example: If you bet £2 each way on a horse priced 2/1 and your selection finishes second you gain 1/4 odds (£2 x 1/2) plus your stake which means you will gain an overall return of £3 from your initial £4 stake; thus losing on the bet.

Each way is generally used for horses that tend to be bigger prices. 

Do also watch out for the bookmakers each way criteria as some offer 1/5 odds and sometimes 1/6 odds, so even though they appear to be bigger in price, when you divide them by their each way terms it could turn into a smaller price overall.

Betting Online

Betting via the internet continues to boom as people can place a bet with the touch of a button.  The opportunity for punters on the web has grown immeasurably over the last decade and now you don't have to go into a betting shop or be at the track to have a bet on a horse race.

Whilst the self-employed bookmakers may still only function in shops and at racecourses the big online bookmakers now offer customers a bet at the end of their fingertips.

Offering terrific allurements, whether free bets or best odds guaranteed, the online betting world continues to grow and gives punters another chance to have a flutter.

Betting on Exchanges

Betting on the exchanges allows you to become the bookmaker and pit your wits against other wannabe bookmakers.  Ultimately, you can offer a price of a horse on the exchanges and a punter can come and bet an agreed amount on the price offered.

The exchanges not only incorporates the winning aspect, but you can also lay horses, which means you think it will lose and offer larger odds to a prospective punter.

Forever becoming more fashionable the exchanges also allows you to bet a horse in the middle of the race and the price will fluctuate throughout the whole race depending on its position.

One difference with exchange betting is that if you are successful, you will have to pay a certain percentage of your winnings as commission to the betting exchange provider.  Although it is a small proportion, be aware of this when you expect a certain return and you end up with less than you thought.


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