Water Polo Betting for UK Players

This complete water polo guide will reveal all that you should know about water polo betting. We present how the markets hold up and what areas of the sport you can bet on. Plus, important access to the best UK betting sites online, so you can enjoy the action.

Water Polo Betting: Free Bets, Bonuses and Other Offers

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Water polo, it is fair to say, is not high up on the list of sports that people think about when they are considering doing a spot of sports betting. As a result, there are not as many bookies that offer it when compared to other sports that are more popular. However, those that do offer it, will provide you with plenty to keep you thoroughly entertained.

In the following guide, we are going to teach you everything that you should know about placing bets on this fascinating sport.

A Look at the History of Water Polo

icon of a ball over a water polo player

Water polo might have a bit of a reputation as being a brutal sport, but the game that we know today is a lot less violent than it used to be. This sport, like many others, began in England in the mid-1800s as a water-based type of rugby. It was played in indoor pools as well as outside in ponds and lakes.

The London Swimming Association developed rules for indoor version in 1870, and these rules stated, alongside other things, that a goal is scored when a player uses two hands to hit the back wall with the ball. Goalkeepers were allowed to stand on the side and jump on opposing players with the ball. Complete violence, severe injuries, and drowning accidents were all part of the game.

The Scottish changed water polo in the late 19th century – they were the first ones to use a cage as a goal and they played a water polo game that was closer to football than to rugby. They used a bigger ball and put a lot more emphasis on passing. Hungary, in 1889, were the first country to make use of these more civilized rules. Other European countries such as Germany and Austria (1894), France (1895), and Belgium (1900) followed suit. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic in the US, the more violent kind of water polo, which began there in the 1880s, was flourishing.

In 1900, water polo was given the honour of being the first team sport at the Olympic Games. It was only played by men at the time due to the sport’s inherent violent. America’s preference for the violent style of water polo prevented teams from Europe competing at the Olympics in 1904 as they were held in the US.

Records show that women’s water polo was played for the first time in 1906, but the women’s game did not gain much popularity until around 100 years later. The US held a tournament in 1926, but it was considered much too brutal for women to play.

A Hungarian coach, in 1928, created the dry pass, and this changed the dynamics of the sport and created a water polo dynasty in Hungary that would last for six decades. This new emphasis on passing is something that forced players to develop skill and finesse – brute force was no longer all that was needed to win a match.

In 1930, FINA became the official governing body for water polo. Most US clubs by 1914 had adopted the less brutal European rules, but there were some that were still playing the violent game. However, this all changed when the FINA brought out their own rules. In 1949, the game speed increased when a rule changed let play carry on after a normal foul, while in the 70s a shot clock started to be used. Teams had 45 seconds to try to score, and if they failed, they had to hand the ball over to their opponents. Nowadays, the shot clock has been reduced to 30 or 35 seconds.

Violence returned to water polo during a 1956 Olympic Games match between Hungary and the USSR. Due to political tension between these two countries, the semi-final started with some verbal taunts before things became really aggressive in the pool. A Hungarian player got punched in the face, which started a riot in the crowd. The referees, fearing for the safety of everyone, ended the match with a minute still to play. Hungary, at the time, were winning 4-0, and advanced to the final, where they would go on to win the Gold Medal.

Their win was dramatic, but not much of a surprise as they were the dominant power in the sport. They would go on to dominate for the next two decades – of the ten gold medals that were available from 1932-1976, Hungary picked up six of them.

Women’s water polo became popular from the 1960s onwards, and nowadays it is played in many high schools across America. The first World Cup for women took place in 1979, and the US team were victorious. Women’s water polo was added to the Olympics in 2000, and has been a part of it ever since.

Major Water Polo Competitions

One of the biggest challenges that you will face when it comes to water polo betting is finding competitions that are worth betting on. A number of European leagues are played throughout the year and there is a competitive college water polo scene in the US, but there are not that many bookies that provide consistent coverage apart from when major events are being played.

Below we will take a brief look at some of the major water polo events that you can put your money on. We will also look at the European leagues, just in case you come across a bookie that happens to offer odds for them.

The Summer Olympics

The Summer Olympics is played every four years and is one of the most significant sporting events in the world. It is also a gambling paradise since bookies often provide spectacular offers throughout the course of the event. Just like any other discipline at the Olympics, water polo has plenty of bets placed on it. When it comes to the most successful team, Hungary are leading the way with nine golds, while Serbia are the reigning champions as they beat Croatia at the Olympics in Rio in 2016.

World Cup

The FINA World Cup is an international competition that came into being in 1979. Since 2002, this event is held once every four years, which works out as two years after the Olympics. There are only eight countries that take part, which shows how stiff the competition is. Hungary are the reigning champions as they beat Australia in the final in 2018.

World Championships

This is an international tournament that is played every two years, with the next one scheduled to take place in Japan in 2022. It was originally scheduled for 2021, but since the 2020 Summer Olympics, also taking place in Japan, was postponed a year because of the pandemic, it was decided that the water polo World Championships would be pushed back a year. This is one of the biggest water polo competitions in the world, and plenty of bets are placed on it. The last World Championships took place in 2019 in South Korea and the gold medal was won by Italy.

World League

This is an international tournament that is held each year and runs from the end of July until winter. The tournament is made up of continental teams, with the top teams participating in the Super Final to determine who the champions will be. The men’s version of this event came into being in 2002, and Serbia is the most successful team with 13 titles to their name. They are also the reigning champions, having won it in 2019. Obviously, due to pandemic reasons, this event was not held in 2020.

Domestic Leagues

The most popular leagues are the Serie A, Italian League, Division de Honor, and the Spanish League. To add to this, there is the LEN Champions League, which is quite similar to the much more popular football Champions League. It is a competition that features the best water polo teams from 18 different countries.

Water Polo Betting Tips

Water polo is a sport that provides a number of great betting choices, but this is only true for those who have taken the time to do some research and have come up with a winning strategy. If you do a bit of homework and learn all you can about the sport, you will start to find those value bets. Water polo can be a predictable sport at times, which gives a lot of value to those who happen to know where to look.

A big advantage is that there are not a lot of people that watch this sport very closely, so great value is definitely there to be had for experienced sports betting fans. Below we have given you some great tips to keep in mind when you are placing bets on this sport.

Do Some Proper Research

This is something that we touched on above, but we will mention it once again because it is that important. If you want to be successful when betting on water polo, do some research and inform yourself about injuries, lineups, and personal lives of the participants as this can help you find some important information that can help you to place a successful bet. Check out how teams have performed at tournaments in the past. All the information that you need is on the Internet, so you would be foolish not to make use of it.

Look at Previous Matches

By taking a look at previous matches you can get a good insight into the form of a team. To add to this, you can get a good idea as to what type of match to expect when two teams face each other. If two teams have not been scoring a lot in their previous matches, then you should expect that it will be a tight and low scoring affair.

Pay Attention to the Goalkeeper

This might sound pretty unbelievable if you are new to this sport, but more often than not it is the keeper that determines which team wins the match. In water polo, keeping is a lot more than just anticipating and blocking shots, it is also about telling their teammates about imposing threats and any gaps that occur in their defense. Also, keepers in water polo are often responsible for starting counter attacks, which is the reason why many have a number of assists to their name. So, before you go ahead and bet on a team, you should take a look at their keeper and see if he is any good. How often have they helped their team to win a game by making top-class saves?

Never Chase Your Losses

This is a betting tip that applies to any sport that you are betting on, and if you have read some of our other pages, then there is a good chance that you have read about it already. However, it does not hurt us repeating it because it is just that important. Losing is a part of gambling, and there will come a time when you go on a bit of a losing streak. Now, we know that when this happens you will have the urge to place more bets to try and regain your losses, but this is a big mistake. More often than not, such a strategy will just lead to you losing even more money. When you are gambling, you should yourself a budget and stick to it – once you have spent your budgeted money, log out of your account, and go and occupy yourself with something else.

How do we choose the best betting sites for water polo?

There are numerous bookmakers out there that sports betting fans in the United Kingdom can create an account with in order to place boxing bets.

For new sports gamblers, choosing can be quite a challenging task, but we have done all the analysis for you. 

Below we will explain the different aspects of a sportsbook that we analyse when we are deciding whether a particular bookie is worth recommending to our readers.  

Popular Water Polo Bets

Above we gave you some great free tips for water polo betting that you should definitely keep in mind when gambling on this sport, and now we shall look at the popular betting markets you will find for this sport. When it comes to placing bets on water polo, you will find more than enough markets to keep you highly entertained. So, read on to find out everything that you should know about popular water polo markets.

Match winner: This bet, also called a straight bet, is as easy as it sounds. All you are tasked with doing is trying to predict the team that will go on to win a match. You also have the option of betting on a draw, but we should stress here that the odds of a draw happening is pretty rare. This is why you will always find high odds for such a bet type.

Total score: When it comes to this type of bet, what you are tasked with doing is predicting the number of goals that will be scored in the game by both teams. The bookie will give you a value, and you have to decide whether the total goals will be over or under the value that they give. For example, the bookmaker will give you a figure of 15.5, and then you need to decide whether the total goals scored will be 15 or fewer (under) or 16 and above (over). The odds for such a wager are usually somewhere between 1.70 and 2.00.

Handicap betting: When one team is a huge favourite to win, their odds will be so low that it will not be worth betting on them. Likewise, their opponent’s odds will be so high, that your chances of winning when betting on them will be pretty slim. This is where handicap betting comes into play, as you can give the favourites a goal deficit of -4 goals to improve their odds a little, meaning that they have to go on to win the match by at least 5 goals for you to win your bet.

Prop bets: There are a number of different prop bets that you can make and these range from the top scorer in a game to whether a particular team will win a medal at a major event. You can also try to guess the team that will win the competition or try to predict the three teams that will make it onto the podium at the end of the tournament.

Best Bonuses and Free Bets for Water Polo Betting

If you are looking for the world’s most competitive industries, then you do not need to go much further than the industry that is sports betting. The highly competitive nature of the sports betting industry is something that is negative for sportsbooks, but highly positive for us punters as it is this competitiveness that forces bookies to provide us with attractive welcome bonuses. Bookmakers know all too well that if they do not offer enticing welcome bonuses then they are going to lose out on plenty of custom.

Some people like to think that bonuses are all the same and it does not matter which one you choose, but this is wrong. When you start spending time in sports betting world, you will find bonuses that are a lot better than some of the others that you will find. In fact, do not be too surprised if you come across bonuses that are a complete waste of your time. It is for this reason why it is important that you do some research before you commit to a bookie and the bonus that they have available. Below we have given your four quality bookies that have top-notch bonuses that can be used on water polo.

888sport: If you opt to sign up with 888sport, they will treat you to a Welcome Bonus where they will 100% match your very first deposit up to £100. This means that if you deposit £50 during your first deposit, you will get a total of £100 added to your new account. The 888sport bonus money can be used on any sport you like, but we suggest you use some of the bonus on water polo betting.

TonyBet: If you decide to sign up with TonyBet, you will be treated to a Welcome Bonus where your first deposit will be 100% matched up to the value of £50. So, if you go ahead and deposit £50 when you sign up, you will find £100 in your new account. The TonyBet bonus money can be used on any sporting event you like, but since you are reading a guide on water polo betting, we suggest you use some of it to bet on this sport.

Unibet: If you sign up with Unibet, you can take advantage of a £40 money back offer that is available. With this type of bonus, you just need to make a wager with a value up to £40, and if it loses, your stake will be refunded in the shape of a free bet. You can use the free bet on water polo, but you are obviously free to use it on any sport you like.

William Hill: If you sign up with this bookie, then they will treat you to a Welcome Bonus worth £30. This will be two free bets that have a value of £15, and they can be used on whatever sporting event that you like.

N.B. Online bookmakers are constantly switching their bonuses about as they need to keep things fresh and attractive in order to stay relevant. A bookmaker that offers an attractive Welcome Bonus is one that will see more customers sign up than one that offers a poor Welcome Bonus, and every serious sportsbook is aware of this. Therefore, there is no guarantee that the four bonuses we just described above are the ones that you will be able to claim when you go to sign up with one of the bookmakers.  We are sorry about this, but we do not have a lot of spare time to constantly search for any bonus updates.

Something else that we would like to highlight before we move on is that you should pay attention to the T&Cs that apply to a bonus. By reading the different terms, you will learn what the wagering requirements are, what the min deposit is when claiming the bonus, how many days you will be given to use the bonus money, and so forth. Read every single T&C carefully to lower your odds of accidentally forfeiting the bonus.

888 Sport

When compared to the likes of Coral, 888sport is a baby as it has only been in existence since 2008. However, in those 12 years they have gone on to become really popular and they now have millions of customers. The reason for their popularity is an attractive Welcome Bonus (free bet of £30), plenty of sporting markets to bet on, plenty of live streams, and the fact that they offer attractive odds too. How exactly do we rate this sportsbook? Take a look at the table below to find out.


✅ Very attractive Welcome Bonus

✅ Very good odds, especially for football

✅ Top-quality customer support


❌ Live streaming is a bit limited


Coral might be an old sportsbook, but Ladbrokes is even older as they have been in existence sing 1886, which means that it can class itself as the oldest bookmaker in the world. The fact that it has last so long is a clear sign as to just how good they are. They are very popular because of the number of the number of markets that they provide, the fact that they have very good odds, and because they have one of the most impressive live streaming services around. In the table below we give our ratings for this bookmaker.


✅ Extensive live streaming

✅ Variety of markets for a variety of sports

✅ Very competitive odds


❌ Payment methods might be limited for some

Where to find the best Water Polo Odds

Sportsbooks will not all have the same odds because they know the importance of offering odds that are better than what their rivals are offering. A bookmaker that offers odds that are some of the best around is one that people will sign up with in a heartbeat, while a bookmaker that offers some of the lowest odds around is one that the majority will completely ignore.

Before signing up with a bookie, you have to carry out some research to ensure that the odds being offered are ones that are competitive when compared to their rivals. You can only get value for your money by making use of good odds. When you buy other products, no matter what it is, we are certain that you do some research to ensure that you get a good deal, so why would you not do this when looking for a bookie to spend your money at?

We are now going to give you a quick example that proves how much of a difference the odds can make when you bet on something. Let us say that you have found a volleyball game that you want to bet on, and after looking at the odds that are being offered, you see that one sportsbook, who we shall name sportsbook A, has odds of 2.40 for your chosen team to win, while another sportsbook, who we shall call sportsbook B, has odds of 2.60 for your chosen team to win. If you make a £10 wager with odds of 2.40 and they win, you will make a profit of £14, while if you place a similar bet with odds of 2.60, you will make a profit of £16. Now, losing out on £2 is not a dire situation, but losing £2 with every bet you make will quickly add up.

So, what sportsbooks do we recommend you have a closer look at when it it comes down to odds for water polo. Well, we believe the following bookmakers offer great odds consistently:

Water Polo Live Betting

Betting on sports is something that became a lot simpler in the 90s when betting sites made the move to the Internet. While this move meant that sports betting fans could bet on sports without having to go and visit their closest brick-and-mortar bookmaker, there was one thing that was missing, and that was the ability to make a live bet. If you are new to sports betting, then we understand that there is a chance you are not too sure what live bets are. Well, if that is you, a live bet is a bet that you place when the event is still being played. Technology is much better now, and you can find live betting at every bookmaker that is serious about their profession.

Sports betting sites know that their punters love to bet live, and they know that failing to offer a solid live betting platform is something that will lead to a lack of customers registering. While most bookmakers will have some type of live betting options available, some have much better options than others. If you like to make live bets on water polo, then we recommend looking at these bookmakers:

This water polo betting guide has provided you with a lot of very handy information to digest, and we hope that it helps you have a successful water polo gambling experience.