What's an Accumulator?

An accumulator builds one large bet out of a number of different selections, only paying out if each element of the bet is won. They could all be wagers from the same sport, such as betting on the outcomes of some of that weekend’s Premier League fixtures, or they could be taken from a variety of different sports.

Accumulators, or multiple bets, are attractive because they offer a huge combined payout for a small stake, with the potential winnings being more valuable to the punter than if they had merely staked on each event as an individual bet. The flipside, of course, is that bookies can offer such a great return because it is so unlikely that all the wagers will come in.

Professional gamblers tend to steer clear of accumulators because there are so many risks and variables involved, but for a recreational punter they can provide a lot of fun, making watching a mid-table bore-fest on TV much more entertaining because it could be the key to a huge payout!

Types of Accumulators

Doubles and trebles are counted as accumulator bets by many bookmakers. They simply involve betting on two or three outcomes respectively coming to fruition. A four-fold accumulator needs all four bets to go in the player’s favour, a five-fold accumulator needs five and so on. The more elements to the accumulator, the bigger the potential win tends to be.

Some online sportsbooks, like Sky Bet and BetVictor, offer bettors pre-packaged enhanced accumulators with tempting odds based on their recommendations or on the picks of their pundits for the games that weekend.

How Does an Accumulator Work?

A simple way of working out how much an accumulator pays out is to consider each separate bet as becoming the stake for the next one. For example, you might have these international football games on your multiple bet:

  • England at 3/1 to beat Austria
  • Scotland at 10/1 to beat Croatia
  • Wales at 2/1 to beat Greece
  • Northern Ireland at 4/1 to beat Finland

If you staked £10 and England won, you would receive £30 plus the £10 stake. That £40 would turn into £440 if Scotland were victorious (£400 winnings and the £40 stake). The £440 would then become £1,320 if Wales succeeded (the prize of £880 and the wager of £440), which would end up as a massive £6,600 should Northern Ireland do the business for you (winnings of £5,280 and the stake of £1,320). Of course, if any of those results went a different way, you would receive nothing at all.

Dividing your £10 stake into £2.50 bets on each of these games individually would bring a potential return of just £47.50 plus the original £10 stake. However, the benefit is that, if one of them was a losing bet, you would still receive a payout from the successful wagers.

Accumulator Insurance

Accumulator, or acca, insurance is a popular promotion at a number of online bookmakers, including Ladbrokes and Coral. You will usually receive compensation, generally in the form of a free bet, if one of your picks in an accumulator lets you down.

The compensation, specific terms and minimum-size accumulator will vary between the different sportsbooks, as might the name of the promotion, but the principle remains the same. You are provided with a lifeline just in case you get close, but not quite close enough to claim the full prize.

Big Accumulator Wins

It wasn’t only Frankie Dettori who was celebrating after winning all seven races at Ascot in 1996. Darren Yeats, a punter from Morecambe, had put down £59 on the diminutive Italian completing the feat at odds of more than 25,000/1. Yeats picked up a cool £550,000 from his shell-shocked bookmaker.

Yorkshireman Fredd Craggs became an instant millionaire in 2008 after placing 50p on an eight-horse accumulator. His modest stake returned £1 million after his horses, two of which were named Isn’t That Lucky and A Dream Come True, came home at 2,000,000/1.


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