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Betting Systems

Simply put, a betting system is a way of using money management to maximize your profits. No matter what technique or method you use to give yourself an edge at the blackjack table, if you don't manage your money properly you will probably walk away a loser.

Card counting and cluster counting, as mentioned elsewhere on this site, includes its own type of betting system. IE: Increase your bet size two to three times your original bet when conditions favor the probability of receiving a winning hand.

But what if you are strictly a basic strategy player? Besides the obvious bank roll increases experienced by doubling down and splitting your cards, what method should you use to increase your chances of walking away a winner? Below are 3 betting systems. The first is a common system which I don't recommend, but I include on this page as it is one which has been recommended by certain, so called 'blackjack experts'. The last two are systems which are worthwhile to use depending on your starting bankroll.

The Martingale System

This system, which was invented over 200 years ago, instructs the player to double his bet each time he loses, on the assumption that he will eventually win and show a profit from the initial wager.

With a beginning wager of $5.00 you would double your wager with each loss. IE: $5, $10, $20, $40 $80, etc. After a win your wager would drop back to $5.00. All wagers are recovered when you win a hand.

Casinos have table limits to eliminate the effectiveness of this system. After a long losing streak you will eventually hit the table maximum, thus defeating the purpose of this system. Plus, a considerable amount of bankroll is needed to make this system work, and the payoffs simply aren't worth it. If you started with a $5 dollar wager and lost your first four wagers and won your fifth, (without double downs or splitting your cards) you would be a measly 5 dollars ahead. This is simply not worth it, and if you are losing multiple hands in a row it is time to leave the table, not double your wagers. Also, losing double downs or splits can deplete your bankroll in a big hurry.

Progressive Betting System - 2 Level

This is the simplest betting system to use and still effective. To use this system simply decide on a minimum and maximum bet. Then bet the smaller amount after a loss and the larger amount after a win. For example, say you set your minimum bet at $5 and your maximum at $15. Start with a $5 dollar bet. If you win that hand you bet $15 your next wager. You then continue to bet $15 until you lose. After any loss you return to your minimum bet of $5.

This is a basic, put solid progressive betting system.

Progressive Betting System - 5 Level

This is another simple, yet effective system, based on a 1,2,3,5 back to 1 progression. Example: For a $5 player, the betting levels would be $5,10,15, and 25. With this system you start with your $5 bet and progress to the next level when you win a hand. If you lose a hand you drop back down to your original $5 wager. If you win four hands in a row you should then drop back down to your original $5 wager, hence the 1,2,3,5 back to 1 progression.

Lets take a look at how this works. This system is rewarding when you experience winning streaks but still doesn't kill you with losing streaks. Lets say you lose your first three hands and then win your next three. Assuming a starting wager of $5 you would be ahead $15 at the end of six hands. If you were betting an equal amount on each had you would be even.

It should be noted that progressive betting systems such as these fail when you experience a win, loss, win, loss, win, loss, type of scenario. In a case like this, you would be better off betting an equal amount on each hand. However, this is the risk you take in your attempt to maximize profits on streaks of 3 wins or more. And in reality it is not as risky as simply using basic strategy and betting an equal amount each hand. The nature of blackjack is such that winning streaks and losing streaks frequently occur, and that is where progressive betting systems maximize your profits.