Win Place or Show Betting

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Win, Place, and Show are the most basic horse bets. They are the building blocks of more complex bets like the trifecta, superfecta, quinella, or exacta. Win, Place or Show payouts depend on your horse’s odds. Likely winners payout smaller because they are less risky. Long shot horses payout larger because they are more risky.

Win Bet
The Win bet is picking the first position horse. The bet ONLY pays if your horse finishes first.

Place Bet
The Place bet is picking the second position finisher. The bet also pays if your horse finishes first.

Show Bet
The Show bet is picking the third position finisher. The bet also pays if your horse finishes first or second.

Sample for how to place a win, place, or show bet from a horse racebook.
Win Place Show Sample Bet Diagram

  1. Note the horses in the race, listed on the left. The next "ML" column lists the odds.
  2. Click your mouse on the checkbox in the Win column that corresponds to your horse. In this case, the bettor has chosen Atiello with 6:1 odds to Win.
  3. The same procedure applies for making Place and Show bets. Click your mouse on the checkbox corresponding to the horse and wager.
  4. *** Notes: You can pick multiple horses for each bet type. These additional wagers cost more money and will decrease your winning bet’s profit. Consider an analogy to roulette: If you put a chip on every number, you’ll obviously win. However subtracting the cost of covering the board from your single number win lowers your final profit.
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Win, Place, or Show Betting Payout Example

The following is a Win, Place, or Show payout chart.

In this race Jolly Roger won, followed by Right On and Three Cubed. We have the following payouts considering the definitions of Win, Place and Show bets. Note the amount is also subject to each horse’s individual odds.

Number Horse Win Place Show
12 Jolly Roger $10.60 $8.40 $4.80
3 Right On N/A $14.80 $10.20
8 Three Cubed N/A N/A $8.20

This table means the following:

  1. Jolly Roger pays $10.60 for the Win Bet. $8.40 for the Place bet, finishing second or first. $4.80 for the Show Bet, finishing third, second or first.
  2. Right On pays $14.80 for the Place Bet, finishing second or first. $10.20 for Show bet, finishing third, second or first.
  3. Three Cubed, pays $8.20 for the Show Bet, fininishing third, second or first.

Check your horse’s odds before making any Win, Place or Show bet. If you pick a heavy favorite to win, your payout will be smaller compared to picking a long shot horse.

Payouts are figured by the amount of money in each bet’s pool. Pools are determined by the total dollar amount wagered for a particular bet, less the racebook’s service fee. This fee is similar to a sportsbook’s vigorish or juice. See the racebook’s tote board for the latest odds.

Highly favored horses to win – or "odds on" horses – have lower payouts. When this horse wins, the entire Win pool must be divided among all winners. Winning crowd favorites tend to produce smaller profits. Gamblers choosing long shots collect more money because the odds are remote and fewer people share the winnings.

Prudent horses bettors don’t always take the crowd favorite. Over time, this strategy results in sustained losses. Instead, look for medium to long shot horses. These horses represent better value. The fewer bettors in the wagering pool, the better. That means larger payouts are divided among a smaller number of people, versus smaller payouts divided among a large number of people.

See Also
Horse Racebook Deposit Methods
How to Bet On Horses
Kentucky Derby Betting