A First 4 is one of the most difficult bet types available, but they can be the most rewarding, and we will explain how to calculate a First 4 percentage.
WHAT IS A FIRST 4
It is best to understand what a First 4 bet type is prior to learning how to calculate a First 4 percentage.
To successfully land a First 4 you must predict the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th placegetters in correct order for any given race.
You can select more than one horse for each finishing position and the more horses that you select in each position, the smaller your First 4 percentage will be relative to your stake.
First 4 bet types are available on most thoroughbred, harness and greyhound races that have at least four or more runners engaged and they can be placed with bookmakers such as CrownBet, Ladbrokes, Sportsbet and William Hill.
HOW TO CALCULATE A FIRST 4 PERCENTAGE
You can either use a calculator or your own mind to calculate a First 4 percentage.
In order to calculate a First 4 percentage you must multiply the number of runners that you have chosen for each finishing position, except for runners included in multiple positions which can then be subtracted. More details around that will follow.
Let’s imagine the following number of runners selected for each finishing position and their saddlecloth number:
1st – 2 runners (#1, #4)
2nd – 4 runners (#1, #2, #4, #9)
3rd – 6 runners (#1, #2, #3, #4, #7, #9)
4th – 8 runners (#1, #2, #3, #4, #7, #9, #11, #15)
We also must assume that the first two runners chosen (#1 & #4) make up part of the four runners selected for second (#1 & #4 are included for 2nd along with #2 & #9). All four runners for second are included for third place (with another two added to make it a total of six runners – #3 & #7 join the four numbers included for 2nd) and all six runners for third place are included for fourth (with another two added to make it a total of eight runners – #11 & #15 join the six numbers included for 3rd).
In the above scenario, the calculation would be as follows:
2 x 3 x 4 x 5 = 120
That means $120 would get you 100% of the First 4 dividend if your wager is successful.
EXAMPLE OF A FIRST 4
The two in the calculation above represents the two horses chosen for first place (#1 & #4). For second place we multiply by three because one of the first two has been taken out because it must win in order for the First 4 to have a chance of being successful; that is #1 or #4 must win the race for the First 4 to have a chance of being successful.
We then use four as the next number to multiply (even though we had six runners) because two of the six need to fill the first two placings; #1 or #4 must win the race and either #1, #2, #4 or #9 must run second for the First 4 to have a chance of being successful.
Finally we multiply by five as three of the eight runners chosen needs to fill the first three placings – #1 or #4 must win, either #1, #2, #4 or #9 must run second and either #1, #2, #3, #4, #7 or #9 must run third. Finally if that scenario has panned out, either #1, #2, #3, #4, #7, #9, #11 or #15 must run fourth in order to successfully land the First 4.
FLEXI FIRST 4
Hopefully that was easy enough to follow. Everyone has a different budget and considering First 4s are not easy to land, we probably don’t want to spend $120 on a single First 4. The beauty is that Flexi betting is available and we can choose our own designated stake and we will receive a percentage of the First 4.
The example above calculated that 2 runners to win, 4 runners to run second, 6 runners to run third and 8 runners to run fourth would cost $120 for 100% of the First 4 dividend. This assumed that the numbers flowed on so that the two horses to win were included in all combinations (second place, third place and fourth place).
You may want to spend $50 on a First 4. In order to calculate the above example using a $50 stake, the calculation would be:
50 / 120 = 0.4167
Multiply this decimal figure by 100 and you get the percentage:
0.4167 x 100 = 41.67%
Therefore, your $50 stake using the combination outlined above will return 41.67% of the First 4 dividend if successful.
CALCULATING A FIRST 4 RETURN
Let’s assume the following result:
1st – #1
2nd – #9
3rd – #3
4th – #4
You successfully selected the First 4 in correct order and receive 41.67% of the First 4 dividend. Let’s assume it returns $2,480.32.
The calculation would be:
2480.32 x 0.4167
Your $50 stake would have returned a dividend of $1,033.55 based upon the numbers used in this example.