Horse Racing 101: Meaning of Win, Place, and Show Wagers

Before beginning horse racing betting you should know the terms used in the sport. The bets are pari-mutual (meaning betting amongst ourselves). This means that rather than placing a bet against the “house” as you would when gambling in a casino, you place bets against every other bettor on the race.

When you first start gambling on horse races, you should stick with the straight bets such as win, place, and show. The more exotic wagers, like Exactas and Trifectas, should be saved until you have a little more experience.

Win – When you place a bet on a horse to Win, you only collect if your horse finishes in first place.

Place – When you make your bet to Place, your horse needs to come in first or second place. The payoff for placing is lower than the payoff to win.

Show – With a Show wager, the horse needs to come in first, second, or third in order for you to win. Again the amount of this win is lower than a wager to Win.

Many experts feel that it is best to place a bet to Win rather than to Place or Show. Before placing your wager, check the odds on the tote board in order to determine if the odds represent a good value.

You may hear the term “Across the Board” betting. This means that you are betting on the horse to Win, Place, and Show all on one ticket. Depending on which place your horse comes in, determines your payoff.

1st – Win, Place, and Show payoffs

2nd – Place and Show payoffs

3rd – Show payoff only

Based on a $2 Win bet, the following is an example of the Win payoffs.

2/1 will pay $6

7/2 will pay $9

9/2 will pay $11

10/1 will pay $22