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 Jai Alai Betting


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Jai Alai Betting


Jai Alai Betting System

Jai Alai Bets

Jai Alai betting methods


Wheeling and Limited Wheeling


Jai Alai betting system

The system of betting used in United States is called “pari-mutuel”. Pari-mutuel wagering is also used in horse and greyhound racing. With that system the odds and payoffs are determined by the number of bettors. The more bettors make a specific bet on a certain team or a player, the lower the odds and payoffs for that particular bet will be. Thus, the odds reflect exclusively the opinion of a betting public. Pari-mutuel wagering in Jai Alai is unique to United States. It is not used in Spain and Latin America.

With pari-mutuel system of betting, all the money bet stream into separate money pools for each type of betting. Money bet on win bets go into a pool separate from the pool made of money bet on trifecta etc… In result, all the money pools are independent of each other and the payoffs in one pool don’t affect the payoffs in another pool.

A certain percentage will be deducted from the pool before the pool money will be divided equally among winning tickets. That percentage is called takeout. It goes to pay government taxes and cover Jai Alai fronton’s operating expenses. Usually takeout is between 17 and 20%.

Jai Alai Bets

There are quite a few types of bets in Jai Alai wagering. They are similar to the bets made in horse and greyhound racing. The number of different types of Jai Alai bets and minimum bet amount differ from one fronton to another. There are two major groups of bet types available for Jai Alai bettors: straight or basic bets and exotic bets. Straight bets include win, bet and show bets. Exotic bets are represented by daily double, quiniela (quinella), exacta (perfecta), trifecta and variations of these bets like double quiniela or double perfecta.

Betting to win – it’s a bet that one Jai Alai team or a player will win the match.

Betting to place – it’s a bet that a team or a player will take a first or second place.

Betting to show – it’s a bet that a Jai Alai team or a player will finish first, second or third.

Betting on a Daily Double – it’s a bet that two chosen Jai Alai teams or players will win to consecutive matches.

Betting on Quiniela (Quinella) – it’s a bet that two picked Jai Alai teams or players will finish first and second regardless of the order.

Betting on Exacta (Perfecta) – it’s a bet that two Jai Alai teams or players will finish first and second exactly in a chosen order.

Betting on Trifecta – it’s a bet that three chosen Jai Alai teams or players will take first, second and third places in correct order.

Betting on a Double Quiniella (Quinella) – it’s a bet consisting of two qunielas on two games specified by Jai Alai fronton. If a first quiniela bet wins, the money won go automatically into buying without extra charge a second quiniela bet for another game.

Betting on a double exacta – it’s a bet that that two Jai Alai teams or players will finish first and second in one game and first and second in the next games in correct order.

Jai Alai betting methods

Most of the Jai Alai handicappers prefer exotic bets due to the higher payoffs. Odds on the straight bets are a lot lower, but so are the payoffs. It’s hard to get significant wins with basic bets. However, with exotic bets, the Jai Alai bettors have to go against long odds. It’s hard to win those bets. That’s why many Jai Alai handicappers use different betting systems trying to increase their chances with exotic bets while keeping the cost as low as possible. Most popular betting systems of that nature are “boxing” and “wheeling”.


Boxing means choosing all possible combinations or permutations of bets to guarantee the win if the winners are among the chosen entries.

Quiniela (Quinella) boxing – Quiniela bet requires two chosen Jai Alai teams or players to finish first and second in no particular order. Since the order is not important the total number of all possible tickets to guarantee a win will equal the number of combinations of two from eight teams or players available in Jai Alai match. That number equals 8!:(2!x6!)=28 tickets, which cost $56 at $2 per one ticket. With that investment the bettor won’t make a profit. That’s why many Jai Alai bettors don’t box all the entries. They limit boxing to the most promising contenders. For ex. they might choose only entries 1, 3, 5 and 6. The boxing of these 4 teams or players into quiniela will produce the total number of tickets equal 4!:(2!x2!)=6 tickets only instead of 28 in the previous example. The total investment will be $12 instead of $56. That is a huge reduction in cost and the handicapper still has a good chance of winning quiniela bet.

Perfecta (Exacta) boxing – Perfecta requires two picked Jai Alai teams or players to finish first and second in exact order. Since the order is important, the number of all possible tickets to guarantee a win will increase. It will be equal a number of permutations of two from 8 available or 8!:6!=56 tickets, which will cost $112 at $2 per ticket. That’s a big investment to make a profit. Many Jai Alai bettors will limit the number of entries to make a cost of boxing lower. If the number of entries will be only 4 instead of 8, the total number of perfecta tickets will equal 4!:2!=12 instead of 56. The cost will equal $24 instead of $112 and the bettors will still have a decent chance of hitting a perfecta.

Trifecta boxing – Trifecta requires picking three Jai Alai  teams winning first, second and third places in the chosen order. Since order is important, the formula for the number of permutations will give the necessary number of tickets. The total number of permutations will guarantee a trifecta win. That number is 8!:5!=336 tickets. However, the investment will be $672 at $2 per trifecta ticket. The cost is too high to make that kind of gambling profitable. To make trifecta boxing profitable the number of entries into boxing should be limited. If only 4 teams or players were chosen for a trifecta box, the total number of tickets would be only 4!:3!= 24 tickets with cost of $48 instead of $672. The result is significantly less investment and respectable chance of winning.


Wheeling is another popular betting system similar to boxing. The difference of principle between two methods is that the wheeling method chooses one key entry that will be present in all tickets. That key entry will be combined with the combinations or permutations made of the rest of the entries.

Quiniela wheeling – since one Jai Alai team or a player is a key entry, then the rest of the seven entries will produce the total number of 7 tickets. Every ticket will be a combination of a key team and any other team from the rest of the 7 teams.

Perfecta wheeling – since the order is important in perfecta betting the key team should be considered for the first or a second place. That means that the total number of tickets will be 14 which is two times more than in quiniela (quinella) wheeling.

Trifecta wheeling – three picked Jai Alai teams or players should take first three places in exact order for a bettor to collect. One team is usually chosen as a key entry in one of the three positions. Two other entries are possible permutations from the rest of the entries. The total number of the tickets if all entries are included in the wheeling is equal 7!:5!=42 tickets costing $84 at $2 per ticket. Since order is important a key team should be considered for all three positions. That will increase the number of tickets to 126 and the cost to $252. If the total number of entries is limited to for ex. to 4 instead of 7, then the total number of tickets will be 36 tickets instead of 126 costing only $72 instead of $256.

When the number of entries into the wheeling is limited to a less than total number of available entries, the method is called Limited Wheeling. Limited wheeling drastically lowers the total number of tickets and corresponding amount of investment and still gives a Jai Alai handicapper a good chance to strike it big.

Copyright Progress Publishing Co. 2006

Selected References:

John Scarne  New Complete Guide to Gambling The Gambling Times Guide to Winning Systems
Kelso Sturgeon  Guide to Sports Betting Alice Fleming  Something for Nothing/A History of Gambling
Carl Sifakis  The Encyclopedia of Gambling Alan Wykes   The Complete Illustrated Guide to Gambling
Z. Hollander, D. Schulz  The Jai Alai Handbook Don Lostritto  Jai Alai Wagering to Win