Newbies Guide to High Street Bookies

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How UK Bookmakers Shops Work – The First Time Punter’s Guide

Newbies Guide to High Street Bookies - William HillEntering a high street bookie for the first time can be something of a daunting affair. You walk in and all you’ll see are a mountain of TV screens showing a whole host of various odds, the newspapers on the walls showing the racecards, a variety of different coupons and slips and the fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs). With all this going on, it might be a little confusing knowing where to actually start!

Here I’ll talk you through all aspects of the high street bookie. I start with the process of placing a bet, detailing the two ways you’ll actually achieve this. I then explain exactly how the odds work and delve into the two options that you’ll have in some circumstances. I finish with a brief explanation of what you might expect if enjoying a FOBT.

How to Place a Bet at a High Street Bookie

There are two ways to place a bet at a high street bookie. In many cases you’ll take a clear betting slip and simply write down the bet you want to place. You might want to place a bet on a horse race. On the blank betting slip you’ll write down the name of the horse, the time of the race, the course where the race is taking place and your stake and bet type. So for example, you’ll write something like this:

3.45 Kempton

Gambling Guy £10 win

There’ll be a box at the bottom of the slip too, where you’ll fill in the bet amount again, in this case it simply being £10. The word ‘win’ means that you are actually betting on the horse to win, so if it comes 2nd you’ll lose. However, you can also place an each-way bet, where you are betting on the horse to win and to place, this coming at the cost of 2 bets, meaning £5 each way will actually cost you £10.

For the biggest sporting events you’ll find dedicated coupons. On these you’ll find all of the possible selections listed and you’ll simply tick your chosen selection and then place your stake at the bottom of the coupon. These coupons are very popular if placing a bet on football at the weekend for example, or on a large horse race such as the Grand National.

Working Out the Odds

The odds you’ll see displayed at a high street bookie can be a little confusing at first, but they are actually quite straightforward. If you see odds of 7/1 for example, this means that for every £1 you stake, you’ll win £7. If this bet wins, you’ll actually receive £8 back, which is made up of your £7 in winnings and your £1 stake back.

The odds become a little more complicated when you see odds such as 9/4. This is the equivalent of 2.25/1, which you can work out by simply dividing both sides of the odds by the right hand number. Odds like these are in place because the jump from 2/ 1 to 3/ 1 is too large. You’ll also see ‘evens’ on some selections, which simply means odds of 1/1.

When placing a bet, particularly on horse racing and greyhound racing, you have the option of ‘taking a price’. Normally if you place a bet on these events, your bet will be paid out at the ‘starting price’, which are the odds of the selection at the start of the race. However, you can opt to take a current price, as these will change in the lead up to the race. These will usually be on display on one of the many terminals on the wall, but even if you can’t see it, you can ask the cashier. After informing the cashier that you want to take the current price, they will write it on your betting slip.

High Street Bookie Betting Terminals ‘FOBT’

Fixed Odds Betting Terminals allow users to enjoy a wide variety of games, which include many casino favorites. The most popular game of all at a FOBT is roulette, while other games such slot machines, bingo and even simulated horse racing and greyhound racing options. The maximum payout at a FOBT is £500.

Fixed Odds Betting Terminal

Newbies Guide to High St Bookies – Summing Up

Despite the huge amount of information you’ll find on the screens and walls at a high street bookie, the process of placing a bet is actually very straightforward. Having placed your first bet, you’ll actually realize just how easy it is and it will become second nature. High Street Bookies are ideal for many customers, as they show a great deal of sporting action on the screens, giving you the ability to bet and watch at the same time.

Betting Online – An Easy Alternative

The majority of betting now happens online. Not only is this easier (all the betting options are laid out for you), it will also save you a trip.

My recommendation is that you stick with the biggest and best known brands – where you know you’ll get fair odds and that your money will be safe. An easy starting point is Ladbrokes online arm, which has horse racing, football betting and odds on offer for all the major sporting events. They have excellent special offers for first time users too!

Check out for the latest deals.

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