Horse Racing Betting Guide 2024: Placepots Explained

Placepot betting is one of the most popular horse racing bets among Irish online gambling punters. Similar to the lottery, punters can win big off small stakes, and you don't even have to pick a single winner. 

How does this work? Here is our guide to Placepot betting. 

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This page is written by
Eamon Doggett
Eamon DoggettFeatured Horse Racing & Rugby Specialist
Fact checked by
Rebecca Mackay
Rebecca MackayHead of Content
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Place Betting

To understand the Placepot, punters need to understand the idea of a horse being placed. A horse is deemed to be placed when finishing in the place positions in a race. What defines a place position depends on how many runners took part in the race. 

Most frequently, bookmakers pay out three places on races run in Ireland. This means that your horse is placed if it finishes first, second or third. Simply, the more runners the more places that are paid out. The less runners the less places. 

For the Placepot, the places are the following: 

Number of RunnersPlaces in Placepot
Up to 4 runners1st
5, 6, or 7 runners1st, 2nd
8-15 runners in handicaps1st, 2nd, 3rd
8+ runners in non-handicaps1st, 2nd, 3rd
16+ runners in handicaps1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th

Placepot Betting

How Do I Place a Bet? 

Punters must select at least one horse in races 1-6 to be placed at a selected meeting. The track selection will be decided by the Tote, although it is most often the biggest meeting of the day. 

Punters playing the Placepot select a horse(s) they think will be placed in each race. Any number of horses can also be selected for each race, but the more horses in the bet, the more the bet costs. 

How Much Does the Bet Cost? 

To calculate the cost of your Placepot bet, you multiply your chosen stake by the number of horses you picked in each race. 

  • For example, if choosing two horses to place in each race and staking 20c, the total best cost will be:
    €0.20 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = €12.80 (64 bets x 20c)

If you only want to choose a single horse for each race, then your unit stake will equal your total spend. 

  • For example, if you choose a €5 unit stake, the bet will cost you €5:
    €5.00 x 1 x 1 x 1 x 1 x 1 x 1: €5 

But you can choose any number of horses in each race, and this number doesn't have to be consistent for each race. 

  • For example, you want to increase your chances if the first and last races look tricky, so you pick two horses in those races. But for the rest of the races (2-5), you opt for just a single horse. If staking €5 the total spend will be €20:
    €5.00 x 2 x 1 x 1 x 1 x 1 x 2 = €20 (4 bets x €5.00)

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How Do I Win? 

Punters win when they have chosen a placed horse in every race. It doesn't matter if your horse wins or not, as long as a selection finishes in the place positions. 

Similar to an accumulator, it's all or nothing with the Placepot. You need to have a single horse placed in all six races or else you win nothing - no losers allowed! 

How Much Can I Win? 

The total amount bet on the Placepot by punters goes into a ‘pool’. The Tote takes 27% of the total pool, which is redistributed to the sport of horse racing, and 73% is split between the winners. Then, the final dividend is calculated to a €1 level stake.

For example: 

€100,000 is paid into a Placepot at a particular meeting, and there are a total of 1,000 winning tickets.

  • 100,000 x 73% = €73,000

  • 73,000/1000 tickets = €73

This means that the Placepot dividend is €73 for every €1 placed. 

How much you are paid out is determined by how much you staked per permutation (your unit stake) and the number of permutations that landed (the amount of winning tickets).

To calculate your Placepot payout, multiply your stake per line by the amount of winning lines you have. Your winnings will then be either that percentage of the published €1-stake winnings or a multiple of the published dividend.  

Betting Advice for the Placepot

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The Favourite Isn't Always the Answer

Unlike, in many cases, the normal punter, the Placepot bettor doesn't necessarily want the fancied horses always to run well. If all the favourites in all six races finish in the place positions, then there will likely be a small Placepot dividend as so many punters will have chosen those horses, i.e. there will be lots of winning tickets.

At a Cheltenham meeting in 2015 in the UK, all six favourites in the six Placepot races failed to finish in the place positions. This led to a massive Tote Placepot dividends of £91,774.50 for a £1 stake, a record in the bet’s long history

While this was a freak occurrence, it can often pay to avoid favourites and look for those consistent performers who always give their running. Especially in national hunt racing, picking out the sound jumpers can increase your chances of picking the right selections - take on board a horse's recent form

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Finding the Balance

The obvious thing to do would seem to be to pick a lot of horses in every race to seemingly guarantee your chances of winning a share of the Placepot. But, of course, the more horses you pick, the more costly your bet becomes. This needs to be taken into account. Even, for example, just picking three horses in each of the six races works out at 729 bets (3 x 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 x 3), which will cost you €729 off a €1 unit stake - a lot of money for a high-risk bet. 

Punters should try to find a new medium. If you have a strong fancy for a certain race, then it might be worth limiting yourself to one horse in that race - call this a banker. This can be particularly effective in small-field sizes, say, for example, a race of nine runners. 

You might then increase your chances by picking two or three horses in trickier races. If there is a wide-open handicap hurdle of 20 runners, relying on a single horse can be very difficult. Spread your risk by choosing two or three horses in these races. For example, a 36 line permutation is a popular bet for the Placepot (1x1x2x2x3x3=36 bets). If you place a €0.25 unit stake, this bet will cost you €9.

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In It to Win It

Many punters treat the Placepot as people treat the lottery. They do it regularly and know that a single win could produce a huge windfall. But, much like the lottery, you don't need to stake a lot of money to win big

Being disciplined about your staking when playing the Placepot is important. A boon of the placepot is that it can generate excitement for a whole day's racing without having to gamble on each race, and the payouts can be huge. It is a fun way to bet - you will be cheering on a jockey to just finish in the shakeup rather than winning the race.

Can I Win Money by Betting On the Placepot?

One of the reasons why the Placepot is so popular with punters and seen as one of best value bets in gambling is because it is essentially a bet amongst your fellow punters. 

When betting on the sportsbook, the odds are controlled by the bookmakers, who will price a race to try to assure themselves of a profitable margin, i.e. an edge over punters. 

But the Placepot is different as your winnings are not determined by the odds of the horses but by how many other customers won. Everyone who plays puts their money into a pool, and the winners divide the pool amongst themselves. In this sense, you are trying to win money off the crowd and not from those miserly bookmakers! 

What is a Placepot?

A Placepot is a type of pool bet offered by the UK and Irish bookmakers, staked on the horses' place on the first six races at a horse racing meeting.

Can a Placepot bet be staked on a foreign race?

The Placepot bet is currently only offered on all Irish and UK horse race meetings.

What are the odds of winning a Placepot?

There is an approximate 20% success rate of winning a Placepot.

Sports Expert
Eamon doggett
Eamon Doggett

Featured Horse Racing & Rugby Specialist

Eamon combines his passion for writing, racing, and rugby by providing horse racing betting, and rugby betting insights for punters.

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