Dead Heat Rules - A Guide to Calculating Your Returns

Updated: 23994 Other

Following a question on the golf forum I thought I would put thisup as a permanent point of reference for someone struggling withthe dead heat rules. Those followers of horse racing I'm sure aremore familiar with the dead heat rules

Dead Heat Rules - A Guide to Calculating Your Returns
Darren Brett Tipster Competition Manager

Horse Racing, greyhounds and snooker specialist with thirty years experience of writing about sport across multiple platforms. A QPR and Snooker fan

Following a question on the golf forum I thought I would add a permanent point of reference for someone struggling with the dead heat rules in relation to the settlement of sports bets.

Those followers of the sport of kings are generally more familiar with horse racing dead heat rules as they do occasionally pop up.

Here is how a couple of online bookmakers explain the dead heat rule.

Betfair: A dead heat is calculated by dividing the STAKE proportionally between the number of winners in the event. 

Coral: In a dead heat the STAKE money is divided by the number of winners.

Horse racing

So simply two horses finish in a dead heat and you've backed one of them

Let's say you're on at 5-1 with £10. If the horse won your return would be:

£10 * 5 = £50 + Stake (£10) = £60.

So with a dead heat of 2 runners, your stake is divided by 2, so you would have £5 on the bet at the same price.  

£5 * 5 =£25 + Stake (£5) =£30

Our betting school article on understanding bookmakers will give you more valuable insight into their workings, and how they calculate odds and returns. 

Dead Heat Rules

Always make sure you are aware of how many places are being paid when striking your bet.

Golf Dead Heats

Golf ties work in exactly the same way, although obviously not for first place, there are no dead heats for first place in Golf. 

This would be if you were on a golfer each way or say a top 10 finish.

So keeping it simple to start, you've backed a golfer.


£10 each way at 20-1, who finishes in a two-way tie for 5th. 

The calculation is very similar to the above. 

Although you have to calculate the each-way odds first, so 20-1 at ¼ odds is 5-1.

£10 * 5 = £50 + stake = £60, then divide by two again so a return of £30.

Now if it was a 3-way tie then simply divide the return (£60) by 3.

A four-way tie by 4 and so on. 

Golf gets a little more complicated though as you might get a 3 way tie for 4th. 

So here you have two of the places giving a return (e.g. 4th & 5th) and one not (6th).

In which case you again calculate the standard return, i.e. £60 in our example, then divide that by the number of golfers who tied, and multiply it by the number of places available. 

£60 / 3 * 2 = £40 Return.

So for example an 8-way tie for 3rd would be:

£60 / 8 * 3 = £22.50 Return.

The problem with dead heats is that it will quickly reduce the profit you make on a bet, e.g. in that last example you profit would be just £2.50 after taking into account your original stake of £20.

So the simple formula to remember is:

Calculate return as normal / divide by the number of ties *number of place finishes available.

If you are ever in doubt of a return on golf then all the bookmakers have clear explanations via their terms and conditions. 

Further info on the inner workings of bookmakers is available at the betting school.

I hope that makes life clearer for you and feel free to comment away if you want something further clarified.

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