What Are Tricast & Trifecta Bets?

Three race horses

Guessing and therefore betting on, the finishing order of a race or a competition is something punters love to do. It’s not only a great way to get more value out of a betting market, but offers great bragging rights to anyone who get actually get it right.

It’s perhaps not so hard to do with the first two in a race, i.e., taking a forecast or Exacta, but picking out the first three in the right order remains incredibly difficult. That’s where tricast and Trifecta bets come on. Tricasts are incredibly popular in greyhound racing, while both that and the Trifecta remain in inextricably linked with horse racing too.

Tricast: First, Second & Third Place

A tricast in British and Irish betting parlance is simply a bet placed on who will finish first, second and third in a sporting event in the right order. Easier said than done. Tricasts can be placed on a number of different sports, as long as the event in question has a confirmed finishing order with a first, second and third place, such as an F1 race, a horse race, greyhound race or a football tournament.

Tricasts on longer term tournaments, such as the Premier League, aren’t so popular, with the vast majority of such bets being placed on horse and dog racing. The tricast is a very easy bet to get on. Simply head to the event you wish to bet on, perhaps a horse race, go to ‘tricast’ and pick out three horses. You’ll need to define which ones you wish to bet on for first, second and third place individually, though there’s a way you can mix that up which we’ll go through later.

If your chosen three do finish first, second and third but not in the correct order, your bet won’t be paid. You can bet on a tricast with a fixed-odds bookie at a defined price, i.e., by using the odds displayed at the time. Mostly, however, it is a computer algorithm that shows the payout for a tricast after the event, meaning, in general, you won’t know your total returns until then.

Trifecta: The Same, But Available at the Tote

Tote Trifecta

Over in the States, pool betting is the norm. There, a Trifecta is recognised as the same sort of bet mentioned above – i.e., one that tasks the bettor with picking the first three home in the correct order. The same is true on British and Irish shores, specifically with the Tote. So, essentially, if you bet with a fixed-odds bookie you’ll be placing a tricast, if you bet with the Tote, you will be placing a Trifecta.

If you’re betting on course with the Tote then you’ll see that Trifectas are on option. Even away from the course, however, any Tote shop or Tote-syndicated bookmaker, bricks and mortar or online, can accept Trifectas. While a computer algorithm is used to calculated the tricast, the Trifecta is a simple pool bet. All the money goes in the pot from all Trifecta wagers, then the winners are paid out accordingly after the race is run.

With win, place and even forecast/Exacta bets, payouts on the computer and the Tote mirror each other closely. The tricast v Trifecta payouts however can be much more volatile as we’ll find out.

Tricast Versus Trifecta

In terms of their rules, both bets are basically the same. Other than their titles, the main differences between the two are where/how you place your bet and how the winnings are calculated. Whichever way you look at it, you’ll need to predict the first, second and third in the correct order. The main similarities between the tricast and the Trifecta:

  • Both bets require punters to pick the 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the correct order
  • Both bets are used mostly by horse racing and greyhound punters
  • Final returns are not known to the punter until after an event is over

With both bets being essentially the same, and with both fixed odds bookies and the Tote being available online to all, how do you decide which one is the best one to place? As always, the key consideration is money. If one is more valuable than the other, then that is the way to go and we’ve done a little bit of work to try to find out which one pays more.

Which One Pays More?

There is no industry-specific figure to show that a tricast is more valuable than a Trifecta or vice-versa, not in the betting game or specifically sport by sport, such as within horse racing where these bets are popular. Odds can fluctuate and with the Tote especially, the number of people backing a certain horse may not always mirror its true chance, meaning payouts are volatile.

We’ve looked at six horse racing results from Britain on a busy Easter weekend. Here, you can see the varying tricast and Exacta payouts on the same race:

Trifecta race examples

Each of these races is different – the number of runners, the size of the betting pool, etc. Here’s how the tricast v Trifecta stats break down from this sample:

Payout Tricast Trifecta
Aggregate Payout £1984.66 £2468.80
Average Payout £330.77 £411.46
Median Payout £303.24 £300.85
No. of Times Highest 2 4

Bit of a win here for the Tote and their Trifecta, though the sample size is small. We did, howeve,r find the same thing in our forecast v Exacta stats. Considering the fact that if horse racing bets were almost exclusively pool bets the majority of the money could stay in the game, helping prize money, staff and facilities, and the punters are paid out more, it makes you wonder why so many are against it.

Combination Bets: Any Order

Any order wooden blocks

As we mentioned above, there is a way to pick out your three horse and be able to win should they come first, second and third in any order and that is with a ‘combination bet’. Those interesting in American betting will know this as ‘boxing’, i.e., placing a ‘boxed Trifecta’ means paying more to cover off the fact that the three chosen horses must finish in the first three, but in any order. Here, we call these ‘combination tricasts’ or ‘combination Trifectas’.

In this case, your overall stake will go up dramatically so do remember that. A £1 straight tricast or Trifecta will cost exactly that – £1. This is because there is only one possible outcome you are betting on; that your chosen horses or dogs will finish first, second and third in the designated order. Putting the same three into a combination bet will mean multiplying your initial stake 6 times, as horses A, B & C can finish in any of these orders: A-B-C, A-C-B, B-A-C, B-C-A, C-A-B, C-B-A.