The Australian Soccer Pools – now branded nationwide as The Pools – is lotto with a twist. Instead of using balls drawn from a barrel, the winning numbers are determined by the results of 38 association football matches in Australia and abroad. Pick the six games with the highest-ranking scorelines, and you will win the Division One jackpot. Originally run by SA Lotteries in South Australia, the Soccer Pools now falls under the purview of the Tatts Group.
As with all the best Australian lotto games, you can buy Soccer Pools tickets over the Internet at Oz Lotteries. This is a fully accredited lotto website that employs 128-bit SSL (Secure Socket Layer) technology and supports trusted banking methods such as Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, BPay, and Diners Club International. Aussie lottery lovers can choose from all the biggest national and state lotto draws, and you can even make mobile purchases on your smartphone or tablet device.
The Pools is run every Saturday all year round. When the European football season is in swing from August to the following May, entries close at 7:30pm AEST; but for the two months between May and the start of the next Euro season, the draw closes at 2:30pm AEST.
Soccer Pools results are decided based on the outcomes of 38 football matches. Each week there is a list of 60 fixtures, with each match-up numbered from 1 to 60. The first 38 matches make up the Soccer Pools draw for that week, while the remaining 22 fixtures are reserves that can be used in the event that one or more of the original games is voided or postponed.
To play The Pools, you must choose six of those 38 active numbers – just as you would when filling out a ticket for the Saturday Lotto. But what determines whether one of these soccer matches becomes a winning Pools number?
Simply put, the aim of the game is to pick the matches that end in high scoring draws. The more goals involved, the more likely that game will be one of the successful numbers. There are three categories in all, ranked here from highest to lowest:
1. Draw – Both teams score the same number of goals. Games with more goals rank higher (e.g a 3-3 draw will trump a 2-2 result).
2. Away team wins – The visiting side defeats the home team. Games with lower goal difference rank higher (e.g. 4-3 beats 3-1), before total goals scored is considered (e.g. 5-4 beats 4-3).
3. Home team wins – The host side defeats the visiting team. Again, games with lower goal difference rank higher, and then total goals scored.
Based upon this scoring system, the field will be whittled down to seven results. The original match listings for the top six finishers will make up the main numbers, while the seventh-placed game will be used as the sole supplementary number. If your ticket contains at least three main numbers and the supplementary game, you win a prize.
The payout rankings for Australian Soccer Pools are closely modelled on the TattsLotto scale, using the same format except for the absence of a sixth dividend:
The top prize in the Soccer Pools starts at a guaranteed AUD $75,000, which seems rather modest when compared to other major Australian jackpot lotteries. However, the odds of snagging the Division One prize in The Pools are far better than most, giving us a 2,760,681 to 1 chance. Yes, those are long odds, but not nearly as outlandish as those found in Powerball (76.7 million to 1) and Oz Lotto (45.3 million to 1). These figures, combined with a rolling jackpot than has been known to rise well into the millions, make the Soccer Pools a sound choice for Aussie lotto players looking for something a bit different.
The Pools offers the same basic spread of ticket options as the Saturday Lotto draw. These are the four types of game styles available at Oz Lotteries:
This is your bread and butter lottery ticket, as found in just about every major draw in the country. Each standard game consists of six numbers, and costs $0.75 (agent’s commission included). You can play as many lines as you like in each draw, although you must purchase a minimum of four standard games at a time. There is also the option to buy tickets for multiple future draws, as well as an autoplay feature which you can configure to trigger automatic ticket purchases whenever the Soccer Pools jackpot reaches a certain size.
This method covers every possible combination of a selected group of numbers. For example: in a System 10 we would choose 10 numbers, which produces a total of 210 unique six-number sequences. This kind of lotto ticket allows for a wide array of options at various price points, from the System 7 ($5.25 for seven standard games) right up to the enormous System 18 ($13,923 for 18,564 standard games).
This is like the baby brother of the system bet, as it allows you to cover numerous six-legged combinations from a specific group of numbers. However, with a super combo you only play a certain amount of the different game lines available, rather than covering every possible sequence at once. For example: Super Combo 10A produces 50 games from 10 numbers, whereas the System 10 equates to 210 lotto lines. The most affordable option here is Super Combo 12D (30 games for $22.50), while the most expensive is Super Combo 26A (169 System 8 tickets for $3,549).
Syndicate play gives you the option to share premium Soccer Pools tickets with other players. This means you can partake in systems with thousands of standard games, but without having to take on the ticket price all by yourself. However, it also means you only get a portion of any prize money won, with each stakeholder claiming the same percentage of winnings per share. There are two group-play options for Soccer Pools online: Oz Lotteries Syndicates, where you share random Quick Pick numbers with strangers; and Social Syndicates, where you can play your favourite numbers in a private group with your mates.
Most AUD lotto games leave next to no room for strategic play – it is quite literally the luck of the draw. With Australian Soccer Pools, however, an extensive knowledge of the Beautiful Game and sports betting trends can serve you in good stead when it comes to selecting your numbers from the match-up list.
In some ways, playing The Pools is much like a soccer multi bet with six legs: you are effectively wagering on a specific series of results to occur. And just like football multis, a bit of intuition and a strong handle on recent form and head-to-head records can go a long way.
For example: say the first two options on the Soccer Pools match list are Liverpool versus Southampton and Chelsea versus Stoke City. And let’s say the Reds and the Saints are both in free-scoring form but lax in defence, while the Blues have kept a lot of clean sheets and the Potters have struggled in front of goal. In this case we would be better off selecting the number which corresponds to the Liverpool-Southampton game, as it is much more likely to end in a high scoring draw – the best kind of result in Soccer Pools – than the Chelsea-Stoke match.
Of course, you don’t need a thorough understanding Australian and European football leagues to play and win at Australian Soccer Pools. As with any other jackpot lotto game, a Quick Pick or a set of favourite numbers is every bit as likely to salute as a well-researched ticket selection. But for those who do want a little bit more than a run of the mill lotto draw, The Pools is well worth a look.