Scoop6 Explained: What is it & How Do You Play?

3D Yellow SixA large proportion of gamblers share the same dream: to win a large amount of money from a small stake. Doing so is incredibly difficult but inescapably alluring. That is one reason why the Scoop6 is such a popular bet as it provides punters with the chance to win huge prizes from just a £2 bet.

But what exactly is the Scoop6, how does it work and how do you improve your chances of winning? We’ve got the answers to those questions and more in this in-depth look into the Scoop6.

How Does the Scoop6 Work?

Horse Number 6

Tote betting is one of the oldest ways of betting on horse racing. Rather than betting against bookmakers, punters pool their bets with the odds set by the amount of money on each horse. There are several different types of pools bet offered by the Tote, of which the Scoop6 is the most lucrative. It is different not only in terms of its exclusivity but also in its rules and the ways you can win.

Reserved for the Biggest Meetings

Betfred Cheltenham Scoop 6 Screenshot

To win the Scoop6, punters must correctly predict the winners of six different races on a given day. That is similar to other pools bets with the key difference being that the Scoop6 is reserved for the biggest meetings. On a typical week, the Scoop6 races will be drawn from Saturday’s racing with the races announced by the Tote early on Friday afternoon. You will also see midweek Scoop6 options for the biggest meetings such as Royal Ascot or the Cheltenham Festival.

£2 Minimum Stake

Another key difference between the Scoop6 and other Tote bets is the minimum stake of £2. That is not a big bet by any means but it is considerably larger than the minimum stake for other Tote bets, which is often just 1p.

The Bigger the Pool, the Bigger the Prize

Whether it is being run over the big races that are being televised on a Saturday afternoon or for a major meeting, the Scoop6 always excites punters… but there is no guarantee about the size of the prize fund. The higher the number of people who place a Scoop6 bet (or bets), the bigger the prize fund is. Moreover, the smaller the number of players who predict the six winners correctly, the bigger their share of the prize will be. Much like the lottery, one winning ticket of a £1 million prize fund would win the lot, while 10 winning tickets would win £100,000 each.

It is worth noting at this point that not all the pool will be available as winnings. The Tote takes 27% of the pool as an administrative fee with the remaining 73% being paid out as winnings (split between the win, place and bonus pools).

The Biggest Prizes Come After Rollovers

Predicting the winner of one horse race is often a difficult enough task in its own right so it is little surprise that many weeks go by without the Scoop6 being won. That is not necessarily bad news for punters as the pool is rolled over resulting in an even bigger prize the following week.

It can be weeks and weeks before the Scoop6 is won. As you would expect, the chance to win bigger raises the profile of the Scoop6 and sees even more punters take a shot at the top prize. In June 2016 the Scoop6 went eight weeks without being won before the pool of £3.5 million was won at that year’s Royal Ascot.

Winning Twice with the Bonus Fund

As if winning a huge prize on the Scoop6 is not enough, winners are eligible to win again the following weekend thanks to the bonus fund. Winning the bonus is a more straightforward task in that all that is required is predicting the winner of one race. However, the Tote tend to pick a very difficult race, almost always a competitive handicap with a big field.

On very rare occasions punters have been able to win life-changing sums by combining a Scoop6 win on a rollover win with a bonus pool win the following week. This famously happened in May 2014 when the Scoop6 had rolled over to a massive £10.7 million which was eventually won by eight different tickets. Of those, three went on to back the right horse in the bonus race taking their original winnings of £1.3 million up to an enormous £3.1 million as the bonus pool had itself rolled over to £5.4 million.

Place Dividend Offers a Consolation

The excitement of the Scoop6 can very quickly turn into a damp squib when your bet goes down after the first race. Fortunately, there are both win dividends and place dividends available in the Scoop6. The win dividend is the big prize but there is also a decent prize awarded for punters whose horses place in all six races. The place dividend is very much the consolation prize of the Scoop6 but given that entry is as little as £2, the returns of anything up to £500 are warmly welcomed by punters.

Bet Later to Avoid Non-Runners

Once you have understood how pool betting works and the fact that the Scoop6 is won by correctly predicting the winner of six named races, there aren’t too many extra rules for punters to be aware of. The one exception to this is the rule surrounding non-runners.

Any bets placed on horses who are subsequently declared non-runners will be switched to the unnamed favourite of the race. On the occasions when there are joint- or co-favourites for a race, the bet goes to the horse with the lowest saddlecloth number (i.e. higher up the card). So, if the number one and number four horses are joint-favourites for a race, any bets transferred from a non-runner will go to the number one horse.

No punter wants to have their choice for a bet taken out of their hands and arbitrarily moved to the unnamed favourite if they can avoid it. That is why seasoned Scoop6 punters won’t rush to place their bets when the pool opens at 9 am on the morning of the races and will instead wait until much closer to the start of the first race to minimise the chances of any non-runners potentially spoiling their bet.

Making the Most of the Scoop6

Newspaper and Glasses on Laptop

Now that you understand how the Scoop6 works, the rules and the things to be aware of, it’s time to focus on how to make the most of the opportunity this exciting bet presents. From entering several different lines in the Scoop6 to understanding when it provides the best value, there are a few things to consider for punters who want to maximise the Scoop6.

What Affects the Scoop6 Dividend?

There are only two variables that directly affect the size of the main Scoop6 prize: the size of the pot and the number of winners. The first variable is the thing that most excites punters. News of a few rollovers inevitably draws the attention as the prize builds and that extra buzz adds more money to the pot by itself.

The second variable largely depends on the number of winning favourites or shorter priced horses compared to the number of surprise winners. Although it is by no means an exact science, the longer the price of the winner, the smaller will be the number punters to have backed the horse. As favourites lose, more tickets become losers and hence fewer potential winners will be left in the pool. The same is true of the placepot.

To Perm or Not to Perm

One of the main advantages of the Scoop6 over a straight accumulator bet is the ability to hedge your bets by placing more than one line, effectively making more than one selection for any of the individual races.

Let’s say you are confident about your selections in five of the Scoop6 races but are torn between two horses for the sixth. It is possible to enter two separate lines to cover your bases. This is called perming and, when used correctly, can be a smart way of tackling the Scoop6. You can add as many extra lines as you like. Be careful though as placing multiple stakes can quickly add up. Adding one extra line takes your total stake from £2 to £4 but if you were to make two selections on each race it would take the total stake to £128, three bets in each of the races and you’re looking at a £1,458 stake, so perming is best used sparingly.

Scoop6 Versus Accumulators

The other thing to bear in mind when perming multiple selections for the Scoop6 is that it reduces the implied value of your bet. One of the drawbacks of the Scoop6 is that the value of the bet doesn’t always compare favourably with placing an accumulator on the race. That is to say that if you placed a £2 six-fold accumulator on the Scoop6 races and all the horses won, you would get a bigger return than you would with the Scoop6.

This is especially true when the prize was won the previous week and the prize pot is relatively small. Moreover, as mentioned above, the pool is split between the win pot, the place pot and the bonus pot and that 27% cuts into the value quite a bit before the pot has rolled over. That’s why many punters don’t get involved with the Scoop6 until it has rolled over a few times and the value of the bet is better.

Finally, the Scoop6 does not offer the sort of control that accumulators do. Sometimes the Scoop6 races are difficult to call and even if you wanted to place a six-fold accumulator there may be more appealing races taking place on the day. Ultimately though, it comes down to the personal preference of individual punters.