What is the show pool and how it is paid in horse racing?

Betting to “show” means you are wagering that your horse will finish first, second or third.

The payout of any pari-mutuel pool works the same way. First, the track subtracts the “takeout” – a percentage of the total amount wagered – to cover its cost of putting on the races. The remaining amount is then distributed to players holding winning tickets for that pool. The price paid on the winning ticket depends on how many players made the same wager; the fewer people who have winning tickets, the more money yours will be worth.

Here’s an example: Say you bet $2 to show on the No. 4 horse, Alwaysrunsthird. The race is run, Alwaysrunsthird finishes second, a neck behind Neverwins and two lengths clear of Up the Track, who finishes third. The track’s Tote system will deduct the takeout from the show pool, then equally divide what’s left among the three betting interests. If Up the Track was the 6-5 favorite, lots of people probably also bet him to show, so bettors holding $2 show tickets on him might only collect $2.40. But Alwaysrunsthird, on the other hand, was not fancied by the bettors and left the gate at odds of 30-1 in the win pool. Since those odds are generally reflected in the show pool, a $2 show bet on him might pay $8.80.

What’s the difference between official pool and private pool wagering on horse races in the U.S.?

Private pools offer bettors the opportunity to pool their funds in order to better compete with the so-called “whales” – as big bettors are known – when making multi-race wagers like the Pick 6.

The advantage is that you can buy into a large ticket when pursuing a carry-over jackpot and have a better chance of cashing.

Private pool wagering can be as simple as a few friends going in on a ticket, but some advance deposit wagering (ADW) providers offer this option. The disadvantage of the latter is that someone else is doing the handicapping and you have no say in which horses are included on the ticket(s).

You can wager on horse races online in these U.S. states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, MassachusettsMichigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming

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