How Does Betting Work

How does betting work? Gambling is a game of chance, and so when it comes to things like the outcome of a sports match or the winner of a horse race, there is really no such thing as a sure bet. Understanding a little about how to place bets and probabilities can greatly improve your success rate.

There are three main ways to wager: with a bookie, with a betting exchange or at a casino. You don’t need a degree in statistics to place a bet. In fact, understanding odds are simple and they actually help you to know how much money you must risk in order to see a certain return if your bet wins. Odds are basically ways of showing you what the chances are of a particular outcome.


Bookmakers odds are usually given as fractions or ratios. For example, the probability of a horse winning the Kentucky Derby could be listed as 23/1 or 23-1. This means that if you wager $1, you stand to gain $23 if your bet wins.

Betting moneyBookmakers often offer you the option of over/under betting, especially when it comes to sports fixtures. This usually entails the bookie guessing a particular score. Punters then try wager on whether the house’s predictions will be higher or lower than the actual result.

Betting exchanges

Betting exchange odds are more often listed as decimals. For example if the probability Fluffy the greyhound wins his race, is listed as 6.1, you stand to gain $610 for every $100 bet. Unlike bookmakers, who set their own odds, betting exchanges involve peer-to-peer betting, in which you need to out-wit you fellow punters in order to cash in. Exchanges often offer better odds than bookmakers, making this an attractive option to gamblers.


Casinos mainly offer percentage odds. The higher the percentage, the greater the chance you will be paid out. If a house has a 100% payout it doesn’t expect to make money from its games. Unlike with bookmakers and betting exchanges, casino odds are more precise, which means that a working knowledge of statistical probabilities will help.


Scroll to top