When you’re thinking of getting involved in virtual sports from a betting point of view, you may as well take a huge shift from the norm.
The disappointing thing about most virtual sports is that it just can’t remind us enough of the real thing and thus it doesn’t really slake our thirst for horse racing, football or motor racing for example.
With that in mind, getting into something completely new in the virtual world is probably the way to go and for most British backers, trotting would be just that. While still huge in America and run often at the same major tracks as thoroughbred racing, trotting completely alien to regular bettors on these shores.
What is Trotting?
Trotting involves not just horses and jockeys, but horses and ‘drivers’. The horses pull a who-wheeled cart in which the driver sits with the reason for the name of the sport being that this isn’t simply about who is quickest, as the horses are not allowed to sprint.
Instead, they must remain in a trot but do so as quickly as possible. Think of this as racewalking in the Olympics versus running for example.
While we still know this sport as trotting, it is often referred to as harness racing in the States and it is contested by standardbred horses rather than thoroughbreds. Trotting in this case means the horse moving its legs forward in diagonal pairs and so is very different from breaking into a gallop.
The sport itself is fascinating and is very visually pleasing, probably the thing that has made it popular with virtual sports backers in recent years.
Pace and Frequency of Virtual Trotting Events
Each race features eight runners and takes place over one lap of the virtual track. The race will be over in around one minute, with races going off every three minutes all the way throughout the day.
Given that there aren’t many decisions to make with few betting options available and no need to look at any form, times or anything else that would be tangible in the real world, the fact that well over a minute is left after the race result to choose a bet for the following event is more than enough.
In fact, while the screen will always be showing the current race, the next half-dozen or so races scheduled are available to bet on should you need more time to pick out your bet.
What Bet Types Are Available within Virtual Trotting?
Virtual trotting, much like virtual greyhound race, is standardised in as much as there are always the same number of runners per race and as such the betting markets are kept very simple indeed. You can expect to see these betting markets available:
- Race Winner – odds for win purposes are listed next to each runner, though you can also back horses each-way if you prefer. Three places will be made available at 1/5 odds.
- Forecast – betting on the first two home can be done via a straight forecast or a reverse forecast. All odds advertised will remain the same.
- Tricast – much like the above, though this time involving the first three past the line.
- Top 2 or Top 3 Finish – if the forecast or tricast is not quite your thing, you can simply take your horse at reduced odds to finish in the top two or three home.
- Accumulators – as a number of upcoming virtual trotting races will be advertised at any one time by your bookmaker, you can decide to make your bet a multiple and back as many horses as you like in a win or each-way accumulator.
Virtual Trotting Positives and Negatives
With any sport and any game, in this case we kind of have a combination of the two given that computer algorithms decide the result, there are always pros and cons involved and all need to be considered before you part with your cash.
- Betting is Easy – horse numbers, names, silks and theoretical form is listed but ultimately the result is pre-decided by a random number generator and so instead of scouring the form book and checking on fractional times, you can simply place your bet and take your chances.
- The Uniformity – unlike within virtual thoroughbred races, there are always eight runners in a virtual trotting race and so your chances of a win are pretty similar each time making the game easy to get to grips with.
- Fast Payouts – because the computer has made the decisions, there is no waiting around for an official result. As soon as the horses pass the line, the result and the SP’s are displayed and you can be paid out if you’re successful.
- The Speed – a one-minute race every three minutes of the day means this moves as quickly as a slot game, keeping punters entertained as often and for as long as they choose to be.
- No Skill Required – if you’re not a pro handicapper, don’t worry! There is no real form to keep track of, so just make your pick and watch the race play out.
- You Need to Be Quick! – since you’ll have just a minute or so from the result being displayed on one race to the next one going off, if you’re betting on each race you will need to move fast.
- No Control – for real trotting/harness racing fans the fact that there is no real form to consider and no skill needed to pick a winner can be a downside.
- Extra Temptation – with races going off almost constantly across an array of different betting sites, the temptation to bet too much on virtual trotting can be great and could lead to long term losses.
- Lower Returns – given that they have to pay for the graphics in the first place, the return to player and margins on virtual sports including trotting are usually poorer than on the real thing, so keep that in mind.
Virtual Trotting Bottom Line
As a bit of fun or when thought of as a game and not a sport, virtual trotting has a lot going for it and watching and betting on it can be a great way to pass time.
If you’re used to putting your sports and racing knowledge to good effect in order to pick out a bet, then this is not for you. However, if you’re happy to either take a chance for fun or perhaps you want to watch out for a time when a favourite hasn’t won in a few events before placing that bet then you could do worse than get involved with virtual trotting.
The eight-runner field rule is great for punters, as each-way is brought into play as three places are always paid, so if you are happy betting on a game decided by a random number generator then trotting appeals more than virtual horse racing or greyhounds as the one to offer the most satisfaction.