I'm writing a text in which I need to repeat combinations of k out of n - for example, "any 2 out of 6" - but I think something the likes of "any 6 by 2" would be more appropriate since the subject is sports gambling (calculating combinations and odds on a betting ticket) and, as I said, there are several of those on a page.

English is not my native tongue and I'm having trouble finding such information / examples on the web. Maybe the right way would be "any 2 by 6" or this "any [...] by [...]" is not even used to express combinations in English. So, I didn't want to make this question ambiguous, but I would appreciate any pointers / more appropriate alternatives you can give me in addition to your answer.

Note: On the Wikipedia "Combination" page, I saw "n choose k", but I don't think that would go well with my text either.

EDIT: I have received complaints and most people seem not to get what I'm asking so I'll just provide some kind of a sample and what I think it should look like in light of Invoker's comment below:

Any 1 out of 3 = 3 combinations

Any 2 out of 3 = 3 combinations

Any 3 out of 3 = 1 combination

I need to make this text even less formal, I mean express those in a shorter form, yet still common or familiar. I'm looking for the appropriate, most common way of expressing combinations that would be easy to understand, yet not be lengthy. I think the following would be most suitable:

Any 1/3 = 3 combinations

Any 2/3 = 3 combinations

Any 1/3 = 1 combination

Of course, this is only an example and after each line other calculations including odds may come up. Also, the numbers involved get higher as well. Thank you for the patience with my inability to express this in a more straightforward manner.

  • If the subject is gambling, "3/1 odds" is the term you're looking for. Additionally, providing the full sentence may help.
    – njboot
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 6:06
  • I think there is also specific names for odds too
    – Third News
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 6:06
  • The combinations refer to the individual bets placed on a betting ticket, they combine in system bets like so: 2, 3 ,4 out of 8. I don't think odds have anything to do with it. Thank you very much though.
    – bitoolean
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 6:07
  • 1
    In English, "any 2 by 6", intended to be used as "2/6" is not as clear and as defining as "any 2 out of 6" so the latter should be used.
    – Invoker
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 6:10
  • 1
    Dictionary of gambling. . Salak, John S.
    – Third News
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 6:12

2 Answers 2


If you want your text to be informal, I would suggest you use "any 2 out of 6" or "choose 2 out of 6" - or even "choose 2 from 6".

If you want it to be shorter, you could use just "2 out of 6" or "2 from 6" (after sufficient repetition of the longer form).

what I'm looking for is whether "any 6 by 2" is a short form of "any 2 out of 3" in English

I don't think it is. I suspect it would be interpreted as any object having dimensions of 6 x 2.


Use the term "parlay" to express combinations of individual bets.

For example, an individual bet with k/n odds (say 3/1) combined with an additional bet with 5/1 odds is a two-bet parlay. If you wager $100 dollars and win each individual bet, the parlay's payout is:

1.6*(3/1)(5/1)*$100 = $2400 dollars

Where 1.6 represents the typical multiplier given for a two team parlay.

  • Yes, I am aware that two single-bets combine into a parlay bet on the same ticket. I was talking about system bets. Where one would place a bet on any "parlay" of any 2 out of the 3 predictions on the ticket for example. Which would be like placing bets A&B, A&C and B&C on different tickets.
    – bitoolean
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 6:36
  • Again, what I'm looking for is whether "any 6 by 2" is a short form of "any 2 out of 3" in English, or how to better express that otherwise in a shorter form.
    – bitoolean
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 6:39
  • @bitoolean that's a variation of a parlay. I believe it's called a progressive parlay, or a teaser. Look up gambling terms as the initial question still isn't clear. Best of luck.
    – njboot
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 6:40
  • Thank you. OK then, I can make it clearer. I still don't think adding parlay would be a suitable way to express those numbers. Let me rephrase my question. How would I go about rewriting the following text (using "parlay" I would need to repeat that word at the end of each line) enumerating system bets: Any 2 out of 6 = x combinations Any 3 out of 6 = x combinations Well... just imagine a lot of these I guess. Thanks again for trying to help.
    – bitoolean
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 6:47
  • @bitoolean I believe now, you are expressing an iteration: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iteration
    – njboot
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 6:51

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