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Home » what is a round robin bet
Peter Addison
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You may one day find yourself asking the question, what is a round robin bet? If that is the case, then you’re in luck as our betting experts have put together a comprehensive explanation of the round robin bet meaning.

The round robin bet is one of the oddest types of bet available, and learning how to place a round robin bet is not easy as it involves a rare type of bet known as an up-and-down single-stake pair. We will explain this type of bet in full, and how it helps when you want to know how to work out a round robin bet.

How does the Round Robin bet work?

First up, let’s get one thing out of the way first. If you’ve ever placed a bet in the US, or have heard bettors in the US talking, then you may have heard of the round robin bet … but that’s not a round robin bet! A round robin bet is the US is typically a bet on a number of selections that includes all possible combinations, except for the singles. For example, a round robin bet in the US on four selections would involve and an acca, trebles and doubles (but no singles). Let’s leave that there though, as a round robin bet in the UK is not the same as a round robin bet in the UK. As we are a UK-based site, we are going to concentrate on the UK version of the round robin.

We also need to get the term ’round robin’ explained too – it has nothing to do with robins, or people called Robin. It comes from the French word ‘ruban’ which means ribbon, and originally meant the custom of signing documents – or placing one’s ribbon – in a circle so that no one is deemed to have signed it first, or signed it last. Over time, round robin became the name of a tournament where every competitor plays every other competitor. The EPL, for example, is a double round robin tournament as every team plays every other team twice, home and away.

The Round Robin Bet Explained

The round robin in betting is a standard bet on three selections, as follows:

  • 3 x doubles
  • 1 x trebles
  • 3 x single-stakes-about bets

That’s ten bets in total. For those of you immediately reaching for your calculators (or using your fingers) as 3 + 1 + 3 = 7, a single-stake-about bet contains two bets, so it’s actually 3 + 1 + (3 x 2) = 10.

Most people who have placed bets will know what are doubles and trebles, but single-stakes-about bet? That’s a different matter so a detailed explanation is required.

Single-stakes-about bets are doubles, but only the stake of the first bet goes on the stake of the second bet if the first bet wins. Say you have a £1 double on two horses priced at 3.00. If the first horse wins, then you’d put the returns (£3) on the second horse. With a single-stake-about bet, the same stake goes on the second horse as went on the first horse, which in our example is £1.

With a normal double, both selections have to win in order for your bet to generate any returns. However, With a single-stakes-about or up-and-down single-stake pair bet as it is also known, you will receive a return if either horse wins. You will though win less than if you’d placed a normal double.

These bets are up-and-down as they are calculated in both ‘directions’ – i.e. any returns from horse A -> same stake on horse B and any returns on horse B -> same stake on horse A. That’s why in this part of the round robin bet, there are six bets: A>B, B>A, A>C, C>A, B>C and C>B. This is why they are known as pairs.

What is a Round Robin bet in Horse Racing?

The round robin bet in the UK is almost only ever placed on horse racing. It is predominantly a racecourse bet, but real-world bookies are likely to accept round robin bets too. Most online bookmakers in the UK do not accept round robin bets because of the ‘up and down’ nature of the bet.

What is a Round Robin bet in Football?

You can of course place a round robin bet in football, but only at real-world UK betting shops. Because of the complicated nature of the round robin bet, the software used by online bookies to calculate winnings and returns is not set up to calculate a round robin bet. We suspect that because the round robin bet is so niche, bookies deem it not worth their while to configure their software to deal with the ‘up and down’ nature of this bet. To place a round robin bet in football, write your three bets on a betting slip and indicate that it is a round robin bet. Bookmakers are not obliged to accept it, though.

How to Place a Round Robin bet

Most UK online bookmakers do not accept round robin bets (at least the UK version of the round robin bet) – we can only find BoyleSports that does. To place a round robin bet, you may need to go to a betting shop – ask first if they accept round robin bets (the likelihood is they will). Make your three selections, indicate that it is a round robin bet and had it over the counter along with your stake.

Online, you do it the same way. Here are our three selections highlighted at BoyleSports:

round robin bet

To actually place the bet, we need to scroll down to the drop-down menu that says ‘Show all Multiples’. Once we have clicked that, right at the bottom the round robin bet appears.

round robin 2

We have set our stake to £1 per unit, which means a total stake of £10, as the round robin bet consists of ten bets. Notice that as all our selections are horses, there is the each way option. This would raise our stake to £20, as that would be placing two round robin bets – a win round robin bet and a place round robin bet. Each way round robin bets are only available on horse racing and greyhounds.

Is Round Robin a Good Bet?

A round robin bet is a good bet for those who like exercise, as you will probably need to leave your accommodation to place one as you cannot easily place them online online. You may only be able to place your round robin bet at a UK betting shop. This is the main disadvantage of the round robin bet.

The main advantage though is that a round robin bet will generate more returns than placing a treble, three doubles and three singles on your three selections, with the caveat that as a round robin bet is ten bets and not seven, the same per unit stake means the overall cost of the bet is higher. As usual, it’s a case of risk versus returns in betting, and the more selections you have come in, the more you’ll win with either bet.

We will make a direct comparison of the overall returns from the 10-bet and 7-bet options in the section below.

How to Work Out a Round Robin Bet

Hold onto your number-crunching hats, here were are going to go through a round robin bet example in order to get this complicated round robin bet explained.

Let’s say we place a £1 round robin bet on three horse as follows:

  • Abacus (5/2) 3.50
  • Bethlehem (4/1) 5.00
  • Caravan (9/4) 3.25

The overall bet cost is £10, as the round robin is ten bets. Now lets work out our potential winnings. The first step, the treble, is easy. It’s £1 x 3.50 x 5 x 3.25 = £56.88, which is off to a good start.

Now, let’s get onto those three doubles:

  • Abacus & Bethlehem = £1 x 3.50 x 5 = £17.50
  • Abacus & Caravan = £1 x 3.50 x 3.25 = £11.38
  • Bethlehem & Caravan = £1 x 5 x 3.25 = £16.25

So that’s another £45.13 to add to the pot. Let’s now get cracking on those up-and-down single-stake pairs:

  • Abacus > Bethlehem = £1 x 3.50 = £3.50 (£2.50) > £1 x 5 = £5 = £7.50
  • Bethlehem > Abacus = £1 x 5 = £5 (£4) > £1 x 3.50 = £7.50
  • Abacus > Caravan = £1 x 3.50 = £3.50 (£2.50) > £1 x 3.25 = £3.25 = £5.75
  • Caravan > Abacus = £1 x 3.25 = £3.25 (£2.25) > £1 x 3.50 = £3.50 = £5.75
  • Bethlehem > Caravan = £1 x 5 = £5 (£4) > £1 x 3.25 = £3.25 = £7.25
  • Caravan < Bethlehem = £1 x 3.25 = £3.25 (£2.25) > £1 x 5 = £5 = £7.25

As you will have probably noticed, when it comes to up-and-down single-stake pairs where both are winners, it does not matter which way around you calculate the pair as the answer will always be the same. This will save you a slight amount of work as once you work out winnings one way, just double it.

Therefore our entire round robin bet won £56.88 + £45.13 + £41 = £143.01.

But what if, say, Bethlehem let us down and didn’t win? Here is our working out in that case, with the returns that we receive highlighted (we’re not including the treble as obviously that’s a lost cause):

  • Abacus & Bethlehem = £1 x 3.50 x 5 = £17.50
  • Abacus & Caravan = £1 x 3.50 x 3.25 = £11.38
  • Bethlehem & Caravan = £1 x 5 x 3.25 = £16.25
  • Abacus > Bethlehem = £1 x 3.50 = £3.50 (£2.50) > £1 x 5 = £5 = £7.50
  • Bethlehem > Abacus = £1 x 5 = £5 (£4) > £1 x 3.50 = £7.50
  • Abacus > Caravan = £1 x 3.50 = £3.50 (£2.50) > £1 x 3.25 = £3.25 = £5.75
  • Caravan > Abacus = £1 x 3.25 = £3.25 (£2.25) > £1 x 3.50 = £3.50 = £5.75
  • Bethlehem > Caravan = £1 x 5 = £5 (£4) > £1 x 3.25 = £3.25 = £7.25
  • Caravan < Bethlehem = £1 x 3.25 = £3.25 (£2.25) > £1 x 5 = £5 = £7.25

That’s a return of £27.63 from a £10 stake, which is still a decent profit.

Just as a side note, if we had decided to place a treble, three doubles and three singles as opposed to the round robin, our returns would have been £113.76, so by upping our stake to £10 from £7 and taking the round robin option, we upped our returns by almost £30.

While our bet calculator does not currently work out a round robin bet, you can use it to work out the trixie part and then work out the up-and-downs yourself. Remember, you will find our bet calculator an invaluable tool for all types of betting calculations, and hopefully one day we can provide a round robin bet calculator UK.

Round Robin Bets in Other Sports

While the round robin bet is almost universally perceived as a horse racing bet, it can be applied to any sport. Just pick three selections and construct your round robin bet meaning you place the trixie and up-and-downs. You can even select three selections from different sports if you so wish.

The round robin bet is another tool to your betting arsenal, as long as you are within travel distance of a UK high street bookmaker.

The Best Round Robin Bet Strategies

The key to working out a round robin bet strategy is to balance odds selection with win probability. Remember, the key to any betting strategy is to find value bets – bets where the bookies have messed up the odds so that they land in your favour. This applies to round robin bets too.

However, it is wise to keep long-shots out of the equation. That’s because you really need two winners in a round robin bet to make placing the bet worthwhile. Three winners will return you a nice profit too, so really it’s a question of balance. A classic combo would be an odds-on favourite, a selection priced around Evens, and a slightly longer-priced third selection.

As always, we recommend ‘paper betting’ before you adopt any kind of betting strategy – that is, place your bets with imaginary money and keep paper records of the results. If, after a month or so, your round robin betting strategy is returning profits on a regular basis, then give it a go with real money at a bookmaker. Keep your stakes low at first is another piece of sound advice.

Where Can I Place a Round Robin Bet?

Very, very few UK bookmakers will allow you to place a round robin bet online. As we have explained earlier, most online bookies do not configure their software to accommodate up-and-down single-stake bets due to their complexity, and the lack of people who use them

The only exception to this rule that we have found is BoyleSports. There, if you add three selections to your betslip and scroll down to expand the ‘show more multiples’ drop down list, the ’round robin’ option will appear. Set your stake and then place your bet.

Other sites may accept round robin bets, but you will have to do so via their support function, or over the telephone.

Wrapping Up

The round robin bet is something of an unknown in the betting world (in the UK at least) which is a shame, as we think it’s a better bet than a trixie. Okay, the stake is higher (if you so choose – you can reduce your stake-per-unit so the overall stake is the same) but the returns are generally higher too, especially if you land the holy trinity of three winners.

Why not try the round robin bet yourself? If you want to do it online, then we are afraid to tell you your opportunities are limited (see above) but you can do it by visiting a UK betting shop.


What is a round robin bet?

It's a combination bet consisting of ten separate bets - one treble, three doubles and there up-and-down single-stake bets.

How does a round robin bet work?

To give a round robin bet example - you select three selections and then use them to place your round robin bet. You are unlikely to be able to place this bet online though as hardly any UK online betting sites will accept round robin bets, due to their complexity.

How do I use a round robin bet calculator?

To use a round robin bet calculator UK, simply plug in your three selections to the calculator and the odds, then indicate which of your selections won.

What are up-and-down single stake bets?

There are doubles where the returns from the first selection is used as the same stake on the second. They are called 'up-and-down' because they are worked out both ways. Unlike normal doubles, if only one of your selections win, you will still get a return.

What is a round robin bet in horse racing?

The question of how much does a round robin bet cost is really up to you, and how much you want to risk. As a round robin bet is ten bets, then it's ten times your unit stake. A £1 unit stake round robin would therefore cost £10.

Peter Addison

A vastly experienced sports betting specialist, Peter joined SafeBettingSites in 2021 as a sports editor. Peter has been focusing on the iGaming realm since 2013, and had written millions of words on all aspects of online casino play and sports betting since then. His articles have been featured in numerous high-profile online publications. When not writing, Peter can be found playing his electric guitar. He is such a talented guitarist that his next-door neighbours often join in, adding percussion by banging loudly on the walls.

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