Casino Betting Systems
Ever since the beginning of gambling, people have looked for ways to improve their chances of winning or to "beat the house." Because of this desire, many different strategies have been developed over the years in an attempt to give gamblers an edge. The odds are that you ended up on this page because you too are searching for a way to improve your chances of winning.
On this page, we'll take a deep dive into betting systems. We'll start with helping you understand some high-level basics relating to progressive betting systems in general. Next, we'll break down the different types of progressive systems in more detail. By the conclusion of this document, you'll have a good understanding of the most popular progressive betting systems out there.
Much of what we'll cover on this page relates to progressive betting systems, and because of that, we wanted to make sure that you had a good understanding of what progressive betting entails. The basic idea behind a progressive betting system is how you adjust the size of your bet on the next hand based upon the outcome of the current one. As you'll see below, different systems call for different adjustments at different times.
Understanding the Gambler's Fallacy
Before we get too deep into casino betting systems and strategies, we'd like to take a moment to discuss the gambler's fallacy. It is important that you understand the gambler's fallacy as many gamblers do not understand this basic concept. By understanding this, you'll be able to avoid falling for one of the biggest myths in casinos.
The gambler's fallacy is a mistaken belief that if an event happens more frequently than normal during some time period, it will happen less frequently in the future and vice versa. Many people fall for the gambler's fallacy because it is very appealing to the human mind. Our mind wants us to think we've identified patterns when the truth of the matter is that most things are still very random.
If you flip a quarter 5 times and it lands on heads all 5 times, what do you think it will land on for your 6th flip? The odds are that your head is telling you that it HAS to be tails since it has already landed on heads 5 times in a row. If you said tails, you've just fallen victim to the gambler's fallacy.
In the coin flip example above, our minds want us to think that there is no way that the coin will land on heads again, but the reality is that there is still a 50/50 chance for that flip. Each time that you flip the quarter, each side still has a 50/50 chance of landing up regardless of what happened on any previous flips.
At the end of the day, short term patterns in previous results don't matter. Regardless if you're watching the roulette table or flipping coins, short term patterns cannot be trusted, but your mind will work hard to convince you otherwise. In order not to fall for the gambler's fallacy, you'll need to wrap your mind around the fact that short term patterns don't matter when it comes to future outcomes.
We bring this up because so many people fall for the myth. People who fall for the Gambler's Fallacy allow themselves to believe that they have identified short term patterns and that they will, therefore, be able to beat the system. When it comes to the betting systems that we'll cover below, many people are attracted to these systems because they don't believe that long enough streaks or patterns will play out to impact their profitability in a negative way. Unfortunately, this mistaken belief can cost you lots of money.
Flat Betting vs. Positive Progression vs. Negative Progression
When it comes to types of betting systems, there tend to be 3 main styles: Flat betting, positive progression systems, and negative progression systems. Each of these systems is distinctly different from one another. We'll break down each one of these below so that you can gain a better understanding of how each one works.
This is the act of betting the same amount on each hand regardless of the previous outcome. No matter if you won or lost the last hand, you'll continue to bet the same amount on the next hand as you did on the previous one. Flat betting is pretty common due to the simplicity of it. All you need to do is select how much you'd like to bet on each hand and then proceed with betting that same amount on each hand there forward. It's as simple as that.
In a positive progression system, you'll increase your next bet when you win and decrease your bet when you lose. When using one of these systems, you'll consistently follow that same pattern. The main idea behind a positive progression betting system is that you will maximize your winnings when you go on a winning streak and that you will minimize your losses when you go on a losing streak.
In contrast, a negative progression betting system has you do the opposite of a positive progression system. Under a negative progression system, you'll increase your bet when you lose and decrease your bet when you win. The idea behind negative progression systems is that you'll eventually get a win and that when you do win, you'll earn more than you lost.
To help summarize things, we've provided the simple chart below. You can use this for a quick reference as you learn more about the different types of betting systems.
|Flat Betting||Positive Progression||Negative Progression|
|Win Previous Bet||Bet remains the same||Increase Bet||Decrease Bet|
|Lose Previous Bet||Bet remains the same||Decrease Bet||Increase Bet|
In the sections below, we'll dive deeper into positive and negative progression betting systems. We'll also detail many of the most common positive and negative progression systems out there today.
Positive Progression Systems
As you learned above, positive progression systems have you increasing your bets when you are winning and decreasing your bets when you are losing. It is worth noting that most positive betting systems do not tend to be as potentially damaging as negative progression systems since you are decreasing your bets when losing.
As you'll see below, positive betting systems definitely have their drawbacks and limits. In general, these systems are likely to bump up against your own bank roll limit or table limit under certain streaks. Below, we'll dive into 4 of the most popular positive progression systems out there.
One of the simplest positive progression betting systems out there is the Paroli System. It is one of the more popular betting systems in the casino world. The main goal of the Paroli System is to avoid substantial losses and to generate small wins regularly.
To get started with the Paroli System, you first have to pick your base unit. We'd suggest something small like $1 or $5 as things can quickly grow. Once you've established your base unit, you can move onto the next step.
Under the Paroli System, you will double your bet after each win. For example, if your base unit was $2, you wager $2 on your first hand. If you won that first hand, you'd then wager $4 on the 2nd hand. One thing to note is that you should stop increasing your bet after 3 wins. We'll talk more about that later.
If you lose a hand while operating the Paroli System, you then move back to your base unit bet. Regardless of how many times you might lose in a row, you will never increase your wager after a loss under the principles of the Paroli System.
- Double your bet after each win.
- Return to your base unit bet after each loss.
To help illustrate how the Paoli System works, we've created a sample chart below. The base unit for this game of Roulette is $2.
|#1||$2||Loss||Stay at base unit wager.|
|#2||$2||Loss||Stay at base unit wager.|
|#3||$2||Win||Double bet after win.|
|#4||$4||Win||Double bet after win.|
|#5||$8||Win||Return to base unit wager after 3 wins in a row.|
|#6||$2||Loss||Stay at base unit wager.|
|#7||$2||Loss||Stay at base unit wager.|
|#8||$2||Win||Double bet after win.|
|#9||$4||Win||Double bet after win.|
|#10||$8||Win||Return to base unit wager after 3 wins in a row.|
Like other systems, the Paroli System is limited based upon table limits and your bank roll. If you go on a long enough streak, you might eventually be forced to stop because either you've run out of bankroll or because the table you're at has a maximum lower than what the system says you should wager. Because of this, the Paroli System is limited in real life situations.
The Paoli System is nice in that it is easy to learn. It also is good because it helps to limit losses except for cases with extreme runs of long losing streaks. Unfortunately, the Paroli System still doesn't help you beat the house. While it might help you earn small amounts here and there with favorable streaks, it still is not the magic bullet to beat the house.
Another positive progression betting system is the 1-3-2-6 system. This system is very similar to the Paroli System that we just described above with a few different tweaks. As with the Paroli System, the 1-3-2-6 System is very simple to learn.
Similar to the Paroli System, your first task with the 1-3-2-6 System is to define your base betting unit. It's up to you, but it should be a smaller number as your wagers will climb from it. Ultimately, you probably want to consider something in the $1-$5 range unless you've got a massive bank roll to work with.
Once you've established your base wager unit, you can then follow the simple rules of the 1-3-2-6 System. Under this system, you'll start by betting 1 base unit. If your base unit is $5, then you would wager $5 on your first hand.
If you win your first hand, the next number in the 1-3-2-6 System is 3. That means you would then wager 3 base units ($15) on the next hand. Assuming you win that round, you'd continue to follow the sequence. If you manage to win 4 bets in a row, you will return to the start of the sequence.
Under the 1-3-2-6 System, you will also return to the start of the sequence whenever you lose a hand. If you're on 1 base unit in the sequence on your first hand and you lose, you then remain at the start of the sequence. You will only advance in the sequence once you have won a wager.
- Return to the start of the sequence after each loss.
- Move up the sequence after each win and bet that many base units.
To help illustrate how the 1-3-2-6 System works, we've developed a sample chart below. This chart assumes a $2 base unit on a roulette table.
|#1||$2||Loss||Stay at base unit wager.|
|#2||$2||Loss||Stay at base unit wager.|
|#3||$2||Win||Wager 3 times the base unit.|
|#4||$6||Win||Wager 2 times the base unit.|
|#5||$4||Win||Wager 6 times the base unit.|
|#6||$12||Loss||Return to base unit after loss.|
|#7||$2||Win||Wager 3 times the base unit.|
|#8||$6||Win||Wager 2 times the base unit.|
|#9||$4||Win||Wager 6 times the base unit.|
|#10||$12||Win||Return to base unit after 4 wins in a row.|
As with the Paroli System, the 1-3-2-6 System is super easy to learn; which is a strong positive aspect of the system. That being said, the 1-3-2-6 System still does not allow you to beat the house. While it might assist you with picking up some cash on a win streak and limit your losses to some extent on a losing streak, it won't help you overcome the house advantage in the long run. Similar to the Paroli System, you may become limited by bank roll or table limit constraints when you go on winning runs.
Another positive progression system that is easy to learn is the Contra D' Alembert System. This system is basically the inverse of the negative progression D'Alembert System. We'll cover that system in more detail later.
To get started with the Contra D'Alembert System, you must first define what your base betting unit is. Your base betting unit is the starting bet for the system. We suggest that you keep this as low as possible as things will only escalate from this number.
Your base unit is then utilized as your starting wager. You'll bet one base unit to start the system. If you chose $2 as your base unit, you'd wager $2 for your initial bet.
If you win your initial wager, you'll add another base unit onto your next bet. In the sample above, your next bet should be $4 (2 base units) if you win the first wager. In the case of a loss, the Contra D'Alembert System has you subtract a base unit from your next bet.
- Add another base unit to your bet after each win.
- Subtract a base unit after each loss.
We've mocked up a sample scenario below to showcase the Contra D'Alembert System to you. For this example, assume a $2 base unit on the game of Roulette.
|#1||$2||Loss||Stay at base unit|
|#2||$2||Win||Add one base unit|
|#3||$4||Win||Add one base unit|
|#4||$6||Loss||Subtract one base unit|
|#5||$4||Loss||Subtract one base unit|
|#6||$2||Win||Add one base unit|
|#7||$4||Win||Add one base unit|
|#8||$6||Win||Add one base unit|
|#9||$8||Win||Add one base unit|
|#10||$10||Loss||Subtract one base unit|
As we mentioned earlier, one nice thing about the Contra D'Alembert System is that it is very easy to learn and use. Like the other positive progression systems above, the Contra D'Alembert system is typically limited by bankroll and table limits. This system works out well by helping you to win large sums when you go on a winning streak and helps to limit your losses when you're losing.
The Reverse Labouchere System is a positive progression system that works opposite of the negative progression Labouchere System. We'll cover the original Labouchere System in detail in the section below. For now, know that both of these systems operate as cancellation systems. The Reverse Labouchere System is the most complicated positive progression system. Due to the complexity of the system, it is hard to learn in comparison to the super simple Paroli System. To keep up with the Reverse Labouchere System, we strongly suggest that you use pen and paper. The first step of the Reverse Labouchere System is for you to establish and write down a sequence of numbers. The choice of the numbers in the sequence and the length of the sequence is ultimately up to you. You can use different sequence strategies to accomplish different things. Consider a sample sequence of 1-2-3. Under the Reverse Labouchere System, your wager is always equal to the sum of the outer numbers of your sequence. In this case, our opening bet would be $4 ($1+$3). When you win under the Reverse Labouchere System, you will add the wagered amount from your win onto the end of the sequence. In the sample 1-2-3 sequence above, you'd add a 4 to the sequence if you won your first bet. Your new sequence would now be 1-2-3-4. Based on that new sequence, your next wager would be $5. When you lose a wager while following the Reverse Labouchere system, you'll remove the first and last number in the sequence. Using the sample 1-2-3-4 sequence from above, you'd remove the two outer numbers after a loss. Your new sequence would now be 2-3, and your next bet would be $5.
- Wager the sum of the two outer numbers in your sequence.
- Add your won wager to the end of a sequence after a win.
- Remove the first and the last number of the sequence after a loss.
To help illustrate the Reverse Labouchere System, we've built the sample chart below based off a starting sequence of 1-2-3 at a roulette table.
|#1||1/2/2003||$4||Win||Add win amount to sequence.|
|#2||1-2-3-4||$5||Win||Add win amount to sequence.|
|#3||1-2-3-4-5||$6||Loss||Drop outer two numbers from sequence.|
|#4||2/3/2004||$6||Loss||Drop outer two numbers from sequence.|
|#5||3||$3||Win||Add win amount to sequence.|
|#6||3-Mar||$6||Win||Add win amount to sequence.|
|#7||3/3/2006||$9||Win||Add win amount to sequence.|
|#8||3-3-6-9||$12||Loss||Drop outer two numbers from sequence.|
|#9||6-Mar||$9||Win||Add win amount to sequence.|
|#10||3/6/2009||$12||Loss||Drop outer two numbers from sequence.|
The Reverse Labouchere System can help you win significant sums if you go on a winning streak. To accomplish this, the Reverse Labouchere System has you continue increasing your bets when you win. Another nice thing about the system is that it helps to cap your losses when you go on a losing streak. For most people, the main drawback to the Reverse Labouchere System is the complexity of the system.
At the end of the day, The Reverse Labouchere System is still only good for short runs. Along with the other betting systems that we cover on this page, The Reverse Labouchere System has not been proven to help you overcome the house favor. Like the Paroli and 1-3-2-6 Systems, the Reverse Labouchere system most likely will become throttled by your bankroll or table limits in the case of a long winning streak.
Negative Progression Systems
As we mentioned earlier, negative progression betting systems operate the reverse of positive progression systems. Under negative progression, you'll decrease your bets when you win and increase your bets when you lose.
Because you're increasing your bets when you lose, negative progression systems have the potential to be more damaging than positive progression systems.
This is one of the biggest drawbacks to negative progression betting systems.
Similar to positive progression systems, negative progression systems can also be limited by outside factors. Specifically, in cases of long losing streaks, you may become limited by table limits or your own personal bank roll. In the section below, we'll look at 4 of the most popular negative progression betting systems.
The Martingale System is perhaps the most well-known of all casino betting systems. The strategy behind the Martingale System is that you double your bet after every loss.
Once you get a win, you return back to your normal starting bet and then continue the same process. The main idea of the Martingale System is that doubling your bet each time after a loss will allow you to recoup your losses and provide you with some upside when you finally do win.
- Double your bet after each loss.
- Return to your starting base bet after a win.
Let's imagine that you're playing Blackjack at the casino. That night, you've decided that your base bet is $10. If you win your 1st hand, you'll continue to bet $10 again on the 2nd hand. If you end up losing the second hand, you would then double your bet up to $20 for the 3rd hand. Taking it one step further, if you were also to lose the 3rd hand, you would then double your bet once again to $40 for the 4th hand. The pattern here continues until you get a win. At that point, you would return to $10 and start the process over again.
While the Martingale System is good in theory, it has many practical limitations. First, most people simply don't have the bank roll to keep up with a large streak of losses. Let's imagine that you're playing Roulette for a starting bet of just $1. Under the Martingale System, if you went on a losing streak for 10 rolls, your bet on the 11th roll would be over $1,000! We've made a chart below to showcase this scenario.
As you can see from the chart above, The Martingale System gets expensive very fast even with a low starting bet of just $1. Most people simply can't afford to keep up with a long losing streak to stick around long enough to recoup their losses under this system. This tends to be the main reason that this system fails.
Another limitation to the Martingale System is table limits. If we go back to the scenario in the chart above, the odds are that the same table allowing a $1 minimum bet on Roulette would not allow more than a $500 bet maximum. Even if you have the bank roll and stomach to keep up with a long string of losses under the Martingale System, eventually, you'd be capped at a table by the table maximum.
In order for the Martingale System to work, you'd need to have an unending bank roll and unlimited table limits. Unfortunately, neither of these exists. Due to this, the Martingale System is flawed due to short term patterns that can emerge when betting.
The D'Alembert System is one of the more simple negative progression systems out there. Due to the simplicity, it is one of the more popular betting systems. Unlike the Martingale System where stakes are quickly doubled after each loss, the D'Alembert System increases stakes more slowly.
The first step in the D'Alembert System is to define your base betting unit. Perhaps this is $1 or $5. Essentially, the base betting unit is the absolute minimum that you want to bet. Keep in mind that it is going to go up from there, so we always advise you to consider starting as low as possible.
Once you've established your base unit, you start your initial bet by using one base unit. For example, if your base unit is $1, you should bet $1 on your first wager. If you lose that bet, the D'Alembert System states that you should add one base unit to your next bet. Therefore, your next wager would be $2 if you were using a $1 base unit. Under the D'Alembert system, you add an additional base unit to each wager after each losing bet. Once you have a winning hand, you then decrease your next wager by one base unit.
- Add another base unit to your bet after each loss.
- Subtract a base unit after each win.
We've mocked up a sample scenario below to showcase the D'Alembert System to you. For this example, assume a $2 base unit on the game of Roulette.
|#1||$2||Loss||Add one base unit|
|#2||$4||Loss||Add one base unit|
|#3||$6||Loss||Add one base unit|
|#4||$8||Loss||Add one base unit|
|#5||$10||Loss||Add one base unit|
|#6||$12||Loss||Add one base unit|
|#7||$14||Loss||Add one base unit|
|#8||$16||Loss||Add one base unit|
|#9||$18||Loss||Add one base unit|
|#10||$20||Win||Subtract one base unit|
As you can see from the sample in the chart above, the stakes do not increase nearly as quickly in the D'Alembert System as they do under the Martingale System. However, the same thing is also true relating to recouping losses when you do win. Since you are not wagering as much under the D'Alembert System, it will take longer for you to recoup your losses.
In the sample above, assuming a wager was made on a 2:1 payout like red or black, the player would have made $20 on the 10th roll when they won. The problem is that prior to that 10th wager, $90 has already been bet and lost. That means that even after recouping $20 from the 10th roll they are still $70 in the hole.
Much like the Martingale System, the D'Alembert system is typically limited by bankroll and table limits. As well, due to the fact that the stakes don't climb as quickly, the D'Alembert System is slower to recoup losses under the scenario of a long losing streak like the one in the chart sample above. Unlike the Martingale where you can recoup losses under a single win, the D'Alembert can require multiple wins to recoup your losses.
Another type of negative progressive betting systems is the Fibonacci System. This particular system is slightly more complicated than the Martingale and D'Alembert Systems, but it is still rather quick and easy to learn. The roots of the Fibonacci System go back to the 13th century and an Italian mathematician named Leonardo Pisano.
The Fibonacci System operates under a sequence of numbers. Each sequence starts with a 0 and then a base unit. Each number after that is the sum of the two previous numbers. We've written out a sample sequence below based on 2 as the base unit.
0, 2, 2, 4, 6, 10, 16, 26, 42, 68, 110...
Now that you have a good understanding of what a Fibonacci sequence is let's talk about how it is applied as a betting system. Under the Fibonacci System, you first need to determine your base betting unit. As with the previous systems, we highly suggest that you start small as it will only climb higher.
Using the Fibonacci System, your first bet would be your base unit. After each losing bet, you would then move your bet up to the next number in the Fibonacci sequence. When you win a wager, the Fibonacci System states that you should move your wager down 2 units in the sequence.
- Bet the next number in the sequence after a loss.
- Move back two numbers in the sequence and bet that amount after a win.
To help illustrate the Fibonacci System better, we've mocked up a sample below based upon a $2 base unit bet on Roulette. For this sample, be sure to see the sample Fibonacci sequence above which applies to a $2 base bet.
|#1||$2||Loss||Move to next number in sequence|
|#2||$4||Loss||Move to next number in sequence|
|#3||$6||Loss||Move to next number in sequence|
|#4||$10||Loss||Move to next number in sequence|
|#5||$16||Loss||Move to next number in sequence|
|#6||$26||Loss||Move to next number in sequence|
|#7||$42||Win||Move back 2 numbers in sequence|
|#8||$16||Loss||Move to next number in sequence|
|#9||$26||Win||Move back 2 numbers in sequence|
|#10||$10||Loss||Move to next number in sequence|
There are a couple of things to keep in mind with the Fibonacci System. First, if you have not yet moved up 2 numbers in the system and you win, only go back to your starting base unit. You should never wager anything less than your starting unit. Secondly, you're supposed to move back to the start of the sequence once you are in a profit scenario. In order to do this, you'll need to track your profit/loss. This can be easy to do with a pen and paper.
As with the other previous two negative progressive betting systems, the Fibonacci System has its limitations. The system typically runs into limits due to the player's available bank roll or the table limits in cases of long runs of losses. Under this system, it is still very possible that your wagers could quickly escalate to a very high amount. In the sample chart below, a $2 base bet ballooned to a $42 wager just 7 rolls (and losses) later.
The last major of the negative progressive betting systems is the Labouchere System. Not to be confused with the 90's dance music group La Bouche, The Labourchere System is the most complicated major negative progressive betting system as it is much more complicated than the other 3 systems that we have covered above. Similar to the Fibonacci and D'Alembert Systems, the Labouchere System does not attempt to recover all previous losses in one hand. Alternatively, it attempts to recover previous losses over multiple wins.
The first step of the Labouchere System is for you to write down a sequence of numbers. For simplicity sake, consider the sequence 1-2-3. Under the Labouchere System, your wager will be equal to the sum of the first number and the last one in the sequence. In the case of the sample 1-2-3 sequence, your opening wager would be $4 ($1+$3).
If you win your wager, you remove the first and last number from the sequence. From the sample sequence below, it would look like this: 1-2-3. You would solely be left with the 2. That means your next wager would be $2. If you win that bet, the sequence is over, and you would start a new one.When you lose a wager, you must add that wagered amount to the end of the sequence. Going back to the 1-2-3 sequence, if you wagered $4 on your first wager and lost, you would then add a 4 to the sequence making your new sequence: 1-2-3-4. Following the same rules of the Labouchere System, your next wager would then be the sum of the two outer numbers, $5.
- Wager the sum of the two outer numbers in your sequence.
- Add your lost wager to the end of a sequence after a loss.
- Remove the first and the last number of the sequence after a win.
To help illustrate the Labouchere System, we've built the sample chart below based off a starting sequence of 1-2-3 at a roulette table.
|#1||1/2/2003||$4||Loss||Add loss amount to sequence.|
|#2||1-2-3-4||$5||Loss||Add loss amount to sequence.|
|#3||1-2-3-4-5||$6||Win||Drop outer two numbers from sequence.|
|#4||2/3/2004||$6||Win||Drop outer two numbers from sequence.|
|#5||3||$3||Loss||Add loss amount to sequence.|
|#6||3-Mar||$6||Loss||Add loss amount to sequence.|
|#7||3/3/2006||$9||Loss||Add loss amount to sequence.|
|#8||3-3-6-9||$12||Win||Drop outer two numbers from sequence.|
|#9||6-Mar||$9||Loss||Add loss amount to sequence.|
|#10||3/6/2009||$12||Win||Drop outer two numbers from sequence.|
The main drawback to the Labouchere System is the sheer complexity of the system itself. Due to the high level of complexity, many players struggle to keep up with what they should actually be betting at any given point. Without using pen and paper, it is near impossible to keep track of where you should be.
One of the strong positives about the Labouchere System is the fact that the system itself is very flexible. Since you get to choose your sequence of numbers, you can control to some extent how the sequence will play out. For example, by adding in some zeros to your sequence, you can help throttle the chance that your bets get too big too fast. In contrast, using some larger numbers in your sequence could help you earn some big bucks if you're able to finish the sequence. Under that same scenario, you also could lose big if you are not able to complete the sequence.
Despite its complexity, the LaBouchere System unfortunately still won't help you beat the house. Like the other systems, it might aid you in making some profit in the short run, but it still won't allow you to beat the house favor in the long run. This system still has limits because of the system's potential to suggest bets that could quickly outgrow your bankroll or the table limit if you go on a long streak of losses.
While there is a slew of different types of casino betting systems and strategies, we urge you to use caution before trying to use any of them. At the end of the day, each one of these systems has its limitations. We strongly urge everyone to do their homework and decide if using a betting system is right for you.