Table tennis dates back to Victorian England, but it still remains quite popular, with 429,000 Brits participating in 2020 and massive table tennis betting taking over the UK.
Eager to find the cause for the colossal popularity of the sport today, we decided to dig a little deeper and create the ultimate guide to table tennis betting. We also threw in some fascinating facts and trivia about ping-pong to pique your interest in the sport as well as increase your chances of winning your table tennis tickets!
Keep reading, and you’ll come to believe that the ball does indeed always come back!
History and Popularity
The origins of table tennis can be traced back to the early 20th century. In fact, the sport started off as a way for people to play tennis indoors during the cold winter months but quickly became popular as it was more accessible and convenient to play than lawn tennis.
Although it was still played in parts of England, table tennis stopped being fashionable around 1903. It wasn’t until 1926 when standardised rules were adopted and the International Federation of Table Tennis (ITTF) was formed, that the game started gaining popularity again in the UK and other countries. That year the first world championship was held in England, with Hungary taking the gold.
Actually, the game of table tennis was dominated by European champions for a long time, in particular players from Hungary and Czechoslovakia. However, in the 1960s, Asia came to be a leading force, with Japan or China winning each men’s team event in professional table tennis ever since. North Korea also emerged as an international star around this time.
Today table tennis is an Olympic sport, featured at the competition since 1988. It is considered the most popular indoor sport around the globe, especially in Europe and Asia, where the game is organised quite competitively.
In England alone, more than 400 thousand people take part in table tennis every year. What’s more, Covid-19 has given the sport quite the popularity boost, with sales of equipment skyrocketing during the coronavirus lockdowns.
The sale of paddles, tables and balls are not the only thing that has gone up during the pandemic. With traditional sports being cancelled, punters have turned to betting on ping pong, helping bookmakers like William Hill cope with the Covid-19 outbreak and its economic consequences.
Basic Rules of Table Tennis
Whether you want to bet on table tennis or take up the sport yourself, you’ll need some insight into how the game is played.
Luckily, table tennis is one of the simplest sports to play. It requires very little in the way of equipment—all you’ll need are table tennis racquets, a ball and a table. There are also numerous optional accessories one can purchase, such as shirts, shorts, rubbers, and paddle covers.
In addition to being low-maintenance in terms of equipment, table tennis is incredibly easy to play. Actually, table tennis regulations, including pro ping pong rules, are so easy to follow that even complete newbies will be able to master them without difficulty.
So what are the rules?
The main goal of ping pong matches is to hit the ball over the net and into the opponent’s side. A player must return the ball after it bounces once but before it bounces twice on their own side of the table. If the ball bounces twice or hits the floor, then it’s a point for the server.
In the event that the ball hits the net during the serve but goes over to the other side of the table, it’s a “let” serve and has to be done over. However, it’s a point for your opponent if a serve goes into the net but does not pass over into the other side.
If you are playing singles, the serve alternates after every two points. When playing doubles, the serve again switches after every two points but also rotates between the partners. The other difference is that doubles have to serve on opposite sides of the court, unlike singles, where there are no restrictions on where the ball lands.
The first to score 11 points wins the game. However, in order for one of the participants to take the win, a gap of at least two points needs to occur, meaning that if the final scoring is 10-10, the participants take part in extra play until one of them gains a lead of at least 2 points. In this case, the serve alternates after every point instead of after every two points.
In professional table tennis, a match is usually the best three out of five games, but it can also be the best out of nine or seven games.
Most Famous Table Tennis Countries and Leagues
Being the well-liked sport that it is, there are multiple championships to bet on all around the globe. That said, Ukrainian and Russian ping pong tournaments have been topping the popularity charts lately, with millions of people actively watching and betting on table tennis matches. As a matter of fact, during the pandemic, betting on ping pong leagues like the Ukrainian Win Cup or the Moscow Liga Pro has become immensely popular in both the US and the UK.
These tournaments stream hundreds of matches a day and feature a wide range of participants, from professional athletes to complete amateurs. And they bring in millions in wagers.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular ping pong leagues right now:
The Setka Cup is the biggest international platform for table tennis. Established in Ukraine in 2018, the Setka Cup is home to more than 780 active and highly-rated players and 13 state-of-the-art arenas. It organises more than 7,500 matches per month, all of which are streamed live on the platform.
And it’s not just amateurs taking part. Oleksandr Didukh, who competed for Ukraine at the 2012 Summer Olympics, is currently rated second on the platform with an 87.6 rating and 13 (out of 20 matches) won. Yevhen Pryshchepa precedes him as the most valuable player within the Setka Cup, with a rating of 89.1. Pryshchepa has played a total of 20 matches, winning 15 of them, as well two gold and one bronze medal.
The Win Cup is another Ukrainian table tennis championship, arranging both commercial and non-commercial daily tournaments. Anton Starsky is the absolute champion within the Win Cup and one of the best table tennis players of all time on the platform, with 722 matches won out of a total of 1423 matches played.
Moscow Liga Pro
The Liga Pro arranges matches from undisclosed locations to avoid fraud and protect the athletes. They frequently organise games in Belarus, Brazil, China and the Czech Republic, or other countries easily accessible to Russian athletes.
Like the Setka and Win Cup, the Russia Liga Pro features several matches a day which can be seen live on the platform.
The Olympic Games
Although technically not a league, the Olympics provides punters with plenty of betting opportunities.
Olympic table tennis will be contested at the 2021 Tokyo Summer Games. The reigning champion is Ma Long, a three-time gold medalist and one of the best players in the sport.
This year he will get the chance to become the most decorated Olympic table tennis player of all time, so betting on him is a sure win. If you’re not convinced, just take a look at his match against Fan Zhendong at the 2017 World Table Tennis Championships. Called one of the most thrilling finals and arguably the best table tennis match ever, Ma Long’s brilliant strategy and excellent skills secured him the win and his second world championship title.
Table Tennis Betting Games
Ping pong betting works pretty much like betting on any other sport. Still, it’s always a good idea to take a look at all of the different table tennis betting rules that will help maximise your chances of winning a ticket.
This is one of the easiest and most straightforward ways to bet on any sport. Match winner betting allows you to bet on the participant you believe will be the winner of the match. But things are not always that simple.
Betting on the player that is more likely to win won’t bring you a lot of money while wagering on the underdog can lead to a hefty prize provided they beat the odds and win the match.
Bear in mind that there could be nothing much to win if there is a huge difference between the players. In that case, those interested in betting on table tennis should consider other options.
Also called an Over/Under bet, totals is one of the easiest and most popular wagers at the sportsbooks. It works by wagering that the number of points scored during the match will be above or below a certain value. The sportsbook typically sets this number—in table tennis, it usually comes over/under 70.
Parlay betting allows you to place multiple wagers on one slip. For instance, you can bet on three matches from any professional table tennis league, and if you win all three legs of the parlay, you can make a very nice profit. However, if one leg loses, so does the whole parlay.
Handicap betting is the bookmaker’s way of evening out the playing field and encouraging punters to place a bet on a match that is expected to be one-sided. Here bookies will give one player a handicap that they must overcome to win and provide more odds than just plain win, lose or draw.
As far as ping pong betting is concerned, there is a standard handicap of 1.5 games to put a wager on since matches are played until one of the competitors wins at least three out of five matches.
This one is pretty self-explanatory: it lets you bet on table tennis live, simultaneously as the match is being played. You need to be vigilant, though, since the betting odds are constantly shifting based on table tennis live scores, and things can change in a matter of seconds.
One of the things that makes table tennis betting so interesting are the unique bets that can’t be found in other sports. For instance, one can make bets in ping pong on the exact number of games being played, as well as wagers on who will win the first game and even bet on matches decided by extra points.
Make sure to check out various sportsbooks to see if they offer any of these one-of-a-kind table tennis wagers.
Table Tennis Betting Tips and Strategy
Now that we’ve covered the different types of wagers you can place on table tennis, do you know how to win at table tennis?
Let’s review some of the best tennis betting tips and tricks you should always have in mind when wagering on the sport.
Take a Good Look At the Players
The first thing you should always consider before placing in your bet are player rankings, as these will give you an idea of what you can expect from a certain player.
Next, browse through their previous matches. Watching some of the best table tennis players of all time in action will show you the strengths and weaknesses of a single participant, both physical or psychological. Also, make sure to take a look at which tournaments players earned points to see what kind of competitions they perform well in.
Thirdly, always check out the fitness level, both of your favourite and the competitors. Some participants, especially amateurs, might not be in top physical shape and sometimes that’s all it takes to lose a match.
Then take a look at the style of play. For instance, there are numerous examples of top-notch players who haven’t performed that well against left-handed opponents. After all, each player has a unique playstyle that bettors should become familiar with.
At last, take the time to research the players. Table tennis players are not as famous as some of the names in football, so any information you can dig up on them online can do wonders for your ping pong betting outcomes. In addition, look into some non-sport-related details on a player, such as browsing through their social media accounts. It might sound extreme, but table tennis is an individual sport, so any kind of personal distraction can significantly influence the performance of the player.
Find the Right Competition
With rumours of fixed matches within the Russia Liga Pro or Win Cup (which have since been disputed), it’s very important to choose the right tournament to bet on. Research into how legitimate the tournaments are, especially now that Covid-19 has forced the ITTF to cancel all of their official tournaments, and all the matches played are not sanctioned by the sport’s top governing body.
Check the Betting Odds
Once you’ve gone through the players, it’s time to take a look at the table tennis odds on offer. You might choose to take a risk and bet on the competitor that is less likely to win for a higher payout or to play it safe and place a wager on the player with better betting odds—it’s totally up to you and your betting style.
The good thing in this sport is that betting odds for both players do not vary that much, so you can find even odds for both the underdogs and the favourites.
Go For the Right Sportsbooks
Last but not least—sportsbooks. Finding the right bookie is important when placing a bet on any sport, but it is even more essential in table tennis because this market gets fewer wagers.
So, even though most sportsbooks offer identical wagers, you should make the additional effort and investigate various betting shops. This might be game-changing in terms of outcomes.
With that in mind, let’s go over the best betting table tennis sites in 2021.
- Bet 365
Bet 365 is a well-known name within the table tennis betting industry and probably our go-to betting shop when it comes to ping-pong. They offer a wide range of betting possibilities and rank highest in terms of security, safety and ease of access. Bet 365 also allows its members to watch live streams of tons of sports events, including table tennis championships like the Chezch Liga Pro, the Setka Cup and the Moscow Liga Pro.
BoyleSports is the biggest bookmaker in Ireland. It started out in 1982 and is currently the largest provider of table tennis odds. At the moment, BoyleSports offers great odds for betting on the Russia Liga Pro as well as the Ukrainian Win Cup and the International TT Cup.
- William Hill
This is the most popular bookmaker throughout the UK, with the largest market share in the betting industry in the country. In addition, William Hill offers a variety of markets for betting on ping pong, which can be found both online and in their many betting shops across Britain.
Serving You a Double
Table tennis betting has been blowing up ever since the Covid-19 outbreak cancelled all other sports. However, this is not the only reason behind the rising popularity of ping pong. Table tennis is an incredibly dynamic sport, played with intensity and excitement, which in turn forces bettors to make quick decisions and ups adrenaline levels among punters.
With this in mind, it might be a good time to abandon mainstream sports and get involved in table tennis betting. Find yourself a nice betting shop that offers great odds, and let the ball do the talking!