My players are going to run the Dinosaur Race, and I'm using the advanced rules from the Tomb of Annihilation Companion to add some fun.

Everything looks nice, except that I don't understand how the betting works... I'm not familiar with betting in real life, and really don't know what to do. For example, if the players choose to bet 100gp on a very good racer, with an odd of 7:1. What will they win if the racer actually win? The book says:


Does this mean he only gets 14gp? Or 114gp?

Sorry if this question looks stupid... But I really don't know how to handle this.

Adding some more info, as this looks more complicated than I've even thought.

The exact wording from the campaign book doesn't help much, it says:

The racers, the available odds, and the chance to win are listed in the Betting on Dinosaur Races table. Bets can range from 1 cp to 500 gp. Once bets are placed, roll a die for each bet. Losing bets cost the full amount of the wager. Winning bets pay out according to the table. Bets can be for a dinosaur to win, place, show, or do something specific during the race (like attack another racer or throw its rider), so many bets can win in the course of a single race.

Here is an example from the table:

Odds | Roll | Win on | Payout
7:1  |  d8  |   2-8  | Wager / 7
1:3  |  d4  |    1   | Wager x 3
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Are you getting the "7:1" straight from the book? In the real world, that would mean a bet of 100g pays out 800g, but that doesn't mesh with "Payout=Wager/7" at all. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael W.
    Aug 30, 2018 at 16:32
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ Your question is not even remotely stupid. That passage is written very poorly. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Aug 30, 2018 at 18:06
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I've added more context in the initial quesion \$\endgroup\$
    – jbuiss0n
    Aug 31, 2018 at 8:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MartinBonner The passage was written by somebody who knows very little about betting or horse racing. It doesn't use any terminology the way one with that knowledge would expect it to. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Aug 31, 2018 at 12:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @T.J.L. - I know very little about betting ... but I know enough to tell that you are clearly right. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 31, 2018 at 12:24

1 Answer 1


This is most easily explained with examples:

In a reputable establishment, they take your money when you make the bet:

  1. Bob the barbarian has 100g
  2. Bob bets 100g on SpeedySaurus (5:1 odds of winning, payout=wager/5)
  3. Bob the barbarian now has 0g
  4. SpeedySaurus wins the race!
  5. Bob the barbarian collects his winnings: 100g (initial wager) + 100g/5 (payout), for a total of 120g
  6. Bob the barbarian now has 120g, and the attention of the local pickpockets.

In a less reputable setup, you pay nothing when you make your bet. If you win, they only pay you the payout. If you lose, you owe them the amount of the initial wager. This sort of establishment will often allow for betting more money than you actually have on hand in the hopes of a large payout, but with significant problems with the local criminal organizations if you lose. (Owing money to the local crime bosses is rarely good for one's health)

From what I can find online, it appears that the tomb of annihilation races are of the less reputable variety - it mentions that failure to pay your gambling debts will result in a visit by a debt collector backed up by Chultan legbreakers.

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ That's not what 5:1 odds usually means, though. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jorn
    Aug 30, 2018 at 17:18
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Based on the question, it appears that the book uses odds as "odds on" rather than "odds against", so that's what I used in my answer. If I can find an exact quote from the book, I'll update my answer to reflect that. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jon
    Aug 30, 2018 at 17:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jorn The rules in ToA were very clearly written by somebody who doesn't understand anything about horse racing. They say multiple people can win on different bets, without bothering to even hint at concepts like win/place/show. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Aug 30, 2018 at 18:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @T.J.L. Win, place, and show are mentioned in the same sentence... though not explained. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 30, 2018 at 19:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @T.J.L. I'm actually quite surprised that there isn't errata out there on this. You're correct: this is a very poorly written section. Props to Jon for trying to make some sense out of the mishmash. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael W.
    Aug 30, 2018 at 23:00

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