Mathematics is not necessary for this to be followed. There you are, we got that out of the way and it didn’t hurt a bit. If you can add up (just the basics, not Einstein-style) and if you can understand a few simple ideas, then multiple, exotic bets are child’s play.

Don’t forget that you can also use these bets for place multiples, which is the best way to travel if you prefer high levels of insurance with the chance of decent returns.

So far as I can see, the best available multiple combination style of investment is the multiple single horse bet, such as a double, treble, or the various accumulators. The TABs are restricted in their offerings, usually in terms of single venues on a maximum multiple which can only extend over four races.

This is unsatisfactory, but when you are dealing with a massive organisation which tells you each year, before the running of the Melbourne Cup, that it has no idea how to offer more than 24 TAB numbers, so you can’t have emergencies, and offers as its excuse and its defence for this that you won’t find any other major organisation in the world that is willing to do so either, then you get some idea of the degree of cooperation you would enjoy if you wanted to change the system.

The online bookmakers offer several options, ranging from the pretty simple (and frankly inadequate) to the difficult and complex. One major operator only offers doubles (I have no idea why, we are talking a big bookmaker here), and another requires the punter to enter every multiple bet separately. I’ll stop for a moment and just explain to you what this means.

If you wanted to have a Yankee bet (I’m sure most of you know what this is, but anyway we’ll be talking about it later on), you would have to make 11 separate entries, 11 separate bets. The difficulty though, is compounded because the site offers probably one of the best sets of options for your multiple bets that is imaginable. Why they can’t reset their computers to get over this problem is beyond me.

Another website decided that it would not offer any multiples on its fixed odds for the Cups period. I found that quite astounding, given this particular website’s fantastic overall service and customer friendliness. It just shows that every one of them has shortcomings, so far as assessing the needs and requirements of their ordinary customers is concerned. Another website offers home state dividends on multiples.

That’s OK if you are dealing with win and place bets, but I’m jolly sure I wouldn’t let them loose with my money on the multiples! Queensland is lagging so badly in the trifecta and the first four dividend department, that any race run in that state is at serious risk of paying very light on the exotics.

So, essentially, there are many aspects of the exotics that you have to take into account before you even start. Every online bookmaking company will offer you quite juicy inducements to join up with them, so you would have to realistically deduce from this that they expect the vast majority of their clients to lose; they are not in the charity business, after all. But you can win, if you keep your wits about you and you use the service which suits your personality and your bank best.

To explain to you how it all works, I’m going to show you examples which involve a large number of multiples, so it is advantageous to use a service which offers you the multiple option. Otherwise you may well be on the net all day!

For example, if you choose five horses to bet on during one afternoon, you’d hope that you can place your five single win bets, your five single place bets, your 10 win doubles, your 10 place doubles, your ten win trebles, your 10 place trebles, your five win quadrellas, your five place quadrellas, your single win quintuple and your single place quintuple, in a couple of operations.

I stretched it out that way to show you how, in theory, if you had five horses and you wanted to back every one for a single win and place, and then to couple them up in every win and place combination possible, you could in fact put the whole 62 bets on in two procedures.

How does this happen? Well, you go to the race section of a website, and you click on any race of the five you are interested in. No, it doesn’t matter whether it is chronologically the first or the last or anything in between, all that will be sorted for you.

Now you proceed to your second race, again in any order you like. It can be very useful not to have them in any particular order, if say three are racing at one track at various times during the afternoon, and the other two are at other tracks with starting times sandwiched in between. Just a small matter of convenience. You will again click on multiple at the top and do exactly the same as you did for that first demonstration. Stick with the win or the place or it can get complex.

Using our example, you will eventually have five horses listed and you will have options associated with them; these options will already be outlined for you. Is it any wonder that this website is being used as your example?

Arguably, since some use their own final odds calculations, there will be occasions when some websites with their different options might end up paying more, so nobody is saying that what we have is the be-all and end-all.

However, in terms of sheer simplicity, just jump on and try them. Let’s get down to it.

The easiest of all is the win or place (or each way) single. There really is however, one thing to remember here with some websites, is that an each way double will split the bet on the second leg (if it is doing its job properly).

So, if your first selection places and plays a handsome $10 for the place, then theoretically the bet on your second leg will be $5 for the win and $5 for the place. You need to read the rules, because although that’s what an each way multiple bet is, you may not technically be able to take this kind of bet. Your bet may be interpreted as $1 to win and $1 to place, quite separately all up the second leg. In this case, you would have $10 for the place on the second leg.

That’s not difficult if you think about it for a minute, but it certainly pays to read the rules and see which way that particular website distributes your returns. If it says each way, it really should be working according to the mathematical example provided above, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will. (It’s yet another example of caveat emptor, or “let the buyer beware”.)

Anyway, for all that, a win single or a place single is the easiest of the lot. After that comes the double, and then the treble, and then the quadrella, then the quintuple (sometimes called quintella), and then the sixfold, the sevenfold and the eightfold. We could go on, but I’m sure you’ll agree that enough is enough! I want to make a very simple point at this stage for the benefit of the Doubting Thomases.

Eight successful selections at even money return $256 for a dollar outlay. On most ordinary days, the best way of thinking about this is how you place your chances of picking the program. In my experience, your chances are many millions to one. But what about selecting the place program? Or maybe six of the eight places? At even money. Perhaps back second favourites for the place all afternoon, or realistically third favourites, seeking an average of even money.

I wonder what might happen if you were to choose six races in an afternoon and make all the possible combinations for the place. Just to whet your appetite, you would be outlaying $63 for six singles, 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 quadrellas, six fivefolds and a sixfold. You’d be collecting on 63 bets. Get out your calculator and you can have a pleasant little evening working out your hypothetical collect!

So, let’s say you want doubles. Too easy, let’s go onto trebles. And I’m not going to worry about the single bets because that would be like teaching my grandmother to suck eggs; I know that every one of my readers knows what a single is, and can decide for him or herself whether or not they want to back their selections that way.

To combine three horses every way, you need to take three doubles and the treble. There is a combination you may have heard of, very popular overseas but not so well known here, called the Patent. It is simply a seven bet strategy when you have three horses (three to win, three for the double and one for the treble).

My own view, for what it’s worth, is that this is not a recommendable bet on most occasions, because I would rather outlay (for example) $20 and invest $4 on each of three win bets, and perhaps $2 on each of the four multiple combination bets. That way, one $5 winner would cover all my bets. Frankly, I wouldn’t in my wildest dreams entertain the idea of having single bets for the place, so that takes care of that.

The next step up is of course to four selections, and this is the famous Yankee bet. It consists of 11 multiples: six doubles which cover all the possibilities, four trebles which also cover all possibilities, and one more bet accumulating all four horses. The obvious advantage, or perhaps better put, the obvious attraction, is the possibility of a really big dividend. One of the biggest bets I ever pulled in my life (and I have to go back 16 years for this one), was a $5 accumulator on four horses in Melbourne.

The final winner came from last on the turn and won, paying $10 on the New South Wales TAB and converting my $2,000 into $20,000. Regulars know this story and I won’t labour it, except to put it in perspective by telling anybody who doesn’t know the story that, although this was a Melbourne metropolitan Saturday meeting, three of the four horses never raced again, whilst the other one won the Caulfield Cup! The up-and-down life of a punter, eh? It’s enough to make you very aware of your own mortality when you are trying to earn a lot for a little.

The next bet we can have a look at is the Super Yankee. As you have already guessed, this involves five horses and will cost you 26 bets to combine all the exotics: 10 doubles, 10 trebles, five quaddies and one fivefold. It looks good doesn’t it? Time for a little warning. One horse misses out, and you are down to the bet immediately above (the 11 chances we’ve just listed for the Yankee). That’s the easiest way mathematically to recognise the additional risk that you are taking when you add one more horse to your collection of chances. One loser, and back a step.

Ten doubles, 10 trebles, five quadrellas and a fivefold. Is your mouth watering?  All you have to do is pick them . . . and of course that is the very small fly in the ointment! But if you were picking places, you could get lucky.

The next one, adding a sixth horse to our bundle, has the delightful name of the Heinz. I’m sure that everybody, well, nearly everybody anyway, remembers all the advertisements for Mr. Heinz and his 57 ingredients – or was it varieties? A very clever name, the credit going to somebody at William Hill or Ladbrokes, I’m not quite sure. I was actually living in England at the time it appeared, and I remember being quite fascinated by it. The fact that they splashed it all over the betting shops and provided very colourful betting sheets told you that they wanted you to take this kind of bet. I wonder why.

The Heinz has 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 quadrellas, six fivefolds, and one sixfold. That had better add up to 57, and what do you know, it does! All you have to do is get the six horses right and you pocket the lot. There just must be a catch somewhere . . .

Next we have the Super Heinz. This fellow is almost beyond belief, except that the next one will outdo even this, and blow your hat off. Seven horses for Mr. Super Heinz, and a staggering combination of 120 bets. We have 21 doubles, 35 trebles, 35 quaddies, 21 fivefolds, seven sixfolds and (would you believe?) a sevenfold!  The big temptation, of course, is the massive payout on these 120 combinations. I stress that you don’t have to take them all and that you could cut in on the four horse requirement, reducing your outlay to 64, or on the other hand you could combine your seven horses going the other way into 91 possibilities (quaddies, trebles and doubles).

Another play that you might like is to always take that final accumulator, along with whatever else you take, so that in this case even if you stopped at the trebles, or if you only had the trebles and the quaddies, you would still know that on the day you got everything right you would have that one glorious maximum dividend. Once you get up around seven or eight races, it’s a bit like those old-fashioned jackpot meetings where you were asked to pick just about every winner on the program.

The final method involves eight horses, and if you are of a nervous disposition I suggest you stop reading here. Of course if your name is David, you have nothing to fear. This strategy is called the Goliath, naturally because of its size: 247 bets. You read correctly. 28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 quaddies, 56 fivefolds, 28 sixfolds, eight sevenfolds and an eightfold, which we can affectionately call an octet. Holy mackerel! I just added them up again to be sure.

Yes it’s right. And we’re way out of space.

By The Optimist