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Paying 4 Places Instead Of 3 - When Does It Happen?

Paying 4 Places Instead Of 3 - When Does It Happen?

When it comes to betting on horse racing, one of the terms that often crops up is "paying 4 places instead of 3". But what does this mean, and when does it happen? Let's delve into the details. 

What Does Paying 4 Places Mean?

Typically, when you place an each-way bet on a horse race, the bookmaker pays out if your horse finishes in one of the top three positions (i.e. podium positions: 1st, 2nd or 3rd). However, sometimes a bookmaker may extend the payout to extra places, typically just the fourth place – hence, "paying 4 places". 

How Many Places Do Bookies Pay Out On?

The number of places a bookmaker pays out on can vary, and it often depends on the number of runners in the race. For smaller races, bookies might only pay out on the first two places, while for larger races, they may extend this to the top four or even five places. 

In some instances, bookmakers offer "extra place" promotions. This is when they pay out on more places than usual (i.e. beyond 1st, 2nd and 3rd), providing bettors with an extra opportunity for their bet to win. 

4th Place Payout - How Many Horses Have To Run?

For a bookmaker to pay out on the 4th place, there typically needs to be a minimum of 16 runners in the race. However, this can change depending on the type of race and the specific terms and conditions set by the bookmaker. 

This is to make the bet worth it for the bookmaker. If they offered an extra place bet on a smaller race, then the odds are more in the punters' favour as there is less competition than if more horses are running. Hence, 4th place payouts are typically only offered on larger races. 

When Do Bookies Pay Out 4 Places Instead Of 3?

Bookmakers tend to pay out 4 places instead of 3 during high-profile races or large horse racing festivals. These include events such as the Cheltenham Festival or Royal Ascot. 

During these events, the different bookmakers are competing for customers, and offering to pay out an extra place is one way they can help stand out amongst the others. It's worth noting that these promotions are usually available to all customers. 

Please remember to always check the specific terms and conditions of each bet before placing it so you know what you are signing up for. This includes checking the number of places a bookmaker is paying out on and the minimum number of runners required for the extra place payout. 


As a bettor, paying 4 places instead of 3 can provide a great opportunity as there is an additional position covered by the classic Each Way bet. However, it's essential to understand when this is available and how it works to make the most of these opportunities. 

By keeping an eye on the number of runners in a race and the specific promotions offered by bookmakers, you can find such bets. 

Remember, betting should always be done responsibly. Never bet more than you can afford to lose, and never chase your losses.