AN A-Z OF POOLS
Although what follows looks like a dictionary, we hope it doesn't read like one and that this is not an A-ZZZZZZZZZZZ! Even if you have done the pools before, this should repay a little study because it may fill in a few gaps - or dispel a few myths. I have tried to answer common questions about the pools here, too, so you'll find description as well as definition. The alphabetical ordering means this can be used for easy reference if there is a little hitch in your future career as a poolswinner. A few terms may seem obvious, but not to the absolute beginner. Words in capitals are defined elsewhere in the A-Z.
ACCOUNTANTS A surprising start! The Accountants who calculate the DIVIDENDS to be paid, must be independent of the Pools Company by law. They also have to assess any winnings or refunds due to entries that are incorrectly staked or unclear. In my experience, they are extremely fair in their decisions.
AWAY WIN A game where the team printed on the right of a fixture scores more than the team printed on the left. Worth 1 point on the TREBLE CHANCE. Use the number "2" when marking away forecasts on the Aways pools on postal coupons or Bookmakers' INDIVIDUAL ODDS coupons. In results sequences, "2" indicates an away win.
BANKER A SELECTION about which you are so confident that you want to include it in every bet you are making in a particular pool. HOME Banker forecasts should be marked "1B" on a postal coupon, AWAY Bankers "2B" and DRAW Bankers "XB".
BLOCK & BLOCK PERM In most cases, there are two blocks making up a block perm. So a "block" is a set of COLUMNS, and the columns in any block all contain the same number of SELECTIONS. It is like a mini-PLAN. Like plans, blocks contain only a fraction of the lines making up the equivalent FULL PERM. LIT-BLOCK E, for example, guarantees an all-correct column of four if you get six right amongst the eight selections you are COVERing altogether. It contains just six of the 70 columns making up the full perm of any 4 from 8.
Blocks like this can be used on their own for some RESULTS POOLS (on postal coupons) requiring four selections in each bet like the Four Draws. To use Lit-Block E, you would simply enter eight Xs and instruct "Lit-Block E - 6 lines at 20p = £1.20 staked."
More commonly, blocks are used two at a time in combination on the TREBLE CHANCE. In other words, the blocks are PERMED. This means that in a standard Treble Chance Block Perm, each column in the top block is combined with each column in the bottom block to create the complete lines of eight selections required on this pool.
When you receive the printed checking chart for many Pools plans, you'll find that some are split into sections and that many of those sections are in fact block perms. Some newspapers and all Pools Companies issue a leaflet of blocks, so there are hundreds of different combinations you can use. See also LIT-BLOCKS and COUPLEM BLOCKS, and ZEEP BLOCKS.
BRACKETS An essential way to make pairs, trebles or groups of selections clearly distinct from each other if you are filling in entries on the postal coupons of companies that accept written instructions.
BREAD-AND-BUTTER POOLS See RESULTS POOLS.
BRIT-PLANS and BRIT-BLOCKS PLANS & BLOCKS issued by Brittens Pools for use on their TREBLE CHANCE. The plans are mostly awful but the blocks are good. N.B. They can only be used on Brittens Pools, because they are NOT registered with the P.P.A. (Pools Promoters Association) to which Littlewoods, Vernons and Zetters belong.The Brit-Blocks are available from: Brittens Pools, Pool House, Iliffe Ave., Oadby, LEICESTER LE2 5LH.
CHEQUES Pools Companies do accept payment by cheque according to the conditions printed on the coupons. Under certain circumstances, payment by Switch or Credit Card is possible, too.
CLAIMS are no longer needed if you have won.
CLASSIC VALUE POOLS. The cheapest way to do Littlewoods Pools with stakes set at 4/3p per line across the board - those doing 8 from 10s on line or through collectors are paying 2.22p per line. Phone Littlewoods FREE on 0800 490 000 from the UK if you want to receive the next monthly batch.
COLLECTORS Agents who pass coupons on from client to Pools Company. Collectors are organised in a Pyramid: Area Concessionaires in charge of Main Collectors who appoint Collectors. Note that the RULES state that any Collector is your agent, not the Pools Company's. However, dishonest Pools Collectors are rare. Dishonesty will always be caught out by weeks when there are plenty of draws, because then thousands of people will expect small wins. Although they don't like to publicise the fact, Pools Companies have prosecuted cheating Collectors - and clients attempting to cheat - for fraud. But on the whole the Collector system works very well. IF YOU WANT TO BECOME A LITTLEWOODS COLLECTOR, phone 0800 500 000. SOCCERLOTTO.COM also pay commission to its subscribers who recruit more subscribers.
COLUMN (sometimes abbreviated to "Col."). Three meanings: 1 - "Column" can refer can refer to a vertical LINE of SELECTIONS that you have entered on a coupon. 2 - Printed coupons themselves have vertical "columns" of squares printed next to the matches where you have to mark your selections. 3 - BLOCKS are sometimes described as containing lines or "columns" - i.e. vertical sets of selections. In fact, LINES & COLUMNS always refer to vertical sets of selections.
COMPUTER-CHECK COLUMNS are the COLUMNS to the left of the MATCHLIST on printed coupons, where you mark SELECTIONS for ENTRIES of any of the PLANS listed alongside. Such entries are checked by computers at rates of up to seventeen a second.
CONSECUTIVE & NON-CONSECUTIVE I shall say this only once! Take a deep breath and prepare to read this twice! It will help to read the MATCH No. & SELECTION No. definitions ahead, too. Here we go.
Some PLANS contain LINES which combine consecutive and non-consecutive selections. CONSECUTIVE selections are selections next to each other in numerical sequence. On the Classic Value Coupon page, matches 1-49 are listed every week. Let’s imagine that you choose a plan and that you start your COLUMN of SELECTIONS by marking Match Nos 2 and 6 from Matches 1-7. As matches, these are of course non-consecutive. But as your Selection Nos 1 and 2 they are CONSECUTIVE SELECTIONS. So on occasion, non-consecutive matches can be consecutive selections.
Amongst the guarantees defined through the Classic Value Plan Selector you will find references to consecutive and non-consecutive selections. If you click on the chart for those of 1,000 lines or less, you will be able to see how these plans work
Amongst the bigger TREBLE CHANCE Plans incorporating non-consecutive perms are SUN PLAN 50 which perms any 8 NON-CONSECUTIVE from 20 selections (1,287 lines).
COPY COUPONS on printed coupons are attached to the main coupon when they arrive. You may think the idea is to mark your entry on to the main copy coupon and then copy it on to your Copy Coupon. May I suggest doing it the other way round? I use the Copy Coupon to finalise the entry. Once that is done it's ready to be copied on to the main coupon. Doing it this way, you're less likely to make MISTAKES. Whichever way round you do things, you must keep an accurate copy of your entry which includes not just the COLUMNS of SELECTIONS, but also all written INSTRUCTIONS.
COUPLEM BLOCKS are BLOCKS COVERing between seven and sixteen SELECTIONS issued by Vernons for use on the TREBLE CHANCE.
COVER A very common word in poolswriting. PERMS and PLANS cover a certain number of matches. The ten matches covered by an 8 from 10 FULL PERM are the ten SELECTIONS against which you have marked an X. But when a plan is described as offering "good cover", two very different meanings are possible: (1) that it covers a large number of matches and (2) that it's GUARANTEE is good value.
DIVIDEND sometimes abbreviated to DIVI A Dividend is the amount due to a winning bet or LINE. The Dividends of all Pools Companies are published after lunch every Wednesday on ITV's Teletext (p522), and those of Littlewoods, Vernons and Zetters are printed in the Daily Mail on Thursday mornings except at Christmas when they appear a day or two later. The size of the dividend is decided by dividing the amount of money left in the pool after tax and commission have been deducted, by the number of winning bets. They are always declared to the minimum stake allowed. So if you have staked more than the minimum allowed (which I never recommend) you will win more. If, for instance, you have staked 20% more than the minimum allowed, you can win 20% more than the dividend declared in the paper. On the RESULTS POOLS, lines that are all-correct apart from one void game are entitled to a HALF- DIVIDEND.
DRAW A game where both teams score the same number of goals or both fail to score. Always marked "X" on both the TREBLE CHANCE and the Four Draws pools of printed coupons.
DUPLICATED LINES These are LINES of SELECTIONS on which you are betting more than once. This is not a problem if the total STAKE as a result of the duplication does not exceed the maximum stake allowed. But duplicated lines are a waste of money! The most common way in which duplicated lines occur is when groups of selections are permed for cover with a PERM or PLAN. So when you devise MULTIPLE ENTRIES on the Treble Chance, take care not to generate too many duplicated lines.
EIGHT FROM TEN The most popular type of TREBLE CHANCE ENTRY on Littlewoods standard coupons. You mark ten Xs in a COLUMN and hope that eight are SCORE-DRAWS. Some hope! See FULL PERM.
ENTRY Your "entry" in pools, is whatever PLAN or PERM you have chosen to enter as your bet. See also MULTIPLE ENTRY and STANDING ENTRY.
FIRST or TOP DIVIDEND On the TREBLE CHANCE, the First Dividend is paid to LINES containing eight SCORE-DRAWS and therefore worth 24 pts (8 x 3), or, if no-one has lined up eight score-draws, to lines with highest points total. Occasionally, there are just four or five score-draws, in which case a First Dividend can be won by a line worth 21 or even 20 pts. Depending on the Pools Company, 66% - 76% of the prize money forms the First Dividend pool for distribution to the punters with the highest scoring lines, with the remainder split pretty equally amongst the minor dividends.
FORECASTS is the word used to define the predictions of tipsters or punters. This word is interchangeable with SELECTIONS (and sometimes with rubbish!).
FULL PERM In brief, this means "every possible combination". Thus "Any 8 from 10" is every possible combination of 8 SELECTIONS out of 10 which amounts to 45. The first combination - or "line" - consists of Selection Nos 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 and 8; the second consists of 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 and 9, etcetera, etcetera.
GUARANTEE The first thing you look at when assessing the quality of a PLAN. With TREBLE CHANCE plans, the guarantee states the minimum number of SCORE-DRAWS that will fall into one LINE when a certain number of score-draws occur amongst all the SELECTIONS covered by the plan. Some plans have more than one guarantee. Sometimes you get an abbreviated description of the guarantee, saying that a plan has "a 6 if 8" or "7 if 9" guarantee, for example. The latter would mean that you are guaranteed a line containing seven score-draws if you catch nine in your column of selections. ClassicValue.com is the first time that all the guarantees of pretty much every pools plan is on show in one place so everyone can see what the plans do.
HALF-DIVIDEND Half the declared DIVIDEND is paid to those LINES in the RESULTS POOLS where you have one SELECTION that is a void game plus all other selections correct.
HALF-TIME POOL All TREBLE CHANCE ENTRIES on LITTLEWOODS are automatically entered into this additional game. Here the aim is to find matches that are SCORE-DRAWS or 0-0s at half time. The scoring system is exactly the same as for the ordinary Treble Chance. A DIVIDEND is shared amongst LINES that score the most.
HIGH SCORE POOL/GAME All TREBLE CHANCE ENTRIES on LITTLEWOODS are automatically entered into this additional game. Here the aim is to find matches that have five goals or more (worth 3 points) or exactly four goals (2 pts) A DIVIDEND is shared amongst LINES that score the most.
HOME WIN A game where the team printed on the LEFT of a fixture scores more goals than the team printed on the RIGHT. Use the number "1" when marking home forecasts on the printed Nine Homes pools or on the Bookmakers' INDIVIDUAL ODDS coupons. In results sequences, "1" will indicate a home win. Home win results are now worth 1 pt on the Treble Chance.
INDIVIDUAL ODDS is the way to bet on football with bookmakers who quote odds against the result of a match being a HOME WIN, AWAY WIN or DRAW. Individual Odds coupons look quite different to Pools coupons and Individual Odds betting should be approached very differently to betting on football pools – see our Beginners Guide.
LEAGUE TABLES are the season's record of all the teams in one Division of the League. The absolute beginner may not know that the letters usually printed across the top indicate the meaning of the columns below. Thus P = total games played; next comes the home record: W = total home wins; D = total home draws draws; L = total home defeats; F = goals scored (for) and A = goals conceded (against). The away record comes next in the same format until Pts tells us the points scored. The mega league tables on SoccerLotto.com also show each team’s last 5 results with a form figure based on them, each team’s movement up or down the table over the previous four weeks and, crucially, the average strength of opponents faced both at home and away.
LINES has two meanings on the Pools:
1 - lines = "bets". Many pools instructions will end with a calculation of the number of "lines" in the entry followed by the stake per line then the total cost of the system, as for example in, "BLOCK PERM - Cover first column with Daily Mail Block 5 and second column with Daily Mail Block 8 = 30 x 100 = 3,000 lines at 1/9p = £1.33 staked." Here the 3,000 lines are in effect 3,000 bets.
2 - lines = "COLUMNS". You may read of a BLOCK or PLAN having so many "lines" and this means columns of selections - columns of eight selections each in the case of TREBLE CHANCE PLANS.
LIT-BLOCKS A set of BLOCKS COVERing between six and eighteen selections available in one leaflet from: The Perms Dept, Littlewoods Pools, Liverpool L67 1AA. Many of the possible combinations of blocks can be done on this site. You will find them in the Plan Selector.
LIT-PLANS Plans devised by Littlewoods for use on either the TREBLE CHANCE or RESULTS POOLS. There are several hundred of them.
LUCK Not always a lady when in charge of your Pools Entry. But sometimes, just sometimes, a WonderWoman!
MATCH No. & SELECTION No. The MATCH No. is the number between 1 and 49 printed alongside the fixtures on printed pools coupons. It is not to be confused with the SELECTION No. of those games you have chosen for cover with a PLAN.
MICROFILM The major Pools Companies keep records of our entries for up to a year on microfilm in case of a very late claims. Printed Coupons themselves are kept for up to two months.
MINIMUM STAKE The minimum amount accepted by a pools company as the stake per LINE. See COUPON and STAKES.
MISTAKES On old printed coupons we have all made them. The neatest way to erase an X from the wrong square is to use a Tippex or Pentel corrector pen, but blacking out the square altogether is acceptable. As with every mark you make on a printed pools coupon, you should try to be neat. More serious are mistakes that VOID your entry. See VOIDS.
MULTIPLE ENTRY Quite simply, this means more than one ENTRY of a PLAN or PERM - either by marking more than one COLUMN with the appropriate number of SELECTIONS, or by PERMING groups of selections for cover with a plan or perm.
NON-CONSECUTIVE See CONSECUTIVE.
NO PUBLICITY On every Pools coupon there is a box where you can put an "X" if you do not want any publicity should you hit the jackpot. Some people believe that if they put an X here they are less likely to win. This is nonsense. The box is only checked if the coupon has won a big sum. The "No Publicity" request is always respected by the Pools Companies.
NO-SCORE-DRAW A draw where neither side score: 0-0. Worth two points on the TREBLE CHANCE, it is usually indicated by an "O" when the results sequences of a team are printed. When FORECASTING draws on a printed coupon, always mark X.
PAIRS PERMS Once a very popular form of POOLS ENTRY, for either RESULTS POOLS or the TREBLE CHANCE where you combine pairs of SELECTIONS to make up the LINES on which you are betting.
PERM/PERMUTATION To perm means "to combine" and "permutation" = "combination". Let's imagine a bet on the Five Aways on a printed coupon with this instruction: "Perm any 2 from 3 with any 3 from 5 = 3 x 10 = 30 bets at 20p = £6 staked." Here the checker has been asked to combine every possible combination of 2 within a group of three SELECTIONS with every possible combination of 3 within a group of five selections. In brief, with 2 correct amidst the threesome and a further three correct in the group of five, the ENTRY will contain an all-correct combination (or LINE) of five and thus win one dividend.
PLAN A TREBLE CHANCE PLAN is quite distinct from a FULL PERM ENTRY. A brief discussion of the relative merits of Plans and Perms is in our Choosing a Plan page. In brief, plans use only a fraction of the LINES in the equivalent full perm, so they are cheaper to enter, but they don't have such a tight GUARANTEE. For example, the 8 from 10 full perm has 45 lines, but Sunday Mirror Plan 21 COVERS 10 matches in only 20 lines, so it costs less than half the price.
However, if you get eight score-draws in your full perm, you must have a top dividend because the full perm covers every possible combination of 8 from 10. But if you get eight score-draws in Sunday Mirror Plan 21, you may get a top dividend, though it is not guaranteed. The Plan has 20 lines, so it covers just 20 of the 45 combinations of eight from ten. The odds are thus slightly against you lining up the eight draws. However, this particular plan does guarantee a line with seven jackpot draws if you get just seven.
POOLS A way of betting on football where the total money staked by all the punters is "pooled" and then divided amongst the winners after tax and expenses have been deducted.
POOLS PANEL A group of two or three gentlemen, who meet to give a "result" for any postponed game. Where a game is switched from Saturday back to Friday or earlier in the week, it is always a VOID worth 2 pts on the Treble Chance, and the Panel do NOT consider them. They use the last eight homes, last eight aways, League tables, and the last ten years’ results between the teams to help them make their decisions.
They receive no instructions from the Pools Companies, and no-one from the Pools or the Press is allowed to witness their deliberations, which start, when they are needed, at 2 o'clock on a Saturday afternoon and have to be completed by 4 o'clock. They are not allowed access to the scores of games actually being played and they are not under instruction to produce a certain number of score-draws.
P.P.A. The Pools Promoters Association, now comprising Littlewoods, Vernons and Zetters. Littlewoods now own Zetters of course. The two groups still liaise closely although they remain competitors. Littlewoods are the most powerful voice because they have over 75% of the market. Representatives from each company take it in turns to be in attendance on the Pools Panel every week, for instance, while the matches to be used on coupons and the perms that can be registered are joint decisions. Brittens Pools operate independently.
READY RECKONER is a table listing the number of lines or bets for a variety of full perms.
RESULTS POOLS are all the other types of bet offered on printed coupons (Nine Homes, Five Aways, etcetera). Poolswriters often refer to them as BREAD-AND-BUTTER pools. The dividends can be big, so you can get plenty of jam on them. If you are interested in them, first of all you need the Daily Mail Results Pool Blocks. Send a S.A.E. marked to: Results Pool Blocks, Daily Mail Plans, PO Box 352, OXFORD OX2 0AF.
RULES A large wodge of often long and unwieldy sentences mixing legal terms and pools jargon in midget print issued by the all the pools companies in ways they seldom publicise, but which you declare you have read when you fill in your name on a coupon and submit it.
S.A.E. The stamped, self-addressed envelope you should enclose with any request for a checking chart that you send to newspaper or Pools Company, and with any enquiry for which you want a quick reply. I shall say this only twice! The plans themselves, after all, are free of charge. If you want a quick reply, remember that Second Class Post can take up to a week or more to be delivered.
SECOND DIVIDEND On the TREBLE CHANCE, this is paid to LINES worth 23pts on weeks when the TOP DIVIDEND is paid to lines worth 24 pts. It can only be created by seven SCORE-DRAWS plus one 0-0 draw. But if no-one has a LINE with 24 pts, then a 2nd divi. goes to lines worth a point less than those collecting a TOP DIVIDEND.
SELECTIONS or SELS are the matches you have chosen to bet on.
SELECTION No. or SEL. No. See MATCH No.
SPOT-THE-BALL A competition where you have to pinpoint the exact centre of a ball that has been erased from a photograph. Prick the paper with a pin. If you are right, you should hear the air escaping from the ball. Because COPY COUPONS are impossible and the winning position is published every Wednesday in a small grainy newspaper photograph, paranoid entrants convince themselves they have won and that there is widespread skulduggery afoot when they are not paid. They are wrong! The winning position is not necessarily related to where the ball was in the original photograph: it's decided by an independent Panel of judges - by 9 o'clock every Monday morning. Extraordinary processes of magnification and precise measurement are then used to compare over a million entries with the winning point. I have actually looked down the microscope used to single out the top winners from the near misses. It's all entirely honest, I assure you, and it raises a lot of money for the Football Trust.
STAMPED, ADDRESSED ENVELOPE See S.A.E.
STAKES are the amount you decide to risk on each LINE or bet of an entry. The total stake is the amount you are spending on all the bets or lines making up an entry. See also MINIMUM STAKE.
STAR PLANS are NOT plans issued by the Daily Star but a set of Littlewoods Plans, some of which are featured on their standard coupon. They have multiple guarantees, but they are pretty complicated. They contain NON-CONSECUTIVE perms and they are called STAR PLANS because some of the selections are starred on the checking chart and some are not.
STARBLAZER PLANS are plans for the Treble Chance issued by the Daily Star newspaper.
STANDING ENTRY COUPON A special coupon issued by all the Pools Companies which enables you to place the identical bet for a number of weeks (usually between 5 and 52). If you want to use the same numbers all the time, this is the by far the best way to do it, because it saves you the bother of filling in a coupon every week. If you do them by post, your Pools Company will send you a reminder as you approach the last week for which you have paid, asking you if you want to renew. For someone who wants to have a chance of a jackpot win but has no interest in football form, perms or plans, Standing Entries are ideal. You don't even need to check the coupon every week - the Pools people can be totally relied on to pay any dividends due, because they know that a customer who has won is more likely to come back for more.
SYNDICATE A group of friends, workmates or relatives who share the cost of a football pool entry and divide any dividends won accordingly.
TAX is not payable on any pools win. Tax is currently deducted from the profit Pools Companies make.
THIRD DIVIDEND Paid to lines worth 22 pts on the TREBLE CHANCE on weeks when there is a 24 pts winner. If there is no 24 pointer, then the Third Divi will go to lines worth two points less than those winning Tops. Two combinations of results generate lines worth 22 pts: (A) - seven score-draws plus a 0-0 draw or VOID; (B) - six score-draws plus two 0-0 DRAWS.
TOP DIVIDEND See FIRST DIVIDEND.
TREBLE CHANCE The most popular pool and it's so named because when it first started in August 1946 it was a unique type of bet: each bet on a line of eight draw forecasts gave you three chances of winning with just one bet. A top dividend went to lines that had eight draws, a second dividend to lines with seven draws and an away win and third dividends to those with seven draws plus a home win.
TREBLE CHANCE CHART A table listing the results for all 49 numbers in the Treble Chance coupon over a number of weeks. You'll find Treble Chance charts for both winter and summer going back to 1987 if you subscribe to Soccerlotto.com. Up-to-date charts are given in The Racing & Football Outlook (published Tuesdays) every week.
VOID Three things can be VOID on the Pools: matches, whole RESULTS POOLS and your entry! A game not played as scheduled and not given a result by the POOLS PANEL is a void, worth 2pts, the same as a 0-0 draw, on the Treble Chance. LINES on the RESULTS POOLS that are all-correct apart from one void are paid a HALF DIVIDEND.
When there are too many winners of one of the Results Pools on printed coupons, that pool is declared void. YOUR STAKES ARE NOT RETURNED! Instead you can use them again for an equivalent bet the next week. So if, for example, you had a bet on the Nine Homes and plenty of home wins occur, you should check the DIVIDEND declarations in the papers. If the Nine Homes pool is declared void you can have a bet with the stakes you have already paid. It will feel like a free bet!.
The Pools Companies make every effort to interpret your INSTRUCTIONS so your ENTRY can be included in the pool, but some mistakes are so horrendous that entries have to be VOID and stakes refunded. Sometimes, just one part of an entry may be voided. Three mistakes most commonly cause voids: 1 - absurd understaking (in other words, you haven't paid the right amount); 2 - ambiguous or illegible instructions; 3 - duplicated selections (when your instructions are followed, some games are in a LINE of eight SELECTIONS more than once. The validity of your entry is YOUR responsibility, not the Pools Company's!
V-PERMS, V-PLANS TREBLE CHANCE PLANS devised by Vernons
WEBSITES FOR POOLS: for Littlewoods, use //www.footballpools.com/cust?aff_id=20001, for Vernons go to www.vernons.co.uk, while Brittens are at www.brittenspools.co.uk. Zetters do not now have a website where you can do entries.
XPERT A common title for Poolswriters. Maybe you know this definition of an "Expert": an X is an unknown quantity, and a SPIRT is a drip under pressure! The founder of both SoccerLotto.com has won the Littlewoods Xperts Trophy for draw forecasting in both 2002, 2005 and 2006.
ZAM, ZEEP, ZIP All prefixes which Zetters have at one time or another used to label their Treble Chance Plans. They also offer various Executive ZEEPS, Decimal ZIPS, Top ZIPS, Super ZIPS, Giant ZIPS and a Jumbo ZIP 747!
ZEEP BLOCKS The Zetters equivalent of LIT-BLOCKS, and COUPLEM BLOCKS, the main difference being that this collection contains BLOCKS with two, three or five SELECTIONS in each COLUMN as well as blocks with four selections. Between six and sixteen selections are covered. Available from: The Perms Dept, Zetters Pools, Liverpool L67 1BL.