Thick smoke fills the air in the tin shed, the smell of sausages and hamburgers wafting through as you waltz around the betting ring.
There is plenty of hustle and bustle as on course bookmakers compete with each other for every cent of the punters’ dollar a the big thoroughbred race day.
There is probably a little less smoke nowadays with all the anti smoking laws in public places, but there is no doubt the betting ring is a fun place to be.
The bookies are loud and proud, almost always happy to take your wager – unless you’re one of those guys or gals who really knows their stuff and manages to clean them out.
The great thing about the betting ring is you can watch the punters compete with the bookmakers.
See the odds move in real time and shop around to find the best price.
You’ll almost always find on course bookies have odds that will beat the tote, because they have to beat each other.
Look for the names, then look at the odds. They are usually in red digital numbers, with the names put up in paper, or produced through computer imaging.
Make sure you’re quick though, the odds can change in a heartbeat, snap up the best price you can find on your pick and ride them home.
In the betting ring, it is all about following the money.
Punters know a thing or two and, if they are smashing something on course, chances are it’s going to be a good thing.
When you’re on course, someone always hears a whisper or two. Whether it is a confident trainer, jockey, or just a professional punter who has slammed something hard, all of that can contribute to big money moves.
It’s easy to see how the market moves.
It is all pretty much about supply and demand. If a horse gets slammed in the ring with punters money, the bookmakers will be forced to wind in its odds. if no one wants a selection, the bookies will drift the odds out in the hope of attracting a few more bets.
Most on course bookies nowadays have automated ticketing systems that will produce a bet slip.
But you will still find the odd bag man who will write out your ticket.
The bookie will have either printed or written his or her name on the bet slip, so you should have no dramas tracking them down after the race.
All you have to do once your selection gets up is go back to the bookie you made you wager with and collect your winnings.
What bets can I place with an on course bookie?
Traditionally, on course bookmakers would only take win and place bets, given how difficult it is to calculate odds for exotics.
But these days, in the ever competitive world of online gambling, they have gone digital and will now offer several different exotics.
Of course, a win only bookie will only accept bets on horses to come first. These are few and far between these days, but if you place a win bet with one of the on course bookmakers, your horse must be first past the post, or he keeps your money.
Each way bets are also readily available, with bookies offering odds on both first past the post and second and third.
Popular in the betting ring is the running double bet.
Bookmakers will often display win and place odds for horses, but also running double odds, where it couples two races together. You need to pick the winner of consecutive races, but you can seriously win big.
Some are even offering other exotics like quinellas and trifectas, just to make things even more interesting.
Two win a quinella you must have at least two selections and they must finish first and second in the race. Of course, you can have as many selections as there are horses in the field, but this will obviously cost you more money – sometimes more than it will return.
Similarly with trifectas, it is at least three selections, with all three having to finish first, second and third in the race for you to win.
Just because the bookie is at the race day at Caulfield it does not stop them from offering markets from races across the country and the world. It can get boring in between races, so the on course bookmakers will give you a market on just about any where, so you can bet in between the live stuff.
Is the on course bookmaker a dying art?
People love tradition and love the fun with placing a bet with an on course bookmaker when they go to the races.
It has its advantages as we’ve mentioned of providing better odds than the tote and online bookmakers because of the competition in the ring.
But, as a convenience, it pales in comparison to the online offerings of Australia’s best and brightest online bookmakers.
The six we have listed above are the best of the best and each has applications on smart phone and tablet.
So even if you are at the races, you don’t necessarily have to go to the betting ring to get your bets on.
It is quicker, easier and more secure to use an online bookmaker than it is to hunt down the best odds in the ring, wait in line to place your bet with the on course bookie (and possibly missing it if there are others ahead of you) and then having to go back and track them down again once the race is finished to collect your winnings.
Each of the six bookmakers we have mentioned will simply pay your winnings straight into the account, with some like WilliamHill.com.au paying first past the post, so you don’t even have to wait for correct weight to be a winner.