What is Dutching?

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If you were to go to a nice restaurant with a friend, date or partner, you might decide to "go dutch" on the bill. This means that you've decided to split the bill evenly rather than have one of you cover it in its totality. A similar term can be found in betting, but it has a different - though somewhat connected - meaning. So what is ‘dutching’ and how can you make it work for you? In this post we explain everything you need to know about dutching. 

 

What is dutching?

Dutching is a shortened form of 'Dutch betting'. It is easy to imagine that the term originated in the Netherlands, but that is not the case. Instead, it comes from the other side of the Atlantic and a particularly significant moment in history. Back in the 1920s, notorious American mobster Arthur Flegenheimer (who was once Al Capone's accountant and also went by the name Dutch Schultz, hence ‘dutching’) developed the idea of dutching as a way to get an edge on bookmakers at the racetrack. 

Flegenheimer eventually came to a sticky end in 1935 when he was murdered by fellow mobsters, but his legacy lives on in the form of dutching; even if the idea has now moved well past its dubious beginnings. It is now an entirely legitimate and frequently-used betting technique, and refers to the idea of backing more than one selection in such a way as to gain an equal return no matter which selection wins. 

This helps reduce the risk of losing money, but of course, for it to work as it should, it requires the bettor to work out the right stake to place so that the same amount of money is returned no matter which of the multiple selections wins. 

Dutching is primarily used in horse racing and football, and it is important to note that it does not absolutely remove the possibility of losing money. Even with multiple selections made, it is always possible that none of your picks may come off. If that happens, even with a dutching approach, the bettor will lose their stake. 

 

What are the pros and cons of dutching?

Let's look at the major pro first of all. Dutching allows you to manage your risk. Whatever happens, you stand a good chance of winning the same amount of money without putting too much on the line. You can have complete control and can enjoy the betting experience without the looming fear that you may lose a large sum of money. 

The biggest pro of dutching is that it can be quite complicated. Dutching requires a good knowledge of numbers, and anyone who does not count maths as one of their strong suits would be advised to tread cautiously. Hedge betting or even the cash out option many bookmakers offer these days may be a better option for anyone looking to manage risk without wanting to get into the complexities of dutching. 

To find the appropriate prices to make your dutching selections return a profit you are more likely to find those odds on a betting exchange than on a sportsbook, where the bookies overround (profit margin) is built into all the possible outcomes of an event. On the exchange the prices do not include any overround, as you are betting against other punters – though you do have to factor in commissions on winning bets. 

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In summary

Dutching has come a long way since its beginnings among mobsters in 1920s America. It is now a legitimate, smart and frequently used strategy that helps people bet intelligently and manage their risk. It should be used with caution though. No betting strategy is entirely risk free, and while dutching will help you avoid major risk, it will not eliminate it entirely. 

Dutching should be used with caution and only by bettors who feel they have a clear grasp of numbers and enough nous to evenly balance stakes and returns. Those who dive into dutching without that knowledge are unlikely to reap its benefits, and may end up on the receiving end of an unwelcome loss.

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