The four fold bet explained

Last updated & tested: 2020-01-07

Anyone with a sniff of sports betting nouse has heard of an ‘Acca’ or four-fold bet, probably from one of your mates who was five minutes away from winning a bazillion quid if not for that blinking VAR decision!

"Yeah, alright. Settle down, Dave!"

One thing you can take away from old Dave’s whinging is that you can bag a hefty return from a four-fold (or higher) bet, without the need of a minor miracle.

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In this article, you’ll find out:

  • What does ‘four-fold bet’ actually mean
  • What makes up a four-fold bet
  • How to place a four-fold bet at a top UK Bookie
  • How are four-fold and Acca bets calculated
  • How you can use four-fold and Acca bets in a variety of ways

What does four-fold bet actually mean?

The term ‘four-fold bet’, in straightforward terms, is a single bet made up of four selections. The four-fold term refers to the number of selections included in the bet and is also the first point where we refer to a multiple bet (a bet containing more than one selection) as an Accumulator or ‘Acca’. Anything less than four selections in a bet is a Single, Double or Treble.

You can expand the term dependant on the number of selections you make, meaning if you pick five teams, it becomes a five-fold, six teams, a six-fold, and so on.

The term ‘Acca’ simply refers to a multiple bet with four or more selections.

What makes up a four-fold bet

Newmarket horse racing

Landing a winning four-fold bet is not easy, but under the right circumstances, and with a little luck, the stars can align to bring you a tasty return from a relatively small stake.

To place a four-fold bet, you first need to decide which four selections you will include in the bet, and they better be good, as one wrong choice will see your accumulator crash and burn like a hollowed-out caravan at a science convention hosted by Richard Hammond.

How to place an accumulator bet at an online bookie

At most online bookies, you’ll find what is widely referred to as coupons. No, you can’t take these coupons to your local high street bookie and get 50p off your next bet on the winner of I’m a celeb.

Coupons in the bookmaking world consist of a list of events and allow you to place accumulators quickly, without having to go into each game separately.

Of course, if you’d like to go and check all 180 markets of each event and build your accumulator that way, then, by all means, do, however, this can take time.

If your comfortable betting on the same market for each event; for example, both teams to score in four separate football matches, then coupons are the way forward.

Most bookies let you change the market on coupons, allowing you flexibility on what you choose to bet on. They will usually, by default, show the 1X2, which is, of course, the odds on whether a match will end in a draw, a win for the home team, or a win for the away team.

You can, however, change this to let’s say the Both Teams to Score market, which will then display the Yes (both teams will score) and No (both teams will not score) options for each event.

Once you have decided on your four selections, you need to add all of them to the same betting slip before entering your stake.

You’ll often find that upon making your first selection, the betting slip will appear and ask you for your stake. You can simply tap off of the betting slip and continue to make your selections. Your choices will be added to the betting slip, much similar to a shopping basket on an online retail store.

Once you are happy with your selections, you can tap on the betting slip (Usually located in the top or bottom right corner of your screen.

The betting slip will display the selections you have made, along with the various staking options you have available to you.

You can read about the various staking options later on in the article but for now, let’s focus on just the accumulator.

Once you have double-checked your selections, you can then navigate down to the staking options.

Some online bookies will show the word ‘accumulator’ or ‘Acca’, while others will simply show the number of selections followed by ‘fold’.

If you have made four selections, you’ll want to enter your stake amount in the box located next to where it says ‘four-fold’ or ‘accumulator’.

Once you are happy with your stake amount, you can then hit the button and place your bet.

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How is an accumulator calculated?

The difference between a four-fold bet and four single bets is the liability you take on, along with how the winnings from each selection contribute to the next leg.

If you were to place four £5 bets on four separate races, then, should all of your selections win, you’d have £40 in your pocket.

What separates an accumulator bet from a single is that the winnings from each leg get added to the stake of the next.

Let’s map this out, so it’s clear:
Bet 1: 14:10 @ Lingfield – £5 bet at odds of 1/1 – Winner (£10 returns)
Bet 2: 14:40 @ Lingfield – £10 bet at odds of 1/1 – Winner (£20 returns)
Bet 3: 15:10 @ Lingfield – £20 bet at odds of 1/1 – Winner (£40 returns)
Bet 4: 15:40 @ Lingfield – £40 bet at odds of 1/1 – Winner (£80 returns)

As you can see, the stake of each bet grows with every winning leg, meaning that you have more money going onto the next selection. While the four £5 bets would have returned you £40 in winnings, the £5 four-fold accumulator would have returned double that amount.

But here’s the kicker!

Placing the four single bets at £5 means that your total stakes are £20 and your maximum return is £40.

If you place a £20 stake (same amount) on the accumulator, your returns would be £320 as the initial £20 stake plus winnings would apply to each subsequent leg.

And just to wrap this up, each of your legs does not need to start one after the other. You can place a four-fold bet on say, four football matches that all kick-off at three o’clock. The calculation works in the same way.

How to use four-fold and accumulator bets in a variety of ways

You may have heard of the term goliath or round robin used down your local bookie.
These are known as system bets or multiples and include a variety of four-folds, five-folds, etc., all wrapped up into one.

Don’t worry; you won’t be needing the help of a certain David to get your head around system bets, but it would help if we started on the lower end of the multiples bet scale (A goliath consists of 247 bets).

A ‘Lucky 15’ is probably one of the most popular system bets in Racing and Sports Betting. It is made up of four selections and includes everything from singles, doubles, trebles and a four-fold bet.

As the name suggests, this type of bet amounts to a total of 15 individual bets all wrapped up into one. Let’s break this down, so it is clear.
Let’s say your betting on the Premier League, and you’ve chosen the following four teams to win:
Manchester City
Chelsea
Tottenham
Liverpool
Your Lucky 15 will consist of:
4x Singles (1, 2, 3, 4)
6x Doubles (1-2,1-3, 1-4, 2-3, 2-4, 3-4)
4x Trebles (1-2-3, 1-2-4, 1-3-4, 2-3-4)
1x Four-Fold (1-2-3-4)
As you can see, there are several bets in this Lucky 15, so you will need to calculate your stake accordingly. To keep it simple, let’s assume you place a £1 Luck 15, which will be a total stake of £15.

Let’s assume that Man City, Tottenham and Liverpool win, but Chelsea draw. In this instance, you’ll need to remove all bets that contain the 2nd selection, and so you will be paid for the following results:
3x Singles (1, 3, 4)
3x Doubles (1-3, 1-4, 3-4)
1x Trebles (1-3-4)
0x Four-Fold
Had you have opted for just the Four-Fold here, your returns would be zero, so using this variation is an excellent way to increase your chances of getting a return.

If you want to include more or fewer selections using the same system, you can opt for the following types of bets:
Patent: 3 Selections – 7 Bets
Lucky 31: 5 Selections – 31 Bets
Lucky 63: 6 Selections – 63 Bets

As the number of selections grows, the need to bet on the single becomes less critical, since, following the idea that we are using a £1 stake, a single winner on a Lucky 63 is unlikely to get you anything close to your money back (unless you’re backing 100/1 shots).

Because of this, the bookies have also made available system bets that do not include the single option, meaning you will need at least two winners to get a return.

Some of the most popular types of these bets are as follows (Remember, these do not include singles):

Trixie: 3 Selections – 4 Bets
Yankee: 4 Selections – 11 Bets
Canadian or Super Yankee: 5 Selections – 26 Bets
Heinz: 6 Selections – 57 Bets
Super Heinz: 7 Selections – 120 Bets
Goliath: 8 Selections – 247 Bets

Street Smarts when it comes to System bets

As previously touched upon, using system bets as opposed to just a straight four-fold bet can be a great way to increase your chances of getting a return on a Sports or Racing bet. However, you will need to use these forms of multiples wisely if you are to benefit from them successfully.

Let’s take the Lucky 15, for example.
If you were to place a £1 Lucky 15, you would need to make four selections, and your total stake would be £15.

To see any kind of return, you would need at least one winner.

For this example, we will assume that all of your selections are priced at 5/1.

If you were to be so lucky as to get four winners, you’d bag yourself a return of £2,400.00 for a mere £15 stake (If only it were that easy).
But let’s take a look at the break-even point for this bet based on odds of 5/1.

Total stake = £15
4 Winners = profit of £2,385.00
3 Winners = profit of £327.00
2 Winners = profit of £33.00
1 Winner = Loss of £9.00

To make any sort of profit, you’ll need to land at least two winners at 5/1. Considering that landing just one 5/1 shot is roughly the equivalent of a team struggling in La Liga’s relegation zone beating Barcelona at the Nou Camp, the possibility of successfully predicting two of these occurrences is quite the task in itself.

So, always be aware of the odds and understand whether the reward outweighs the risk when deciding on either a straight four-fold bet or a system bet that includes a four-fold bet within it.

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