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What is Pool Betting?
Unless you are well versed in sports betting, the idea of pool betting may seem completely foreign. However, if you have engaged in things such as office syndicates before, you might be surprised to learn that you have engaged in pool betting already. As the name suggests, this is where many people ‘pool’ their resources together. Since we are talking about betting here, the resource is money. People combine their cash and wager on a particular event or a series of events in pool betting. And depending on the popularity of the event/events, this could involve hundreds, thousands, and even hundreds of thousands stumping up cash.
When all is said and done, the players that have bet on the correct outcome/outcomes will win a share of the prize pool. In a nutshell, this is how pool betting works for all online sites and all sports. But when it comes to the finer details, things aren’t quite as straightforward as they may seem. That’s why we’d like to discuss the topic in greater detail below.
Key differences between pool betting and regular betting
As you have probably guessed already, there are clear differences between regular betting and pool betting. This should come as no great surprise since every sub-niche of regular betting works in a different way. Allow us to clarify right now:
Absence of odds
This is one of the more intriguing differences for those that are new to pool betting. Of course, with standard betting, you are wagering a set amount of money based on the odds for that particular outcome. For example, if you wager £10 on an outcome at 3.00, you’ll know that the potential return is £30. This is also known as fixed odds betting. With pool betting, however, no odds actually exist. You won’t find any odds for the outcome you are choosing, as that’s not what determines the winnings.
Instead, winnings are determined by the total prize pot and how many people selected that particular outcome or chain of outcomes. We’ve described this in greater detail later on.
Who you’re betting against
When you place a wager at a standard online sportsbook, you are betting against the bookmaker. These guys will give you the odds that you then take or leave. And if you are correct, the bookmaker will pay out what you are entitled to based on the stake. If you lose, the bookmaker takes your money, much like a casino does! But when it comes to pool betting, you aren’t actually betting against the bookmaker. Instead, you are betting against the other people involved in the pool who have selected a different outcome than yourself. Let’s produce a quick, individual game example to highlight this.
Say that you’ve backed Manchester United to beat Liverpool in a regular Premier League game. There are three possible outcomes – Manchester United winning, a draw, and Liverpool winning. In this case, Liverpool would probably be the favourite. So if you went ahead and backed Manchester United for the win, you are betting against all those who have wagered on a draw or a Liverpool victory. Note that all people who have bet on the game contribute to the total prize pool, usually with a standard bet requirement for all.
With this said, it’s arguably more common for pools to be established for a series of events. So while the Manchester United vs Liverpool match is one game, pools might have an additional five matches involved. So theoretically, you’d pay in with your stake, choose the five results, and see how many people have managed to pick the games correctly!
How payouts are calculated
This is where things can get really interesting. And this is arguably the most important area to understand when it comes to pool betting. Since you are not wagering against any fixed odds, it can be difficult to understand how much money you could win. That’s because your potential returns are based on the total prize pool and what percentage of this prize pool has backed the same outcome as you. Let’s run through another quick example to ensure there isn’t any confusion. We will work from a multiple game example here.
So – six games involved, £10,000 total staked, and six different outcomes to predict. Let’s say that you manage to predict all results correctly. This automatically means you are in for a share of the pot. However, with pool betting, there can and often is more than one winner. In this example, let’s say that 20% of participants managed to predict all games correctly, much like yourself. Therefore, the pot is split according to the 20% success rate, and it is distributed proportionately.
Main sports for pool betting
As you’ve seen throughout the information above, pool betting is pretty unique. Of course, this form of betting isn’t for everyone, but it’s certainly pretty fun! And if you are considering giving this form of betting a shot, there are two main sports you’ll likely be betting on:
Horse racing is arguably the most popular sport for pool betting. On race days, there will usually be many different races taking place. This provides the perfect sports betting scenario for a pool to be created and for people to participate. Horse racing, by nature, can be tricky to predict too, which means that many participants will fall by the wayside. Fewer people making it to the winning stages of the pool means that a bigger percentage of the cash prize is up for grabs.
Football is the second most popular sport for pool betting. Again, since football has so many matches, it’s easy to set up and execute different pools for football. Football is also pretty exciting in this regard since every match has three outcomes. The addition of a draw in football makes it tougher to predict a chain of matches. Again, this means that more of the prize pool could be shared by those who make accurate predictions.