A Flag bet is a variation of the popular Yankee bet.
The Flag bet features the same accumulator bet types as a Yankee bet, and is also placed on four selections in four different events.
The difference comes in with the addition of six single stakes about up and down singles, covering every variation of up and down singles across the four selections.
Because up and down bets are part of the picture, a Flag bet is not something a punter can place themselves by stitching together the component accumulator bets.
It is also next to impossible for an amateur punter to calculate the odds and potential payouts on this bet type without using a Flag bet calculator.
In this article we'll explain how Flag betting works and the best strategy for using this combination betting option.
What is a Flag bet?
The Flag bet covers every possible combination of accumulator bets possible using four selections along with every combination of an up and down bet possible across these selections.
A flag bet consists of 23 separate bets:
A flag bet can only be placed on selections in different events. You cannot, for example, back two horses in the same race for a Flag bet.
You can also bet across different sports, although punters will typically stick to one sport when Flag betting. At least one selection in a Flag bet has to win for the bet to pay out a return.
The Up and down bet explained
Understanding doubles, trebles and four folds is pretty straight-forward.
All these bets are accumulators that take a stake and pay the profits from each selection's win onto the next selection, paying out if all selections are victorious.
An up and down SSA bet is slightly different. These bets comprise two any-to-come bets placed on the two selections covered by the up and down bet.
Any to come bets are conditional bets, where the stake on one selection is automatically wagered on the second selection if it wins.
When two of these are combined the the stake on a winning first selection is placed on the second selection and the stake on a winning second selection is placed on a winning first selection.
This process is where the term 'up and down' comes from in an up and down SSA bet.
The 'SSA' part of SSA bets means 'Single stakes about'. This means the stake on the second part of the up and down bet will be the same as the original stake, unless less cash is available, in which case any available funds will be used.
A single stakes up and down bet will pay out a return if only one selection wins and the return on that win is high enough to fund the second losing part of the bet, while still leaving an overall profit.
Note that this bet type cannot be placed manually at any bookmaker.
How to place a flag bet
Flag betting is not as straightforward as other combination bets.
So you won't be able to pull up this option automatically by making your selections at an online bookie and choosing this option from the multiples available on your betting slip.
Instead you will need to contact your bookmaker and ask them if they can place this bet for you. Whether they are able to do this will depend on if they offer custom bets.
Try contacting the following major bookies for assistance with setting up your bet:
Example of Flag betting
A punter wants to place a £1 flag bet on the weekend's Premier League football matches.
He picks four different results in the football match betting markets:
- Liverpool to beat Man United at 2/1
- Chelsea to beat Everton at odds of 1/2
- Arsenal to beat West Ham at 1/3
- Tottenham to beat Man City at 3/1
A total of £23 is wagered on the bet (£1 stake for each of the 23 sub-bets).
If all four teams win, the Flag bet will pay out winnings of £152.83.
At least one of the selections must be victorious in order for the bet to pay out a return. If the highest odds selection wins, and Tottenham beats Man City, the bet will return £9 for an overall loss of £14
Flag bet calculator
Unless you feel like giving yourself a massive brain workout, you're going to want to leave the job of calculating the potential returns from this type of bet to a Flag betting calculator.
Flag betting strategy
The strategy for flag bets doesn't differ much from other combination bets, despite the complexity of these bets.
That means you have two basic approaches to using flag bets.
The first is to minimize risk and try to get the best possible payout on selections that are clear favourites to win their events, banking on all your selections winning.
A simple example is four top seed players in a tennis Grand Slam who are all priced 1/2 to beat their lower seeded opponents in the first round of matches at the tournament.
If you backed these players with a £1 flag bet, you'd earn a total return of £56.06, for £33.06 in winnings.
If you'd instead split up your £23 total stake evenly across singles on the players you'd net winnings of £11.5.
It's easy to see that using this combination bet to back low risk options will get you better potential returns than placing singles.
The main drawback is one losing selection will usually result in an overall loss.
The conservative strategy will generate the best returns when you use larger stakes.
A more aggressive strategy has different benefits. If you back selections at higher odds you can win much more money, and you can earn a profitable return if only a couple of selections win.
Using horse racing as an example, if we backed four horses all priced at 5/1 to win their respective horse races, you would win:
- £2485 profit from four winning horses
- £382 profit from three winning horses
- £155 profit from two winners
- £8 loss if one selection wins
By comparison, dividing a £23 stake across four singles on these entries would yield:
- £115 profit from four winning horses
- £80.5 overall profit from three winning horses
- £46 overall profit from two winning horses
- £11.5 overall profit from one winning selection.
It is obvious that flag betting is the superior option for every outcome other than just one winner.
One of the biggest benefits of using the aggressive strategy is you can use smaller stakes, for example 10 pence, and still access decent potential returns at much lower risk to your bankroll.
Flag betting FAQ
How much is a 10p flag bet?
10p flag bets will cost you £2.30.
How much is a 50p flag bet?
A 50p flag bet will cost you £11.50.
How many horses in a flag bet?
A flag bet will feature 23 bets on four horses competing in four different races.
What is a flag bet in horse racing?
A flag bet in horse racing is a combination bet placed on four horses in four separate events. A horse racing flag bet consists of 23 bets - 6 single stakes about any to come bets, 6 doubles, 4 trebles and a four-fold accumulator.
Non-runner in flag bet
If there is a non-runner in flag betting, that bet will be removed from your flag bet, and the number of doubles and trebles will be reduced accordingly, while the four-fold acca will be turned into a three-fold accumulator. Affected single stakes about bets will be converted to singles.
What is the difference between Flag bets and a Super flag bet?
A Super Flag bet is a much larger multiple bet with a different number of selections. This bet type features five selections, five different bet types and a total of 46 bets.
Can you use each-way bets in Flag betting?
Yes, you can use each-way bets, which incorporate place bets, in Flag betting. This will double your stake, and in effect a separate Flag bet will be set up with your place bets.
Are there other types of flag betting options?
Flag betting is available for a number of other combination bet types. This is done by adding up and down bets covering all the selections used in these bets.
Other flag options include:
- Heinz flag
- Super Heinz flag
- Goliath flag.