How to Win at Betting

Best Blackjack betting Strategy

Blackjack Betting Systems: The Long Run Vs. The Short Run

Players ask me more questions about betting systems for blackjack than just about any other topic. Not betting systems for card counters—just betting systems.

I always start by going into my spiel that pure betting systems don’t win in the long run. They can make you more likely to win in the short run (in the case of Oscar's System, a lot more likely). But not in the long run. And the usual response I get is, “I don’t care about the long run. I’m going to Vegas this weekend. I just want to win on this one short run.”

As a matter of fact, there are betting systems that provide a player a much bigger chance of finishing a trip with a win than a loss. If you use this type of betting system, and you look over your records after years of play, you’ll see a whole lot of small wins—and one (or a few) big losses, big enough to wipe out the profits from all of your small wins, and then some. (Mustn’t forget that house edge!)

But, you don’t care about the long run. You just want a win this weekend. So, let’s look at what betting system works best in the short run. We can’t guarantee a win, but there is a logic to betting systems that can greatly increase your chances of success.

(Note: To learn how to win at blackjack over the long run, with or without card counting, start with our .)

Types of Blackjack Betting Systems

There are two main types of betting systems for blackjack or any casino game—positive progressions and negative progressions. With a positive progression, the general theory is that you raise your bets after wins, which means that your bigger bets are primarily funded by money won. This is a conservative betting system insofar as a long string of losses will not wipe out your bankroll as quickly as with a negative progression.

With a negative progression, you raise your bets after your losses. This is more dangerous, since a bad run of losses can wipe you out quickly. In its favor, however, it allows you to win on a session in which you’ve lost many more hands than you’ve won. Since your bets after losses are bigger bets, you don’t have to win so many of them to come back, assuming you can avoid a truly disastrous series of losses that empties your pockets.

There are dozens of variations on betting systems that incorporate features of both the positive and negative progressions, in an attempt to create the “perfect” betting system that wins the most often with the least chance of busting out.

But the best system of this type I’ve seen for accomplishing this end was first published 40 years ago by mathematician Allan N. Wilson, in his Casino Gambler’s Guide (Harper & Row, 1965). Dr. Wilson called it “Oscar’s system, ” named after the dice player who’d invented it.

How to Use Oscar's Blackjack Betting System

Here’s how Oscar's System works:

The goal for any series of bets is to win just one unit, then start a new series. Each series starts with a one-unit bet. After any win, the next bet is one unit more than the previous bet. After any loss, the next bet is identical to the previous bet. That is, if you lose a two-unit bet, your next bet is a two-unit bet until you have a win, at which point you raise your bet one unit to a three-unit bet.

That is the whole system, except for one stipulation—Never place any bet that would result in a win for the series of more than one unit. In other words, if you win a 4-unit bet, and you are now down only 2 units for the series, you would not raise your next bet to 5 units because of the 4-unit win; you’d only to 3 units, which would be all you’d need—if successful—to achieve a one-unit win for the series.

Oscar’s betting system combines the best features of both the positive and negative progressions. You can suffer much longer runs of losses without busting out than you can with a negative progression, since you don’t raise your bets after losses. Yet, a much shorter run of wins can get back your previous losses on a series, since you raise your bets following wins. It’s kind of brilliant, actually. Strings of losses hurt less, yet strings of wins pay more.

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Popular Q&A

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what is the best betting strategy for blackjack to come out ahead? | Yahoo Answers

There is what is called basic strategy which is a relative basic set of rules to use the value of the cards in your hand to maximum advantage. Here is a link.

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What is the best strategy for Blackjack tournaments.

if you play a lot of blackjack, it comes down to strategy. its basically like final jeopardy, you just have to beat the other guy. Even the worst player on Earth can win by betting big and winning the first few hands. I have won by getting a few big hands early, then playing the minimum. Most tournaments have a set number of hands. usually 21. If you double up early on, everyone else will be chasing you. Basically, you can play horribly and win with luck. Or, you can play perfectly and still lose to a schmuck who went all in and won three in a row early on. It really comes down to enter…

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