The famous physicist and mathematical genius, Albert Einstein, is credited with saying:
“No one can possibly win at roulette unless he steals money from the table while the croupier isn’t looking”.
Food for thought. This concept really applies to to any casino game.
For centuries, gamblers have attempted to beat the odds and maintain an edge over the casino they are playing at.
Elaborate betting systems have been developed by those who believe that they have found the ‘ultimate’ way to win back their money. However, the truth of the matter is that there is no betting system that will provide you with an edge over the casino.
The simple fact is that a casino is a business like all other, and to keep the business going, it will need to always attain a certain edge over its players.
That is not to say that players won’t be able to occasionally win at their favorite sites or land casinos – after all, luck plays an important part in a gambling session. However, if we look at the hard facts, the only fool-proof way to beat the system is to ‘cheat’ by counting cards or rigging the game like we have showcased with the 7 most amazing cheats performed at a casino.
As we obviously don’t recommend this form of play, it is best to accept that casino odds are stacked against you and betting systems won’t as much as dent your chances. In other words, play for entertainment ONLY.
Gambler’s Fallacy: The Truth About Betting Systems
Players who have done their fair bit of reading about online gambling and searched for ways to win – may have come across multiple betting systems and theories.
The most common systems center around the idea that past outcomes on casino games will impact future outcomes. This is called ‘gambler’s fallacy’ and many betting systems have been developed based on the fallacy.
The general idea is that you wager on the opposite outcome of recent results. A betting system may encourage you to bet on a red outcome when playing roulette after three black outcomes.
The theory is that if red hasn’t come up for a while, it is likely to do so now. This is simply not the case. Each trial is independent of the one before. A roulette wheel, and ball, have no memory of what they did before. Unfortunately, it could happen that there are 10 black outcomes in a row and such a betting system would be a dismal failure.
The bottom line – and the most important thing to remember – is that all betting systems based on the gambler’s fallacy have been proven time and time again to be worthless as a long term strategy, since odds are based purely on rules of probability, the odds are stacked against the player on purpose. That is how the casino wins in the long run.
Another point to ponder: If someone really came up with the ultimate, fool-proof betting system, it would be grabbed up by professional gamblers and casinos would be out of business very, very quickly!
Are Betting Systems Worthless?
That depends on how you look at them. For me, they make casino games more fun. They give me some sense of control over the game, even if it is only an illusion.
However, they are also a great way to systematically vary your bets, which is one of the best ways to give yourself any chance of beating the odds on these games. If you made the same bet from start to finish each hand, spin, or roll, during a two hour long session, you would systematically see your bankroll dwindle. It is how the games are set up.
Sometimes you win, sometimes the casino wins, but the casino maintains at least a slight advantage, otherwise they wouldn’t offer the bet. This gradual loss over time is known as “the grind”. The only way to overcome the grind is to either bet once (or maybe a few times), or vary your bets over time.
Let’s use blackjack as an example.
The odds of winning a hand of blackjack are roughly 42%, a push, or tie, is roughly 8.5%, and losing is roughly 49.5% (this varies depending on the rules).
If you play one hand of blackjack and win, you beat the odds. As you can see, the odds against you aren’t terrible, but the casino still holds the advantage. In contrast, the odds of you winning more times than you lose over 100 hands are much worse. However, if you vary your bets you give yourself a chance to overcome the grind should you happen to win on the bigger bets and lose on the smaller bets. Keep in mind, you also increase your chance of leaving the table early if you lose more of your big bets and win on your smaller bets.
Regardless, if you plan to play for more than a few hands, varying your bets gives you the best chance to win over time, otherwise the grind will slowly but surely wear down your bankroll, but they should not be looked to as a sure way to win.
Let us take a look at six of the most common betting systems used in games such as blackjack and roulette in casinos today.
Most Popular Casino Betting Systems
1. The Martingdale System
This system has gamblers double bets after every loss, with the logic being that the first win can recover previous losses, as well as win a profit that is equal in size to the original bet.
The Martingale System is a popular betting system used by players who believe in its logic and simplicity. The general idea is to decide on one amount to wager on a game and start playing.
Each time you win, you place another bet or stop playing and thus make a profit. If you lose your wager, you need to make another bet, but this time the bet will equal the amount that you lost. The logic is that if you win the bet, your losses are covered from the previous game and you manage to walk away with a small profit.
A loss, however, requires that you double up your wager again. The Martingdale System thus encourages you to continue doubling up until your losing streak is over. It explains that when you do eventually win, you will have no losses and you will still have a profit.
Let’s look at an example of how the Martingale System works in theory:
Say you make a wager of 500 INR and you win your game. You make another wager of 500 INR which you go on to lose. Your next bet will need to be 1000 INR . After losing once more, you wager 2000 INR. Another loss results in a 4000 INR wager. Once more, you lose at the roulette table and you bet 8000 INR. Suddenly, you win. That means you’re ahead by 500 INR after your losing streak.
The Martingale System leads players to think that they can beat the house edge in the long run by chasing losses until they win.
In real life, however, the Martingale System simply cannot work in the long run because of betting maximums at each game. This double down system is the main reason these betting maximums are put in place and they depend on the minimum bet. Players cannot always double their wagers because at some point their money will run out. If they reach a point where they suddenly cannot double their wagers due to the max bet, they are looking at huge losses.
The system has the potential to work in the short term, but the longer you play, the higher the risks of losing big. A small(er) bankroll also impacts the effectiveness of the system because the player’s funds will run out fast.
If you are going to try the Martingale System at an online casino site, simply to put it to the test, it’s best used on games such as Baccarat – the slow version – which has a low house edge, as well as blackjack (as long as you have a huge bankroll), and European Roulette (over American Roulette).
2. Paroli (Reverse Martingale) System
Usually applied to roulette, the Paroli or Reverse Martingale System, is opposite to the traditional Martingale in that it encourages players to increase their bets after a win as a form of positive progression.
The Paroli System, because it is a directly opposite system to the conventional Martingale, it is used mostly used to play roulette.
If the conventional Martingale System calls for players to double their bets every time they lose, the Paroli System encourages players to double down after every win. The theory is that should you hit a losing streak, the only thing you lose is your initial bet without cutting a huge dent into your bankroll.
The Paroli system suggests that players decide on a limit they are aiming to reach, otherwise they will ultimately lose. This limit can be the length of time played at the casino, the number of bets placed or a monetary value.
Let’s look at an example of using the Paroli system when playing roulette:
Set yourself a betting value, have a fixed plan when you want to pull out and remember to multiply your wager by 2 if you win.
You decide to wager 1000 INR on an even money bet. When the roulette wheel comes to a stop, an even number comes up and you win. By following the Paroli system, your next bet will be 2000 INR, and following another win, you next wager 4000 INR. If at any point you lose, you go back to your original wager.
Under the Paroli, or Reverse Martingale system, you’ll have a fixed plan regarding how many wagers you want to place or for how long you want to play, and hopefully finish your last wager on a win.
The downfall of this system is that not many players can walk away while they are on a winning streak, and they will either continue betting or will forget to revert back to their starting unit. It is difficult to stop when the going is good in the name of a system you are meant to be following.
It is also important to remember once more that the Paroli system – as well as any other betting system – will not change the odds of the roulette game, or other game to which the system is being applied. The odds at the casino will not be reduced because of the system and the casino will always maintain its edge.
If you want to try out the Paroli system be sure to know how to play Roulette and how can a gambler gain some edge.
3. Fibonacci System
The Fibonacci System is most popular among blackjack, craps and roulette players.
The Fibonacci System was created by the Middle Ages mathematician, Leonardo Pisano Bigolla, also known as Leonardo Bonacci or Leonardo of Pisa. While Fibonacci was most famous for bringing the Hindu-Arabic numeral system to Europe, he is also well known for introducing the Fibonacci numbers to European thinking.
The idea of this system is that the sequence of bets is cumulative. This means that the next number is equal to the sum of the previous two numbers.
The Fibonacci Sequence looks like this:
1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144
If we turn this sequence to reflect betting units of, say, 10 INR, your betting sequence will look like this:
10 INR, 10 INR, 20 INR, 30 INR, 50 INR, 80 INR, 130 INR, 210 INR, 340 INR, 550 INR, 890 INR, 1140 INR
The Fibonacci System calls for you to essentially take one step forward and two steps back when playing games such as blackjack, craps and roulette – the games where this system is applied the most.
Players progress through the sequence on losing bets, while going back towards the start on winning bets. Each loss requires the player to advance to the next number in the sequence, while each win requires that the player takes two steps back. It is very similar to the Martingale System that was previously discussed, but instead of simply doubling your bet, the sequence of increasing bets after each loss is determined by the Fibonacci sequence.
Players who use this system report on small, steady profits over a short period of time, but, as with all betting systems, losses will be incurred over time.
4. D’Alembert or Cancellation System
The theory behind the D’Alembert or Cancellation System is that two outcomes of equal probability occur with the same frequency. The system is used mainly by players with large bankrolls and is usually applied to even money bets.
The Cancellation or D’Alembert System is used mainly by high roller roulette players with large sized bankrolls and on bets that pay 1-1 such as Red/Black or Odd/Even. It is also used by Blackjack players or on Pass/Don’t Pass bets by craps players.
It is based on the premise that these bets pay 50/50. However, this is the first flaw in the system because the house would never pay 50/50 if it wanted to stay in business. As such, most even bets usually have a 48-49% chance of winning for the player to ensure a house edge for the casino.
The Cancellation or D’Alembert System was created by Jean Rond d’Alembert, an 18th century mathematician, and is essentially based on the Law of Equilibrium (ie. your highest chances of winning are after a loss and vice versa).
While the logic of this betting system could work ‘in theory’ in the very long term, it is simply not a viable system in the short term.
The system works as follows:
“¢ Pick a betting amount that you want to begin with.
“¢ Increase the wager by one unit after each loss and decrease it after each win.
An example of using the D’Alembert Betting System:
You wager 500 INR at the roulette table and you lose your bet. In that case you wager 1000 INR next. If you happen to win your wager, you would drop to 500 INR again, but if you lose, you increase by another unit of 500 INR.
There also exists a reverse system to this betting system, known as the Contra D’Alembert. It calls for an increase in wagering units when the player wins and a decrease after each lost.
5. Parlay System
Similar to the Paroli System, the Parlay System is a positive progressive betting system, calling for players to increase their bets after their win.
The Parlay betting system can be traced back to the 16th Century when it was used in the form of a card game by aristocrats.
The game, ‘Basset’, was played against the banker, and winnings were left on the table and multiplied with each win.
This type of betting came to be known as Parlay (or Paroli).
The Parlay System, in a nutshell, is the form of betting where players wager all their winnings PLUS the original bet following each win.
Using the Parlay betting system works like this:
The player needs to decide on one betting unit and places that as a bet. If the hand loses, one more unit is wagered. This system is followed until the player wins. Once there is a winning hand or spin, players leave the original wager and the winnings on the table as the next bet.
Let us look at an example:
The player decides on a 100 INR betting unit and lands a blackjack which pays out 3 to 2 (ie. 150 INR). As such, and according to the Parlay system, the next bet placed by the player will be 100 INR + 150 INR = 250 INR.
Should the next hand lose, the player will go back to wagering one unit of 100 INR. However, if the next bet wins, the wager, as well as the winnings will be allowed to ride again to the tune of 500 INR. This can go on indefinitely and is usually dependent on winning streaks in the game.
A rule of thumb in the Parlay Betting System is that as long as the player wins three times in a row before losing seven hands, the system will yield a profit. Of course, this is only a theoretical assumption and is totally dependent on the chance of that actually happening.
It is clear that the Parlay Betting System, while seemingly attractive in the short term, simply doesn’t work in the long run. The house will continue to have the same advantage and players are more than likely to lose out.
The only advantage that comes from using the Parlay System is that – in the short term – it gives you a chance to win a proportionally larger sum than your initial bet without risking a big part of your bankroll.
6. Labouchere Betting System
The Labouchere Betting System, also known as the Cancellation System, is particularly popular among roulette players. The system calls for the player to decide how much money they wish to win after their gaming session, and then to use a system of betting units and a written list in order to meet that goal.
The Labouchere System is a system used in roulette by gamblers around the world, including India. It is also known by other names such as the Cancellation System or the Split Martingale System.
The system is a fairly complicated one and requires that players practice well before applying it to real money play. It is important to note that this system, as all other betting systems, does not alter the casino edge, and will not work in the player’s favor in the long run.
How to use the Labouchere Betting System:
Step one in this system is to set a monetary goal of how much money you wish to WIN and then divide that amount by an even number of bets. If, for example, you want to win 2000 INR, you could divide that amount into six numbers and write them in a sequence list – 500 INR, 400 INR, 100 INR, 200 INR, 400 INR, 400 INR.
The next step is to add the first and last numbers on the list to determine the first bet. In this example, your bet would be 900 INR (ie. 500 INR and 400 INR). After placing the bet, you cross the two numbers off your sequence list.
If you happen to win your bet, you continue with the list with the remaining numbers. However, if you lose a bet, you need to add the total of that wager to the end of your list. As such, if you were successful in your first bet in our example, your next bet would be 800 INR (400 INR and 400 INR – by adding the next ‘first’ and ‘last’ numbers) on the list). However, if you lost, then your next wager would be 1300 INR (400 INR and the 900 INR that was added to the end of the list).
The understanding behind the Labouchere system is that you are wagering enough to recoup your losses with a slight profit. This system can only work, however, if your bets are made on 50/50 odds.
Unfortunately, as we have noted before, the casino will always maintain its house edge, even a slight one, which means that over the long run, you will not win. Also, adding cumulative losses to every bet means that your bankroll can run out quickly before you complete your sequence list.
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We have brought you just some of the more common gambling betting systems used by gamblers at casinos, online casinos in India and around the world. Some of them share common traits, while others work on completely opposite theories. What binds all these betting systems is the fact that unless you rig the game (obviously something we don’t suggest!), you cannot sway the odds in your favor.
The systems we described above may give you a boost of winnings if you’re on a lucky streak and dupe you into believing that this is the ultimate system for you, but in the long term, you will find very quickly that they are ultimately not effective in giving the player an advantage.
What we do suggest, however, is that you familiarize yourself with these betting systems for the simple reason that they are interesting in their approach and could give you further insight into what constitutes betting systems used today. Also, if you are analytical at all, it can often make playing casino games more fun by giving you a sense of control, even if it is only an illusion.