Tic-Tac The Bookies Secret Code

It used to be a familiar practice at racecourses up and down the country. Tic-Tac, a non-verbal system to communicate betting around the racecourse, so bookmakers could keep up to date with betting moves, especially if a big bet had been placed. 

In 1999 there were only three practitioners left: Micky ''Hokey'' Stuart, Billie Brown & Rocky Roberts. 

These days of Tic-Tac have long gone. With the introduction of Betfair, a betting exchange, founded in 2000, the way people bet and how information was used changed dramatically. Not only did bookmakers use this platform to hedge their bets but the information made Tic-Tac obsolete. 

Who needed a man with white gloves and a secret code when the betting was in front of their eyes? However, the image of the Tic-Tac man (or woman) is a nostalgic reminder of times gone by and a sign that technology never stops. 

A Guide to Bookie Hand Signals: 

  • Tic-Tac Odds of 9/4 ("top of the head") – both hands touching the top of the head. 
  •  Odds of 10/1 ("cockle" or "net") – fists together with the right-hand thumb protruding upwards, to resemble the number 10. 
  •  Odds of 11/10 ("tips") – hands together and touching all fingers on both hands together.
  • Odds of 5/4 ("wrist") – the right hand is moved to touch the left wrist. 
  • Odds of 33/1 ("double carpet") – arms crossed, hands flat against the chest