How To Fill Out A Betting Slip

man looking at a bet slip with surpriseThe proliferation of online betting companies is such that many young people will only ever have experienced placing a wager online. Doing this is nice and easy, with the form essentially filling itself in when you’ve found the thing that you want to bet on and clicked on the odds, thereby adding it to your betting slip. From there, you just add in your stake and you’re good to go. As a result, the art of filling in an actual betting slip has been lost for many, leaving them completely stumped when they’re presented with a physical slip.

There are countless reasons someone might suddenly come across a real-life betting slip and need to fill it in, whether that be because they’ve gone to a horse racing meeting or a dog track and there’s a bookie there, or because they’re looking to place a bet at a football match, there is no mobile signal and so you head to the on-site stall to do so. Whatever the reason, being able to fill in a betting slip properly can help people to avoid embarrassing situations where they do the wrong thing and lose out on placing the bet that they were trying to as a result.

The First Steps

betting slips and newpaper on table in bookmaker shopFirst things first, the immediate action that you’ll need to do is to actually pick up a physical betting slop. These are slips of paper, usually white, that are found along the walls of the bookmaker or on the tables in the shop. The next thing that you’ll want to do is to write down the event that you’re betting on. If this is a horse race, for example, then you’ll want to write down the time and date of the race that you’re placing your wager on as well as the meeting that the race is being run as part of. For example, you might write “Aintree 1.55” or “Aintree 13:55” on “13/12/2021”.

Next up, make sure to write down the name of the thing that you’re betting on, such as the horse that you think will win. Some people also choose to write down the odds as they are at the time that they’re writing the bet. After that, it’s time to write down how much you’re betting and the sort of bet that it is, such as “£10 Each-Way”, remembering that the stake is doubled in Each-Way bets, so that would cost you £20 to place. This would mean that you would end up with a betting slip that looks something like this:

  • Aintree – 1.55pm, 13/12/2021
  • RED RUM 10/1
  • £10 Each-Way

If you didn’t want to take the fixed price in something like a horse race you can also take the starting price, instead of 10/1 in the above example you would write “SP”.  Unless you are betting ante-post then it is generally advisable to go for the fixed price as best odds guaranteed applies with most bookies for bets on the day for horse racing.

In the bottom box, there is usually room for you to write the total stake, which in the instance of a £10 Each-Way wager would be £20. Obviously that is looking specifically at horse racing, but the principle is the same regardless of the sport. A bet on Liverpool to beat Everton in the Merseyside derby, for example, might look something like this:

  • Liverpool v Everton @ Anfield – 3pm, 14/01/2022
  • £10 Win

That is a simplistic bet on football, but even if you want to place a more complicated one then you’re able to do so by simply ensuring that you write what the bet is that you want to place. If there are any issues then the cashier will tell you what they are and how you can correct them, so you don’t need to worry.

Odds can also change between you filling in a slip and taking it to the cashier so many people leave the odds blank and let the cahier fill those in at the time they place the bet.

When your bet is placed the cashier will keep the slip you wrote on and you will either be given the slip underneath, or you will be given a print out of your bet.

The bet slip will likely contain a printed bet ID and will also include the time of the bet and other numbers, e.g. that identify the shop.  You need to keep the bet slip safe, especially if you paid in cash otherwise there is no way to prove it is yours if you win.  It is good practice to take a photo of a bet slip on your phone, this way if you lose it you can still claim using the bet ID shown.

If you are attending an actual horse race and you bet with the bookmaker stalls on the course then you generally do not need to fill out a slip, simply tell the bookmaker what you want “£10 win on Jimmy The Legend” or “£10 win horse number 2”.  It is still important to check your slip and take a photo of it in case you lose.

Generally a cashier will tell you if it is obvious you have not filled a slip in correctly, they can also help you to do it if you are unsure.  The onus is however on you to check your bets, if you place the wrong bet or it is not legible then they can refuse to pay you out.

If for some reason you can’t get back to a bookie to claim your winnings there are systems in place that allow you to claim winning bets from racecourses and those placed in shops.

Looking At Some Of The Terms

bet slip print outBookmakers are used to bettors putting shortened terms on their slips in order to speed up the process of placing a wager. You could, for example, write a large C around the odds of the bet that you’re placing in order to indicate that they’re the current odds at the time of placing the wager. It’s also not entirely necessary to enter as much information on some bets because the bookie will already know what you’re talking about. The Merseyside derby example could simply be written like this:

  • Liverpool to beat Everton
  • 3/1
  • £10

Here are some of the more common terms, many of which would be used for horse racing betting, that you could add to your betting slip, along with their meaning:

Term Meaning Bet Type
SF Straight Forecast Bet on 2 participants to finish 1st & 2nd in a specific order
RF Reverse Forecast Bet on 2 participants to finish 1st & 2nd in any order
EW Each-Way A bet on a participant to either win or finish in the places
Acca Accumulator A bet on several different outcomes, all of which must come true for your bet to be a winner

Obviously that list is far from exhaustive, but it gives you an indication of the sort of thing that you can writing on your betting slip and have it be understood by the cashier in a betting shop.

Why It Matters

Money ContractYou might wonder why filling out your betting slip correctly matters, but it doesn’t take much for punters to realise that the very least that they should do is ask the cashier to ensure that everything looks correct. Take, for example, the story of 60-year-old David Smith in Loughborough. In 2019, Smith filled out his betting slip with the following horses:

  • Ardera Cross
  • Indian Temple
  • Shanroe
  • Pennsylvania Dutch
  • Sir Busker
  • Bailarico

Smith had intended to bet on Bialco, who was running in the 2.15pm race at Perth, even going so far as to write “2.15 P” next to the name, as well as the odds of the horse at the time. When all of the other horses had won their races, Smith assumed that he’d won the incredible sum of £212,000. Because Bailarico only finished third, however, he was informed that the acca wasn’t a winner and he’d instead won just £23,000. To make matters worse, he was reportedly told by staff in the shop that his bet would be settled on Bialco once he pointed out the mistake.

After the bet had been sent to Betfred security to be authorised, however, the amount was changed to the lower figure. Because of the loss of money and the manner in which Betfred treated him, Smith decided to take his case to the Independent Betting Adjudication Service. IBAS ruled against the punter, however, stating that bookmaker practice is to lend more credence to the name of the horse written on the slip than any other information. Proof, where it needed, that it is important to fill out your slip correctly.