Exchange: What happens if there is a dead heat?

Dead Heat is a tie between two or, rarely, more runners in a race. Usually, a photo finish can determine the winner, but at times it is too close to call. If there is a Dead Heat, you will win part of your bet and lose part of your bet. A Dead Heat is most common in horse racing and greyhound markets but occur in other sports such as Golf as well.

A Dead Heat is calculated by dividing the stake proportionally between the number of winners in the event. So, in a two-way Dead Heat (2 winners) for example, your return will be half of what it could have been. This can be referred to as half-face value of the bet, or a bet for half the original stake.

For an easy calculation of your profit or loss on a Dead Heat outcome, please find attached a spreadsheet (.xls file) which you might find helpful.


For win markets with two runners tied:

[(Stake / 2) x (Odds - 1)] - (Stake / 2) = your profit/loss

For win markets with more than two runners tied:
[(Stake / No of tied runners) x (Odds - 1)] - [Stake x (No of tied runners - 1) / No of tied runners] = your profit/loss

For place markets:
[(Stake x No of payouts / No of tied runners) x (Odds - 1)] - [Stake x (No of tied runners - No of payouts) / No of tied runners] = your profit/loss

Another easy way to understand the calculations of a Dead Heat is to compare your possibilities of the outcomes: A Dead Heat outcome between two runners will be in the middle of your best and your worst case scenario.


The above calculations are exactly the same for backers and for layers. If you have a lay bet, work the settlement out using the backer’s stake as you would do for the backer and then remember one simple golden rule:
Whatever the backer wins, the layer loses and whatever the backer loses, the layer wins.


Industry Standard
Our Dead Heat rule gives the same payout as if a customer were to bet in a betting shop or online with a traditional bookmaker. The reason that some backers feel this is not the case is because they forget that in a betting shop, they hand their stake over the counter and the amount returned includes the winning half of the stake. On Betfair, they have not paid the losing half of the stake to the layer up front so their profit / loss shown on the statement needs to reflect this.


Example 1 (Back Bet - win market - Dead Heat by two runners):
You backed the horse ‘Red Rum’ with £10 at the price of 4.0. ‘Red Rum’ dead heats for first place:
(Stake / 2) x (Odds - 1) - (Stake / 2) = your profit/loss
(£10 / 2) x (4.0 - 1) - (£10 / 2) = £10 profit

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Example 2 (Back Bet - win market - Dead Heat by two runners):
You backed the favourite ‘Green Pepper’ with £50 at the price of 1.60. ‘Green Pepper’ dead heats for first place:
(Stake / 2) x (Odds - 1) - (Stake / 2) = your profit/loss
(£50 / 2) x (1.60 - 1) - (£50 / 2) = -£10 loss (although your selection wins the race, you occur an overall loss since your odds were less than 2.0)

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Example 3 (Lay Bet - win market - Dead Heat by two runners):
You layed the horse ‘Night Fever’ with £20 at the price of 5.0. ‘Night Fever’ dead heats for first place:
(Stake / 2) x (Odds - 1) - (Stake / 2) = your profit/loss
(£20 / 2) x (5.0 - 1) - (£20 / 2) = £30 loss (£30 profit for the backer)

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Example 4 (Back Bet - win market - Dead Heat by four selections):
You backed ‘Steven Dear’ in a golf tournament with £50 at the price of 11.0. ‘Steven Dear’ dead heats for first place with three other players:
(Stake / No of tied runners) x (Odds - 1) - [Stake x (No of tied runners - 1) / No of tied runners] = your profit/loss
(£50 / 4) x (11.0 - 1) - [£50 x (4 - 1) / 4] = £87.5 profit

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Example 5 (Back Bet - place market (5 to be placed) - Dead Heat by 5):
You backed ‘Steven Dear’ in a golf tournament in a Top5 market with £50 at the price of 5.0. ‘Steven Dear’ dead heats for fourth place with four other players. In this situation, there are 5 players sharing two remaining payout places (4th and 5th place):
(Stake x No of payouts / No of tied runners) x (Odds - 1) - [Stake x (No of tied runners - No of payouts) / No of tied runners] = your profit/loss
(£50 x 2 / 5) x (5.0 - 1) - [£50 x (5 - 2) / 5] = £50 profit