Totepool betting differs from normal betting in that the odds are not fixed but depend on the amount of money wagered and the number of people who backed the winning horse. This type of bet is known as parimutuel betting and the total amount bet on the race is divided between the winners after the operator’s fees are taken.

You can place the standard types of bet using totepool, such as win singles, place, each way, tote exacta (a forecast bet) and several others, but the big draw with totepool are the multiple race bets that allow for huge jackpots to be won.

The totescoop6 is offered on Saturdays and to win the main prize you must pick all six winners from the selected races, usually ones being televised from various tracks. If all six of your horses place you will win a share of the place fund, whilst winners of the main prize gain entry into the following week’s bonus fund. Those winners then get a chance to win a huge add-on bonus by picking the winner of a nominated race. Entrance is £2, you can enter as many times as you want with various combinations of horses and given the difficulty of the challenge rollovers often occur, leading to huge prizes on par with the national lottery.

The biggest win came back in March 2009 with a combined win and bonus prize of over £3.5m. Not too shabby, eh? The average win fund in 2012 was over £155,000 from 14 separate wins – more than one per month – showing that, to borrow a phrase, it could be you. If just over £150k isn’t enough then note that the average bonus fund in 2012 was almost £400,000, and was won five times last year.

If you can’t wait till Saturday then check out totejackpot that offers a similar reward but is run every day other than Saturday. The rules are similar but here you have to pick six winners from the first six races at whichever is the nominated meeting. The stake is a little lower at 50p (minimum total bet £1) and while the average win is significantly lower at £31,460 for 2012, the biggest ever win is up there with the scoop6 prize. In a 2011 meeting at Newmarket the totejackpot reached a record pool size of over £2.9m.

With both these jackpot bets you can perm (short for permutations) your selections to increase your chances. This means picking more than one horse in each race but will significantly increase the cost of your total bet. To calculate the cost of your bet multiply the number of horses you have in each leg. So, if you have two horses in each of the six legs your total bet is 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 64.

When the rollovers get particularly monstrous some professional punters will perm several options in each race, spending thousands of pounds, in an attempt to hit the jackpot. For most people though these bets are viewed more like the lottery or the football pools – a bit of fun with a chance of a huge payout if Lady Luck is singing your tune.