Football pools are the main gambling pastime for many Britons.

About 12 million punters stake nearly 200 million pounds every year, usually in the hope of landing a jackpot prize of 500,000 pounds.

The largest pools company, with over half the total business, is Littlewoods Pools Limited.Littlewoods was started in 1923 by John Moores, who invested 50 pounds in the project. The first coupons were distributed by hand outside Manchester United’s ground.

Most football pools betting is carried on the post, although since the 1950s the companies have also been using collectors,
area agents who call at homes collecting the coupon and the stakes and delivering the following week’s coupon.

There is a choice of pools on each coupon. The most popular pool is the Treble Chance, where from a list of about 54
English and Scottish League or cup games, clients are asked to select eight matches to end in a draw.

The number of selections required and the method of scoring have changed often over the years.

The current system is that a score-draw (one on which each side scores) counts 3 points, a 0-0 draw counts 2 points, a win for the visiting side 1 and � points., and a home with 1 point.

The maximum score is therefore 24 points (eight correctly forecast score draws) and in most weeks 24 points will win lucky punters several thousand pounds for a 1p stake.

It should be noted that if only 8 matches result in score draws, there is only one chance in that number of choosing them.

The Littlewoods pool pays six dividends, so that clients with only 21 points usually can expect a very small win.

Another pool is the 12-Match Points Pool, where the client is asked to forecast the outcome of the week’s twelve most evenly
balanced matches.

The punter marks against each match 1 for games he thinks will end as home wins, 2 for away wins and X for draws. He is allowed 3 points for a correct draw forecast, 2 points for an away and 1 for a home.

If in a particular week the 12 matches result in 4 draws, 2 aways and 6 homes, there is a maximum of 22 points, and clients
with an all-correct line will receive a substantial dividend.

Clients with 21 and 20 points will receive consolation dividends. Other pool require the punter to select either four draws, four aways, or eight results from the full list of matches.

Most people choose eight home wins when betting on the 8-Results Pool, since home wins are commonest and easiest to forecast.

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