A stake is simply the amount of money that is at risk when making a bet.
It doesn’t matter what you bet on, or how much you bet, the amount put down can always be correctly referred to as a stake.
For example if you bet £10 that the Chicago Bulls will beat the New York Knicks in a game of basketball, that £10 would be your stake.
To use the word in a slightly different way, you could also tell someone:
“I have staked £10 on the outcome of this game, so I really hope the Chicago Bulls win.”
You can also use the term as a verb, by describing what you are doing as staking.
For example, if you put £10 on the winner of a boxing match, you could say that you are ‘staking £10’ on the outcome of that fight.
It always refers to the amount of money in question though, rather than solely to the act of betting itself.
Other Words that Mean the Same as a Stake
Many different words often exist to describe the same thing in betting; for example betting on horse racing can simply be described as betting on ‘the horses’, or the gee gees, or the nags.
Betting itself can be referred to as ‘having a flutter’. We are very inventive with our language in the UK!
Some words cross over to mean more than one thing as well, and a few cross into staking territory.
For example, you could use the words stake and wager interchangeably when talking about the amount you are betting;
“I’m going to stake/wager £5 on the match.”
But you wouldn’t use them both in this sentence;
“I’m going to have a wager on the golf over the weekend.”
Only ‘wager’ works in this example, you couldn’t ‘have a stake’ on something,
Bet is another word that can be used interchangeably with stake. Your bet could be £5 as could your stake, but just like with wager, while you can ‘make a bet’ on something you can’t ‘make a stake’ on something.