What is a Conditional Bet?

conditional dictionaryWhile internet betting has allowed many things to grow and prosper, one element of betting that has struggled because of this is conditional bets. These aren’t actively available with your online bookmaker, they will take them, but more often than not, you will find yourself having to email them or ring up and place the bet over the phone.

They are a mainstay of betting offices in the UK, where these can be placed with ease, and many people do still use them, both online and in shops. But what is a conditional bet? Quite simply, it is a bet that has a condition attached to one or more of the selections in the bet. The condition is almost always around it being a winner, and should that happen, it triggers something to happen as part of the bet.

This may all sound complex, but don’t worry. Here’s our handy guide to tell you everything you need to know about conditional bets and how to use them.

Understanding the Basics of Conditional Bets

people in a circle conditional eventsA conditional bet has an element attached to it, which has to happen for the remainder of the bet to take place. You can add your own conditions if you like, but there are some named conditional bets that we are going to focus on here, and these are all based around selections winning.

The conditional part of the bets we are going to talk about here are all based around a selection winning and then placing a bet on a different selection, using the stake money from that, rather than receiving it back as part of your winnings.

This type of betting allows you to keep stakes low, but if you are racking up the winners, it will enable you to spend some of your returns in order to try and land a bigger win. You are only placing additional bets if you have a winner, the condition you place, so therefore, aren’t costing yourself any extra money.

Conditional bets may also be referred to as any-to-come bets, which perhaps explains them a little more, as you are simply saying that if there is ‘any-to-come’, you would like another bet placing.

What Conditional Bets are Available to Place?

question marks overlapping on different coloured post it notesYou can create any kind of condition for your bet. The bookmakers won’t accept them all, but will some. This is why they aren’t really available online because there is so much to think about, and more often than not, someone needed to make a decision about a bet, as they are not straightforward.

But if you are looking for a simple way into this kind of betting, then here we have five different types of conditional bets, all of which have a great history in the world of betting, and all have conditions attached around winners, so they are the simplest form of getting involved.

Up & Down Bet / Cross Bet

A straightforward way to get started is with an up-and-down bet, or what is also known as a cross bet. This is a bet on two selections and is two bets in total, so if your unit stake is £1, then your £1 up and down bet will actually cost you £2 in total.

The bet is as follows:

  • £1 on selection A – if it wins, put the £1 stake money on selection B
  • £1 on selection B – if it wins, put the £1 stake money on selection A

If you have one winner, you will receive a return, but crucially, the stake money you place won’t be returned, as this has been put on the other selection. If you have two winners, then this is where the bet will benefit you. Rather than having two winners and £2 in total stake on them, as that is what the bet cost, you actually have £4 in total stake on them, £1 on each selection, from each of the two bets you’ve placed, so £4 in total.

There is no need to pay £4 because the additional two bets are only placed if you have a winner, so the same stake money is used again on the second selection.

Round Robin

Perhaps the most well-known of all conditional bets, and a bet that horse racing punters have been using for decades. The round robin is essentially a patent, but with the added bonus of the singles being up and down bets rather than standard singles.

So you have six bets as above, three up and down bets on the three singles, plus three doubles and a treble to give you full coverage. All in all, the bet is ten different bets, so a £1 round robin would have a total cost of £10.

Flag Bet

A flag gives you full coverage, with up and down bets on all selections rather than standard singles. This gives a total of 23 bets, so if you were to place a £1 flag bet, the total cost for that wager would be £23.

The bet has a Yankee inside it, covering doubles, trebles and a fourfold across your chosen selections. Then, rather than having four standard singles, which would make this bet a Lucky 15, there are six up and down bets, which are another 12 bets in total. These added to the 11 bets in a Yankee, give you the 23 bets in a flag.

Super Flag

To go up a level, you can turn a flag bet into a super flag bet, adding another selection to it, and this is enough to take the bets up to 46 in total. There are ten doubles, ten trebles, five fourfolds and one fivefold accumulator, giving 26 bets, which is the same as a Canadian.

Rather than adding five regular singles to turn the bet into a Lucky 31, you again at ten up and down bets here, which is a total of 20 individual bets, and added to the 26 multiples, gives 46 bets on the super flag in total.

Rounder Bet

A rounder bet has three selections and three singles placed on them, giving you a total bet cost of 3x your unit stake. A £1 rounder would cost you a total of £3. The complexity comes here with the any to come element of the bet. If you have a winning single, then the stake money is placed on a double on the other two selections in the bet.

For example:

  • £1 on A – if it wins, place a £1 double on B&C
  • £1 on B – if it wins, place a £1 double on A&C
  • £1 on C – if it wins, place a £1 double on A&B

With this bet being a double on the other two selections you choose, the big benefit comes when you land all three winners. A single winner will get you a small return, but with this bet, you will have three winning singles and three winning doubles if you manage to have all three winners, which is when the returns really start to increase.


To take things to the next level and make them slightly more complicated, we end with a Roundabout bet. This works in exactly the same way as a Rounder, with one exception. The doubles that are placed after you have a winner will not be of the same stake. Instead, they will be doubled.

So in the examples above, they go like this:

  • £1 on A – if it wins, place a £2 double on B&C
  • £1 on B – if it wins, place a £2 double on A&C
  • £1 on C – if it wins, place a £2 double on A&B

This means a smaller return if you have a winning single, as more of your winnings are being spent elsewhere, but again it’s about risk and reward here because you have doubled the stakes on your three doubles, so if they win, you are going to get an even bigger return.

What are the Benefits of Placing a Conditional Bet?

benefits in colourful wooden blocksConditional bets are all about trying to maximise your returns, which ultimately means more risk is involved. You will lose stakes that you would receive back on other bets, but the reason behind this is to enhance your winnings if you have a good day. A bet with winners together will always see a bigger return if you have a full amount of winners but only have one winner from the bet, and your returns will be lower than others.

Placing conditional bets is not simple to do but can be fruitful for punters who are looking to find new ways of enhancing their chances of a big win, which betting in this way certainly does. If you are looking to start placing some of the bets we’ve mentioned above, then the first step you need to take is to speak with your bookmaker and see which they accept and how the bets can be placed, so you understand the process.