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Bad Blackjack Betting Systems

The idea behind blackjack betting systems is to try and optimize the ratio of wins to losses by controlling the amount of money wagered on each hand. While this can definitely be a good strategy, there are unfortunately as many bad blackjack betting systems as there are good ones.

Flat Betting

No one is really sure who the genius is who came up with this one. Flat betting is the simple tactic of betting the same amount of money for every hand without variation. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see where this will take you and your bankroll.

D’alembert

D’alembert is a simple money management system basted on a pattern where a player raises their bet one unit after a loss and lowers it one unit after a win. While it is beautiful in its simplicity, it tens to lead to a very specific set of patterns: long periods of big losses spaced out between short periods of small wins. Things balance out after a very long time, bu for short games this system is one to avoid.

Labouchere

Labouchere is an old (think old west saloons) money management system that should be remembered as a historical knee slapper and the downfall of more than one foolish gambler. The technique can at best be described as a betting progression. It is also referred to as the cancellation system.

Possibly the most complex and most inane money management system, it involves semi-randomly choosing two or more numbers. The numbers represent the total amount of money the gambler would ideally like to win. The player then modifies the bets based on adding and subtracting amounts won or lost according to these two chosen numbers.

Essentially, Labouchere keeps players going until they either lose all their money or reach the table limits. Neither of these are a good thing.

(Grand) Martingale

Like scientists and great explorers, gambling has had it’s fair share of visionaries and charlatans. One of the first money management systems – the Martingale – requires players to double their bets after each loss. The basic idea is that losses will be made up by the next win, a stroke of supreme, if misguided, optimism.

We’ll keep things simple: do not try this at home (or at the casino, or anywhere else you might be able to gamble).

Paroli Betting

Considered the opposite approach from the Martingale system, the Paroli money management system is a positive betting progression. Essentially the player starts with a single unit and if the hand is won then the next bet is increased incrementally. This is considered to be a more stable option than the Martingale system and it doesn’t encourage players to chase their losses. It can lead to success, but only in the long run, and only if players remain extremely disciplined in their betting.

1-3-2-6 Betting System

This is a positive progression betting system based on the idea behind the Paroli system. Players first pick a bet unit (say, $5) and then bet 1x, then 3x, then 2x and finally 6x while playing. The idea is to use small amounts of money to win proportionately larger amounts of money.

However, for the system to work at all a player is required to win all four hands. For this reason it can only be used for recreational amusement. Serious players looking to make a profit over the long run won’t find this a useful strategy.