What is 'Burlington Bertie'?
As well as being the name of the character in a popular 1900's music hall song, Burlington Bertie also refers to a specific set of betting odds: 10/3. It is believed that the name came about because 10/3 is commonly displayed as 100/30 - one hundred to thirty. When said fairly rapidly, one hundred to thirty sounds similar to Burlington Bertie, so the latter is used as rhyming slang for this particular set of odds
.The term is frequently used when betting on horses
and is part of the specialist tic-tac language traditionally used by bookmakers
at a race track.
Burlington Bertie explained
Bookmakers offer odds on the outcome of an event. These odds vary depending on a wide variety of factors. For example, if a horse is bet on to win at the odds of 4/1, it means that the bookmaker predicts there is a one in four chance of a win. The odds also indicate the amount of winnings should the event be realized. In this example, if the horse wins, the punter
(person placing the bet) will win four times the value of their stake
if they have placed a straightforward bet.A Burlington Bertie refers to odds of 10/3 - the bookmaker reckons that there is a three in ten chance of the horse winning the race. Although in bygone days the bookmakers at the racetrack would commonly use this term, the rise of digital odds (10/3 in digital odds is 1.3) and the increasing use of online and mobile betting
mean that the track side bookmakers with their reliance on tic-tac have largely been replaced. The term Burlington Bertie may still be used when a 10/3 bet is placed on the outcome of a hand of cards or roll of the dice
, but it is becoming less frequent than a few decades ago.