# Blackjack - Betting Systems

If the player makes a bet on one of the even money bets — say, betting on black — they have 18 ways to win, and 19 ways to lose. Each time you win a bet, cross out the first and last numbers until you are done the sequence and start a new one. As soon as you lose a hand you will begin the progression again with the minimum bet. What do traditional blackjack and online blackjack players have in common? Once you have grasped this essential rule of the game you can slowly work your way up to expertise in the finer points of blackjack. Read this guide before trying to memorize a blackjack strategy chart. In fact, betting strategy is critical for anyone who wants to be a profitable blackjack player.

## Rules of the Game

We are dealt a 10 and a Jack. The player next to us is dealt a 2 and 5, which are both -1 value cards. This now gives us a count of 0. The dealer shows a 2 up, which is also a -1 value and brings our count to We keep doing this for every card we can see, even when the dealer flips over their down card, we count that one as well. The principle behind card counting, as I stated above, is to take advantage of the deck when it has more high value cards.

A typical Blackjack deck will contain decks. Knowing only 8 or so will not give us a very accurate read on the deck. You should begin to make bigger bets to take advantage of this. You never want to deviate too much from your normal bet sizes, as this is a sure tip off to casinos that you are using some type of card counting strategy. On the flip side, if your count is in the positive, this would mean the deck has less of these high value cards and is not optimal for the player.

Your best during a high count should be smaller to limit losses on a weak deck. The Martingale Strategy is a betting system that uses a negative progression to recoup lost bets.

This is one of the more popular betting systems around and is used by many gamblers. Its super simple to learn, and even easier to use. To start the Martingale system, you pick a base amount to be bet and work from this point on. When you lose a hand, you will double the previous bet amount. When you win, you go back to the original base line amount we started with.

The first hand we are dealt a 20 and win. This time we lose, and based on this system we need to double our previous bet. You always double the losing bet amount, not the starting amount! This betting system is the exact opposite of the Martingale. Instead of doubling your losing bets, you will double all winning bets until you lose. At that point you would go back to the starting amount. The advantage to using this system is that it takes a much smaller bankroll to employ.

Using the traditional Martingale system of doubling losing bets can get expensive if you go on a bad run of cards. The only downfall to the Paroli system is that you need to set a limit of when you will stop doubling your winning bets, thus putting a cap on your winnings.

This threshold is often difficult to determine and can be more of a guessing game. It does work however, and can be a valuable tool in your arsenal. The parlay system has been around for decades and is quite common among horse racing bettors. The concept is to use part or all of your winnings on a bet to increase your next bet size. To demonstrate this system lets use an e xam ple.

In Blackjack you always get on your money except on dealt Blackjacks which is Never exceeding more than your winnings from the previous hand, and the original bet amount. The advantages to this system are much like the Paroli. You can have a much smaller bankroll to use this system to start. Also, it allows you the opportunity to win much more because you are increasing bets with money that was not technically yours before the hand. This system is a bit more complicated, but much like the others is guaranteed to make a profit is used correctly.

To start, you write a series of numbers down. These can be any numbers you choose and as long as you want. A good example would be: Using the sequence of numbers you wrote down, you will take the first and last numbers in this sequence and add them together. Each number represents a unit which is equal to one bet. If you win this bet, cross out the first and last numbers. Lose again and your next bet must be 4 units.

If you lose that one, and the one following it you will need to bet 16 units just to get even with the house. Anyone who has ever played even a few hours of blackjack will know that it is possible to lose five, six, or even seven hands in a row at blackjack. This is why using the wrong betting progression can be dangerous, especially if you have no knowledge of basic strategy or card counting.

The ability to count cards is mandatory when using a progression in blackjack. As a player, you must know when to abandon the progression until the deck becomes favorable. All these things being said, there are ways to use a progression system successfully when playing blackjack. Most every blackjack betting system can be classified under one of the following categories:. Increase bets when losing. Increase bets when winning. As we have discussed in another section, those systems which compel the player to increase their bets when losing are inherently flawed and will not work at the blackjack table.

It is too easy for the player to lose many hands in a row, thus making it impossible to get even unless the player has a huge bankroll. Stay away from any progression betting system which involves increasing your bets after you lose a hand. The only progression systems which will work in blackjack are those which demand that you increase your bets when winning. It is important to note, however, that even these systems will fail at blackjack if the player does not understand basic strategy or does not know how to count cards.

There is a good rule of thumb to always remember when you are betting on ANY game in the casino: If you want to gamble seriously, with a chance to make a serious profit, this is the rule of betting that you cannot break.

In the previous section we identified the two types of betting progressions in blackjack. The negative progression is one which calls for the player to increase their bets when losing. The basic idea behind a negative progression system is to give the player a way to remain even with the house until they can manage a streak of successive winning hands.

A negative betting progression typically begins with a bet equal to the table minimum. What happens next depends on whether or not you win this hand. In the ten hands below, W is used to indicate a winning hand and L is used to indicate a losing hand:.

In actual blackjack play this is very rare. What is even worse is that you were forced to bet more over the course of the ten hands. As you can see, a negative betting progression in blackjack is a losing proposition. If you get lucky and win several hands in a row to begin you will make a small profit. The house edge, however, guarantees that you will endure several losing streaks and this will be costly. Whenever you use a negative betting progression in blackjack you will either win a very small profit or you will lose a big portion of your bankroll.

The first step in showing that progressions can be used successfully is to give you some examples of a positive progression. A positive progression is one which calls for you to increase your bets when winning. For any type of betting system to work you must be able to capitalize on streaks. Streaks are when you win multiple hands of blackjack in a row. A positive progression is designed to help you make the most of these winning streaks.

In a positive progression you also begin with the minimum table bet, or one unit. We will use the same ten hands we used as examples of the negative progression above.

Here is the sequence, with W representing a winning hand and L representing a losing one:. When you lose a hand, your next bet returns to one unit and the progression starts over. At this point it would appear that neither betting system, either positive or negative, has any value.

Look a little closer. In the positive progression using the same example you bet 21 units for an overall return of -7 units. Two things should become immediately apparent about the use of a positive blackjack betting progression:.

When you use a positive betting progression you limit your losses, so a positive progression is much preferred over a negative one. Even though a positive betting progression is better, it is still not enough to make you a winner at the blackjack table. If the odds are better, how much better? The simple answer is no, it neither helps you nor hurts you. However, you will have less bankroll variance by betting two hands of x as opposed to one of 2x.

Card counters are an exception to the simple no, they may play multiple hands to draw more cards out of a deck rich in good cards, thus improving their odds. I've even taken your blackjack data and made it into a full-color pocket-sized page that I carry in my briefcase for those unexpected trips to Vegas. I've memorized and follow your rules and generally do well but of course there are times when I lose.

Two questions, you said in a previous answer that you don't cap your winnings. How do you determine when to stop? When have you "won enough" so you avoid regression toward the mean and lose it back? Second question, does the number of hits one takes effect the outcome?

For example, if I have five cards that total 15 against a dealer's 10, am I pressing my luck by taking a sixth card? In other words, are the odds of busting on a 5-card 15 the same as busting on a 2-card 15? Thank for the compliment and I'm happy to help your bankroll last longer. When I gamble for fun I keep playing until it isn't fun any longer.

Usually the fun ends when I have lost too much or have played too long. With the ups and downs of blackjack it takes hundreds of hours before regression toward the mean will cause actual results to look like expected results.

Furthermore, the player who puts a conservative cap on their winnings is never going to experience the fun of a long hot winning streak. Keep in mind this is just what works for me. You should do what you are comfortable with. Everything I have to say about money management can be summarized by the following two rules 1 don't gamble with money you can't afford to lose, and 2 don't gamble if it isn't fun. Regarding your second question, there is something to be said about the composition of a hand.

The fewer the decks the more this is true. My blackjack appendix 3A and appendix 3B show the exceptions to single- and double-deck blackjack, based on the composition of the hand. These appendices show that the more cards that are in your hand the more inclined you should be to stand. Note that in both of these situations either two fives or two sixes have left the deck which are the two most helpful cards for the player. The two situations where you should be the most inclined to stand if you have a multiple card hand are 16 against a 10 and a 12 against a 3.

I find that to be unbelievable, besides I found that computer simulations are definitely not the same as live world action. Also why don't casinos introduce video blackjack to thwart the card counters and get rid of dealers? I have said numerous times that there is no long-term way to beat a game with a house edge. The results always approach the house edge in the long-term. It is not just computer simulations that back this up but the fundamental laws of probability.

About video blackjack, that may be the way of the future. I have seen fully electronic tables with video display at the World Gaming Expo.

I have also seen tables that with cameras can track every bet and every play each player makes. This enables the house to accurately comp players and alert them to card counters.

These tables look and feel like any other blackjack table, so you card counters may be out of business if these tables are successful. Have you ever heard of the Ken Fuchs progression. If so, would you please e-mail me or post the details on your site.

Obviously in normal bj play you experience streaks of wins and loses. Where is the faulty logic in "minimize your losing streaks by resetting at 1 unit, and increase your winning streaks by raising 1 unit after each win? Thanks for you time.

Thanks for all of the great info. Progressive betting systems, like yours, will turn a good session into a great one without the risk of catastrophic loss as with regressive systems like the Martingale.