How Does The Pick 6 Payout Work In Horse Racing?

In horse racing there is no more exciting bet than the Pick 6. This is the most difficult bet to win in all of horse racing, but the rewards for winning it can be huge. Some horse bettors have won more than $1 million on the Pick 6.

The Pick 6 is a unique bet in horse racing because it has a different payout structure than other exotic bets. Before we take a closer look at how the Pick 6 payout works here’s a refresher on the basics of the bet.

The Pick 6 Basics

The Pick 6 bet is what is called an exotic bet in horse racing. Exotic bets are those which involve more than one race or more than one horse. In the case of the Pick 6 there are six consecutive races involved. To win the bet a handicapper must successfully pick the winner of all six races in succession.


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The minimum bet for the Pick 6 wager in most cases is $2. This also makes it a little different from the standard horse racing exotic bet which can be offered for as little as $1. Because the Pick 6 is a more expensive bet to play and because it usually involves making multiple bets, the Pick 6 draws the interest of syndicates or betting pools. In this case a group of bettors joins together to make their horse racing bets. More tickets give the players a greater chance to win.

The Pick 6 is offered each racing day. If no one wins the bet a portion of the bet is carried over to the next racing day. This makes the pool continue to grow. On days that the bet is not won a consolation payout may be given to bettors that were able to pick five of the six winners. Check our Bovada racebook review, Twinspires review or even our Betamerica review. All great choice if you are in the US. 5Dimes review for folks anywhere!

Paying Out the Pick 6

Horse racing tracks can make a fair amount of money from the Pick 6, especially when the bet carries over for several days in a row. The track takes a portion of the pool each day for providing the bet. That amount can be as high as 15% or more of the total pool. The remainder of the wagering pool is left for the winners of the bet to share with one another.

We say share because it is very rare for a single bettor to win a Pick 6, although it has happened. Winning the Pick 6 usually involves betting more than one ticket. It may require betting hundreds of tickets. The reason for this is that there can be more than a hundred thousand possible winning combinations depending on the number of horses in the race. The more horses that are involved, the more combinations are available.

It is impossible to cover all of the combinations in a Pick 6. Even if it were possible it would be pointless. There can only be one winning combination. Each possible combination is its own $2 bet. As you might imaging, betting the Pick 6 can become very expensive. The payouts and difficulty of the bet have prompted many people to call the Pick 6 horse racing’s version of the lottery.

To pay out the Pick 6 wager the track must first determine how many winning tickets have been sold. This is done automatically by the toteboard system or the online racebook. Within a few minutes of the last race in the sequence being made official, the system knows if there has been a winner. In fact, it also can identify how many possible winning tickets are “alive” after the fifth race. On some days the track will know after the fifth race that no Pick 6 winner will be paid today.

Once the number of winning Pick 6 tickets have been determined, the track posts the total payout for a single winning ticket. This amount represents the pool amount after the track deducts its take and applies breakage. This total is then divided by the number of winning tickets. Each $2 winning ticket is awarded an even share of the pool.

What Happens When No One Wins the Pick 6?

When no one wins the Pick 6 there is what is known as a carryover to the next racing day. The track deducts its share and adds the rest of the pool to the next day. So, the next day any additional wagers add to the already existing pool. This makes the potential reward go up, but it also benefits the race track in a huge way.

The track can deduct a takeout from the betting pool each day. The more days that pass without a winner, the more the track is able to make. The Pick 6 can be a very profitable enterprise for the race track.

If no one correctly picks all 6 winners the track can sometimes offer a consolation payout to bettors who picked 5 horses correctly. This amount of money can be more than $1,000 in some cases. It is a nice reward for getting close to winning the big bet.

Once the Pick 6 has been won the entire process starts over again with a new pool. Bettors once again join the fray to tray and win this elusive bet.

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