Do Stop At Winner Bets Still Work?

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One of the popular bets, when I got involved with betting, were Stop At A Winner or S.A.W bets. I’ve not really seen mention of them for a number of years now. Being the curious type, lets answer the question of “do stop at a winner bets still work?”

As this is a rather outdated bet, you may not have heard of it. There’s nothing complicated about this method, it’s simply a series of bets, with a simple staking plan.

The bet was ideal for those that work, as at the time, the internet was unheard of. You could drop your betting slip off before work, and collect your winnings on the way home from work. Those were back in the day, when you couldn’t see the counter for cigarette smoke. Fortunately things have progressed somewhat.

About The Bet

The Stop At A Winner bet can be used with most sports, that have sequential off times. It’s primary use was with horse racing, but there’s no reason why greyhounds or football couldn’t be utilized too.

Due to the nature of writing the bet on a betting slip, the bet didn’t have too many selections on. It also had to be accurate, as the bookie may have voided the bet.

Now just to see, I placed a S.A.W bet with my local Paddy Power recently. The bet won, but the guy had never seen this bet before, and had a devils job working out the returns. He said, he didn’t think they could accept them anymore!

Well, I’ve dug around, and all the high street bookies still accept them. It’s actually in their terms of business.

Anyway, without boring you, lets take a look at how you’d construct the bet for writing on a betting slip.

Newmarket 2.00 Dobbin 6/4 £1

Market Rasen 2.20 Honest Bob 15/8 £2

Leicester 3.00 I’m Free 7/2 £4

Kempton 6,10 Lucky Boy 2/1 £8


You could use any amount of selections you wish, but four is about right. It’s always good to get a price if you can too. That way you’ll know what your bet should return, and chances are, the odds will shorten before the off.

In this example, I’ve added a simple staking plan, but of course you could use your own.

How Does It Work

You’ll see the bet has been written in time order (this is how bookmakers settle the bet).

At 2.00, the Newmarket race sets off. If Dobbin Wins, the bet stops, as a winner has been achieved.

We would win £1.50 for our pound bet, and we’d receive our stake for all bets back. Return £16.50.

If Dobbin lost, the next bet runs at 2.20. If Honest Bob wins, the bet stops, as a winner has been achieved.

We would win £3.75 for our two pound bet, and we’d receive the £2, £4 and £8 stakes back. Return £17.75

If Honest Bob lost, the next bet runs at 3,00. If I’m Free wins, the bet stops, as a winner has been achieved.

We would win £14 for our four pound bet, and we’d receive the £4 and £8 stakes back. Return £26.00

If I’m Free lost, the next bet runs at 6.10. If Lucky Boy wins, the bet stops, as a winner has been achieved.

We would win £16 for our eight pound bet, and we’d receive the £8 stake back. Return £24.00

If all selections lost, we’d lose our £15 Total Stake.

As you can see, provided we get just one winner from four possible selections, we have a fighting chance of making a profit.

What’s The Reasoning

It’s a general rule, that between 30%-33% of favorites win horse races statistically. If we were to choose just one horse to bet on, the chances are, It has a one in three chance of winning.

If we had 3 favorites as selections, we have effectively achieved a three in three chance. We would expect one selection to win for us. Four selections just give an extra margin of error.

If our odds are evens or better, the simple 1,2,4,8 staking, will recover a loss and turn a profit (provided that one of them wins).

I’ve found that non handicap races, with the least amount of runners, whose favorite is priced at evens or better, are ideal contenders for stop at a winner bets. It’s quite a logical way of putting the odds more in your favor.

Remember, all we need is just one winner from the 4 selections we’ve selected.

Summing Up

I have fond memories of this bet, and I believe it still has its place as a viable betting method. Like most bets, it his good days and bad, but it’s all about being consistent.

Although the bet was designed for use in actual betting shops, you could use software and bet on the exchanges if you don’t have a bookmaker close by. I believe that Bet Engine would do this job nicely. It covers both horses and greyhounds. You can even get a 7 day free trial, so that you can test the strategy out.

Although I like using cash in a bookies, I recommend that you paper trade initially. In betting, if it can go wrong, it usually will. At least make mistakes without real stakes as you start out. You can always boost your stakes later as your confidence builds.

Although this is just a short post on stop at a winner. You could use the process with each way bets or place bets too. Just be mindful that you may need an alternative staking strategy.

In answer to the question, yes, stop at a winner bets do still work!

I hope this has given you a few ideas, I’m sure you’ll think of ways to make it better for you. If you’d be so kind, why not comment below, and let us know how this is doing for you.

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