What is Pool Betting and How Does It Work?

In recent years, pool betting has been making a comeback in both the UK and around the globe. It should come as no surprise, then, that some of the best bookmakers around are not only reviving the idea, but improving upon it, making it bigger and better than ever before.

We’re all aware that there’s no broader community than the online sports betting world, which is precisely what this wagering method thrives on. Pool betting benefits from large communities getting involved in sports punting. It offers unique sports betting opportunities, and the shared prize often makes it both fun and competitive.

In this article, we’ll not only be looking at what pool betting is and how it’s evolving, but we’ll also recommend our preferred provider.


What is Pool Betting?

Pool betting cover

Before we begin, we need to mention that pool betting can take several forms. You may encounter types such as pari-mutuel and Tote betting, the latter of which we’re going to be looking at in this article.

Considering that there are several versions and variations of this method, it can often seem like an incredibly convoluted way to bet. Most punters prefer to stick to betting strategies and techniques that they’re more familiar with, and we don’t blame them. That said, pool betting can be a lot of fun and it comes with many unique benefits. It’s also much more straightforward than you might think.

Simply put, pool betting is when several punters place wagers on possible outcomes and those who pick the winner all share in the reward.

What makes this method so unique and attractive to punters are the opportunities to win from small stakes. This is why most professional bookmakers offer such an opportunity for its bettors. While the chances of hitting the jackpot are remote, it’s still better than trying to win the National Lottery.

But how does it work? Let’s take a look!

How Does Pool Betting Work?

Before we get into specific types of pool betting, it’s a good idea to get a better understanding of how it works in principle. In standard sports betting, bettors make a selection on a sport that often has a fixed rate. You’ll place your wager or back bet, for example, and the bookie will stake its own money as the lay bet. It’s you against the bookie and the odds.

Pool betting works on a different principle. You and all of the other bettors make your selections, and all of the money for each wager is added to a single pool. Should a selection win, then all of the punters that picked the winning selection get an equal share of the pot.

That’s the primary difference between fixed odds betting and this method, but it’s not the only one.

Fixed betting or betting on a sportsbook involves odds for or against certain events or outcomes. Pool betting differs in the sense that, similarly to betting exchanges, there aren’t any odds set by the bookie. Instead, the number of other punters who chose the same pick for their wager influences how much you win.

As mentioned previously, in this method of wagering all of the winners receive a share of a total prize pot; in most cases, the bookmaker will also take a small commission.

Example of How Pool Betting Works

To give you a simple demonstration of how this betting method works, we’ll remove the bookmaker from the following example.

Let’s imagine a match between Real Madrid and Barcelona. There are three possible outcomes to this match; win, lose or draw. Placing a wager on any one of these outcomes will cost you a mere £/€/$2.

Now, let’s see how many punters select each outcome:

  • Seven people pick Real Madrid as the Winner
  • Four people choose a Draw
  • Nine people pick Barcelona as the winner

There are 20 punters in total and a total pot of £/€/$40. If Real Madrid wins, the seven punters all receive £/€/$5.71 each, but if Barcelona wins, nine people will each receive a mere £/€/$4.44. If the match is a draw, the lucky four will each receive £10.

As you can see, this method can offer you the opportunity to make a good profit, if you don’t have to share the pot with too many people that is. If you’re going to stick to wagering on favourites, though, it mightn’t be your best option.

In essence, placing a bet on the most likely outcome might result in a winning wager, but since many other punters are going to make the same bet, your share of the pot won’t be much to write home about.

The shared element of pool betting does add some excitement, though. Not only are you betting on the likelihood of an event, but you also need to consider how many other bettors have taken the same bet.

Totepool – Horse Race Betting

TotePool horse racing

To give you an idea of how pool betting works in a popular sport, we’re going to look at the type of bets that are available for horse racing. This is called the Totepool, and Betfred owns it. This company owns and operates all pool bets related to horse racing in the United Kingdom.

Some of the popular types of Totes include Quadpot, Placepot, Jackpot and the ever-popular Scoop 6.

  • Totewin/Place
    In this kind of bet, you place a wager on either the winning horse or if the horse will place in the top three.
  • Toteexacta
    For this type of wager, punters need to pick which horses will finish in first and second place. It will only pay out if the horses finish in the exact order that you’ve selected. If you’ve picked A for first place and B for the second, you won’t receive a share of the pot if A finishes in second and B in first.
  • Totetrifecta
    In the trifecta, players need to predict the third, second and first place horses. All three picks must be correct to win.
  • Quadpot
    For the quadpot, punters need to pick the horses placing from the third to the sixth race of the day. At the end of the meet, the pot is divided between all of the winning punters.
  • Placepot
    Placepot wagers work the same as Quadpots, but with one difference. It operates over the first six races of the meet, not just the third to sixth. As with Quadpot wagers, punters need to pick the placing horse or horses, and the pot is divided between all winners at the end of the meet.
  • Jackpot
    The jackpot works slightly differently, as bettors need to pick the first six winners at the meeting nominated by the Tote. This happens daily, and the pay-out is especially large because it’s not as easy to pick the first six winners. Should there be no winners, the pot will roll over to the next day and will continue to accumulate money from new wagers. The jackpot frequently rolls over, and there have even been occasions on which the pot has grown to millions of pounds.
  • Scoop6
    The Scoop6 stake entries cost more than the other Tote pools. However, this makes the dividends so much greater, allowing punters to win bigger prizes.

Football Pool Betting

When it comes to football, your options for this method of wagering are a lot more limited than they are for horse racing.

Even so, it still offers punters the opportunity to earn high rewards for small stakes. There are also the occasional jackpots and special bonus code offers available at some of the best sites. You might have to hunt around to find a bookie you like, though.

What Makes a Good Pool Betting Bookie?

There are many similarities between pool betting and regular betting. As you might expect, many of the elements that make an online bookie a good one still apply to sites that offer this method of wagering. Sort out bookmakers by rating initially before going on to do greater research. Focus on the aspects we have outlined below.

Prior to joining a site, you should consider their security and licensing, design, payment methods, responsible gambling measures, betting markets and customer service delivery. You might even want a bookie that offers the occasional slot game or even live streaming services.

We should mention that you won’t find the same variety of markets for this method that you would for other types of wagers. This type of betting is primarily limited to football and horse racing, with the latter being the most popular.

As with most things, choosing your preferred bookmaker will depend on your personal preferences. Availability in your country, language or country can play as much of a role as design, usability or software providers. It’s always a good idea to look at several different bookmakers before you choose one or more to join.

Our Preferred Pool Betting Site – William Hill

Betfred owns the Tote and William Hill. Hence it’s no surprise that William Hill is the website that offers Tote wagers for horse racing. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the same options for football. That said, you’ll find plenty of Tote markets to bet on at William Hill, including Scoop 6, which offers you the chance to win big for a small stake.

William Hill’s sportsbook is one of the best that’s available to UK players, especially when it comes to horse racing. It’s earned a reputation for being a great bookie, as well as offering an excellent casino, great odds and a wide variety of markets.

If you’d like to try out Tote betting, we highly recommended visiting William Hill’s sportsbook.

Pros and Cons

As with most types of wagering, this method also has its advantages and disadvantages. Below is a comprehensive list of this method’s pros and cons:

  • Pros
  • No set odds
  • Potentially big profits
  • You can stake whatever you want
  • Cons
  • You don’t know how much you’ll win
  • You predict what other punters will wager on
  • Fewer markets available.


Pool betting can offer punters many exciting opportunities, within certain limitations. If you’re a punter who prefers to play it safe and stick to wagering on favourites, then you’ll likely never win anything significant by using this method. You’ll also be primarily limited to wagering on horse races or football games which, although popular markets, aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.

On the other hand, the stakes are usually quite affordable and your winnings aren’t determined by how much you wagered. That means that you can get quite a nice reward for a minimum bet. Again, that will depend on how many other punters have decided to pick the same outcome you did.

So, is it worth it? That depends. How many other punters are placing wagers? What’s the total pot? It comes down to your personal preference as a player. If you’re tired of the same old sports betting, though, give this a try. It’s fun, carries less risk and you might just be rewarded with a bigger prize than you expected.

Expert Найден Панайотов
Найден Панайотов
Nayden is the content manager of Efirbet.com! He is one of the main reviewers of all articles you will see on the site.