The combination bet in horse track betting is an encompassing type of exotic bet. In the combination wager, several contingencies must happen for the bet to succeed. If any one part of your wager fails to come through, you lose the bet and all the money wagered on your chosen combination.

Gamblers who make the more complicated combination bets tend to think they have a race figured out, or else they tend to enjoy being paid big money for the occasional long shot they hit on. This can be a frustrating horse racing bet, because if (for example) you play the trifecta and you pick the winner and the 2nd-place finisher, you’ll still lose if you don’t hit on the 3rd-place horse. That’s a brutal way to lose a parimutuel wager.

Combination Bet and Exotic Horse Racing Bets

These terms might confuse you, since a combination bet and an exotic bet might look the same at first glance. A combination bet still includes a bet on one horse, so it’s a combination straight bet. An exotic bet involves more than one horse–and sometimes more than one race–and is a great deal more involved than the simple combination wager.

Types of Combination Bets and Wagers

There are three combination bets: the “Across the Board” bet, the Win/Place bet, and the Place/Show bet. Across-the-Board bets are wagers for a particular horse to win, place, or show. If the horse finishes in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place, you win the wager. The higher your horse finishes, the more bets pay off and the more you win.

With the win/place bet, you win if the horse you select wins either first or second place. With the place/show bet, you’ll win if the horse you bet on finishes either wins, places, or shows, though you don’t get the big 1st-place payout you would if your horse finishes first and you had made the Across The Board bet.