With the wide proliferation of sports betting sites, betting on horse racing is now more convenient than ever. According to DailyHorsePicks.com, some of the best available can be quite complex and difficult to understand.

However, the basic wagers have been the most popular for decades and are very easy for you to delve into.

Straight bets

The three basic wagers newcomers need to get familiar with are win, place and show. The minimum for each of these three bets tends to be $1 or $2.


For you to succeed in this bet, your selected horse has to finish first. The track generally removes 15% to 20% from each pool. And the win, place and show bets all have different pools. In the case of the win wager, the remaining money is distributed by the bettors that hold a winning ticket with the correct pick for the first-place horse. Win odds are available by viewing the TV monitors, tote boards or your screen if you are betting online.

Win odds are determined by the level of wagers each horse receives. Stats help us conclude that if you always bet on the favorite to win the race, you can get a payout in an average of one out of three races.


If you decide to go with a place bet, your selected horse must finish first or second for you to get the rewards. It’s more likely that you cash out with this bet, but the winnings are smaller almost all the time. That’s due to the fact that the place pool is divided in two ways. Bets on the first horse and the second horse contribute to two different pools.

Unlike with win wagers, place odds are not freely displayed because they depend on which horse finishes first and second. There are ways to calculate the approximate payoffs by knowing the values bet on each horse in the place pools. But we suggest that, as a beginner, you try to have fun and don’t focus solely on math that can be nowhere near reality.


This is the type of bet closest to assuring you a payout. That’s because your selection can finish first, second or third for you to win. But yet again, the winnings can be disappointingly low.

Following the logic of the place pools, show wagers are divided three ways and the odds are not available. Show bets will certainly not award you a life-changing amount but are great for beginners to start learning the ins and outs of betting on horse races without incurring in unnecessary risks. Winning a horse race bet is definitely exciting and can make you feel more comfortable to try out intricate betting methods.

But remember, your winnings are a combination of luck, strategy and intelligent money management, as well as tons of other factors totally out of your control, such as all the other bettors’ wagers. What matters is that you have fun and be smart.