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All about Blackjack Betting Systems

28 Apr 2008

Everything in its own time and place. There’s a lot more in Blackjack Betting Systems than simply putting chips on the table. If you want to become a successful Blackjack player you should learn either how to use the most common betting principles or to invent your own.

First of all, let’s see what does a blackjack betting system mean. The Blackjack betting system is a strategy designed to increase your profits when winning the game and decrease the possible loss when losing it. The system is based on card counting and changing the size of the bet according to the card count. However, this strategy is not the only principle of betting. Let’s take a look at all the rest:

The Kelly criterion method

The Kelly criterion is a betting system that increases your profit to maximum while minimizing the possible risk. The basic principle lies in card counting, the better the odds are, the more the player bets (thus when the house has the edge, the criterion is useless). The size of the bet is determined by the Kelly formula:

f = (b times p minus q) divided by b
f stands for the fraction of a player’s bankroll that should be bet.
b stands for the odds the player is receiving on the wager.
p = The probability the player will win the wager.
q = The probability the player will lose the wager, which is easily determined in a simple bet as 1 — p. For example, if the probability of winning (p) is 0.70%, then the probability of losing (q) would be 1 — 0.30 or 0.30%.
This implies an even-money bet. In an even-money bet, the Kelly Formula is simplified to f = 2p — 1.
In order to be using the Kelly criterion correctly, the player should estimate the odds, the winning probability and the losing probability.

The Kelly criterion is a betting system formula that maximizes the profit in case of positive expectations. You bet a percentage of your bankroll that is equal to the edge you have in the game. However, the criterion does not guarantee profit, it maximizes it when you win. It does not guarantee you won’t lose anything; it minimizes the probability of losing all the money you have. It does not defeat the house edge, it helps when player has positive expectations.

Advantages

The Kelly criterion betting system is not a promise of a win. It helps you to minimize your probable losses and maximize the possible profit when positive expectations. Also, as it is used when the player has an edge, it is practically useless in all the casinos.

The Paroli Blackjack Betting system

The Paroli blackjack betting system is considered a system of a positive progression. You start with betting one unit, and in case you win, you increase your next bet.

Before applying the Paroli blackjack betting system it would be wise to set an overall betting plan, to set a limit for your bets.

Example

You start by placing a bet of a dollar, you win the bet, and your next bet will be $2, in case you win this bet too, the following will be $4, and then $8. If you decide to set a betting limit of $8, you will then go back to a $1 bet, and start all over again.

Advantages

What is good in using the Paroli blackjack betting system is that you do not have to risk huge amounts of money, compared to other betting systems. This system is thought to be the most stable one among all the blackjack betting systems.

The Parlay Blackjack Betting system

The Parlay blackjack betting system is similar to Paroli, being also a positive progression. The system is commonly used in horse race betting, and originated from the systems, on the basis of which banks compound interest.

The basic principle of this blackjack betting system lies in pyramiding your profit. This means that the original bet and the profit gained from winning are used for the next bet. If you win the original bet of any amount, you use it and some or all of the profit to place another bet.

Example

The player places a bet of for example $4, he has a blackjack, and the profit is $6 to addition of the $4 return of the bet. Thus, according to the Parley betting system, he would have to bet $10 for the next bet.

Advantages

The Parlay blackjack betting system works well in combination with traditional Blackjack strategies. As in Paroli blackjack betting system, you are not required to bet huge amounts of money, so the risk is minimal.

The Martingale Blackjack Betting System

The Martingale blackjack betting system is one of the simplest and most commonly known betting systems. Unlike the previous betting systems, this one is a negative progression, and the it is based on the high probability of losing several times in a row. It is usually applied to even bets.

The start bet in the Martingale blackjack betting system is 1 betting unit. Each time you win a bet you start with 1 unit all over again. This system guarantees a profit of 1 betting unit when the player wins a bet. The system will turn a small profit, unless you lose a particular number of times.

Example

Let’s say your first bet is a $2. You lose it, and so the next bet is $4. Dealer wins, and your next bet is $8. You lose your third bet, and wage $16. Let’s imagine you won. So the income is $16. And to get this you have spent $14, and won back $2, your initial betting unit.

Advantages

The martingale blackjack betting system is considered to be very risky and even useless in some casinos. To apply this system player has to have large bankroll. The risk can sometimes be huge, as in 7–8 hands of losing streak you are risking very big amounts of money for one betting unit of profit.

Another disadvantage is the fact that you can’t apply this system at most tables as they have the betting limits. It is impossible to gain large amounts of money applying this principle.

D’alembert Blackjack Betting System

The D’alembert blackjack betting system is a simple mixture of the Martingale and Insurance betting systems usually applied in the game of roulette. It is a twisted positive progression. The player is required to raise the bet one unit after losing a bet and lower one unit after winning a bet.

 The D’alembert blackjack betting system is used for even money betting, when the method of raising and lowering the bet can be altered according to certain game conditions.

Advantages

The strategy is not highly effective for serious players. This system has even been mathematically proven to be a losing one, and it is not recommended that you use it.

The Labouchere Blackjack betting system

The Labouchere blackjack betting system (“Cancellation”, “Crossout”, “Labby”, “Split Martingale”) is a negative progression betting system. To start applying the strategy, the player writes a sequence of numbers for example 1 2 3 4 5 6 or 1 1 2 4 3 5 8 6, the sequence depends on a game you are playing and on the edge you have. The set can be short or long and does not have to be sequential. Each digit in the sequence stands for amount of chips you plan to bet. You simply add up the first and the last digit, in case you win you cross them out and take the second digit from the beginning and the second from the end. Once you have crossed out all the numbers, you have completed one cycle and start from the very beginning. Each time you lose you write the number of your bet (the amount of chips you were betting) at the end of the row, thus each time you lose you add one more number to your row.

Example

Let’s imagine you are using the simplest betting sequence 1 2 3 4 5 6. Your first bet is 7 units (one betting unit+6 betting units). If you win this bet, your row will look like 2 3 4 5 now. You add up 2 and 5 and your next bet is also 7 units. If you lost your first bet, you would have added the number 7 (number of units in the bet) to the betting series that would now look like this 1 2 3 4 5 6 7. That would make your second bet $8 (1+7).

Advantages

The Labouchere blackjack betting system will always turn a profit after having finished cycling through all the betting series having won all the bets.

The 1-3-2–6 Blackjack betting system

The basic principle of this blackjack betting system lies in its name (1 unit-3 units-2 units-6 units). It is a positive progression, when you increase your bets when you win. The 1-3-2–6 betting strategy is based on the Paroli blackjack betting system, and on a probability of winning four times in a row.

Example

The basic principle is that you start by betting 1 unit, than 3 units, after 2 units and the forth bet is 6 units.

The money odds are usually even. Let’s say your betting unit is $5. After you win, you have $10 on the table, and you add $5 more to bet $15 to make your second bet. After winning this bet, there will be $30 on the table, you leave $10 as a bet for the next time. Let’s imagine you won again, and now have $20 on the table, you now have to add $10 to make the fourth bet of $30 (5 times 6).

In the end, if your fourth bet is a winning one, you will have $60 on the table, all of your net profit. The cycle is finished, and so you start all over again.

According to this blackjack betting system you risk small amounts to win larger ones. In the worst case, you can lose 6 times at the second bet, and completely cover all your losses by winning all four bets in a row.

Advantages

Usually, the 1-3-2–6 betting strategy is used only for fun. As the blackjack betting system says, you are required to win 4 times in a row to turn your profit, but for a serious blackjack player this is not the way.

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