The original football pools were almost like a forerunner to the National Lottery, with the chance to get rich quick proving irresistible to the nation. Winners became millionaires overnight and many ended up being mini-celebrities either due to their success… or because of their subsequent fall from grace. Just ask Viv Nicholson.
Their heyday was in a different era, with reps going door to door to collect people’s coupons and their money creating something of a social aspect to the activity, but all good things come to an end as they say.
Whilst the football pools still exist their popularity has dropped significantly, but in recent years some new pools-style products have hit the scene and grown massively in popularity.
The concept of pool betting can be applied in a number of ways, but the basic principle is that instead of fixed-odds determining how much you would win from a successful bet, the payout is determined by how much money was staked on that market and by how many winners there are.
In some countries, notably France, Australia and the USA, this form of betting is the standard. Another name for it is pari-mutuel betting, and whilst the bookies will give an estimate of what the odds might eventually be, your exact returns are not known until after the event.
The total amount taken on the event is first subject to any taxes or fees, then the operator – be that the bookie, government or whoever is running the betting – take their cut before the remaining pool of cash is divided proportionately among those who backed the winner according to how much they wagered. This way, those who staked the most win the most.
Coral launched their Football Jackpot with great fanfare at the beginning of the 2013-14 football season, and a very tasty £1m jackpot could be won for just a £1 stake. The odds of winning are significantly better than the National Lottery, and although £1m isn’t as much as many lotto jackpots the entry is cheaper, your chances of winning are much higher, and you have a lot more control over your chances – not to mention the fun you will have watching the games unfold over the weekend.
The Coral Football Jackpot requires players to predict the outcome of 15 pre-selected games each weekend, with most of those normally coming from the Premier League and the Championship. You just select which side you think will win, or if it will be a draw, and then sit back with your fingers crossed and watch the games hopefully go your way.
Naturally, with 15 games to predict there is a large dose of luck needed to win, but you can improve your chances by selecting more than one result on the toughest games, though naturally, this increases the stake each time.
Alternatively, you can do the equivalent of a lucky dip and let Coral choose for you. Interestingly – for the mathematicians at least – the odds of winning via a lucky dip are almost identical to your chances of winning the lottery jackpot: one in 14,348,907 (compared to just under one in 14m for the lottery). Of course, the reason we say your chances of winning the Coral Football Jackpot are so much better is that your picks aren’t random. Each week there are several teams on the coupon whose odds (and form, etc.) suggest their chances of winning are much better than the one in three picking at random gives you.
The Coral Football Jackpot reached a staggering £5m+ in December 2014 after numerous rollovers, and when it was eventually won four lucky winners went home with more than £1.3m each. From just a £1 stake, we’d say that’s not a bad weekend’s football betting.
The minimum jackpot is £100,000 which is certainly not to be sniffed at, but with the difficulty of predicting five games it quickly rolls over to much higher amounts, whilst there are also consolation prizes for getting 13 or 14 out of 15 and these too can be in the tens of thousands of pounds.
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