Special Post #13: Tote, unlucky for some…

Second post in an ongoing mini-series about my first ever job as a Tote betting assistant.

I love working with Tote. Essentially the job is merely regurgitating what people tell you into a till, but because of the wide variety of customers and the nature of the job, it can be as interesting as you make it. A lot of people ask for information ranging from “what is tote?” to “what are the odds on this horse in the next race?” to “what is a reverse forecast?”. Here’s your guide to Tote people-spotting:

  • The seasoned pro’s. These are the one’s that place what tote like to call the “exotic bets”, maybe picking 1st, 2nd and 3rd in a race, for example. They tend to study the screens and/or a newspaper for a long time, then (usually about 10 seconds before the race starts) place a really complicated bets with many permutations, which you then have to process before betting closes for that race.
  • The lads. Essentially the wannabe seasoned pro’s who’ll have competitions between themselves as to who can win the most money. These people usually place stupid combinations of bets, such as 5 win bets. I don’t know about you but I’ve never seen five horses collectively win a race.
  • The ladies. Can be noticed from their attire (usually understated dress and overstated hat) and because their husband will had over a £20 note to her before she approaches. She will then place a simple win or each way bet giving the horse name instead of its number.
  • The groupie. A group of girls who can barely walk through combination of ridiculous footwear and alcohol consumption. They will need an explanation of what “pool betting” is and a tip of horse to pick for the race. The latter is best resolved by handing over the race card and instigating a choice based on jockey colours (usually resulting in the pinkest, gayest jockey colours being picked).

The take home rule of betting is: the house always wins. And never was there a better example than on Saturday when I cashed out over £2,500 profit at my till alone.

I’m working for Tote this week on Friday and Saturday at Sandown Racecourse and I’m really looking forward to it. More excitingly though, it’s only a week until Royal Ascot!