What Is Pools Betting And Should You Try It?

Betting pools, often referred to as pools betting or Tote betting, offer a unique format that resembles a lottery more than your typical sports wager. This form of gambling has a rich history, spanning approximately a century, and has persevered even when traditional sports betting faced legal restrictions.

Prominent bookmakers with high levels of traffic often feature pools betting as a prominent offering. It’s particularly prevalent in two of the most popular sports for betting: football and horse racing. If you’ve ever come across it at your online sportsbook or heard about fellow bettors striking it big with pools betting, you’re probably eager to grasp the intricacies of this distinctive gambling avenue. Let’s delve into what it entails.

The Format of Pools Betting

Pools Betting

Pools betting introduces a captivating twist to traditional wagering. Here’s how it works: for a fixed entry fee, you join a pool alongside fellow bettors, hence the name. Unlike a standard single bet, where you predict the outcome of a single event, pools betting requires you to make multiple predictions.

Upon entering a pool, you’ll face a series of selections, ranging from as few as 10 to a more ambitious 15 or even 20. These pools are often aptly named jackpot bets, and for a good reason. Your path to victory lies in getting all your selections spot on.

As more participants join the pool, the prize pot swells in tandem. Many pools offer payouts not only for completely correct selections but also for those who get the majority right. After the bookmaker deducts administration fees and other charges, the remaining prize pool is distributed among the winners.

Pools betting adds an element of camaraderie and excitement to the world of wagering, where your success is intertwined with the predictions of others, creating a dynamic and potentially rewarding experience.


Pools betting commonly finds its home in the realms of horse racing and football matches. In this unique wagering format, the challenge lies in selecting multiple winners for a day’s racing events or the weekend fixtures in prestigious leagues like the Premier League or other tournaments. It’s a far cry from predicting a single correct scoreline or pinpointing the team that will score first.

As with any form of gambling, pools betting carries its share of risk. Your hard-earned money is at stake, and the potential rewards are enticing. Unlike conventional odds where you can calculate risks, pools betting presents a different landscape where the number of correct selections you need to make provides insight into your odds of success.

Mastering the art of getting 13, 15, or 17 selections correct is no small feat. It’s this level of difficulty that often draws comparisons between pools betting and the lottery, given the remote chances of victory. However, the risk you undertake is tempered by the initial fixed price or stake you invest.

Yet, another risk factor lies in your choice of bookmaker. Ensuring you select a reputable and licensed company is paramount to avoid any unwelcome surprises when it comes to claiming your well-deserved winnings.


Pools betting has maintained its enduring popularity for several compelling reasons. Among its key advantages is the minimal financial commitment it demands. Many pools offer a fixed entry price, often as modest as £/€/$2 or £/€/$5.

This modest investment grants you the opportunity to indulge in multiple predictions, putting your sports knowledge to the test. If you relish sports betting but prefer to keep your stakes low, pools betting offers an appealing avenue for a weekly flutter.

Furthermore, pools betting plays to the strengths of those with in-depth knowledge of specific sports, such as football or horse racing. Your expertise can significantly enhance your chances of success in this arena.

Perhaps the most enticing aspect of pools betting is the potential for substantial winnings. By staking a nominal amount, you gain the privilege of placing multiple bets, all while harboring hopes of walking away with a sizable prize pot. Few betting opportunities provide the chance to win big without exposing your bankroll to significant risk.


Fixed-price pools are renowned for their low-risk nature, as the entry fees are generally quite affordable. However, it’s important to note that not all pools betting functions in this manner. In certain horse racing pools, for instance, you may be required to stake a specific amount for each horse. If you intend to cover multiple options and hedge your bets, this approach can lead to substantial betting expenses.

Some bettors opt to collaborate and pool their resources before entering a horse racing tote, allowing them to cover a broader range of possibilities. For individual bettors facing such collective efforts, competition can prove daunting, presenting another drawback of this particular pool format.

Many bettors naturally weigh the stake against the potential reward, and this calculation may not always favor those who need to place high stakes to cover numerous horses. Even in football pools with fixed entry prices, it’s essential to consider factors beyond the prize pot and stake amount.

As previously highlighted, the odds of winning in pools betting are notably remote. Consequently, it’s conceivable that one could participate in weekly jackpots, ultimately accumulating a substantial sum in entry fees without securing a corresponding return on investment.

How Big Is The Payout?

While we’ve discussed the allure of substantial prize pools, you may wonder just how grand these rewards can truly become. The answer hinges on the specific pool format and the bookmaker facilitating it. Some pools feature jaw-dropping jackpots, spanning the spectrum from £/€/$1 million to a staggering £/€/$10 million.

Naturally, the magnitude of the jackpot corresponds to the level of accuracy required for victory. You might find yourself contending with an increased number of selections or even the challenge of predicting precise scorelines in football matches. Additionally, certain pools offer flexibility in the fixed price entry. Opting for the lower entry fee grants access to a smaller prize pool, while a higher contribution opens the door to a larger potential reward.

In traditional horse racing pools, the number of participants profoundly influences the payout dynamics. As a result, early entrants face uncertainty regarding the exact extent of their potential winnings. Over time, as you become well-versed in the nuances of pools betting, you’ll develop a more nuanced understanding of the typical payouts associated with specific races or competitions.

It’s worth noting that pools betting frequently delivers payouts in the thousands of pounds, with some occasions boasting prize pots reaching hundreds of thousands or even millions of pounds. This substantial payout potential serves as a magnetic draw for a multitude of bettors.

For those who prefer a more predictable path, standard bookmaker bonus offers remain a reliable alternative. These promotions come with published terms and conditions, allowing you to clearly discern the rewards you can expect from your wagers.

Curious About Pools Betting?

While not all bookmakers offer jackpot, tote, or pool bets, these captivating competitions are readily available within the betting landscape. Leading companies such as BetFred, for instance, host a Totepool catering to horse racing enthusiasts. Moreover, prominent online bookmakers like Colossus and Skybet provide platforms for engaging in pools betting, often featuring substantial jackpots.

In summary, it’s crucial to acknowledge that the potential for significant winnings exists, requiring only a modest upfront investment. However, it’s equally important to grasp that the complexity of predictions demanded in these formats sets them apart from standard sports bets. Pools betting challenges you to think strategically, presenting a distinct dimension within the realm of sports wagering.

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