Watching the Kentucky Derby—and cheering for your favorite horse—is an enjoyable time even if you don’t have a vested interest in the outcome.
But add a wager or two, and you’ll double the fun while quite possibly tripling or quadrupling your money.
If you’re organizing a Kentucky Derby party for your friends and family—and if you live in one of the many states where social gambling is legal—you can give everyone a rooting interest in the outcome by playing a simple Kentucky Derby betting game.
What is the revamped Auction Pools Kentucky Derby betting game?
More than a hundred years ago, “auction pools” were a popular way to wager on the outcome of horse races. In essence, every horse was put up for “auction,” and bettors bid on the horse(s) they wished to wager on. The highest bidder won the horse, and after every entrant had been auctioned in this manner, the winning bids were placed into a winner-takes-all pool. Following the race, whichever bettor had purchased the winning horse won the whole pot.
With a few modifications, this old-style approach can be revamped to fit the classic win/place/show formula so prevalent in modern racing.
To help centralize your tickets, consider using TwinSpires’ unique BetShare tool. BetShare allows someone to pay for the full ticket cost and then split the cost into ‘shares’ to offer your eligible friends and family. Thus they can purchase a share of the original ticket. Learn more about TwinSpires BetShare here.
These step-by-step instructions will guide you through the process:
1) Agree on a budget for every player
To place all the participants on even terms, choose an amount everyone is comfortable wagering, and prohibit players from bidding beyond this limit. Let’s say you allot a $75 budget to each player. This sum can be spent in any manner they wish—they can spend the entire amount purchasing one horse in one pool, or split their budget to acquire many horses in several pools, so long as their total expenditure doesn’t exceed $75.
2) Auction every horse in the win, place, and show pools
Make a chart listing every horse in the Kentucky Derby field, followed by three columns for the Win Pool, Place Pool, and Show Pool. Just like with real wagers, a player who buys a horse in the Show Pool will go home a winner if their horse finishes first, second, or third. A player dabbling in the place pool will cash a bet if their runner finishers first or second, while an ambitious bettor playing the win pool will only prevail if their chosen horse actually wins the roses.
Beginning with the show pool, auction off one horse at a time until you’ve run through the entire list of entries. Then do the same with the place pool and win pool. Don’t worry if some players wind up with a few dollars left over at the end of the process.
By the end of the auction, your chart should look something like this:
|Horse||Show Pool ($270)||Place Pool ($276)||Win Pool ($354)|
|Tiz the Law||Ron, $37||Kellie, $31||Ed, $51|
|Honor A. P.||Vance, $27||Joe, $29||Keeler, $35|
|Authentic||Scott, $21||James, $18||Vance, $22|
|Art Collector||Keeler, $22||Dick, $22||Joe, $28|
|King Guillermo||Keeler, $10||Kellie, $13||Vance, $14|
|Uncle Chuck||Scott, $21||Adam, $26||James, $24|
|Modernist||Ed, $4||Joe, $4||Dick, $13|
|Ny Traffic||Adam, $14||Joe, $11||Scott, $15|
|Dr Post||Dick, $20||John, $23||Kellie, $25|
|Mischevious Alex||Joe, $3||Ron, $4||Tim, $8|
|Country Grammer||John, $16||James, $15||Adam, $16|
|Enforceable||James, $12||Scott, $9||John, $13|
|Shivaree||Tim, $4||Ron, $8||Adam, $9|
|Max Player||Ed, $10||Dick, $20||Ron, $21|
|Rushie||Tim, $20||Vance, $8||Tim, $20|
|Major Fed||James, $6||Tim, $9||Ed, $10|
|Storm the Court||Tim, $6||Ron, $5||Tim, $8|
|Thousand Words||Adam, $5||Adam, $5||Scott, $5|
|Shared Sense||Keeler, $8||John, $12||John $11|
|Nobel Prize||Scott, $4||Vance, $4||Kellie, $6|
3) Enjoy the race and calculate the payoffs!
With your party game underway, it’s time to settle back and watch the race! When the results are official, check to see which players purchased the top three finishers.
Following the scenario outlined above, imagine Tiz the Law wins the Kentucky Derby, with Honor A. P. finishing second and Art Collector third. In this instance, Ed collects $354 (the entire win pool), Kellie and Joe win $138 (half of the place pool), and Ron, Vance, and Keeler win $90 (one-third of the show pool).
Want to place Derby wagers with your friends in a more formal manner? Sign up for a TwinSpires account and try out Bet Share! A social feature to help friends split the costs and profits of their wagers, Bet Share is a great way for TwinSpires players to join forces and increase their chances of cashing a big payoff.