An Introduction to KEIRIN: Japan's Thrilling Form of Public Gambling

March 26, 2024

Discover the excitement and strategies behind KEIRIN, Japan's renowned form of public gambling game like Pachinko recognized by the government.


Today, we will be sharing with you all about KEIRIN, a thrilling gambling experience in Japan.

What is KEIRIN?

KEIRIN is a form of public gambling in which nine riders compete on specially designed bicycles around a mortar-shaped track called a "bank." The objective is to reach the finish line in the shortest time possible. With race distances of approximately 2,000 meters, riders compete for position over several laps, typically four to six. It is worth noting that KEIRIN stands out among other forms of public gambling, such as KEIBA, BOAT RACE (KYOTEI), and AUTO RACE, as it requires a unique blend of strategic thinking and intelligence.

Accessibility and Exciting Payouts

One of the key attractions of KEIRIN is its accessibility. Participants can join in the gambling action for as little as 100 Japanese yen, making it an affordable form of entertainment. In the past, it was even possible to participate with just 10 Japanese yen. Despite its affordability, KEIRIN has seen impressive payouts, including a record-breaking 4,760,700 Japanese yen on September 21, 2016. This means that a mere 100 Japanese yen bet could potentially turn into a staggering 4.76 million Japanese yen. Moreover, KEIRIN offers opportunities for both male and female participants. The Girls' KEIRIN, a race exclusively for women, showcases their skills on a slightly shorter track (1,500 to 1,666 meters), with speeds reaching up to 60 kilometers per hour.

Diverse Skill Levels and Classes

With over 2,300 KEIRIN players, it boasts the highest number of participants among all professional sports in Japan. To ensure fair competition, KEIRIN players are divided into six classes: S-class S-team (top class), S-class, S-class 1, A-class 1, A-class 2, and A-class 3. The top S-class S-team consists of only nine players who would undoubtedly outperform A-class 3 players. Prize money increases as players ascend through the classes, but the competition is fierce, and underperforming riders risk losing their positions. Physical training plays a crucial role in improving one's abilities, highlighting the athletic aspect of KEIRIN alongside its gambling nature.

The Allure of KEIRIN

1. Payouts and Winning Rates

When comparing the four major public gambling events in Japan—KEIBA, KEIRIN, AUTO RACE, and BOAT RACE (KYOTEI)—KEIRIN and AUTO RACE offer an optimal balance between winning rates and payouts. For example, KEIRIN has 504 ways to buy all three bicycles and has yielded a significant payout of 4,760,700 Japanese yen, ensuring consistent opportunities for attractive returns.

2. Tactical Strategies

Tactics play a crucial role in KEIRIN races, as riders and jockeys in KEIBA analyze the flow of the race, anticipate winning positions, and maximize their output. While other forms of public gambling like BOAT RACE (KYOTEI) and AUTO RACE also employ tactics, KEIRIN and KEIBA stand out due to the complex interplay between riders and jockeys. Understanding the personalities and racing patterns of these athletes adds an element of excitement and depth to the prediction process.

3. Human-Powered Action

KEIRIN is the only public gambling event in which human power

takes center stage. This unique characteristic adds a sense of tension and responsibility, as riders bear the full weight of their performance, relying on their physical strength and mental agility. As fans, we are captivated by the clash of professional athletes who combine athleticism and intelligence.

How to Participate in KEIRIN

1. Buying Tickets at KEIRIN Race Tracks

KEIRIN race tracks across Japan have convenient automatic ticket vending machines that accept cash. The mark sheets for voting are readily available at the entry table for general seating or on each reserved seating individual seat. Remember to collect your ticket upon exchange for the mark sheet, as it is crucial for payout processing. Pay attention to the cut-off time, which ranges from two to five minutes before the race starts, depending on the purchase method. Allow yourself plenty of time to purchase your tickets before the deadline.

2. Buying Tickets at Off-Site Ticket Booths

Over 70 off-site ticket booths are available throughout Japan for purchasing KEIRIN tickets. The process is identical to buying tickets at the race track. If you encounter any difficulties, don't hesitate to seek assistance from the staff.

3. Buying Tickets Online

With the advent of the internet, online voting and ticket purchasing have become convenient options. Many online services and apps provide not only ticket buying capabilities but also live streaming, allowing you to enjoy the race and complete the payout process using just your smartphone. You can participate in KEIRIN from anywhere in Japan. Explore various online voting platforms and compare their features. Searching for terms like "KEIRIN online voting" or "KEIRIN voting sites" will yield numerous options. Registration is typically free, so you can try out multiple services to find the one that suits you best. A popular choice is "Odds Park KEIRIN," known for its prominent television commercials.

Understanding Ticket Types

KEIRIN offers seven ticket types, each with different winning chances and payouts. Familiarize yourself with their characteristics to make informed choices:

1. Quinella

This ticket requires you to predict the players who will finish in first and second place, regardless of the order. The odds of winning are 1 in 36.

2. Exacta

Similar to Quinella, Exacta requires predicting the first and second place finishers, but the order must be correct. The odds of winning are 1 in 72, offering a chance at higher payouts.

3. Trio

Trio tickets involve predicting the combination of players who will finish in the top three positions. The order is irrelevant, providing better odds of winning at 1 in 84.

4. Tierce

In Tierce, you predict the top three finishers in the correct order. Although more challenging with odds of winning at 1 in 504, it can lead to significant payouts, occasionally reaching several million Japanese yen.

5. Bracket Quinella

KEIRIN races feature a "frame" system, where players are assigned bicycle numbers from 1 to 9. Frames can contain multiple players. In Bracket Quinella, you select two frames and predict the first and second-place finishers without considering the order. With odds of winning at 1 in 18, it offers promising chances.

6. Exacta Quinella

Similar to Bracket Quinella, you select two frames and predict the first and second-place finishers in the correct order. The odds of winning are slightly lower at 1 in 33 due to the added requirement of the order.

7. Quinella Place

This ticket involves predicting two players who will finish in the top three positions. Three patterns are available: first and second, second and third, and

first and third. The odds of winning vary, with higher odds resulting in lower payouts and vice versa. Choose a ticket that aligns with your objectives and preferences.

Strategies for Predicting KEIRIN Outcomes

While speed is crucial, KEIRIN races are not solely determined by the fastest rider. The concept of "line" adds depth and complexity to predictions. Forming a line refers to riders from the same region or KEIRIN school joining forces to support one another in a race. This tactic, although initially surprising, is allowed in KEIRIN. The line strategy takes into account the wind's impact, as riders can experience wind resistance while racing at speeds of up to 70 kilometers per hour. A designated race leader serves as a windbreaker and pacemaker, aiding the riders.

However, those in front may experience wind resistance and energy loss, while trailing riders may struggle to overtake before the finish line. Creating an effective line of two to five players becomes a psychological and strategic battle, as each rider possesses their own unique racing pattern and style.

Who Is Suited for KEIRIN?

KEIRIN appeals to individuals who:

  • Enjoy gambling or have an interest in it.
  • Appreciate sports and athletic competitions.
  • Seek engaging mind games and brain challenges.
  • Enjoy psychological battles and strategic thinking.
  • Desire the possibility of significant financial gains and opportunities to interact with female participants.
  • Prefer easy and convenient ways to make money.
  • Want to meet like-minded individuals who share an interest in KEIRIN.

Who Is Not Suited for KEIRIN?

KEIRIN may not be suitable for individuals who:

  • Dislike gambling or have no interest in it.
  • Lack enthusiasm for sports and athletic events.
  • Struggle with maintaining self-control while gambling.
  • Have limited financial resources to purchase tickets.
  • Do not wish to associate with individuals who enjoy KEIRIN.


How was your introduction to KEIRIN? Are you intrigued by this captivating form of gambling? While all Japanese public gambling offers excitement, KEIRIN stands out due to its unique blend of individual power and psychological dynamics. With races held 365 days a year at 43 different race tracks across Japan, the opportunity to experience the thrill of KEIRIN is right at your fingertips. Embrace the excitement of KEIRIN and enjoy the journey!

PIJ Writer
PIJ Writer
PIJ Writer, a seasoned connoisseur in his 40s based in Japan, boasts an unparalleled depth of knowledge and experience within the vibrant landscapes of both drinking and gambling, alongside his well-documented ventures into various red-light districts. This extensive exploration encompasses not just the nocturnal delights of Japan's red-light areas but also its myriad of bars, horse racing, pachinko, and many others. Drawing on his firsthand experiences, he conveys the appeal and characteristics of Japan's diverse adult entertainment districts and his enjoyment of the nightlife scene through his writing for PIJ.

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