Home » Horse Racing » What Is the Tote Placepot?

Tote Placepot Guide

Welcome to the ultimate guide to the Tote Placepot, one of the most recognisable and most popular pool bets. If you’re seeking a relatively cheap way to have a vested interest in the first six races of a horse racing meeting, then the Placepot is going to be your first bet of the day.

Besides explaining what the Placepot is and how it works, this page covers everything from Placepot rules and how Tote works out its Placepot dividend to whether you should join a syndicate or go it alone.

Tote Placepot Explained: What Is a Placepot?

Visit any high-street bookmaker in the UK and you will find hordes of long rectangular papers, covered in numbers and check boxes akin to lottery slips. These are Tote betting slips, and they are very popular with novice and professional punters alike. The Tote Placepot is one of the products operated by the UK Tote Group (others include the Tote Jackpot, Scoop 6 and Quadpot).

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 you to select horses to be placed in the first six races of a UK or Irish meeting, and major international meetings like the Dubai World Cup, Breeders’ Cup and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Why Is the Tote Placepot a Good Bet?

The Tote 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 Placepot 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 takeout is 28% which may sound a lot, but that is over six 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 receives (compounding the margins).

Horses sprinting during flat race

How Does a Placepot 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.

Tote 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.

Tote Placepot Strategy

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. Ask any of the best Placepot tipsters and they’ll tell you the same.

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. For instance, a good trainer record at the track, a horse 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’.

Should You Back the Favourite?

When all the favourites on a card are placed, the payout is invariably low. Many betting shop punters simply back all 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 the Placepot 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.

How Many Lines Should You Bet?

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 a 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.

Don’t worry if the math goes over your head – you can use a Placepot calculator to do all the work for you.

Digital image of racetrack

Tips for Playing the Tote Placepot

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.

Should You Join a Syndicate?

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 payout 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.

Live Placepot Betting

The Tote, the UK’s leading pool betting operator, updates Placepot running totals after every race. These results are instantly shared with other online bookmakers offering the Tote Placepot, making it easy to track all your bets in-running.

Imagine the excitement of watching the sixth and final race, knowing that you only need your horse to place to scoop a share of the prize pot. Likewise, imagine the agony of making it to the final race and being in with a chance of sharing the pot, only to watch your selection pull up.

The Tote website provides all the information you need to track the potential dividends of your Tote Placepot. The pool size updates as every punter confirms their bet, so you’ll know how much the Tote jackpot is worth before the first race of the meeting begins.

This makes the Tote Placepot an exciting alternative to betting on one horse in a single race, especially if you pool your money together and join a syndicate.


Where can I bet on the Tote Placepot?

You can bet on the Tote Placepot at any Tote window at UK racecourses or online via the best betting sites. If you bet at the track, you have 53 weeks from the date of the race to collect any winnings. If you bet online, your winnings will automatically be added to your account.

What happens when there’s a non-runner in a placepot?

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 Placepot rules apply if backing all unnamed favourites.

Does 4th place count in Placepot?

Yes, any selection that finishes fourth in a 16+ runner handicap race will qualify as a winning selection.

Are Placepots profitable?

Although Placepots are first and foremost considered a pool bet that gives a lot of fun for a small investment, they can be profitable in the long term. You must select a horse to be placed in the first six races at any English or Irish race meeting, and then hope they perform well to secure a share the winnings.