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Blackjack Betting
Blackjack Betting

Blackjack Systems

Blackjack, as one of the favorite pastimes of millions of casino enthusiasts, has developed a cult-like following of players who are certain their system of play is superior to all others. Unlike roulette, that also has a huge following of system players, blackjack can actually be beaten by skilled card counters. And, that very fact keeps the game popular, even if 98% of the players have never read a book on statistics or proper blackjack procedure.

For players who have spent some time studying the game, learning how to play basic strategy can be counted as a system, since the player is advised on the most successful moves against each dealer up-card. However, betting systems are also very popular, and many players have a tendency to play a specific way based on their run of luck in previous sessions.

“Don’t screw with a winning streak” may be a tried-and-true rule for many players, but past performance success isn’t always based on math or probability; it is based on statistical aberration or an up or down swing in the long-run of outcomes. What that means is your success in future sessions may not reflect what has happened in previous outings. This is a very important consideration when playing blackjack for real money otherwise it can lead to substantial losses.

The Martingale Betting System

The Martingale is the best known gambling system in the world, based on the idea that if you double your wager after a loss, you will eventually win a wager and be one-unit ahead. The good news is that the Martingale does win quite often and many players are so happy with a few small wins at the casino that they forget that one bad evening that most-likely exceeded all of their prior wins combined.

The main issue with the Martingale is the fact that you need a large bankroll and at a certain point you are likely to have a streak of losses that raises your wager to the house maximum. Imagine that you bet £5 at blackjack and plan to use a double-up system every time you lose a hand in succession. After the first loss your wager is £10, then £20, then £40, £80, £160, £320, £640, and now you reach the house maximum bet at blackjack of £1,000. What to do? You have lost 8 straight hands and can either wager the £1,000 hoping that ninth hand is the charm, or you can quit, losing £1275. Even if you win that last bet you’ll be stuck £275.

The main attraction of the Martingale system is that it does win, because losing 8 straight hands doesn’t happen very often, plus, when using the system at blackjack there is always the chance that the player will hit a blackjack, double-down, or split hand with a big bet and win. When that happens the system is well ahead financially and can withstand a losing session. If you decide to play the Martingale at blackjack, make sure your bankroll is large enough to handle the succession of 8 straight bets plus another three wagers at the size of the 8th bet (what if you get a pair of 8’s right then, split, and get two more?).

The Reverse Martingale Betting System

As the name implies, the Reverse Martingale involves doubling your wager after a win, instead of a loss. This betting system is sometimes known as the Paroli, when a cap is placed on three wins and the wager is returned to the first bet size.

In the Reverse Martingale a player is hoping for a streak of winners to make a huge strike and quit playing or start over. If you have played the Martingale for a while you will undoubtedly have run into one of those streaks where the house wins 9 or more hands in a row. You may also have hit a streak where you won that many hands in a row. So what could you have won? Starting with a £5 wager, if you double up each hand and win 7 straight you’ll have £640 in front of you. If you bet again, an 8th straight win takes you to £1280 and you quit, or start back at £5.

The Paroli Betting System

In the Paroli, you make your wager, double up, and hope to do so after a win one more time. Your progression of bets is £5, £10, £20. When you win the third straight hand you start over at £5. The tag line for this system is “It’s like getting seven-to-one on your money.” Well, that sounds great, but you still have to win three straight hands. The good part of this system is that at blackjack this will happen fairly often, and sometimes with that £20 wager you draw a blackjack and get paid 1.5 to 1 on your big bet!

If luck is with you you’ll catch plenty of three-win combinations and have a nice evening. The best part is that you don’t need a huge bankroll like the standard Martingale.

The No-Intuition System

In the No-Intuition system, the player rides along with the flow of good and bad hands like a boat in the current. Wagers are based on the last hand, but only slightly. After a win, the bet is raised 20%. After a loss, the bet is lowered 20%. In this way, the player will often work their way down to a very small wager during any long streak of bad cards. Likewise, as more and more hands are won during a good streak, the average wager will be much larger. If the cards (wins and losses) are back-and-forth with no long streaks in either direction, the wager will be very close to whatever the base bet is.

With this system the player has an excellent chance of profiting heavily during a long streak of good hands without needing a large bankroll because all increases in bets are during a time when the player is using winnings, or house money. Compared to a continuous flat bet, this can be quite advantageous and profitable.

The down-side is that the double-down hands, splits and blackjacks will have a great effect on the overall session. If they tend to clump-up on the tiny wagers, the chances of winning are smaller. If they clump-up on the larger wagers, the chances of a big win increase. However, there is also the chance that on the largest wagers a double-down or split will be lost, thrusting the session into the red.

However, this system tends to be the easiest on a player’s bankroll and is likely to keep loses lower during bad runs. There is no guessing, just go with the flow and hope for some good cards!

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