What is an Open Bet?


An Open Bet is a tote/TAB type bet taken with a bookmaker. The bookmaker lays the bet, and pays the dividend as declared by the tote on the winning combinations. 

No fixed odds are agreed at the time the bet is placed. The winnings and therefore the payout is determined after the outcome of the event on which the open bet was struck becomes known, with reference to the dividends generated by the totalizator.

There are 7 types of Horse Racing Open bets:

1. OPEN WIN BET: a bet on a horse to finish first.

2. OPEN PLACE BET: a bet on a horse to finish 1st, 2nd, 3rd or in some instances 4th.

3. SWINGER: this is a bet where the object is to select any two horses in a race to fill any two of the first three places in that race in any order i.e. 1st and 2nd, 1st and 3rd or 2nd and 3rd.

4. EXACTA: The object of this bet is to predict the horses that will finish 1st and 2nd in the exact order in a race.  This outcome is more difficult to predict than the Swinger bet, and hence the payout will usually be bigger.

5. TRIFECTA: In this bet, the punter must select the first three horses past the line in their exact order. This bet is similar to the Exacta bet, but obviously more difficult because you are selecting the first three and therefore the payout will be larger.

6. QUARTET: In order to win this bet, the punter must predict the first four horses past the line in their exact order.  This bet is similar to the Trifecta bet, more difficult and consequently results in a larger payout.

7. DOUBLE: For this bet to be successful, the punter must predict the winners of any two consecutive races at the same venue.  This is an obvious extension of the win bet.

Note: Open bets can be taken as percentages. For example, a punter took a floating banker quartet.  The punter decided to spend R48 on the bet which consists of 96 combinations; he gets a fractional bet of 50%. If this bet subsequently becomes a winning one, and the dividend is R1 540, the punter would receive R770 (50% of R1 540).

It is important to remember that in all tote bets, your stake is included in your pay-out.  Therefore if the full dividend is R500, and you took 10% of your combinations, you will receive R50 – regardless of how much you spent.  You should always hope for a big pay-out when taking percentages.

If you feel like taking your full amount of combinations more than once, then you will get paid that many times the dividend for your winning bet.  Therefore, if you play 10 combinations for a R100, you have taken this combination 10 times!  So if the dividend is R500, and you catch it 10 times, you will get paid R5 000!


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