With several table tennis tournaments in full flow we decided it was time to put together a guide to the sport and explain why it's perfect for betting. Just don't call it ping pong...
Table tennis is fast, simple and unpredictable which means it's enjoyable to watch and can make for dramatic betting.
Matches tend to last less than half-an-hour. Tournament structures vary, although players will typically play more than one match in a day, sometimes even against the same opponents. It's not uncommon for a player to lose their first match in a double-header but go on to win the next one and vice versa.
Rules and history
Although the history of table tennis can be traced back to the 1880s, the game we know today started in the 1920s when Englishman Ivor Montagu and other Europeans formed the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) in 1926. Soon after official rules were defined.
In order to tackle the defensive style of play adopted by many players in the early days, a limit to the duration of a single game was introduced. It can last no longer than 10 minutes as per the latest version of the rules. Which is fantastic because it stops things from ever getting boring. How many other sports can you say that of?
A game is won by the first player who reaches 11 points, unless both players score 10 points in which case the game is won by the first player to gain a lead of two points (12-10, 13-11 etc). Officially, a match can consist of the best of any odd number of games but most matches are best of five games.
Service alternates between opponents every two points until the end of the game, unless both players score ten points when it alternates after each point.
Play is fast and player reactions must be quick. The ITTF introduced larger ping-pong balls after the 2000 Olympics in Sydney in order to slow the game and make it easier to follow. Players use different types of strokes and spins to alter the trajectory of the ball.
Yellow and red cards are shown by umpires and referees to players and coaches who break the rules or misbehave during the course of a match or tournament. Umpires can also award penalty points when players commit an offence.
How to bet on table tennis
As you can see, table tennis is pretty straightforward. It shares similarities with tennis and some of the same principles apply to betting on it.
Study the form by finding out about the players. Watch as much of the sport as possible and you'll quickly get up to date with which players are worth backing and who should be opposed.
The rapid fire nature of the sports means rewards can come quickly, although that also applies to losing of course.
As mentioned earlier, in most of the competitions each player will take part in more than one match in a day and in several matches in a week during the same tournament, so if there's a player you like you can follow their fortunes across an event.
Betting in-play provides more betting options and opportunities. Most importantly - have fun.