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Blackjack Betting Systems

Betting systems and blackjack betting systems in particular, are extremely popular between casino players. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find online some real facts and tutorials between thousands of various “make money” schemes. So here we will try and make some order and review main types of betting systems plus the pros and cons of each one.

First, we must make clear: none of the options, no matter how good it is, can be used as a way to make money.

The reason for that is simple: all blackjack games come with a certain house edge. It can vary from just 0.1% and up to 5% or more according to specific game rules, but the bottom line remains the same. No matter what you do, double your bet each time as in Martingale system, wear your lucky shirt or knock three times before the cards are dealt – the house will still have an edge. Nevertheless, by following a certain betting pattern, you can increase your winning odds.

Before we start, we’d like to point out one common mistake: many players assume that while using a system they shouldn’t care about specific table rules. In fact, it’s the opposite. You must strive to increase your odds in every possible way, by picking the game with the lowest house edge. Using a system on a table with unfavorable rules is completely meaningless and beats the whole point. You can check Online Blackjack Explorer to find out which blackjack games come with the lowest house edge, the correct strategy for each one and where to play them online.Now, let’s dive in.

Betting System Types

There are two main types of betting strategies, negative progression and positive progression, and then plenty variations in between:

Negative Progression:

In negative progression, the player will increase the bet after each loss. The idea behind it is that no matter how long is the losing streak, eventually you will win and get it all back and more.

Due to its simple logic, negative progression is more popular between players than positive progression, Martingale being the most popular of them all. However, that does not mean that it’s safer or more beneficial. Surprisingly, it’s the other way around, as we will show below.

Positive Progression

As you probably guessed, it’s the exact opposite of the previous one. We increase our bet after each winning bet. The logic here is that we might lose plenty small bets, but one winning streak is enough to make it worth our while.

Important to notice that with positive progression, you need to set a limit to the number of consecutive winning bets. The common rule is that after 3 wins you go back to your original bet size. If you’re an adrenaline freak you can increase it a bit, but you shouldn’t go above 4-5 and never play without setting that limit.

Now that we understood the basics, let’s check some of the popular methods.

Four Popular Blackjack Systems


By far the most popular of them all. The idea here is that you double your initial bet after each loss and go back to the original unit after each win. A usual series would go like: $1 – win. $1 – loss. $2 – loss. $4 – loss. $8 – win. $1…

As you can see, in the end of each series, you will end up winning 1 original betting unit. The main advantage of Martingale it’s the simplicity. It is so simple that many players get the wrong impression that they discovered the Holy Grail. Unfortunately, it ain’t so. The problem is that you will win $1 time after time, but occasionally, you will hit a losing streak that is either too big for your budget or reach the table limits. It can happen only once in a while, but that one time will be enough to cause tremendous losses.

Bottom line: most simple and yet the riskier of them all.


Paroli is a the most basic positive progressive system, the exact opposite of Martingale. In case of a win the player doubles the next bet until 3 consecutive wins. In case of a loss, the bet stays the same. A standard series will look like this: $1 – loss, $1 – loss, $1 – win, $2 – win, $4 – win, $1…

Here, one winning streak is enough to cover multiple small losses, which is the idea behind the system. It’s by far less risky than negative progression ones, since even if you don’t manage to connect 3 wins, the losses remain small. As we’ve mentioned, the number of wins can be altered, but should remain in 3 to 5 area, otherwise the chances of hitting the necessary streak are too low.


D’Alembert is a medium level negative progressive system. Here the player increases the bet by 1 unit after each loss, and decreases by 1 unit after each win. The goal is to balance the wins/losses and end up with a small win.

Standard series: $1 – loss, $2 – loss, $3- win, $2- loss, $3 – loss, $4 – win, $3 – win…

The good thing here is the low risk and low volatility. On the other hand, the chances of winning are small and to be honest, it makes the game-play pretty boring.

Oscar’s Grind

The system of all systems. The most complicated and yet the most rewarding and safe. It is a type of positive progression but done in a unique way. The goal is to end each cycle with exactly 1 unit win. Table will explain it best.

Bet Result Profit per Series Comments
$1 Win +$1 Goal achieved. Series ends.
$1 Loss -$1  
$1 Loss -$2  
$1 Loss -$3  
$1 Loss -$4  
$1 Loss -$5  
$1 Win -$4  
$2 Loss -$6  
$2 WIn -$4  
$3 Loss -$7  
$3 Win -$4  
$4 Win -$0 Now only 1 unit needed.
$1 Win +$1 Goal achieved. Series ends.

Unlike the other strategies in our list, Oscar’s Grind is complicated and demands some practice and mathematical skills. But when it comes to Risk vs Reward, it’s without a doubt our system of choice.

Bottom Line

That’s it for now. Hope you enjoyed it. We do like to remind you the point we started with: no matter which system you use or how well you know the basic strategy, the house will always have an edge. Unless you are a card counter, but that’s something that cannot be done in online casinos.

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