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In the United Kingdom, the football pools , often referred to as "the pools", is a betting pool based on predicting the outcome of top-level association football matches taking place in the coming week. The pools are typically cheap to enter, with the potential to win a very large sum of money. Entries were traditionally submitted through the post or via collector agents, although it is now possible to play online.
Agents would have a specific area in which they collected entries; traditionally, they were paid a set share of every ticket [ clarification needed ] they sold. The traditional and most popular game was the Treble Chance, now branded the Classic Pools game. Players pick 10, 11 or 12 football games from the offered fixtures to finish as a draw, in which each team scores at least one goal. The Player with the most accurate predictions wins the top prize, or a share of it if more than one Player has these predictions.
Littlewoods , Vernons and Zetters were the largest pools companies. The pools business declined after the introduction of the National Lottery in They offer other small stake, high prize games such as Premier 10 and Jackpot Players were given a list of football matches set to take place over the coming week and attempted to pick a line of eight of them, whose results would be worth the most points by the scoring scheme; traditionally by crossing specific boxes on a printed coupon.
A proportion of the players' combined entry fees was distributed as prizes among those whose entries were worth the highest scores. These games are all offered on-line. Entries were traditionally made by post, or via agents or collectors who received a percentage usually Main collectors, who appointed the agents, delivered the forms and payments to a regional office, which were then dispatched to the companies' central offices.
Legally the football pools collectors were agents of the entrants, not the pools company. Business for pools collectors was sustained by periodic canvassing, where company agents knocked on doors in an area of a town or housing estate. Many large factories had at least one employee, who as a sideline, collected coupons from fellow workers.
Nowadays, a variety of football pools games can be played on the Internet. These include the classic pools game that traditionally includes a large number of fixtures, spanning the weekend. This is the same as the old 'Treble Chance' which has been renamed and rebranded under new ownership. New pools game variants include Jackpot 12, Premier 10 and Soccer 6; these are all games in which the player must correctly predict home win , draw or away win for twelve, ten and six mainly Premier League football matches.
These new pool games all offer large estimated pool sizes with low stakes; it is possible for people to win tens of thousands of pounds, staking as little as 50p. Scoring schemes have varied over the years. The current Classic Pools game, based on the old Treble Chance game, uses a scoring scheme which awards three points to score draws matches where both team scored the same, strictly positive, number of goals , two points to no-score draws matches where neither team scored a goal and one point to both home wins matches where the home team scored more goals than the away team and away wins matches where the away team scored more goals than the home team.
The most famous historical scoring scheme differentiated between home wins and away wins, awarding one and a half points for games resulting in away wins. A scoring scheme used for only one year, split score draws into two categories, awarding three points only for matches ending 1—1 and two and a half points for higher-scoring score draws. The total score of each line would be calculated, up to a maximum of 24 points.
The highest scoring line achieved by any player in that particular week's competition would be declared to be worth the top dividend , with a large proportion of the prize pool awarded to the players responsible for submitting the highest-scoring lines. Large football pools would award second and subsequent dividends, splitting smaller proportions of the prize pool among players who had submitted lines scoring nearly as many points; at its peak, the Littlewoods Treble Chance game would offer up to six dividends.
During the Northern hemisphere summer, when football leagues were not in operation in the United Kingdom, competitions were based on the results of football matches taking place in Australia. The other pools games currently provided by The Football Pools are based on entrants predicting the outcome; of results, scores and events in a variety of matches; rather than the awarding of points.
Matches which were postponed would often have their results adjudicated, for the sake of the football pools results, by a board known as the Pools Panel; which was formed in when a particularly cold winter scrapped football for three weeks running. It was rumoured that their remuneration was considerably in excess of the national wage of the time. The panel meets in private session each Saturday from November to April.
Its decisions are released once all ongoing matches have entered half time, but before any final results are known. Until recently [ when? Grids marking the points totals per game were sometimes published, against which a pools coupon could be aligned to read off the scores. The BBC television programme Grandstand used to broadcast the winning match numbers and any Pools Panel verdicts as part of its " Final Score " segment in the late afternoon.
Only three people have so far announced the classified football results on the programme since its inception in With scores being read out on radio and television it was also common to relay the message "claims by telegram" for days when around eight score-draws occurred and thus few players expected to achieve maximum points , through "claims by registered mail only" for days when rather more winners were expected, to "no claims" when there were likely to be so many claimants that the mail would have been overwhelmed.
With the arrival of internet-based pools games, the need for players to score their own coupons was removed. Automatic scoring and payout is now standard on all internet-based pools games. Typically a fraction of a penny would be charged for each line entered, though players often had the option to play each line at a higher stake and so receive a higher share of the pool should their line prove a winner.
Accordingly, players would usually submit many different lines in a single entry. Popular ways to do this were "full perm" entries, where 10 or 11, or more matches were selected and every possible combination of eight matches selected from the total was entered as a single line. Note that the term "perm" was used despite the relevant mathematical operation being combination rather than permutation , as the order in which the eight matches were selected was irrelevant.
The pools companies, many daily newspapers and the sporting press also issued "plans", which were subsets of full perms: The largest prizes would be awarded when only one line was entered scoring the maximum number of points; typically this would occur when only eight or nine matches ended in score draws, so only one player would have the line scoring the maximum. These biggest jackpot prizes could be several hundred thousand pounds, sometimes even more than a million.
The story of her subsequent extravagance and eventual bankruptcy was eventually made into a musical named after her assertion. At the other extreme, payouts of less than a pound were quite common, as lower dividends when many entries won. Most players could expect to receive at least one low payout if they played for long enough. With the arrival of the latest online pools games such as Premier 10 and Super 6, the overall pool size is less than the classic pools game, but the odds of winning a major prize are increased because fewer predictions are required to complete a coupon and, also, fewer individuals play each coupon.
Some notable UK football pools winners: Competitions for predicting the results of football matches are older than the football league itself. For example, the Cricket and Football Field newspaper, in its edition of September 10th, , offered a prize of one guinea to "the Competitor who predicts the results" of four football matches to be played the following Saturday. Readers were invited to cut out and fill in a coupon printed in the newspaper, which had to be sent to the newspaper's offices by the Friday before the matches.
If more than one "Couponnier" predicted all four exact scores correctly, the prize would be shared between them. There was no charge for entry beyond postage; in fact readers were allowed to submit multiple "coupons" together, presumably in order to encourage them to purchase multiple copies of the newspaper. Littlewoods football pools was founded in by John Moores. There was also Sherman's Pools of Cardiff, taken over by Littlewoods in The Treble Chance game was inaugurated in ; prior to this the Penny Points and Penny Results were the most popular games.
The Treble Chance was popular because it offered a potential large jackpot at a time when no other form of gambling in the United Kingdom did; premium bonds were not offered until and never offered a jackpot which was as high. The popularity of football pools in the UK declined dramatically after the introduction of the National Lottery in , which offered larger jackpots.
Some pools offer additional ways to win, based on scores of football matches at half-time, or football matches in which a particular number of goals is scored. The football pools did not fall under gambling legislation specifically the Betting and Gaming Act and its predecessors because they claimed to be competitions of skill, rather than chance; however, their rules typically stated that all transactions were "binding in honour only".
Typically, between one-quarter and half of the entry fees taken would be returned to the players as prizes. It resumed its traditional business afterwards. The company became part of Littlewoods Gaming, a division of Sportech plc. Sportech bought Zetters in and Vernons in , and announced plans to rebrand the competition as The New Football Pools, launching online at footballpools.
Sportech sold the business to private equity firm OpCapita in Other games offered by football pools companies take the form of "8 homes", "4 draws", "5 aways" or the like, where lines consisting of a smaller number of matches are selected and a line is deemed to have won if all the selected matches result in home wins, away wins or draws irrelevant of the size of the draw respectively. The cost per line is generally higher; because these attract far fewer players, prizes are generally lower.
Some football pools companies additionally organised lotteries , betting on lottery results or spot the ball  competitions at various points. In predicting "Homes and Aways", players typically mark more than, for example, 8 homes they might mark 13 and thus their stake increases by the mathematics of combinations. Each line is called a "perm" "permutation" even though it is actually a mathematical combination not a permutation.
It is also possible to reduce the number of "perms" by taking the most likely and marking them as "bankers" i. Similar football pools competitions are frequently known as toto competitions on Continental Europe. While the principle of requiring entrants to predict the results of football matches in advance remains the same, the details are fundamentally different. The name toto derives from totalisator machines which are used to process the parimutuel betting involved.
Typically, a list of 13 matches for the coming week will be given. Pools entrants have to select the result of each one, whether it will be a home win, an away win or neither of these, typically by marking each match with either a 1, a 2 or an N sometimes X or 0. All entries submitting 13 correct predictions will be declared to have won the top prize; sometimes, prizes for fewer correct predictions are also awarded.
The Intertoto Cup football competition was inaugurated by the football pools companies of central Europe to provide matches for their toto coupons during the summer months. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about soccer pools. For pools as found with other football, see betting pool. Football Pools. Archived from the original on 22 August Retrieved 21 October Retrieved The Times.
The Pools Panel is 50 years old Daily Mail. Retrieved 23 March The Guardian. When Saturday Comes. Retrieved 25 March
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In the United Kingdom, the football pools , often referred to as "the pools", is a betting pool based on predicting the outcome of top-level association football matches taking place in the coming week. The pools are typically cheap to enter, with the potential to win a very large sum of money. Entries were traditionally submitted through the post or via collector agents, although it is now possible to play online. Agents would have a specific area in which they collected entries; traditionally, they were paid a set share of every ticket [ clarification needed ] they sold. The traditional and most popular game was the Treble Chance, now branded the Classic Pools game. Players pick 10, 11 or 12 football games from the offered fixtures to finish as a draw, in which each team scores at least one goal. The Player with the most accurate predictions wins the top prize, or a share of it if more than one Player has these predictions. Littlewoods , Vernons and Zetters were the largest pools companies. The pools business declined after the introduction of the National Lottery in They offer other small stake, high prize games such as Premier 10 and Jackpot Players were given a list of football matches set to take place over the coming week and attempted to pick a line of eight of them, whose results would be worth the most points by the scoring scheme; traditionally by crossing specific boxes on a printed coupon. A proportion of the players' combined entry fees was distributed as prizes among those whose entries were worth the highest scores. These games are all offered on-line. Entries were traditionally made by post, or via agents or collectors who received a percentage usually