What happens in a dead heat?

They might not happen all that often, but no matter what sort of race you might be betting on, there’s always a chance of a dead heat.

First of all, for those that don’t know, a dead heat is where two or more horses cross the line at the same time and even a photo finish can’t separate them. There can be more than two horses, but it’s unlikely.

So, if you’ve had a bet on one of horses involved in a dead heat, you might think you’ve been unlucky and that you’re not going to see any winnings. Well, think again, as technically, your horse has still won.

You won’t receive your full potential winnings though, instead, half of your stake is a winning bet, but the other half is lost. It makes sense really, two horses won, you picked one of them, so your stake has to halved.

For example, if you put a £10 win bet on a horse at 10/1 and it finishes in a dead heat for first with one other, your stake is reduced to £5. Then, that £5 will be used as your win only bet, so you’d receive £50 winnings, plus your £5 stake back.

What it is VITAL to remember is that your odds are not halved, your stake is. You might not think there’s any difference in this, but there is.

Say you had that £10 bet mentioned above, but your odds were halved, you’d have £10 at 5/1 and receive £60 in total, so there is a difference.

In the unlikely event of a three-horse dead heat, your stake is simply divided by three and so on.

You’re still getting some decent profit if your horse is in a dead heat, but remember you won’t get all your winnings back, so don’t go out and celebrate before you see your exact returns.