Dutch betting, known to most simply as Dutching, is a wagering technique used when a punter has more than one selection in an event. It can be used therefore in horse racing.
The idea is that, no matter which selection wins, there will be some payout from the bets as long as the punter uses carefully calculated stakes according to the different odds offered on each runner.
Dutching Defined and History
In terms of the etymology, this betting term is related to ‘going Dutch’, i.e., in a restaurant, but has nothing to do with the Netherlands.
In the 1920’s glory days of the mob in the USA, gangster Arthur Flegenheimer worked as an accountant for Al Capone. He was known as ‘Dutch’ and he developed an idea to get ahead of the bookies at the racetrack, the technique then being named after him.
Now although Flegenheimer’s life was ended in 1935 in true mob style, his betting technique and indeed its dedication to him lives on.
You may have heard of him under a different name: Dutch Schultz.
Dutching may have been frowned upon back in the day, especially given where it came from, but these days it is regarded as a completely fair, absolutely legitimate betting technique used by millions of people around the world. Put simply; it involves betting on more than one selection in the same event in order to gain a profit.
The basic premise is simple enough. The technique helps punters to reduce loss risk, but for it to work well it needs to have some maths applied. Staking then right amount of money on each selection is crucial, while of course within horse racing it means picking out the right horses in the first place.
Dutching does not completely eliminate the possibility of losing money. Even when multiple horses are backed at carefully selected stakes, there is always the chance that something else wins and scuppers the bet entirely.
Using Dutching in Horse Racing
So, you know the basic technique now. It’s important to remember here though that dutching isn’t on its own a system to make you money with no possibility of losing.
Your horse racing knowledge will still need to be sharp.
This is not a way to back every horse in the race, this means betting on certain horses in the race.
Those who bet on racing regularly will know that, even when confident about one particular horse, you often see one, two, three or even more horses in the same race you believe could also win. This is where dutching comes in very handy.
It differs from ‘arb’ betting which means backing every runner in the race, and also having a ‘saver’ which means having one main bet and a smaller one just to recoup stakes or make a small profit.
For this exercise, we’re betting on a typical eight-runner horse race.
Having gone through the form, we reckon the top three in the market are rock-solid and we make an informed decision that we believe the race will go to one of those three horses.
We’re willing to stake £100 here, split between the three.
We can go for equal stakes if the odds on all three horses are the same, but that is not the case here and in fact rarely is. So, we need to work out how much to put on each horse to make the bet pay no matter which one wins, if indeed any of them win.
Here’s the race in question:
We reckon the race will go to either Ready Reckoner, Strike Alliance or Outrace. At the odds listed, here’s how the calculation works:
- £42.22 on Ready Reckoner @ 7/4 to return £116.11
- £30.96 on Strike Alliance @ 11/4 to return £116.10
- £26.82 on Outrace @ 10/3 to return £116.22
So, if we’re right that one of these three horses wins, then we are always returning just over £116, meaning a little more than £16 on top of our stake. You can use any of the readily available Dutching calculators online to help you work out the split on the stakes.
Some will think this doesn’t represent a good enough return.
The fact is however that you can increase your stakes when Dutching based on the fact you are much more likely to win.
So, if you had wanted to back Ready Reckoner alone you may have been willing to stake, say £40. That would yield £70 on top of your stake if the horse won. But if the bookmakers are right then you’d have a winning chance of around 38%.
Backing all three of these horses means a winning chance of much closer to 90%, statistically speaking, based on these odds.
Narrowing the Field Further
The above example is very realistic. The fact is however that Dutching isn’t a magic wand. The more work you can do in terms of form study and the likes, narrowing horse racing fields down, the better chance you will have.
Imagine then that we really didn’t like the second favourite. We’ve decided that we want to back just two horses from our example race for the same £100. Here’s how that would look:
- £61.16 on Ready Reckoner @ 7/4 to return £168.19
- £38.84 on Outrace @ 10/3 to return £168.31
This time, the expected win for a £100 stake is more than £68. The fewer selections, the better. You will lose more bets the fewer selections you have though, naturally, so always add that into calculations.
Never throw horses in just to make your Dutch bet statistically more likely to succeed. Likewise, don’t take selections out just because the bigger numbers looks sweeter. If you think a horse has a strong chance of winning, it should be included.
Some bets, even when Dutching, will lose. There’s little we can do about that. The winning amount on each one is also potentially minimal as you can see. However, the point is that your wins can be more frequent when Dutching and we think this is a genuinely good technique to use to see steady, long-term success in racing.