Betting systems

There are many different possible betting systems in blackjack that have all evolved in order to hopefully maximise a player’s profits, and to minimise their losses. No one has ever managed to create the perfect system as the casinos’ slight advantage means it will always win in the long run. However, such blackjack systems may help players to receive a better understanding of the game.

Different blackjack betting systems

Some betting systems are more suitable than others for different casino games. For example a system that works well in roulette may not work optimally in blackjack.

Different betting systems for Blackjack

The famous martingale system is not recommended when playing blackjack. This system means you need to double your bet every time you lose, then return to your original betting level when you win. It is not unusual at all in blackjack to experience a long string of losing hands. If you do when using the martingale you will eventually hit the table maximum betting limit and the system fails. You will also lose all your bankroll.

The ‘focus system’ works the other way around – you invest more when you win and invest less when you lose. Some of the other common blackjack betting systems are the Paroli, Parlay/Let it ride, Labouchere and the 1-3-2-6 system. You can read more about each below:

The Paroli system

The advantage of the Paroli system is that as a player you do not need so large a bankroll when you start to play. The idea is that you invest more money when you win, and invest less when you lose. When you win, you double the size of your bet. When you lose, you return to your original bet. You set a limit as to how many wins you will double for before you return to your original size bet. It’s usually recommended that you return to normal levels after three or four wins. If you begin at £1, then on the first win you double to £2, on the second to £4 and on the third to £8. If you win again then you return to your original bet of £1. If you lose any time then you start again at £1.

Parlay/Let it ride

This blackjack betting system has a few names but it is most commonly referred to as the ‘Parlay’ or ‘Let it Ride’ system. This strategy is to invest more in profit. Upon every win you bet your original bet plus any profits or a share of your profits. You decide this in advance, and when to stop and start again.

Suppose you decide to start with a basic bet of £1, and a maximum bet of £10. You start with £1 and win – you ‘let it ride’ and your next hand is blackjack, so you win £3 and your receive back your original bet of £2, making £5 in total. You also win the next hand after letting it ride so you’ve now reached £10. If you had instead lost then you would have reduced your bet back to £1.

If you do not wish to bet all your winnings on the next hand, then you can invest a proportion instead – for example, half. You invest your original bet and half of any profits towards your next bet. Say in our previous example you get to £5, but you then invest the original bet (£2) and half of the profits of £3 (£1.50, or rounded up to £2) giving a total of £2 + £2 = £4.

Labouchere system

This blackjack betting strategy is slightly different from the betting strategies mentioned previously. To use this system you simply use any sequence of numbers. Your bet each time is the first and last numbers of the sequence added together. If you lose, you add this total to the end of your numerical sequence.

For example, say you decide to use the sequence 2 4 7 8 9 1 = your first bet would be £3 which is the sum of the first number (2) and the final number (1). If you win, then you cross out the 2 and the 1, leaving 4 7 8 9. The next bet is therefore £13 (4 + 9).

Say you subsequently lose the next hand. You then add that losing number to the sequence – 4 7 8 9 13 – so our next bet is (£17) which is 4 + 13.

If you cross off all the numbers you simply begin a new sequence. The Labouchere blackjack betting system requires a large bankroll as after a few successive losses the betting amounts can become very large.

One way you can counter this is by doing it in reverse – adding numbers when you win and crossing them off when you lose. This leads to lower bets and is called the reverse Labouchere system.

The 1-3-2-6 system

This variant is also based on a number sequence but it is easier to use than the Labouchere system. The numbers 1-3-2-6 show how you need to bet each time. If you lose, then you simply start from scratch. This betting system is not recommended for blackjack players who wish to win large sums.

Say you have a beginning stake of £2 – the system means your first bet needs to be (1 x £2) £2. If you win you bet (3 x £2) £6 on the next hand. The third bet is (2 x £2) £4, and the final round is (2 x 6) £12. If you win again, then you start the sequence again, as you do should you lose at any time.