If you fancy trying out betting on a horse race but don’t know where to begin, you’ve come to the right place. I am going to introduce you the basics of horse race betting and equip you with the knowledge required to have a go.

As a professional gambler, I’ve always been interested in trying out different types of gambling, and horse race betting has been one of my more enjoyable gambling endeavors. Although it can be difficult to make any kind of decent cash from horse race betting unless you consistently bet on favorites, there are few pleasures as thrilling as when the outsider you’ve placed a bet on beats the odds and comes home a winner.

The very first time I placed a bet on a horse, I knew nothing about horse racing, picked solely by name and had a winner at 33/1. I came home with $670 dollars and thought I could repeat my victory anytime I wished.

I have since learned that outsiders only win once in a blue moon and now consider horse race gambling as a pleasurable but non-profitable pastime.

Nevertheless, if you’d like to have a go, familiarize yourself with the basics here.

Basic Terminology

  • Odds: The bookmaker gives each horse “odds”, i.e. rates each horse’s chances of winning. The longer the odds, the less likely the horse is to win. A horse at 100/1 is a complete outsider, while a horse rated at 2/1 is one of the favorites. If your horse comes in a winner, you multiply your stake by the odds. Let’s say your horse was rated at 25/1 and you wage $10. If you’re horse wins, you’ll get 25 x 10 plus your initial $10. So, you see, the higher the odds the less likely your horse is to win but the more cash you make if it is victorious. Also, be aware that odds often change in the run up to a race.
  • Studying the Form: When selecting a horse, it is important to study the horse’s track record, age, preference of soft or hard ground, jockey record, and recent race performance.
  • To Win: You can place a bet for your horse to win as described above.
  • Each Way: If you place an E/W bet, you come home with some cash if your horse comes in the top three but you will need to check the terms and conditions with your bookie. Obviously, you will win less if your horse comes in third place rather than in first.
  • Filling Out a Race Card: When filling out your race card at the races, you need to write down the name of the track, the time of the race, the horse’s name, and the odds. You will need to fill in the same information online.

Dealing with Bookmakers

Each bookmaker has his own odds and terms and conditions. If you are betting on horse racing online, you can find lots of information on the horses, jockeys, form, and odds. To familiarize yourself with horse race gambling, check out horse racing odds and future races – all gathered on William Hill’s site.

Don’t worry if it all seems a little daunting, you’ll soon get used to all the terminology and will learn as you go along.