Your Guide to Pool Betting in 2021

Published: 28th July 2020
Author: Joe Kizlauskas
Last Updated: 11th March 2021
pool betting

Guide to Pool Betting in 2024

What is pool betting and who does it best? In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about what pool betting is and the very best betting sites for pool betting in our experience. Not every partner in our best betting sites list is designed for pool betting, but we dig out the ones that are.

What is Pool Betting?

Pool betting  (also known as pari-mutuel betting) is basically the same thing as syndicate betting in the lottery. It’s a system where a number of players stick their money in the pot (pool) to gamble and then any winnings from that pool will be shared amongst all the people who contributed and won.

Betting has changed significantly over time. Back in the old days, pool betting was a lot more common than it is now.  Pool betting, according to Britannica,  was actually invented back in 1864. Moving forward to the late 1900s, there used to be a big set up called The Pools, where everyone put money in and guessed the outcome of the football matches. Then, if their pick was a winner, they were quids in. Often people were asked if they had ‘won the pools’ if they were flush.  If you’re a board game fan, you might even pick up a Chance card in Monopoly, which said you had ‘won the pools’, and you could collect money from the bank. However, now it’s nowhere near as commonplace. – but is making a comeback.

How Pool Betting Works

It may have taken a dip in popularity compared to the old days, but pool betting is starting to make a comeback again. Particularly in the UK. Now, some of the best online bookmakers are getting in on the act. Not only are they bringing it back, but they are working to make it better than ever before, so more people can enjoy the benefits that pool betting can bring.

When it comes to pool betting, there are a number of forms it takes. As you would expect, the different forms have different names. Examples of this are the different types of tote betting available – as well as football pool betting. As such, it can sound a little complex to beginners. Unfortunately, because of this, it can put newbies off – as many people have a comfort zone where they like to stay when it comes to online betting. However, this is a shame as they would be missing out – it’s easier than you think.

Basically, punters need to make a selection on a sport or event – which is generally a fixed price selection. Then, other bettors make a bet on the same fixture. After this, all the money is then totalled together. If your selection wins, then all of the money placed on that event is shared out equally amongst the people who correctly picked the winner.

How Pool Betting is Different to Standard Betting

So, what is the difference between pool betting and fixed odds betting? Well, generally, there are no odds in pool betting. The pool is shared equally between the winners. However, some bookies do take their commission out of the pool before splitting the rest.

Let’s look at an example…

Imagine an event has 3 different outcomes that you need to choose between – A, B and C. Each outcome costs £5 – for A, B or C

5 people choose outcome A

6 people choose outcome B

15 people choose outcome C

The total pool is £25 + £30 + £75 = £130

Outcome B is the winner

So, the £130 is split between the 6 people that chose outcome B.

Therefore, each will receive £21.66 each.

However, if outcome A had won, each would have won £26 and if outcome C had won, each winner would get £8.66. So, how much you get depends on how many pick the same selection as you… the fewer the better.

This means that even though there are no odds, you still get less for betting on the favourite as more people would opt for that choice. But, because you don’t know how many others have made your selection, you never know how much you’re set to win, which adds more excitement. This means it’s about psychology as well – you want to pick a winner, but one that fewer people will pick – so a less obvious choice. It’s clever – and it’s simple.

One obvious example of pool betting that is very popular is the national lottery. There may be a pre-determined jackpot, but it’s still based around the contribution. And, how much you win all depends on how many others have the winning numbers.

Because of the nature of pools, the more people that contribute to ‘the pool’, the better it will be. As such, the online world is the perfect place to get involved as you can join forces with people from all different regions. Because of this, the online betting world has been starting to take more notice of pool betting as it realises its full potential. All the time it is improving and evolving.  We’ll be checking out what betting sites are doing this best. Not only bringing it to the forefront again but innovating to make it better than ever.

Different Types of Horse Racing Pool Betting

When looking at horse racing and racing pool betting, there are plenty of variations available…

Tote Win Betting

Firstly, pick a horse from the field. Any money put on that race is put into the pot. The money is then split equally between the people who bet on the winning horse.

Tote Place Betting

This is similar but there are more winning chances than just picking the winner. In a field of 7 horses, you could get a share of the winnings even if your horse comes in second.

Tote Exacta

A single exacta means that on order to win your bet, you need to pick the first and second place horse in the exact order. However, a Combination exacta means you can pick the two horses you think will come first and second (it doesn’t matter in which order). Then there’s the Banker exacta which lets you pick the horse you think will win along with a few that you may think will finish second.

Tote Trifecta

Here you need to pick the first three horses in the correct order. However, there’s also the jackpot variation – where you need to pick six winners in a row.

Football Pool Betting

Football pool betting hasn’t really got too many variations and hadn’t seen any major growth until 2013, when Colossus Bets hit the scene. Colossus Bets and its partners (including Bet365, Mr Green and BoyleSports), offer “The Biggest Sports Bet in the World” each week. Customers can try for a jackpot of around £10 million!

Colossus Bet partners also offer players the chance to cash out football pool bets before the final result.  What’s more, you can bet on the pool for all different European and UK matches. Sometimes you need to predict the result and sometimes the correct score. You might also get a consolation prize if you predict the right result but not score.

Top 5 Pool Betting Sites

When looking through all of our partners, here were the 5 we considered to be the best for pool betting.

  1. William Hill
  2. Betfred
  3. Mr Green
  4. Bet365
  5. BoyleSports

A Closer Look at the Best Pool Betting Sites Around

So, how do you get started? Well, the best place to start is by checking out the best betting sites for pool betting. Check them out and see what each of them has to offer. Here, we can give you a selection  of the best and you can see which is your favourite. With pool betting, it’s not as well advertised or well covered as some other betting types and features. However, there’s still a lot of choice out there if you know where to look. So, here’s a closer look at our pick of the best pool betting sites:

william hill promo codeWilliam Hill

William Hill is an old and well-respected bookmaker; therefore, it is no surprise that it offers one of the best pool betting services out there. One area Will Hill excels at is tote betting (pool betting on the horses). You can also find other pool betting options on the site, especially when it comes to horse racing. An example of this is Scoop 6. Scoop 6 gives bettors the opportunity to win big on a small stake. For this reason, we see it as the ultimate in Tote Betting.

However, above and beyond this, pool betting at William Hill is excellent because it has an excellent betting site in general. They are fantastic for horse racing we found. On top of the choice and value of its pool betting,  is better than most others. We also love that it a well-renowned and trusted name with a great reputation in the industry. They know how to please their audience and pool and tote betting is one of those ways!

betfred logoBetfred

Another big name for pool betting is Betfred. Betfred has a very interesting history when it comes to pool betting.

Going back in time, originally, back in 1928 when tote betting became popular, it was owned by the government alone. It stayed that way up until 2011 when they sold it to Betfred. However, the sole ownership of Tote betting stopped in 2018, so more bookmakers can now offer this. Having said that, Betfred, along with William Hill are the best in the industry. In fact, looking at it, it’s no surprise that the owner of Betfred has shares in William Hill. Both of these companies are unbeatable when it comes to tote betting – so you can’t go far wrong with either.

Mr Green Logo SmallMr Green

One of the most well-known names in pool betting is Colossus Betting – and they work with a number of operators such as Mr. Green, which is a betting site that benefits greatly from their knowledge.

With Mr Green, their horse racing pool betting works on a jackpot basis, in a similar manner to the lottery. So – if you win, you will win big – depending on how many other winners there are. You can also pool bet on all sorts of sports, not just horse racing but also Football, Ice Hockey, NBA and more.  What we also like about their product is that they also give out consolation (booby) prizes. So, even if you get a near miss, then you might still win a very tidy sum.

However, how can your loss qualify for a near-miss win? Well, that generally happens when you attempt to guess more than one outcome for the win. Most involve making a number of set correct predictions in a row. So, in a way, it’s a hybrid of pool betting and acca betting (read more about acca betting here).

So, a near-miss could mean picking five out of six selections correctly. You may not get the full jackpot amount, but your win could still be very decent. What’s more, you can also combine it with the cash-out feature (read more about cash-out here). When it comes to pool betting, it’s hard to find too much fault with any partner of Colossus betting – and that goes for Mr. Green.

Bet365 logo 1Bet365

This is pretty much the same as Mr. Green because this is another of the Colossus Betting partner sites for pool betting. So, if you are a fan of the Mr. Green pool betting function, then you will be equally as impressed with the Bet365 pool betting. It works in the same way, so you can benefit from jackpot pool betting and near-miss wins. Another site that offers a variety of great options for its players. It also enjoys having one of the best reputations in the world when it comes to online betting. Bet365 is one of the most well-known and well-loved betting sites in the UK.

BoyleSports Logo smallBoyleSports

To complete our top five list, we have BoyleSports – again, another partner of Colossus Betting, so another site that benefits from offering some of the best pool betting features out there. BoyleSports is one of the biggest bookmakers in Ireland and comes with its own great reputation and features. The top pool betting features is just one of its big selling points. So, if you’re someone that likes to have a number of different betting accounts, there are plenty of great options that all include world class pool betting.

How We Evaluate a Good Pool Betting Site

When it comes to what makes a good pool betting site, there are a number of factors – which goes above and beyond the pool betting product itself. Pool betting is essentially simple. You pick the winner and you win. The only difference with ordinary betting is the amount you win. So, what makes a good pool betting site is pretty much the same as what makes a good betting site in general.

Things we look out for are:

  • Security and Licensing
    They must be regulated by the UKGC, and we like to see other regulatory bodies as well including MGA. It’s also good if they are linked with skites such as IBAS (Independent Betting Adjudication Service) and ESSA
  • User Experience and Design on Desktop and Mobile
    Should be easy to navigate, simple and quick. There should be no lag at all and the product should be every bit on mobile as on desktop. Check out our best mobile apps here.
  • Good Customer Service
    Preferably contactable via live chat, phone, email and also via social media. 24-hour service is always good.
  • Variety of Markets
    Lots of markets on all different sports – not just the main ones, but also the more niche.
  • Betting Features Available –
    Examples of this might include cashout, partial cashout, Bet Builder, Edit Bet, live and in-play betting, live streaming…
  • Variety of Banking Methods
    Methods we look for include debit cards, e-wallets such as PayPal and even Apple Pay or Google Pay.
  • Dedication to Responsible Gambling
    The best sites are linked with sites such as GamStop, GamCare, BeGambleAware etc.

When it comes to pool betting, the number of markets on offer will generally be smaller, but this is to be expected. We do, however, take commission into account as well, as well as the betting site’s network – the bigger the better as your winnings will be greater.

Free Bets and Offers for Pool Betting

The sites themselves will offer great promotions, welcome bonuses and free bets. However, finding promotions that you can use on pool betting can be a little tougher. How generous a site is with pool betting is very much hit and miss – and it depends on what is going on at the time. Promotions can change daily. Check out the site to see all that is on offer.

The Pros and Cons

Tick Icon

What we like about pool betting is that what can be a negative can also be a positive. What do we mean by that? Well, you have no idea of how much you will win if your result comes in. This means you have to get your prediction right – as well as predict what others will predict. So, you could get a win… and get a small amount – or you could get a win and get a huge sum of money. Some people like the uncertainty, others not. It all depends on whether you get less or more than you’re expecting.

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On the downside, there are fewer markets for pool betting than other forms of betting at the moment. There are plenty available, but not as many as other betting types. To some, this may be considered one of the negatives. However, others may find it makes it easier.

Pool betting is just a different type of betting that can be fun. It’s great to try something new, so it’s good to give it a go and see for yourself.

Pool Betting FAQs

Pool Betting Summary

We love to see classics making a comeback – and that’s exactly what this is. It’s not huge again yet, but it’s steadily growing, and we find that very exciting. It’s not ideal for people who want to know exactly how much they stand to win on a bet, but we do like the element of surprise. It’s different to fixed odds betting, but it doesn’t make it worse – or better. Each to their own.

We think it’s definitely something worth a try as it gives a little more variation to your betting experience.

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About Joe Kizlauskas

Joe is a seasoned iGaming copywriter and speaker who has been in the business since 2015. He's written more words on all elements of iGaming than he likes to remember, and he's contributed material to a number of well-known brands. Joe may be seen playing 5 a side, at the gym or playing games on his Playstation when he is not writing.