The way we bet just keeps on changing and in an ever competitive marketplace everyone is fighting to come up with the next big thing. The rise of online betting has allowed punters to access a whole new range of betting tools unheard of before now.
One such major introduction in recent years has been the Cash Out system.
Being able to cash out a bet before it has settled makes betting far more interesting and much more strategic; you’ll find yourself having to make some tricky, but often profitable, decisions. Cash Out lets you mitigate your own risks and when used well can increase profits over time.
What is Cash Out?
We’ve all grown up in a world where you place a bet on an event and it’s only at the end when the final whistle blows that you know for certain whether you have a winning bet or a losing one. Before the arrival of live betting, this could leave punters feeling helpless.
Your team would be 1-0 up but only holding on to that lead by the skin of their teeth, your bet on them to win hangs in the balance but you can’t do a thing about it. If they lost that lead, then your bet went down with them.
Cash Out changed all of this and we owe its existence to Betfair. Betfair were initially made famous for their betting exchange, where they launched the cash out system in 2011 and subsequently brought it to their new fixed odds sportsbook which they launched in 2013.
Betfair made it possible to end your bet before the game finishes, and over the years most serious online bookmakers have followed suit. The system is empowering for punters, giving us far more control of our wagers than ever before. It is worth bearing in mind however that cashing out carries risk – sometimes it can work in your favour and sometimes it ends up being a decision you regret.
It’s a football game between Arsenal and Everton and you have £20 on Arsenal to win at 4/5. That means if Arsenal wins the match your £20 becomes £36, if they don’t win the game then its farewell to the £20. That’s it. With the Cash Out facility, though, it’s a very different story.
Let’s say Arsenal are winning 1-0 at half time, you’ve seen enough of the game and you think Arsenal are having an off day and Everton look like they will get back into the game at half time. Cash Out is offering you £25 back, which covers your stake plus a small £5 profit, and you decide to cash out. If Arsenal don’t go on to win then you’ve lost nothing and if they do win then, alright, you’ve not won £36 but you’ve still made a small profit. Either way, you’re up.
Cash out can also be used before an event starts. If the odds have changed for the better you can make a profit without even needing to risk the bet. Alternatively, if you’ve made a mistake and want to cancel your bet before the event starts, you can cash out and lose around 10% of your stake (if the odds haven’t changed).
With partial cash out you can also decide to cash out part of your stake and let the rest ride; with auto cash out you can set a certain threshold at which your bet will cash out by itself (see later).
Cash Out Bets Live In Play
Most people use cash out after an event has started live in play. Most major bets are covered by cash out and most bookies display a symbol next to the market if it is eligible for cash out. If you’ve got your heart set on using cash out however do check the market is applicable.
As soon as an event starts you will see that a Cash Out offer will become available, this amount will change regularly throughout the game. How it changes is entirely dependent on what’s happening on the pitch. Betting odds reflect the probability of something happening so the Cash Out offer will roughly work along the same lines.
If the score remains level for a long time, then the Cash Out offer on your Arsenal to win bet will keep going down, because they have less and less time remaining to score a winner. If Arsenal lead the game then cash out value will go up, if they are losing cash out value will go down, so the amount offered will reflect the probability of your bet being successful or not. Other factors will also affect this. If, for example, there is a sending off for Arsenal the value will go down, a red card for Everton, however, may see the value go up.
When to cash out is a big decision to make though. If it’s 0-0 at 80 minutes, do you keep faith in Arsenal and hope they will net a late winner? If you do cash out and Arsenal go on to get that goal, you’ll really be kicking yourself. If they draw or lose the game, then you’ll get some of your stake back in your account that wouldn’t have been there had you let the bet run to completion.
It’s the same situation if Arsenal were to take the lead. You can cash out your bet if you so wish, but it won’t be for the £36 you’d receive if the bet goes the distance. If it’s 85 minutes and Arsenal at 1-0 up offer might be £30 and this value will continue to increase until the final whistle.
Again it’s decision time, if you have the feeling that Everton are going to equalize any minute then it’s an idea to cash out – you’ll feel really smug if you take the £30 cash out and then that equalizer comes in. Then again, if Arsenal maintain their lead you’ll have done yourself out of an extra £6.
Sometimes the bet will work in your favour but there will be times that you make the wrong decision, it’s just that kind of bet. You can see how it brings an extra layer of excitement to a game, though.
Do not assume that cash out will always be available, markets often get frozen or suspended, especially towards the end of events. If you wait too long to use the feature it may not be available to you.
What is Partial Cash Out?
When you cash out fully that is the end of the bet. With partial cash out, pioneered by Bet365 and Betfair, you can select a proportion of your stake to cash out while letting the rest of the bet ride, so you still have a stake in the game, but you also guarantee some money in your pocket.
For example, you place a £10 bet on Wales to win the Six Nations Rugby. They’re doing well and lead the table but have a tough final game against England. You may be able to partially cash out your bet to at least guarantee that original stake is returned whatever the end result. The rest can stay live and hopefully Wales will do the job for you and more profits are made. At least you have that relaxed feeling that you can’t lose any cash on the bet even if Wales don’t win the title.
This effectively means you have a free bet, since you have cashed out enough to cover your initial stake. Of course, the amount offered will be based on the situation as it stands at that moment, so cash out may be lower than your stake as well as higher.
With bookmakers such as Betfair you can partially cash out any amount, whereas with Coral for example, you are restricted to 10% increments. Some let you partially cash out more than once too, so you can use the feature numerous times on the same bet. Always ensure you read the terms and conditions for this bet as they are slightly different at some bookies.
What is Auto Cash Out?
Another featured established by Bet365. Auto cash out lets you set cash out rules on your bet. This way you can automatically cash out all or part of your bet once a certain cash out value has been reached. This is hugely useful for those that are busy at the time of an event but don’t want to miss out on the feature.
Let’s say you’ve backed Ferrari to win a formula one grand prix, they are fast but you also know they are prone to reliability issues. You stake £20 at 2/1 (this would win you £60; profit + stake returned) but you set a cash out rule stating that if the cash out value reaches £40 then you want it to cash out. This way, if Ferrari are leading most of the race but the engine fails near the end you will have cashed out automatically and not lost your bet. If they win the race you’ve only missed out on £20.
Alternatively, you could set a partial cash out rule. Let’s say you tell the system to cash in half your stake (£10) once the total cash out value reaches £40. This way you will get £20 back form your partial cash out, covering your full original stake, but you let the other £10 ride to try and net a profit.
If Ferrari now suffer reliability issues late on then at least you’ve got your stake back; if however they go on to win you will get your £20 cash out amount plus the rest of your stake will pay out at full odds, £10 at 2/1, giving £30 back (including stake). Therefore you could either make sure you get your stake back or win £50 total using auto cash out. That’s only £10 short of the £60 you would have won without the cash out feature, but you have limited your risk significantly and still made a profit.
What is Bet Editing?
Bet editing is the ability to add, remove or swap selections from a bet you’ve already placed and is offered by some of the leading bookies such as Ladbrokes.
If you’ve got an accumulator, let’s say, and one selection looks dodgy, then you could remove it or swap it for another. Alternatively, if you want to increase the returns of your bet you may decide to add in an extra selection.
The reason we are talking about this here is that bet editing payout calculations work on cash out values. If you edit a bet then you are effectively cashing in the bet as it stands and then immediately replacing it with a new bet using the cash out value at the time as the stake.
Cash Out Benefits Depend On Your Attitude to Risk
How useful the cash out feature will be to you personally depends on your attitude to risk. Some people love cash out, they play the probabilities to ensure they make a profit most of the time, even if that means they rarely get the full payout they could get from a winning bet. This is effectively balancing risk and reward and it can be used to successfully make profits but only if you are sensible and stick to your rules.
Other people who are less easily pleased and might get upset if they could have won more should avoid cash out. The amount will never be as high as the amount you could win if you let the bet ride. When using cash out you have to accept that your payout will be lower than if the bet won, but at the same time, your risk of losing everything is also lower. You can’t have your cake and eat it!
How Does Cash Out Work?
Odds traders primarily set the original odds on a market but once a bet is placed the cash out amounts are calculated by software, mainly because the values change far too quickly for a human to cope with.
The software will take into account hundreds or thousands of factors when creating your cash out amount. This is dependent on the original odds of the bet, the time left on the clock, the score, previous form, and many other elements.
It is important to note that cash out is not a free service, it earns profit for the bookmaker; if it didn’t why would they offer it in the first place?
When you place a bet the bookie takes a margin, but they also take a second margin when you cash out. This means the company can earn twice from the same bet. Therefore if used over a long enough period of time, in theory, cash out will cost you more than if you just let your bets ride.
It is not as simple as that, however, as if you really think your bet is going to go down then cashing out will always give you something back whereas letting the bet ride will give you nothing. This goes back to your attitude to risk.
Cash out is a good tool when used sparingly for specific instances where you genuinely believe your bet may lose. Try not to use it all of the time though as probabilities dictate that you will lose more often over time.
Which Sports Can Cash Out Be Used On?
Bookies offer the cash out feature on pretty much all major sports now. Whether it’s football, cricket, tennis or rugby, that cash out offer is usually available from leading sites.
Surprisingly to some, it is also possible to cash out in horse racing where you place accumulators, and with some bookies like Betfair you can even cash out a horse racing bet live in play in some races up to a certain point in the race – crazy.
Generally, most online betting sites use their own individual cash out symbols next to betting lines that are available for the feature. Although most markets within an event will be covered, don’t assume that every single bet type can be cashed out.
Cash Out Strategies
Confidence in Your Selection
Sometimes you might be a bit reluctant to bet on a team that are odds against and would rather go for the odds on shot. With the cash out facility, you can place a bet knowing that you don’t necessarily need to lose all of your stake if your predictions are wrong.
That’s because even if your selection isn’t winning, the cash out can give you at least some return. If your team takes the lead but you’re still not confident they can hold out, use the cash out and get a good return regardless.
Try to think of cash out as a feature to complement your predictions rather than a get out clause for when it goes wrong.
Utilise Partial Cash Out
Most sites now have Cash Out but not all have partial cash out. Choose sites such as Coral and Betfair to give you an even better choice of bets, with greater control and flexibility.
Partial cash out is a good way to mitigate risks. As shown in the example earlier, using partial cash out you can cover your stake and still let some of your bet ride for a profit.
This could be a win win situation, and some scenarios will suit this option rather than full cash out. Choose wisely.
Cut and Run
It’s not cowardly to go down the cut and run route. With cash out you can often reduce your risk and still make a profit, and that’s the ultimate desire with any bet.
This is definitely a good idea when it comes to accumulators. If you have a five-fold and the first four have won, chances are you’ll already have a cash out figure that will give you a very good profit. At this point don’t be thinking of your original stake, concentrate on the value of the bet after four matches and how much you can cash out for.
Consider cashing out rather than risking everything on that last game. Perhaps let the bet run but cash out the minute your final selection gets the lead? Or use partial cash out to secure your stake but let the rest ride on the 5th team. Don’t let your heart rule your head.
Disadvantages of Cash Out
As mentioned already, this is a difficult tool to use well and one that requires you to be concentrating on the event to make shrewd decisions.
Let’s face it, the feature is provided by bookies to encourage you to make emotional decisions that will earn them more money. The only way to win with cash out is to detach yourself and be objective.
There will be times when it costs you money. It is agony to cash out at a loss and then see your team get the winner. It’s going to happen sometimes if you use this feature a lot though, so it’s something you have to accept as part and parcel.
When you place a bet the odds offered by the bookie will include a profit margin. They’ll make a calculation and what is offered to the customer will be a little bit less than it should be and the difference is their profit margin. It’s just the way all bookies operate in order to remain profitable.
The same applies to cash outs and that means you are subject to two profit margins within the same bet. The first will be taken when you place your initial wager, and the second will be taken from the cash out amount.
You can still end up better off but you should be aware of what is happening.