Skip to main content

Blackjack Betting Systems

S. Stoynova (editor) |

Do Blackjack Players Benefit from Betting Systems?

Blackjack Betting SystemsOne of the most attractive features of blackjack is allowing skilled players to influence many of the results in the game by using a basic blackjack strategy. Once you are accustomed to the gameplay, it is recommended to learn the optimal strategic play in every possible card combination in blackjack, allowing you to reduce the house edge and improve your winning chances in the long haul.

In addition to basic strategy, it is also advisable to implement bankroll management so you can ensure that you will last long enough to actually enjoy successful blackjack sessions. Like other casino games, blackjack can also be played using betting systems. Some players believe that certain betting progressions can help them balance out the losses and get compensated by earning bigger payouts after bigger losses. However, as blackjack is still a game of luck, despite the skill factor, winnings are never guaranteed, making betting systems a risky gaming style. To provide clarity, in this article, we will discuss what types of betting systems one can use and if they are recommended to blackjack players.

Types of Betting Systems in Blackjack

Types of Betting Systems in BlackjacThe betting systems fall into two main categories – negative and positive progression systems. Nowadays, both of them have many variations which incorporate features from the two systems. In positive progression systems, players should increase their bets every time they win and reset the size of their bet to the original amount when losing. Such betting patterns are considered more reliable and risk-free due to the fact that even if players are on a losing streak, they won’t lose as much money as they would if they were using a negative progression betting system.

In contrast to the positive progression betting systems, the negative ones require increasing the amount of the bet when players are losing and decreasing it to its original size when winning. In general, this approach is considered riskier due to the fact that if they lose a few consecutive hands, their bankroll will be gone in no time. However, betting systems of this type give players the chance to make a profit, even if their losses outnumber their wins.

Since players bet bigger amounts after losing, they have to win only a few hands in order to manage to make up for their losses.

Martingale System in Blackjack

The Martingale System offers a straightforward approach: start with a small bet and double it every time you lose, aiming to recover all losses with one win. Ideal for those who prefer short, more intense sessions of play, this strategy encourages players to leave the table while ahead. However, it’s crucial to recognize its limitations; stretching your luck too thin in search of bigger wins could rapidly deplete your bankroll.

How It Works:The essence of the Martingale lies in its simplicity and the strict management of your bankroll. You’ll need to decide on a base stake, typically around 5% of your bankroll, to minimize the risk of quickly reaching the table’s maximum bet limit. Following a win, you repeat the same bet. After a loss, you double your next bet. This method relies on the probability of eventually landing a win, aiming to recover past losses with a single victory, albeit for a modest profit.

Example of Using the Martingale System:

  1. Start with a £5 bet. If you win, keep betting £5.
  2. If you lose, double your next bet to £10.
  3. Lose again? Your next bet should be £20.
  4. Continue this pattern until you win, which covers your losses plus gives you a £5 profit.


  • Ease of Use: Simply double your bet after each loss.
  • Quick Wins: Can boost your bankroll in the short term.
  • Promotes Discipline: Helps you set and stick to a loss limit.


  • High Risk: Bet size increases quickly with consecutive losses.
  • Doesn’t Alter Odds: Like all betting systems, it doesn’t change the house edge.
  • Big Loss Potential: Heavy reliance on recovering losses with a single win can lead to significant financial risks.

Paroli Betting System in Blackjack

The simplicity of the Paroli System makes it stand out among other complex blackjack betting strategies. Despite its relative obscurity among the blackjack community, its proponents swear by the system, enjoying its potential for significant profits. Tailored for the cautious player or those with a modest bankroll, the Paroli System resembles climbing a ladder, where each step upward doubles your money. The trick is knowing when you’ve reached the top and it’s time to climb back down.

How It Works:

The Paroli system is based on the notion that wins and losses tend to come in streaks. By doubling your bets during a winning streak and resetting to the base bet after a loss, you can amplify your profits while minimizing risks. The beauty of the Paroli lies in its safeguard against losing more than a single bet. Since you’re essentially betting with the house’s money by wagering your previous winnings, a series of three consecutive wins can net you a profit of seven units, cushioning any previous setbacks.

Example of Using the Paroli System:

  1. Choose a Base Stake: Begin with a manageable base stake, say £5, considering your overall bankroll.
  2. Double After a Win: If you win, double your next bet to £10. Win again? Your next wager is £20.
  3. Stop After Three Wins: After three consecutive wins, pause and return to your original base stake.


  • Exploits Winning Streaks: Maximizes profits during runs of good luck.
  • Limits Losses: Prevents the escalation of losses by not doubling down after a loss.
  • Risk-Averse: Ideal for players cautious about rapidly exhausting their bankroll, guaranteeing you never lose more than your base stake in a bad run.


  • Short-Term Gains: Sustaining long-term profit is challenging, as achieving three consecutive wins is less common.
  • No Win Guarantee: Like all betting systems, it doesn’t assure victory but rather provides a structured approach to bet management.
  • Potential for Rapid Bankroll Depletion: Alternating wins and losses, particularly after resetting post-three wins, can quickly eat into your bankroll.

Labouchere Betting System in Blackjack

The Labouchere System offers a unique blend of strategy and flexibility, making it stand out in the crowded field of blackjack betting systems. Although it leans towards the more complex side, especially when compared to straightforward systems like Martingale or Paroli, its adaptability to any sequence chosen by the player offers a tailored betting experience. Functioning on a negative progression principle, it aims to increase bets during a losing streak and decrease them during a winning run, ensuring that large wins can cover preceding losses.

How It Works:To embark on the Labouchere journey, you first jot down a sequence of numbers, which is entirely up to you. This sequence is crucial as your potential profit hinges on its total value. The betting formula is simple: your bet equals the sum of the first and last numbers in your sequence. Secure a win? Cross out the numbers you used. Take a loss? Add the amount you lost to the end of your sequence. This method allows for gradual stake increases, following the sequence rather than abrupt jumps in bet size.

Example of Using the Labouchere System:

  1. Choose Your Sequence: Let’s say it’s 1-2-3-4-5-6.
  2. First Bet: Sum of the first and last number (1+6), so you bet £7. Win this, and you remove 1 and 6 from your sequence.
  3. If You Win: Continue with the new sequence combining its ends. If it was 2-3-4-5 and you win, your next bet is £7 again (2+5).
  4. If You Lose: Add the lost bet to the end. So, if you lost your first £7 bet, your sequence becomes 1-2-3-4-5-6-7.


  • Structured Yet Flexible: Provides clear guidelines but it also allows you to set your sequence based on the risk level you are willing to take.
  • Focus on Even Money Bets: Aims for frequent wins or losses, making meeting targets more achievable.
  • Patience is Rewarded: Encourages a disciplined approach, potentially leading to good returns with patience.


  • Complexity: More complicated than other systems, requiring careful tracking and management.
  • Potential for Large Losses: While not rapidly increasing stakes, a long losing streak can still lead to significant financial strain.
  • No Foolproof Advantage: Despite its intelligent design, it doesn’t offer a surefire way to beat the house.

D’Alembert Betting System in Blackjack

The D’Alembert System emerges as a beacon of simplicity among the myriad of casino betting strategies, drawing parallels with the Martingale through its negative progression pattern, yet distinguishing itself by mitigating the risk of exponential loss. This system is particularly valued for its ability to protect players from substantial bankroll depletions, making it a favorite for those who prefer a steady approach to gambling highs and lows.

How It Works:Rooted in the principle of negative progression, the D’Alembert strategy requires players to increase their bet by one unit after a loss and decrease it by one unit after a win. This methodical increase and decrease of bets ensure that a player’s losses don’t skyrocket, providing a safer gambling journey. Before diving into this strategy, setting a modest base unit in relation to your bankroll is crucial, ideally not exceeding 5% to safeguard against rapid financial downturns.

Example of Using the D’Alembert System:

  1. Start with a Base Stake: If your base stake is £5, that’s your starting bet.
  2. After a Loss: Increase your next bet by one unit, making it £10.
  3. After Another Loss: Add another unit, raising your bet to £15.
  4. Following a Win: Reduce your bet by one unit, dropping it to £10.

This betting pattern is straightforward but demands careful consideration, especially regarding the odds of the outcomes on which you’re betting and a thorough analysis to boost your winning chances.


  • Steady Betting Increases: Unlike systems that require doubling the bet, the D’Alembert’s methodical increase minimizes the risk of large losses.
  • Lower Variance: This system has a lower variance compared to other negative progression strategies, offering more control over the bankroll.
  • Disciplined Betting: Encourages structured betting, allowing for longer play sessions without hitting the table limit.


  • Slow Recovery: Since bets are only increased by one unit after a loss, recouping losses entirely can be challenging.
  • Potential to Hit Betting Limits: Prolonged losing streaks can still lead to reaching the betting limit, complicating loss recovery.
  • No Impact on House Edge: It doesn’t reduce the house edge; it merely aims to capitalize on winning streaks.

Fibonacci Betting System in Blackjack

The Fibonacci System, with its roots in ancient mathematics, finds a unique application in the world of casino betting, offering a structured yet flexible approach for players engaging in even-number bets. This system, characterized by its sequential nature where each number is the sum of the two preceding ones, introduces a methodical way to manage bets in blackjack and casino games alike. Ignoring the initial zero, players start their betting sequence with a unit that sets the foundation for their strategy.

How It Works:At the outset, your first wager is one betting unit, aligning with the sequence’s start at one. If your betting unit is, for example, £5, this amount becomes your initial stake. Following each bet, the outcome dictates your next move in the sequence. A win calls for a step back by two places in the Fibonacci sequence, with a couple of caveats: if you haven’t advanced at least two numbers before a win, you restart the sequence, and after any winning cycle, it’s back to the beginning.

Example of Using the Fibonacci System:

  1. Initial Bet: Start with £5.
  2. Follow the Sequence: If you lose, move to the next number in the sequence for your next bet. For instance, after a £5 loss, your next bets follow the sequence (£5, £10, £15, and so on).
  3. After a Win: Move back two numbers in the sequence for your next bet. If you win at £55, your next bet drops back to the value two steps prior in the sequence.


  • Potential for Profit: With judicious use, the system can be advantageous, barring extended losing streaks.
  • Simplicity: The sequence is straightforward to follow, requiring minimal note-taking or complex calculations.
  • Regular Small Wins: Suitable for maintaining play without substantial losses, provided the losing streaks aren’t prolonged.
  • Disadvantages:


  • Unlimited Bankroll Assumption: Realistically, players need a significant reserve of funds to sustain the system through a long sequence of losses.
  • Delayed Recovery: The best outcomes may come too late, after substantial losses have been incurred.
  • Short-Term Efficacy: The system offers limited assistance in recovering all losses, functioning best over shorter periods.

2-1-2 (Manhattan) Betting System in Blackjack

The 2-1-2 system, affectionately known as the Manhattan strategy, strikes a fascinating balance between the pursuit of winning streaks and the cautious management of one’s bankroll. It ingeniously blends the concepts of positive and negative progression, ensuring that players can capitalize on their winning streaks while safeguarding against rapid losses. This strategy starts with a wager of two units, dynamically adjusting the bet size based on the outcomes of each hand in an effort to build momentum and maximize profits.

How It Works:Initiate your betting with two units. Upon securing a win, you dial back your bet to one unit. Should fortune smile upon you again, the strategy dictates a wager increase by two units, followed by an incremental increase for every subsequent win. A loss, however, signals a return to the base two-unit bet, serving as a reset point to recalibrate and potentially kickstart a new winning streak.

Example of Using the 2-1-2 System:

  1. Start with a Two-Unit Bet: If the table minimum is $10, your initial bet is $20.
  2. First Win: Reduce your next bet to $10 (one unit).
  3. Second Win: Increase your bet to $30 (two units plus one unit).
  4. Continue Winning: For each win thereafter, add one unit to your bet. So, if you win again, bet $40.
  5. Upon a Loss: Reset your bet to the original two units ($20).

This method is designed to optimize winning streaks with measured increases in bet size while providing a safety net to prevent steep financial downturns during less fortunate rounds.

Pros and Cons


  • Built-in Safety Net: By reducing the bet after the first win and carefully managing increases, it mitigates potential losses.
  • Rewards Winning Streaks: Encourages capitalizing on hot streaks with systematic bet increases.
  • Simple to Follow: Despite requiring attentiveness to your betting position, the system is relatively straightforward to implement.


  • Tracking Required: Players must remain vigilant about their position in the betting sequence, which might eliminate the enjoyment of the game for some.
  • Limited Loss Recovery: While the system helps manage losses, it may not recover all losses during a prolonged cold streak.
  • Dependent on Streaks: Success heavily relies on hitting and maintaining winning streaks, which can be unpredictable.

Oscar’s Grind Betting System in Blackjack

Oscar’s Grind is a positive progression betting system that distinguishes itself as it does not rely on winning or losing streaks to dictate wager adjustments. Instead, it adopts a more measured approach, incrementally increasing bets with each win and maintaining the bet size after a loss. This strategy aims for a steady accumulation of profits, one unit at a time, without the rollercoaster ride of dramatic stake increases or resets after losses.

How It Works:The essence of Oscar’s Grind is its simplicity and patience. You start with a base unit bet, say $10. Upon winning, you escalate your next bet by one unit. Continue this pattern with each win, enhancing your wager by one additional unit. Should you encounter a loss, you persist with the same bet amount, neither increasing nor decreasing it. The cycle concludes once you’ve achieved a net profit equal to your initial bet unit, at which point you may opt to start anew or keep with the betting progression.

Example of Using Oscar’s Grind System:

  1. Initial Bet: Begin with a $10 bet.
  2. After a Win: Increase your next wager to $20.
  3. Continue Winning: If you win again, your next bet rises to $30.
  4. After a Loss: If you lose at any point, repeat the last bet amount. So, a loss after betting $20 means the next bet is also $20.
  5. Objective: The goal is to secure a profit equal to your base unit ($10 in this case) before resetting or ending your session.


  • Gradual Progression: Ideal for players looking for a less risky system that gradually builds profits.
  • Simple Strategy: Easy to understand and implement, requiring no complex calculations or tracking of streaks.
  • Controlled Betting: Offers a structured approach to manage your bankroll effectively.


  • Slow Profit Accumulation: The system’s conservative nature means it might take longer to accumulate significant profits.
  • Potential for Extended Losing Streaks: While not as risky as negative progression systems, long losing streaks can still deplete your bankroll.
  • Limited Loss Recovery: Since bets are not aggressively increased after a loss, recovering from downswings can be slow.

How Long a Winning/Losing Streak May Last?

Winning/Losing StreakIn most cases, winning or losing streaks last for 2 to 3 hands. However, blackjack is a casino game that has an element of unpredictability. Even though the chances of a losing/winning streak to last for more than 4 consecutive rounds are relatively small, they do exist. If you want to calculate the possibility of a different-length losing streak occurring, you have to take into account only the possibility of winning or losing. In other words, you have to ignore possible ties. Hence, the probability of a single win is 47.4% and the probability of a loss is 52.6% when the probability of a tie is excluded.

To calculate the probability of losing a given number of hands in a row, you have to divide the probability of a loss by 100, which makes 52.6 ÷ 100 = 0.526. Then, the equation for calculating the probability of losing two hands in a row will look as follows: 0.526^2 = 0.2766. Multiply this number by 100 to express the probability of a losing streak that lasts for two rounds as a percentage, or 0.2766 x 100 = 27.66%. To calculate the probability of a losing streak that lasts for nine hands, use the same strategy – 0.526^9 = 0.0030 x 100 = 0.30%.

You can also easily calculate the probability of a different-length winning streak. This time, you have to take into account the probability of a single win and divide it by 100, or 47.4 ÷ 100 = 0.474. Now, let us calculate the probability of a winning streak that lasts for nine hands – 0.474^9 = 0.001. To express this number as a percentage, multiply it by 100. Then, the chances of a winning streak that lasts for 9 rounds is 0.001 x 100 = 0.12%.

Positive Progression Betting Systems

Blackjack WinningIf players decide to use a positive progression betting system, they should increase their bet when winning and decrease it when losing. The idea behind this strategy is to help players win more money when they are on a winning streak and vice versa, prevent them from wagering substantial amounts when on a losing streak. However, it is hard to determine when exactly a winning streak will occur and for how long it will last.

Despite the aforementioned drawback, the positive progression system is preferred by many blackjack fans. The reason why is that by using it, players have the chance to play longer and thus, make small but consistent profits. The key is to determine the exact time when a winning streak will occur and get the most out of it.

It is worth noting that the progressive system helps you to determine the optimal size of your bet. It does not affect the outcome of the round or the house edge. Some of the most famous betting systems of this type include the Paroli System, 1-3-2-6 System, Reverse Labouchere, Contra D’Alembert, and others.

In order to illustrate better how the positive progression betting system works, it is best to consider the following situation. Let’s assume that the set amount for 1 unit is $10 which is also the initial amount that players need to bet. Every time you win a hand, you should double your original bet. In this sense, you should start playing by placing a $10 bet.

If you get lucky and win the hand, then the amount you are supposed to wager should be twice as much – $20. If you win again, then you have to wager $40 on the next round. You should continue following this pattern until you lose a hand or reach your win goal. If you lose, you are required to start from the beginning and place a $10 bet. This way, if players are on a losing streak, they will lose only 1 unit at a time or a maximum of $10 per hand. However, if they are on a winning streak, they will get extra cash and win twice as much.

Blackjack Positive Progression Betting System
Bet NumberBet SizeHand OutcomeNet Winnings

Negative Progression Betting Systems

Blackjack Casino Big Stack WinningThe negative progression betting system is the opposite of the positive – players should increase their bets when losing and reduce them when winning. This type of betting system is based on the probability that at some point, players are bound to win a hand which will make up for all of their losses. At first glance, this theory looks very reliable. However, it has some major flaws. Perhaps, one of its biggest drawbacks is that players can run out of money before they reach a winning streak.

It is not possible to predict when a losing streak will come to an end and whether players will be able to manage to stay in the game until this time. Therefore, this system is considered to be rather dangerous as by using it, players can run out of money very quickly. However, if they are lucky enough to win after a few consistent losses, they will be able to compensate for the time when they were on a losing streak. Some of the most famous betting systems of this type are Martingale, Labouchere, Fibonacci and D’Alembert.

This betting system can be applied very easily as the pattern players need to follow is very simple. First, they need to set an initial amount which is the minimum money they can bet every time. For instance, let’s assume that players start playing blackjack by wagering $10. If they lose the hand, their next wager should be $20. Assuming that the outcome of the next round is no different, they should continue doubling their bet by placing a $40 bet.

Players should continue increasing their wagers until they finally win a hand. They will be able to make a profit each time they win on the condition that their bankroll lasts long enough to reach this stage. This example illustrates very well why this betting system is considered risky as it can consume players’ funds in no time.
Blackjack Negative Martingale Betting System
Bet NumberBet SizeHand OutcomeNet Winnings

How Efficient are the Betting Strategies in Blackjack?

Question MarkAs we already explained above, both betting strategies have their advantages and disadvantages. The main problem with them is that they require an unlimited bankroll as you have to double your wager every time you win or lose. Even if you have deep pockets, eventually you will reach the table limit and you will no longer be allowed to increase the size of your bets.

In addition, you can never predict when and for how long a winning or losing streak will occur. Another problem with these betting strategies is that they do not take into account the player’s option to double down and split pairs. For example, if you split pairs, you have to double both of your bets. In other words, if you use such betting strategies, you are bound to lose.


ConclusionNowadays, it is possible to find a number of betting systems that have features of both systems. The reason for this is that the negative and the positive progression systems have some significant drawbacks and by combining them, experts are trying to eliminate these flaws. However, up to this moment, no betting strategy guarantees success.

At first glance, the positive and the negative progression systems are quite logical. But the problem with the betting strategies is that they ignore some important aspects of the game and that is why they do not yield the expected result. Blackjack fans are strongly advised to use such betting strategies if they do not want to leave the casino empty-handed.

FAQ: Betting Systems in Blackjack

Betting systems are strategies that guide how you adjust your bets in blackjack. They’re split into two types: positive progression systems, where you increase your bet after a win, and negative progression systems, where you increase your bet after a loss. The idea is to either capitalize on winning streaks or recover losses.

No, betting systems can’t guarantee wins in blackjack. While they may help manage your bankroll or aim to recover losses, the game’s outcome still heavily relies on luck and skillful play. It’s important to use betting systems cautiously and remember they don’t change the odds of the game.

Yes, positive progression systems are generally considered safer because they don’t require you to chase your losses with larger bets. Instead, you increase your bets during winning streaks, minimizing the risk of depleting your bankroll quickly during a losing streak.

Typically, winning or losing streaks in blackjack last for 2 to 3 hands, but this can vary. Blackjack is unpredictable, and streaks can sometimes extend beyond 4 consecutive rounds, although this is less common. It’s crucial to recognize that streaks are part of the game’s randomness.

Betting systems can be used by blackjack players, but with caution. They don’t affect the game’s odds or guarantee wins but can offer a structured way to manage bets. It’s vital to understand the risks, especially with negative progression systems, and combine betting strategies with solid gameplay knowledge and bankroll management.