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How to speak like a bookie

What will you hold if a punt wins you a pony?

Do you know your scouts from your sharps? What will you hold if a punt wins you a pony? Have you any idea where beards lay bankers and wise guys lay goliaths?

If you’re unsure to the answers of any of these questions, then you’re probably not a bookie. The gambling elite of Britain have a distinct and diverse language, with sayings and slang for even the simplest of bets, amounts and animals in the game.

But if you feel like you’re on the back foot, hold your horses and have a read of our glossary of some of the more obscure betting terms.

Beard: A friend or acquaintance whose is employed or persuaded to place a bet in order to conceal the true identity of the bettor.

Bismarck: An initial favourite who many of the bookmakers believe will not actually win – in fact, they believe he will completely sink, or ‘go down’ like the German battleship.

Carpet: A prospect with 3/1 odds.

Chalk: Another term for the favourite.

Drift: Odds that lengthen are often said to be ‘on the drift’.

Exotic: Any bet other than a straight bet or parley – something with a more complex composition. This is also called a prop or proposition.

Goliath: A Goliath is an incredibly large and complex bet. In total, it consists of 247 bets involving 8 selections in different events. The bet includes 28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 fourfolds, 56 fivefolds, 28 sixfolds, 8 sevenfolds and an accumulator. Not for the fainthearted.

Jolly: The favourite in a race.

Kite: British slang for a cheque.

Monkey: The sum of £500.

Nap: The competitor that racing correspondents and tipsters nominate as their strongest selection of the day or meeting.

Pony: The sum of £25

Scout: A person who waits for what he thinks is an unusual strong wager.

Tic-Tac: A secret and intricate sign language used by bookmakers at racecourses to indicate changing prices or odds of a horse.

Trixie: A Trixie is a multi-event bet consisting of four individual bets involving selections in at least three different events.

Yankee: A multiple bet consisting of 11 bets (six doubles, four trebles and one four-fold) on four selections in different events.

Further Reading