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What is a 'Carpet (bet)'?
Like many other expressions used in the casino or on the racetrack, "carpet" does not quite mean what it appears. Although most people might think of a soft floor covering, in casino terms a carpet refers to a bet where the odds are 3-1 - it is predicted that there is a one in three chance of the desired outcome being achieved. The term was widely used in horse racing and forms part of the traditional tic-tac language, which was common when bookmakers used to broadcast the odds they were offering manually at the side of the racetrack.
'Carpet (bet)' Explained
There are a number of shorthand terms which are used to describe commonly-offered betting odds. The terms were particularly useful when betting was undertaken face-to-face, rather than through the internet or by phone. In bygone days it was popularly used in horse racing and part of the racetrack bookmaker's tic-tac vocabulary. Today you might hear the term in a casino, where traditional betting odds are still used and betting transactions take place between real people, as opposed to through a computer.Carpet odds may be expressed as either fractional odds (classic 3-1 format) or as decimal odds, which would be 4. It's helpful to be familiar with both types of odds, as you never know which you may come across. It's not clear why the term "carpet" is used for these odds - some pundits suggest it's because a man bet (successfully) on these odds some years ago and used his winnings to pay for carpet; other people suggest that it may refer to serving a three-year prison term, as during the Victorian era, prisoners were forced to make carpet.Interestingly, odds of 33/1 (decimal odds of 34) are referred to as a "double carpet".