How to Calculate Your Winnings
There are two or three basic terms you need to understand before reading this section. You should also make sure you understand the makeup of the bet you have placed. See our Types of Bet section for more details.
Some betting terms explained
How much you are going to bet. This could be something simple like £5 to win where your total stake would be, simply, £5. Or something a bit more complicated like £5 each-way where your total stake would be £10. This would consist of two bets: £5 to win and £5 for a place. Or even more complicated like a £1 Yankee which consists of 11 bets (6 doubles, 4 trebles and 1 fourfold – see our Types of Bet section for more details). In this instance your total stake would be £1 x 11 = £11.
The chances of winning as determined by the bookmakers usually expressed as e.g. 2/1 (two to one), 100/30 (one hundred to thirty) and so on. The higher the odds the more you will win (but the higher the likelihood of you losing…). Interestingly, 100/30 is known as Burlington Bertie in certain circles.
The final odds as the race starts. Up until then, the odds on some horses will fluctuate as more or less money is wagered on them. On-course bookmakers will give you the odds as they are when you place your bet. Off-course you can elect to take the odds at the time you place your bet or get paid at the Starting Price. Eager racegoers like to try to guess how the market will change and time their bets accordingly.
How much you get back. If your horse wins at 2/1 then you will receive £2 for every £1 you have staked. Similarly, if your winner comes in at 4/5, you will receive £4 for every £5 that you bet. Note that you will also receive your original stake money too. So, if you bet £4 on a winning horse priced at 4/5 you would receive £5 (winnings) plus £4 (stake) giving you a return of £9 in total.
A short price where the return (excluding your original stake money) is less than your stake. Prices such as 4/5 (four to five or more commonly five to four on) and 10/11 (eleven to ten on) are examples. Remember that your original stake money is returned in a winning bet so 4/5 would pay £4 for every £5 bet plus the original £5 stake = £9 in total.
A short price where the return is exactly the same as your stake. A £5 win bet on a winning horse returned at Evens would pay £5 plus £5 stake money = £10 in total.
A combination bet where you will receive a return if your horse wins or finishes within the first 2,3 or 4 places depending on how many horses are running in the race.
Legalised swindling. If one of the horses in the race goes to post but fails to start, bookmakers are allowed to deduct a percentage from all winning bets. There is a sliding scale applied by bookmakers depending on the starting price of the withdrawn horse. A good yardstick is to assume a deduction of around 10 percent.
So let’s cut to the chase. How much will you win?
All returns work on a simple principle. If your horse wins then you will get back your stake x the odds. The odds will be either the SP (Starting Price) or those you took when you placed your bet. You will also get back your stake.
Single bet return
So for example, let’s assume you have bet £5 on Pongee to win in the 3:45 at Doncaster. Pongee duly wins at 5/4. This means that you will receive £5 for every £4 that you bet. So your total profit would be £6.25 (£5 x 5/4). Add on your original stake of £5 and your total return is £11.25 for a £5 stake. Simple.
Let’s look at something a bit more complicated. This time, you have bet a £5 double on Pongee to win the 3:45 at Doncaster and Basinet to win the 5:20 at Musselburgh. As this is a double, both of your horses have to win. Pongee duly wins at 5/4 and Basinet unbelievably manages to win at 5/1. Time to calculate the winnings.
£5 on Pongee at 5/4 will return £11.25 as we have already seen. Because this is a win double whatever you win on the first horse becomes the stake on the second. So we are now looking at £11.25 on Basinet at 5/1. This will return £56.25 profit (£11.25 x 5). Now add on your stake of £11.25. This gives a total return of £67.50. Excellent!
Let’s assume that, rather than a double, you had wagered a treble. Pongee in the 3:45 at Doncaster, Basinet in the 5:20 at Musselburgh and Waterline Dancer in the 9:05 at Windsor. Pongee romps home at 5/4. Basinet inexplicably wins at 5/1. Waterline Dancer canters in at 2/1.
So how much would you win? Just go through the same type of calculation. Remember that your return on one leg of the treble becomes the stake for the next one. We already know from above that Pongee and Basinet will return £67.50 between them. This money is now the stake for third leg of our treble (they all have to win remember). So £67.50 at 2/1 will net you £135 (£67.50 x 2). Add on your stake of £67.50 and your total return is a whopping £202.50. All right!
Let’s try that again but this time we’ll look at how some each-way betting might affect the overall returns.
So this time we have wagered £5 each way on Pongee to win the 3:45 at Doncaster. Pongee duly delivers at 5/4. Remember that an each-way bet splits your stake in two with half going on a win and half going on a place. So, when Pongee wins you will receive £11.25 (£5 at 5/4 + your stake money of £5). As your bet was each way though you will also get some money back from the place part of your bet as Pongee finished in the first three. In this instance you will receive one quarter of what you would received in the win part i.e. £1.56. Now add on your stake of £5 giving you a return of £6.56. Add the win and place returns together giving you a total return of £17.81 for your original £10 stake.
If Pongee had finished second rather than first (unlikely I know) then you would have received a return on the place part of your bet only. So for the win part, you would receive nothing. For the place part you would receive one quarter of what you would have received in the win part i.e. £1.56. Add on your stake of £5 giving you a return of £6.56 for a £10 stake.
I’m sure you’ve got the hang of this now so won’t try to confuse you with any more examples. If you do get stuck, you could always try one of the bet calculators on the Internet. Despite a few bugs, the one on the Teletext site is not too bad.