Blackjack Betting Strategy
Blackjack Betting Strategy
Gamblers are superstitious. They seem willing to believe anything that they think gives them any sort of advantage against the casino. This willingness to grasp and hold onto the most ridiculous tricks of the gambling trade has created a huge backlog of betting strategies. Here's a tip--any time you hear the words "betting strategy," you should get nervous. There's no betting strategy that works for any casino game.
Blackjack betting strategies are based mainly on the false idea that a specific outcome is more or less likely to happen based on what has happened in the past. This same logical fallacy can be applied to slot machine "strategy" or roulette "strategy." The tragic thing about blackjack betting strategies is that if these players would spend just a little time learning strategies for playing blackjack or a little bit of card counting, they would have the advantage that they think these betting strategies gives them.
Here are some of the most common blackjack betting strategies.
Negative Progression Bets
Blackjack betting systems that use a negative progression say that every time you lose a bet you should double the amount of that bet for the next hand. Theoretically, once you finally win a bet you will always be "up."
Pretend you place a $1 bet to start, then place a $2 bet after the first bet loses. Lose again, bet $4. Lose again, bet $8. Assuming you win the $8 bet, you'll find that you're up by $1. If only it were this simple--sure, a negative progression betting style will lead to some small wins, but the amount of times you lose will always outweigh your winnings.
Don't forget that all blackjack tables have betting limits. If you're playing at a table with a bet range between $5-$500, you'll find yourself unable to double your losses for very long. Your initial bet of $5 is lost, so you double it. Your negative progression would go: $5, $10, $20, $40, $80, $160, $320, and we're only seven bets in and we've hit the betting limit. That means you can't possibly win back the money you've lost.
A negative progression betting system just doesn't make sense. Even if you could make that eighth bet in the above progression and win, you'd have lost $635 and won $640. That's a lot of betting just to win $5.
Positive Progression Bets
If negative progression bets don't work, what about bets that require you to create a positive progression? Instead of doubling bets after losses, you double bets after winning hands. People who espouse this method claim that when winning streaks happen, doubling your bet will earn you more cash. This has a sheen of plausibility to it--after all, winning and losing streaks do happen in gambling. The big problem with positive progression bets is there's no way to know when a winning streak is coming. In other words, streaks only become obvious as you look back at a game's results.
If you understand basic math, you know why positive and negative progression bets don't work. The past has no bearing on the future, especially when it comes to gambling games. You could win 15 blackjack hands back to back, but you wouldn't be able to predict what happens in the 16th hand.
Doubling your bet after every win sets you up for a problem opposite of the negative progression bet. What happens is that once you do finally lose, your bet size has increased so high that you'll most likely lose all the winnings you've just pocketed. Remember that losing is inevitable over time. If you play one hand of blackjack and win then walk away from the table, you've beat the system. As soon as you play more than one hand, you've stepped into the mathematical river. Most people are unable to walk away from a blackjack table after a win, making this particular blackjack betting system even more dangerous.
Almost every blackjack strategy falls into one of the above categories. Instead of trying to pick apart every betting system for blackjack that you come across, remember that there's just no way to beat the house using betting strategies. Your time would be better spent studying blackjack strategy charts (there are dozens of these available online for free) or learning some basic card counting skills. You can increase your advantage against the house in blackjack, but not by using any strategy that involves altering your bets based on performance.