When you put an accumulator bet on, you are betting on a number of selections, and all of them must win for the bet to be successful. Once the first win has occurred, the winnings and original stake are wagered on the next bet, and so on until all bets have been completed. So if the first bet on a £10 stake won at 5-1, the amount rolled forward onto the next bet would be £60, and so on. Also: Roll-up. See parlay.

Ante post
These bets are made on future events, perhaps even before all the details of the event is known (eg the list of runners declaring for a horse race). If your selection is dropped or not entered, you lose your bet.

To bet a horse is to back it. A heavily backed horse has a lot of bets laid on it.

When a punter (person placing the bet) thinks they have a racing certainty, this is said to be a banker bet.

When you see the betting market open before a horse race, you may see odds against only some of the runners in the race, and the odds for the rest are said to be “bar” – in other words, they are at least as long as the last quoted odds or greater.

Well, this is what it is all about – the amount of money you lay, or bet, on a horse. You lay a bet at odds which determine your winnings – see “odds”.

A bookmaker (who often works from a betting shop, though increasingly over the Internet or by telephone) will open a book of bets, in other words, he will come up with a range of bets and an opening betting market for a horse race. As the betting proceeds, on the basis of what the punters think will win, and are betting on, he will change the odds so that his profit (if he gets the market correct) will still give him a profit. Therefore, all the odds in a race times by all the bets laid at those odds will never be greater than the money a bookmaker has taken in bets – so that, if he gets it right, he makes a profit!

Book is closed
The race has probably started, and no more bets will be accepted.


The person who takes your bet and pays you if you win.

Slang for the odds 2/1.

Burlington Bertie
Slang for the odds 100/30 (the way 10/3 is expressed).

Buying Price
A spread bet will have 2 prices – the buying price and the selling price. You will not be surprised to learn the buying price is higher.

A combination bet consisting 26 different bets of the same stake based around five selections in different permutations. The bet splits up into a five-fold, five four-folds, 10 trebles and 10 doubles. As in all Canadian-type bets, at least two of the selections must come in for the bet to return anything. A £1 Canadian would cost £26. Sometimes called a Super Yankee. Other Canadian-type bets include Trixie (3 selections), Yankee (4 selections), Heinz (6 selections), Super Heinz (7 selections), Goliath (8 selections).

Bookies’ slang for the price 3/1.

Short for Combination Forecast.

Slang for the odds 10/1.

Combination forecasts or CFC’s
You may bet on three or more horses in a race, and any two of these have to finish first and second in any order to get some return on your bet. If you choose four horses, then effectively you are placing 4×3 = 12 separate bets (or “lines”) to get a return if any two of your selections finish first and second. If you choose 5 horses, you’ll be pacing 5×4=20 lines on the bet to (hopefully) achieve a return. The bet is priced per line, so the larger the number of horses you choose, the lower chance of your winnings exceeding your stake. Obviously.

Combination Tricasts
A similar principle to the above but you are betting on your ability to choose first second and third in a race in any order (CTC for short). You can choose from more than three horses to increase your chance of winning, but if you do the cost of the bet is so high that it becomes unlikely to make any profit. The number of lines or bets you are effectively putting on is the number of selections you want times by the two preceding numbers. If you want five selections, you will pay 5x4x3=60 times your stake, so a £2 combination tricast would cost £120 and would win you 2x the odds.

Come in
A bet is said to come in if it wins.

Computer straight forecast (CSF)
The odds for a forecast bet. The product of each selection’s win odds multiplied together, presumably by a computer….

Controlled risk
Spread betting with limited losses.

Credit bet
A bet taken by a bookmaker without a cash deposit.

Dead heat
When two competitors finish exactly equal.

Debit bet
A bet where a debit to the punter’s bank account will be incurred if the bookie is owed money.

Decimal odds
See odds.

A two-bet accumulator: eg a win double means you predict the winners of two races, and both must win to get a return.

Double carpet
Slang for the price 33/1.

Down bet
See sell.


A price drifts if the odds get longer, eg from 3-1 to 4-1. This will happen if bets are preferentially placed on other horses in the book.

E/W or EW
See each way.

Each way
When you bet each way, you bet the same amount of money on the selection to win, at the stated odds, and on the selection getting a place (1st 2nd or 3rd). Thus, a ‘£1 each way’ bet costs £2. The odds you get for the place bet is usually a quarter or a fifth of the odds on the win bet. So, if the horse wins, you get the win odds on the win bet and the place odds on the first place. If the horse comes second, say, you get only the return on the place part of the bet. Therefore a £10 each way bet on a horse at 10-1 would return 10×10 = 100 + the stake of 10 = 110 on the win bet, and 10/5=2-1 on the place, the latter being £30 (i.e. the winnings of 2×10 plus the stake of 10).

The fractional odd 1/1. A bet of £10 at evens would win £10, and your returns would be £20 (which includes your stake back.)

The horse deemed by the Bookies to be most likely to win. It will have the shortest odds. There may be odds quoted for joint favorites or second favorites as well.

Fixed-odds betting
The type of betting where you get odds quoted at the time of placing the bet and you know what you will win or lose at once. However, fixed odds may be quoted as SP – i.e. starting price, which means you elect to take the price in the open betting market when the race starts. This may be higher or lower than the odds offered at the time of placing the bet – the decision as to which to take being the punter’s choice.

In a forecast you elect to name, and bet on, the correct order of first and second horses in a race. A reverse forecast means that you are specifying the first two horses to finish, irrespective of which order they come in – so that if you get the right two horses, you will win.

A three fold accumulator means that you have a bet with three selections, and they must all come in for you to win the bet. The same principle applies to other numbers.

The basis of some punters betting is “form” – i.e., the previous performance of a horse in the races into which it has been entered. There is a guide to recent form in all the major racing papers, where a form entry may read something like: 011123-UP. This would mean the horse had been unplaced, first, first……unseated rider and pulled up in its previous runs. Runs in the last season are after the dash, and all runs are historically older the further right you read.

Fractional odds
See odds.

Slang for the price 5/1.

In a handicap, the horses will have different weights added to their saddles by a professional handicapper – the idea being to level up the chance of each horse winning and produce a more even race.

A Canadian-type bet consisting of 57 bets on all the permutations of six selections. The bet splits into 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 four-folds, six five-folds and a six-fold. See Trixie, Yankee, Canadian.

When the odds quoted get shorter, the price of a horse is said to shorten.

Joint favorite
In a situation where two horses are regarded with equal favor by the bookies (i.e. they have a supposedly equal chance of winning), they are said to be joint favorites.

A bookie lays a selection when he opens a market in it and thus allows a bet on it.

Laying off
An interesting situation where a punter can potentially cover his bets by placing another bet. So, if two horses in a race are clearly favorites to win, and they are both placed at high odds, the punter can bet on both and still win. This is a form of laying off (which basically means lessening risk and maximizing potential returns), and though he does not win as much as with a single bet, if his judgment about the horses’ chances are correct, he will still show a profit with much less risk. For example, two horses at 3-1 and 4-1 are clear favorites. The punter may lay a bet of £100 on each, confident that whichever wins, he will still show a profit.

Odds lengthen when they go up – for example, from 3-1 to 4-1. This is also known as “drifting”.

Long odds
The longer the odds, the more money you will get for your bet if the horse wins – thus, 100-1 are longer odds than 5-1. The longer the odds, the lower the chances of the horse winning!

Lucky 15
A Lucky 15 is 15 bets based around four selections, basically a Yankee with four singles as well. If there is only one winner, it is paid out at double odds.

Lucky 31 – Lucky 63
If you are betting at this level, you aren’t likely to need the help of this guide – you are likely to need a gambling addiction therapist! A Lucky 31 is basically a Canadian with five singles as well, which adds up to 31 separate bets (the number of bets being how many combinations of the individual bets you can have). Leave it alone, that’s my advice! The Lucky 63 is even more of a chance to lose your money: a Heinz plus six singles in all possible permutations.

Simply the betting available on any event taken as a whole.

See accumulator.

The (self-appointed?) expert’s best tip of the day.

Net win

Net Win or Profit from a winning bet equals the return less the amount you originally staked (remember, you always get your stake back if your bet wins).

Basically odds represent the chance of your horse winning – as defined by the bookmaker. So odds of 5/1 (which means 5 to 1) mean the bookmaker think it has a 1 in 6 chance of winning. To calculate your potential winnings, you multiply your stake by the odds. For example, if the odds are 5/1, and you bet £10, then you would win £10*5 = £50 if the horse wins. The “return” is £50 plus your stake, which you get back if the horse wins – so here, this would be £60. Odds can be expressed as a fraction, as in the example of 5/1 above or, as another example, 5/2 (5 to 2) which equates to 2.5 to 1. But the principle is the same – a bet of £10 would produce winnings of £25, and a return of £35. But odds can also be expressed as a decimal – so 5/1 would be 5.0, and 5/2 would be 2.5, in which case you just multiply the decimal form of the odds by your stake to get your winnings.

If a horse is very likely to win, the odds may be shorter than evens, for example, 4/5 – which means that the bookie thinks the horse is more likely to win than not to win by a ratio of 5 to 4. Such odds are expressed as 8/11, and pronounced as 11 to 8 on). What it means in practice is that you have to stake more than you will win – so, for example, odds of 8/11 mean you will win £8 for every £11 staked – and get a return of £19.

Off-course bookmaker
A bookmaker who is not present at the race course or other event – eg in a high street betting shop.

Off the board
The book is closed and bets are no longer being taken.

On-course bookmaker
On the racecourse or at the event.

On the nose
A win bet.

A price moves out if the odds get longer.

Anything that is unlikely to win – by a long way! Outside chances do sometimes win…but they are priced long because they don’t have much chance, and over time, the bookie will take your money off you if you bet on outsiders.


a bookie can make a mistake by sometimes calculating the odds at an event that add up to less than 100% It means that you can back all the horses in the race and still make a profit. But don’t expect to make a fortune this way! In practice this rarely happens.

The opposite of the above, really, because the bookie’s profit is determined by how much over 100% the total odds add up to. So if all the odds on all the horses add up to 125%, that 25 theoretically represents the bookie’s profit on every 100 pounds wagered.

A Canadian-type bet consisting of seven bets on all the permutations of three selections. The bet splits into three singles, three doubles and a treble. You only need one bet to be come in to get some return.

What you get back from the bookie – your winnings and returned stake.

Shortened form of permutations.

All the possible combinations of a number of selections. In other words this amounts to the total number of ways in which you can combine your selections. For four selections, 1,2,3,4 you can combine the horses as follows: one four-times win bet (1234), four win trebles (123, 124, 134, 234), six win doubles (12, 13, 14, 23, 24, 34) and four win singles 1, 2, 3 and 4. These permutations are used in bets such as Lucky 15, Lucky 31 and Lucky 63, Trixie, Yankee, Canadian, Heinz, Super Heinz and Goliath.

For a horse race, you can bet on a win or a place. In large fields, the place may be 2nd, 3rd or 4th, in smaller fields, 2nd or 3rd. The odds are shorter for a place bet than a win bet.

If a horse comes first, second, third or fourth (but not necessarily all of them, the range depends on the size of the field), the selection is said to have been ‘placed’.

See odds.

To bet or a bet (as in “I had a punt on that one”).

You, if you place a bet.

Racing certainty
A horse reckoned to be the winner – without doubt.

The money paid to you after your selection has won a bet: stake plus winnings.

Reversed Forecast
You are predicting the first and second horses in a race, and your bet is independent of the order in which they finish. You pay twice the stake, because it is two bets, so a £5 reverse forecast costs you £10. In effect, you are betting on horse A winning and horse B coming second, and the reverse of that bet as well. The winnings are the combined odds of the wining horses.

Reversed Forecast Doubles
This is two separate reverse forecast bets in two separate races, and what you are betting is that both reverse forecasts will come in as predicted. The same principle applies to reverse forecast trebles, except that is three bets in three races.

Another term for an accumulator bet.

Rule 4

Rule 4 is invoked when a horse is withdrawn, and the withdrawal is deemed to have some impact on the other horses. The punter (you) gets his stake refunded less a deduction of the stake, the size of the deduction depends on the odds which applied to your bet.

The horse you are backing.

See Straight Forecast.

One bet on one selection, not attached to any other bet by way of being in an accumulator.

Short odds
Shorter odds – for example 2/1 is shorter than 4/1 – are applied to competitors that the bookmaker thinks are more likely to win..

Starting price or SP

Starting price – the price on a horse at the start of the race, when the book closes.

The amount of money you bet.

A horse backed heavily on the day it is due to compete, causing its odds to shorten quickly. Often a response to some attempt to win money on a horse placed to win by a canny trainer.

Straight forecast
The simplest form of a forecast: you bet on which horse will finish first and which will finish second.

Straight forecast doubles
You make two forecast bets on two races and each bet must come in to win.

Straight Tricasts
A bet where you choose three selections which will finish first, second and third in an event and say in which order. All three must come in for a return. See combination tricast.

Super Heinz
A Canadian-type bet consisting of 120 bets on all the permutations of seven selections. The bet splits into 21 doubles, 35 trebles, 35 four-folds, 21 five-folds and seven six-folds and a seven-fold. See Trixie, Yankee, Canadian, Heinz and Goliath.

Super Yankee
Same as a Canadian bet.

All the money bet on the Tote for an event is split between all the people who bet on the winner – a form of pool based betting system.

A bet in which you make three selections, and all must come in for the bet to be successful – eg three winners in three races. The proceeds from the first bet are carried forward as stake onto the next bet and so in – until a horse loses, in which case all the money is lost. Of course, all 3 may win, in which case the odds are multiplied together to calculate your winnings.

Four bets based abound three selections, a treble and three doubles. In other words, a patent without the singles. At least two bets must come in to get a return.

Good odds, in other words, odds that do not represent the real chances of a horse winning, but are higher than would be expected. If you’ve worked out what you think are the real odds, and the Bookie is giving longer odds, this is a value bet. Assuming you know what you’re talking about, of course.

See bet, lay, gamble.

Win and place
Similar to an Each Way bet, but whereas with Each Way you stake the same amount of money on ‘each way’ of winning (one way is for your selection to win outright, the other way is for it to get a place), with a Win And Place bet you can specify different stakes for the win part and the place part of the bet.

See net win.

A Canadian-type bet consisting of eleven bets on four selections: a four-fold, four trebles and six doubles. See Trixie, Canadian, Heinz, Super Heinz and Goliath

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