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A four-fold is the name given to a type of accumulator which features four different selections. An accumulator is simply a bet with multiple parts, in which the winnings from the first bet are then used as the stake on the second bet and, if that wins, are carried forward to be the stake on the third bet and on from there. The appeal of an accumulator is that a small initial bet can quickly grow into substantial winnings. The downside is that having the knowledge required to make multiple successful bets is fairly rare, and the tension as the fourth event being bet on unfolds can be pretty extreme.
Four-folds can be used in any type of sports betting, but are particularly popular in football and horse racing. The frequency of events in both, with races taking place all day at a single meeting and multiple matches being played over one weekend, makes it easier to find four separate events which offer appealing odds. The choice facing the bettor then is whether to take the risk of a four-fold in return for a much greater return, or take the safer route of placing four individual bets.
An example of a four-fold:
A bettor might choose to bet a fourfold on Premier league matches taking place over a weekend. An initial £20 stake would be placed on the following teams to win:
Tottenham Hotspur at 3/1
Manchester City at 4/6
Burnley at 7/2
Arsenal at 5/1
Tottenham Hotspur £20
Manchester City £8.33
This is a total return of £80.83 which, minus the initial stake of £20, equals a profit of just £60.63. On the other hand, if Arsenal let in a late equaliser, the more cautious bettor will still make £30.63 profit, whereas someone placing a four-fold will see £3,580 pound disappear.