Dividends: When Good is Bad

I won a slice of the jackpot yesterday. About five hundred pounds. Which was nice. But… it wasn’t quite as nice as it maybe first appeared. Here’s why.



First of all, this was a jackpot rollover which got up to a pool of £129,305 after a few days of not being won. I had been involved the previous day at Uttoxeter for a hundred quid or so when it turned out to be near inscrutable. That stake needs to be factored into the ROI here: I was trying to win my own money back as well as other people’s!

The seven day jackpot stake/return looks good, but less good…



And I also did some management through the sequence yesterday, laying and backing a few horses on Betfair to cover bad outcomes (click on the image to view full size).



Total stakes here of £143. So let’s add that to stakes and deduct it from P&L:

Stakes £482, Profit £255.

A fully managed situation where I was never risking more than £100 ended up with a profit of just north of £250. Not bad at all.


The jackpot dividend paid £1,847.50.

The Tix 5% enhanced dividend paid £1,939.87.

But the SP accumulator for these six races paid £3,788.22.

Double the divvy. Shit. So what happened, and was this a bad value bet?

I was at Huntingdon yesterday and pondered this on the rattler back into Smokey. My answer, perhaps surprisingly, is that it wasn’t bad value.

Before you think I’m completely nuts, let me explain.

The first thing to say is that I had a large number of tickets (which I’ll share at the bottom of the post) covering a vast array of different outcomes to different stakes. I, like many others – especially Tix players, was spreading out in search of a juicy result or two. I went especially deep on A in a couple of legs where it ultimately didn’t pay to do so, and in the finish I was pretty happy to take a profit from the sequence.

So how did the dividend pay only half of the starting price accumulator?

The answer is that there was a trio of horses that were short in the morning but drifted markedly on track before winning. Such runners carry a disproportionate amount of pool money in relation to their SP’s and deflate dividends accordingly. They don’t normally all win.

And, naturally, when one previously fancied horse drifts, one (or more) theretofore lesser fancied horses contract. Those ‘springers’ were all beaten which, again, doesn’t normally happen.

Specifically, there was solid support against Mill Green (6/4 out to 15/8), Will Carver (4/1 out to 11/1), and Willewonga (6/4 out to 9/4). The SP accumulator at those early prices with the other three winners returned just £1,055.80.

And here’s the thing: had Will Carver been 11/1 in the morning, with recent form of PP, he’d not have been on my A tickets – likewise for a lot of other players. Willewonga’s weakness was harder to fathom but in a race like his – a maiden hunter chase – most people outside of the point to point experts (that’s not me!) were guessing and would have spread out more widely.

What I mean to say is that, if those drifters were their final prices in the morning, I’d have had a smaller piece of the final dividend – though it would have undoubtedly paid a lot more, and potentially returned more in absolute terms.

The market is a key consideration in how I structure my tickets. The ‘springers’ – Punitive and Welsh Saint against Mill Green, Cardamon Hill against Will Carver, and Unexpected Edge against Willewonga – were all (bar Welsh Saint) bad results for me. I didn’t fancy any of them. Unexpected Edge looked to go wrong unfortunately so we can’t say whether he was unlucky in form terms or not; and Mill Green scrambled home a little having gone clear but then dried up stamina-wise.

So there’s always a luck component. But spreading out using Tix allows me to play a huge variety of possible outcomes to differing stakes in search of either a big piece of a small pie or a small piece of a big pie. On this occasion, there were specific reasons for the deflated dividend when compared to other returns; but those reasons are why I had as much of it as I did, rather than a far thinner slice.

Hopefully that all makes sense, even if the takeaway is the somewhat oxymoronic “sometimes bad value can be good”. Crucially, I wouldn’t play things any differently next time. We can’t always get the best of it, but over time we’ll definitely come out in front with this approach.


p.s. here’s the full list of tickets I played. A non-runner (#1) in the last, moving to unnamed favourite, helped boost the number of winning lines whilst simultaneously deflating the dividend.



10 responses to “Dividends: When Good is Bad”

  1. Bob Cottam avatar
    Bob Cottam

    All too complicated for me Matt I just poodle along with my daily ew patents. Bet Finder is fun and fairly profitable and I am not into Tix as yet

    1. Fair enough, Bob. You can do a standard placepot or jackpot perm via Tix, too. e.g. Two selections in each leg for 5p’s would be £3.20, and so on. It doesn’t need to be complex!


  2. Barry Slattery avatar
    Barry Slattery

    Hi matt is there any chance you could record you doing these bets on tix please I’m loving the thoughts of using it but I can’t get my head around it,,,, thanks

    1. Hi Barry

      Yes, I can definitely do that but it would have to be delivered retrospectively – i.e. after the first race at least – to prevent cutting my own lunch, if you see what I mean.

      But, yes, sure, I’d be happy to do some videos.


  3. Richard Foley avatar
    Richard Foley

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for sharing your detailed insights into the Tote betting experience. Your explanation of how market movements and odds fluctuations impact the final dividend was enlightening. It’s interesting to see how strategic spreading of bets and monitoring the market can influence outcomes, even when the dividends don’t always reflect the highest potential returns.

    I especially appreciated your transparency in breaking down the stakes and profit, as well as the candid discussion about luck and the unpredictability of the market. Your approach to continually refining your strategy based on these experiences is a valuable takeaway.

    One question I have is regarding the potential for leveraging technology, particularly AI, to improve betting strategies. Do you think tools that utilize AI to monitor real-time odds and suggest optimal bet structuring could significantly enhance returns, or do you believe the inherent unpredictability of horse racing limits the effectiveness of such tools? AI could analyse vast amounts of historical data, identify patterns, and adapt strategies in real-time, potentially offering a significant edge. I’d love to hear your thoughts on integrating AI into betting strategies.

    Looking forward to your thoughts and further insights on this fascinating topic!

    1. Hi Richard

      Thank you for your comment. I do think AI can – and will – infiltrate selection processes; but it will only make for more efficient markets. Racing will always be fundamentally ‘chaotic’ and if I was training an AI model I’d be looking at bigger markets than UK horseracing pools generally speaking. That’s not to say we’re not currently working on training a model… but only to create a rating, if we can make it useful enough.


  4. brian avatar

    i would love tix to be incorporated into geegeez
    i struggle to find it otherwise

    1. Hi Brian

      For future reference, it’s right here: https://tix.bet/app

      I have it bookmarked in my browser and you could do likewise.

      Nevertheless, thanks for your feedback on integrating into geegeez. I hear you 👍


  5. Steven Reeves avatar
    Steven Reeves

    Tix is great in respect of the weighting you can give to A B C selections etc.
    Just doing it for a fun bet, just wish you could see the results as the day is progressing. When youve got multiple bets it takes quite a bit of time to see how they are doing. if your doing other things and just want to see if youve got any live (still in with a shout!) placepots going into the last two races would be great !!!!

    1. Hi Steven

      I agree with this. I have an approach which I’ll share in a video for monitoring progress, but it would be great if we could get updated results into the feed. That’s not yet available to us, unfortunately.