What is the Tote Placepot?
Go in to any bookmaker and you will find hordes of long rectangular papers, covered in numbers and check boxes akin to lottery slips. These are the Tote Placepot slips and they are very popular with novice and professional punters alike. The Placepot is very popular amongst many punters as it enables them to win large sums of money, for relatively small outlays. The bet requires individuals to select horses in the first six races of a meeting, to be placed.
The Tote Placepot is one of the products of The Tote business (others include the Tote Jackpot, Scoop 6 and Quadpot), which was acquired by Betfred in 2011 for a princely £265m. This gave Betfred an exclusive seven year license to operate pool betting at UK racecourses, Tote’s 500+ shops and Totesport.com – the website.
How Does it Work?
Each meeting has its own Placepot – usually the first six races on the card unless otherwise stated. The total amount bet on a Placepot goes into a prize pool which is split by the winners.
- In fields of 4 runners or less, you have to select the winner.
- In fields of 5-7, the horse can finish first or second
- In fields of 8 or more, the horse can finish in the top three. If the race is a 16 runner+ handicap, that extends to the top four.
Betfred currently take 28% out of the final pool to cover administration and to return some revenue into the sport. The 72% remaining is paid out to the winners. After the six races have been run, the final dividend is calculated to a £1 stake.
So, for example, if there is £200,000 bet into a Placepot card at Newcastle and there were 1440 winning tickets are the end of the six races, the dividend would be:
£200,000 x 72% (to get pay out) = £144,000
£144,000 / 1440 (number of winning tickets) = £100
The dividend would pay £100 for every £1 placed. The minimum stake for the Placepot is just 5p, so someone who had a 5p line would receive £5 and someone who staked £10 would receive £1000 etc.
Should You Back the Favourite?
When all the favourites on a card are placed, the pay-out is invariably low. Many betting shop punters simply back all of the favourites (there is a box to tick for each race to back the SP favourite) and obviously the more people supporting a horse in each race, the lower dividend will be.
It is important to remember that you do not need to win the race to stay in the Tote Placepot – all that is required is for the selected horse to place. Therefore, whilst the favourite is clearly the most likely winner, supporting a runner at bigger odds, who have a solid chance of placing, is likely to yield better returns in the long run. If the favourite fluffs their lines and is unplaced, it will knock out a large proportion of the pool and will give those remaining the opportunity to share a sizeable dividend.
Why is it A Good Bet?
The Placepot is a good bet for several reasons. Firstly, as a punter is effectively betting against others and not the bookmakers, then a skilled operator will be at an advantage. Lots of ‘blind’ money backing purely favourites, certain numbered horses or bad selections, help to swell the coffers and ensure the fund for the dividend is strong.
Secondly, the bet gives an interest in six races for one stake. Accumulators require victory in every race, but the Placepot enables bettors to stay in by simply getting a place, which is far more achievable.
Lastly, the Placepot is typically a good bet because it offers value to the customers. The take out is 28% which may sound a lot, but that is over 6 races. Comparing the margin to an accumulator or multiple bet with six selections, the value is there for all to see. Due to bookmakers in built margins on each horse and race, the true odds of success are actually about double what the customer received (compounding the margins).
It is best to pick horses with consistent form figures who don’t often win, but regularly finish in the top 4, as opposed to those who win sporadically, but can run a series of stinkers. Consistency and reliability are key when it comes to the Placepot.
Horses with good form at the course should always be considered and those proven under similar racing conditions are attractive from a Placepot perspective. A horse with less latent ability, but proven form on the going is preferable to one who comes into the race with a series of 1’s next to its name, but hasn’t run on the surface.
In races with more than one selection, it can sometimes pay to speculate on a runner at a bigger price that may outrun its odds. I.e. good trainer record at the track, returning from a break, good back form but in poor form recently etc. The money is really made when the fancied runners are unplaced and the outsiders fill the spots – this occurrence is commonly known as a ‘Placepot buster’.
How Many Lines?
There is no limit as to how many horses are picked in each individual race – but selecting multiple runners in each contest can produce eye-watering stakes. To work out stakes, the number of selections must be multiplied race by race. For instance:
2 selections per race – 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = £64
3 selections per race – 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 = £729
4 selections per race – 4 x 4 x 4 x 4 x 4 x 4 = £4096
The stakes for 2 selections per race, let alone 3 or 4, are out of reach for most punters. A more common Placepot may look like:
1 x 2 x 1 x 2 x 4 x 1 = £16
In the races where a punter is confident in their selection, or where there is short priced favourite in a small field (win only qualifies) they may just play one line. However, there may be a tricky, open looking 16 runner handicap on the same card where it would be prudent to cover several runners to remain in with a shout of capturing the dividend.
Joining a syndicate can be a fun and advantageous way to play the Placepot. By pooling funds together and placing a bet as a group, the number of lines can be increased, thus improving the chances of success. Admittedly the relative pay-out will be smaller as the dividend is shared between the syndicate, but having several eyes pour of the form and research potential trends which help the selection process, can be fruitful in the long term. Operations such as High Rise Racing run such services.
Commonly Asked Questions
What Happens if There is A NR? If a punter tried to bet on a non-runner when putting their Placepot bet online, they will be informed automatically and can change their selection. In betting shops, the staff will be able to tell whether there are any non-runners on the slip – it is purely whether they are kind enough to inform said customer.
If the horse becomes a non-runner after the bet has been struck, the stake goes on the SP favourite. If there are joint favourites, or co-favourites then the customer gets the horse with the lowest race card number. The same applied if backing all unnamed favourites.
Playing the Tote Placepot can be an enjoyable and profitable way to bet. Being successful at the Placepot is a balancing act between thinking differently from the rest of the crowd and including runners who have a solid chance of placing. Playing just one horse per race will result in longer losing spells but typically a smaller outlay, whilst betting two runners plus in every race produces extremely large stakes. Backing the solitary runner in contests where there is utmost confidence in the horse placing, and combining that strategy with picking several runners in the more difficult races, can keep stake size down, but give a solid change of success.