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what is a round robin bet

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Admittedly more popular in the US, many people in the UK are pondering what is a round robin bet, and how they can place one. They are also thinking about how a round robin bet can work for them, and whether it is better than other system bets and multis such as accas, parlay bets, Yankee bets, Canadian bets and so on.

Here we will go into detail so you can have the round robin bet explained, learn how to place onet, why you might need a round robin bet calculator to work out potential winnings, and even look into the round robin bet meaning.

What is a Round Robin Bet?

If you are interested in sport then you have probably heard of the ’round robin’. This is the name of a sports competition where all entrants in the competition play each other at least once, and possibly twice. Most football leagues such as the EPL (or practically any top football league) are round robin leagues. In a round robin, competitors are usually awarded points for wins (and for ties, if ties are possible) and once all possible games have taken place, the competitor with the most points is deemed the winner.

So, how does this get the round robin bet explained? Well, in a round robin bet, ALL possible bets are included based on the number of selections in the bet except, and this is the important aspect – singles. Now, that is one possible explanation of a round robin bet, but in the UK it has a specific meaning of a kind of round robin bet as explained above.

The usual UK example of a round robin bet consists of three selections and ten bets, as follows:

Most people will know what trebles and doubles are, but ‘up and down single stakes about pairs’ is not a phrase common about sports bettors, so that side of the round robin bet deserves a deeper explanation.

These types of bets are conditional bets. Like an each way bet, each bet is split in two however the full stake goes on the first part of the bet. The second part of the bet only comes into play if the first part of the bet wins, and the same stake is placed on part two.

Lets say you are placing a £1 up-and-down bet on Liverpool (Evens) and Manchester United (1.50) in the EPL. Your £1 goes on Liverpool to win. If they do win then you will get back £2. £1 then goes on Manchester United. If Liverpool don’t win, then the £1 bet on Manchester United is not placed. Therefore, your up-and-down bet has three possible returns:

  • Liverpool lose returns £0 – no bet on Manchester U
  • Liverpool win returns £2 – £1 on Manchester U who lose, total returns £1
  • Liverpool win returns £2 – £1 on Manchester U who win, total returns £2.50

If you were to add Chelsea into the mix for your round robin bet, then this would create six possible pairs:

  • Liverpool, then Manchester United
  • Liverpool, then Chelsea
  • Manchester United, then Liverpool
  • Manchester United, then Chelsea
  • Chelsea, then Liverpool
  • Chelsea, then Manchester United

This then completes our round robin bet explained example.

Round Robin Etymology

You may be wondering why a round robin is called a round robin. Was it invented by someone called Robin? Was it once placed on Robin (the bird) fights? Was it named after Robin Hood?

Actually. it comes from French, and from the French phrase ‘ruban rond’, which means round ribbon. In France, petitions were ‘signed’ by the placement of ribbons in a circle – the circle was important as it was not possible to tell who had ‘signed’ the petition first or last. In the UK the phrase came to mean ‘all included, no order of importance’ and was applied to tournaments.

How to Place a Round Robin Bet

Placing a round robin bet can be difficult at some online sportsbooks, as they do not automatically allow you to. If your chosen sportsbook does not make it easy to place a round robin bet, switch to a different sportsbook, or place your ten bets (see the schedule of bets above) separately.

You may also struggle to find an online bookmaker in the UK that accepts up-and-down bets. In that case you can place a simplified version of the round robin bet which consists of a trixie bet and three singles, which is what we are going to do here.

We have selected the three horses (as we are placing a horse racing round robin bet) we are going to wager upon, as shown below. They are all running at Wolverhampton.

  • 14:10 Prosecco 6.00
  • 14:40 Talis Evolvere 2.88
  • 15:10 Etihad Rail 4.33

The first step is to place the three singles, which we have done at 888sport.

round robin 1

So for the first part of our ‘alternative’ round robin bet, we have placed three singles, £1 each. Our total potential returns for the singles are £13.20. Next, it’s the trixie!

round robin 2

We’ve placed £1 on each leg of the trixie (three doubles and a treble), making £4 as our stake. Our potential winnings are £125.

So, overall we’ve wagered £7 on our ‘alternative’ round robin, with overall potential winnings of £138.20.

How to Work Out a Round Robin Bet

Working out winnings from a round robin bet comes in two parts. The first is working out all legs of the trixie. Let’s call our selections A, B and C, so for our trixie the following the winnings need to be calculated, depending on how many of our selections won:

  • Doubles: AB, AC and BC
  • Treble: ABC

In our example ‘simplified’ round robin bet above, we just need to add any single winners on, which is easy enough. For a ‘proper’ round robin bet though, things get a little complicated. The six factors you need to consider are thus:

  • Winnings from A – stake x Odds of B if won
  • Winnings from A – stake x Odds of C if won
  • Winnings from B – stake x Odds of A if won
  • Winnings from B – stake x Odds of C if won
  • Winnings from C – stake x Odds of A if won
  • Winnings from C – stake x Odds of A if won

Naturally, you only need to do the full calculations if all three selections win. If C does not win, you can wipe out all lines that begin ‘winnings from C’ and simply add on your original stake in all other lines that contain C.

Calculating odds from a true round robin can be complicated, and we do not as yet offer a round robin bet calculator. You can use our bet calculator to work out winnings from the trixie part of the round-robin bet though, and then add on the singles.

Why Do You Want to Place a Round Robin Bet?

One of the main issues with system bets at UK bookies is that they usually don’t contain singles. You can of course cover the singles yourself, but with a round robin bet you get back your stake (twice) should any single win, plus extra if more than one of your singles win.

Let’s compare three selections, all priced at Evens (for ease of calculation), for the winnings generated by placing a £1 trixie and three singles (£7 stake overall) and a round robin (£10 stake) for one, two and three winners.

Winners Trixie & Singles Round Robin
One £0 + £2 = £2 £2
Two £4 + £4 = £8 £12
Three £20 + £6 = £26 £38

So, with one winner, you return more (28.6%) of your stake returned with a trixie and singles than a round robin (20%). However with two, it’s 114% for the trixie and singles options, but 120% for the round robin. Finally, for three it’s 371% for trixie/singles, but 380% for the round robin.

Therefore, if you are thinking about placing a trixie and singles combo, then you are probably better off going for a round robin instead.

Drawbacks of Round Robin Bets

The main drawback of round robin bets is that it can be difficult to find a site in the UK that allows you to place a genuine round robin bet. This is because sports betting software is generally not programmed for up-and-down bets, which form important parts of a true round robin bet.

As previously explained, if part A of an up-and-down bet wins, then the winnings from that are put aside and the stake goes on part B. Sports betting software can be programmed to deal with this, but most sports betting software just is not configured in such a way, hence rendering up-and-down betting as not an option.

The second drawback is that the ‘up and down’ nature of round robin bets is complicated, especially for newbs. Remember, a true round robin bet has six up and down bets, making them especially complicated.

Round Robin Bet Strategies

So now you know how does a round robin bet work, you might want to learn some round robin bet strategies. Here are a few round robin bet example tips.

Up to Four Selections – you can give yourself more chance of a bigger payout by having four selections in your overall round robin, as opposed to three. All you need to do is place four round robins, omitting one selection each time – ABC, ABD, ACD and BCD.

Don’t be Blinded – as much as you love round robins, don’t think that you ‘have’ to place one. If you think it will be more profitable to cover your three selections with a trixie instead (omitting the up-and-down singles), then place a trixie.

Manage your Bankroll – because round robins have three selections, choosing a winning round robin is three times more difficult than picking a single winner. Don’t go cash-crazy to secure a winning round robin. Instead, always gamble in a responsible fashion and practice effective bankroll management strategy.

Round Robin v Parlay

You may have heard of a parlay bet being mentioned in the same breath as a round robin. This is because they are both terms that are common in US betting. To avoid any confusion here we are going to go straight up and tell you that a UK round robin is not the same as a US round robin.

For a start, a US round robin can have more than three selections. If it has seven selections, for example, then all possible parlays are included in the round robin bet. A US round robin bet does not include any singles, and certainly not any up-and-down singles like the UK round robin.

Of course, it would help to define a parlay as well. In US betting, a parlay bet is any bet that combines more than one single event. So, in UK terms, doubles, trebles and accas would all be parlays. A Yankee or Canadian contains parlays.

So, the question which is better, round robin betting or parlay betting, doesn’t really have an answer as a round robin is made up of parlay bets.

Where Can I Place a Round Robin Bet?

As we might have mentioned, very few (if any) bookies in the UK accept up-and-down bets, so very few (if any) will offer true round robin bets. Of course, you can also place a simplified round robin bet, or a round robin bet as our American cousins understand it.

If you want to do either, we feel 888Sport, BetUK and SpreadEx serve as excellent places at which to place your round robin bets.

Wrapping Up

So know you know what is a round robin bet in horse racing, football and other sports. We’ve explained how to place a round robin bet, given you a round robin bet example, and explained how you to work out a round robin bet winnings.

Now that you have had the round robin bet explained, why not place a round robin bet today at one of our recommended UK sportsbooks? Hopefully, you’ll pick three winners and our round robin bet calculator will be able to show you how much you’ve won!

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Peter Addison
Peter Addison
Peter Addison

Peter joined the BettingSites.co.uk team in 2023, having previously worked for many high-profile gambling-related sites such as RightCasino, JustSlots, WhichBingo and Gambling.com. An experienced head when it comes to all aspects of iGaming, Peter is a fanatic fan of sport, including football and US sports such as baseball and American football. He is also a multi-published fiction writer, although sadly, not a wealthy one.