The word Bookie is a slang version of the original word Bookmaker. Bookmakers are turf accountants who help gamblers in placing wise bets. They accept bets and pay off amounts to the bettors who win the bets. Contrary to the popular belief, a bookie can be both, an individual or an organization dedicated to bookmaking practices. Since it is the job of bookies to help minimize your potential losses, be sure to use the best bookies offers that are available from the UK’s leading bookmakers.

The Role of Bookies

A bookie’s role consists of three main responsibilities. These include setting the odds, accepting bets, and paying off the winners. Let’s take a closer look at each of these in a step by step breakdown.

Setting the Odds:

Odds are chances of occurrence of an event or something happening. Every event has a well-defined set of outcomes. For example, tossing a coin is an event. It has 2 well-defined outcomes: Head or Tail. The chances of getting either of the two outcomes are 50/50. Similarly, rolling dice is an event which has 6 possible outcomes. These include getting a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 on the die. Therefore, indicating that the chance of getting a ‘4’ on a single die roll is 1/6.

 A bookie’s role, in betting, is to determine the amount he is ready to pay off as profit, in case a bet is won by the bettor, against the amount originally staked. This process is called determining and setting the odds. For example, a bookie determines that the odds of a bet are 1:4. This means, when an event such as a horse race takes place, the winners will receive $1 for every $4 they wage. This also means that probably the horse or object the bet is being placed upon is a hot favorite. Therefore, the bettor needs to stake more to win a profit. The total amount a bettor receives after winning the bet is equal to Profit+ the original amount staked. This means a payout of $5 on the bookie’s part.

Odds in betting are expressed in 3 basic forms. The fractional form, decimal form, and money line form. The fractional odds are written as 2/1 and read as the ratio of the profit won to the initial bet.  This indicates that if a person decides to wager $10 on a horse racing event and the odds are set 2/1 then, in case they win the bet, they will receive $20 as profit and redeem their original $10 amount too, making the total payout amount equal to $30. Fractional odds are most commonly used in the United Kingdom.

Decimal odds are expressed as the total return a bettor receives in case they win a bet. Fractional odds can be converted into decimal odds by simply dividing the numerator with the denominator and adding 1. In this example’s case, 2 divided by 1 equals to 2.00, then add 1 and you get 2.00+1.00 = 3.00. This result shows the total return a bettor will earn in terms of decimal points. So, if a bettor places $10 and wins the bet, their total return equals to 10 x 3.00 = $30.00. Decimal odds are widely used in the European region.

Money line odds are used by Americans and simply express the odds a number with either a + or a – sign in front of it. The plus sign denotes that the bet is being placed on a non-favorable team or the underdog while the minus sign indicated that the bet is being placed on a favorite team. Hence a +300 odd would mean that a bettor would have to stake $100 on an underdog to win a profit of $200 and get the total payout amount of $300 (Profit + amount waged). Similarly, a -300 odd would mean that bettors need to stake $300 to win a return of $100 making the total payout amount $400.

Implementing this scenario to our example reveals that since our bettor is placing less and taking out more, probably our bettor is placing bets on an underdog. Therefore, our odds will be represented as +300 where a $100 would have earned our bettor $200 profit. No matter which form of expressing odds is used, all reflect the same notion that for every $1 spent $2 can be won and the payout amount remains the same.

Accepting the Bets:

Once a bookie determines and sets the odds for a bet, now is the task of finding bettors and convincing them to place bets. Bookies try to balance both sides of the outcomes, winning and losing, and refrain from placing all bets on one outcome only. This does not only prevent bettors from losing significant amounts but also allows the bookie to earn some margin which is called ‘juice’ or ‘vig’. Once all bets have been placed and amounts waged collected by the bookies, they wait for the outcome.

Paying Out the Winners:

The last task of a bookie is to pay winners their due amount. Usually, bookies pay off the due amount immediately. The amount paid by bookie depends on the odds they have set. Under ideal conditions, when two bettors place a $100 bet on an event, each one of them pools in $100 thus making the total amount $200. If bettor A wins, he gets $200 while bettor B loses his $100. However, when individuals place bets via bookies, they do not receive a 100% amount in profit. Bookies charge a percentage of profit as their fees. This means when a bettor has won the bet, he is not going to receive a $200, instead, they may receive $180. This indicates a bookie’s fee of 10%. Bookie’s set the odds in such a way that it allows them to earn some margin for themselves too. In this case, they must have set the odds at 1.80 in decimal form and 80/100 in a fractional form where $80 is the profit earned and $100 is the total amount waged. This fraction can be reduced to 4/5.


The reason why bookies put so much effort in setting odds is that they are not much of a risk-taker and earn money off of other people’s profits. Setting the odds requires proper research which is often conducted by statisticians and involves complex statistical models. Such studies empower bookies to make educated and informed predictions about each outcome and set the odds accordingly. Consequently, helping them in guiding their clients about which bets to take and which to leave.