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Win More or Lose Less: Positive vs. Negative Progression in Blackjack

Many believe there is no difference between gambling strategies and that the final results cannot be changed. However, while these games do have a predetermined long-term result, the short-term results can differ greatly, and the strategy you employ while gambling can impact them significantly.

A common approach employed by players in games like roulette and blackjack is the progressive betting strategies, which dictate either increasing or decreasing the bets based on recent results.

This article will explain positive and negative betting progression systems in blackjack and teach you how to use them effectively the next time you play online or in a live casino.

Positive Progression Betting in Blackjack

Positive progression betting means increasing your bets when you are winning and trying to take advantage of your winning streaks.

Using this blackjack system, you can book great wins when running well while only losing at a slow pace if it is not your night.

The Paroli betting system and the Parlay betting system are two of the most popular options for positive progression betting and ones you should try if you decide to give this strategy a go.

Paroli System

Paroli is one of the most popular positive progression betting systems in gambling, and it works great in Blackjack betting.

Commonly referred to as “Let it Ride,” the Paroli system instructs that you should increase your bet by one betting unit every time you win while reverting to your original bet once you lose.

For instance, you could bet $5 on your first hand, $10 on the next hand if you win, $15 on the next hand if you win again, and keep doing that until you lose one hand. If you lose, you will go back to betting just $5 on the next hand.

This way, you will have some guaranteed profit after winning a few consecutive hands but will still be pushing for an even bigger win the next hand.

Paroli betting system

Parlay Betting System

The Parlay betting system offers an even more aggressive approach. When using it, you will be doubling your bet every time you win a hand until you reach the point at which you want to stop.

With this betting scheme, you will quickly run up a small starting bet to a massive win if you can keep winning for just several hands.

If you are playing the Parlay system and you lose a hand, go back to betting just one unit the next hand, restarting the whole process.

It is crucial to decide on your maximum bet for each of these systems to ensure you are taking some profits out and not just increasing your bets until you lose and then start over again.

Negative Progression Betting in Blackjack

Just as the positive progression betting systems optimize your winning sessions, the negative progression betting systems will limit your losses and keep your sessions steadier.

Instead of increasing your bets when you are winning, you will be increasing your bets when losing while decreasing them when you are winning.

This way, you will be recuperating your losses quickly while maintaining a steady pace during your winning streaks and not losing too much when a losing hand is finally dealt.

Players use negative progression systems more commonly as the logic that a winning hand is bound to be dealt eventually makes a lot of sense for most.

The Martingale Betting System

The Martingale system is the most popular way to bet on blackjack if you are looking to play a negative progression, and it is very easy to remember how to apply it.

With Martingale, you are looking to win one betting unit at a time. Every time you lose a hand, you double your bet. Every time you win a hand, you go back to your initial stake.

If you bet $5 on your first hand, you will bet $10 the next hand if the first one was a loser. If you win now, you will have won $20, which is $5 more than what you invested in total.

If you lose again, you will double the bet to $20, and you will win $40 if your hand is a winner. Once again, you will be profiting $5 once you win.

When you finally get a winning hand, you will go back to betting $5 and restart the system.

The Martingale works very well, and its biggest downside is the fact that most blackjack tables have a betting limit that could prevent you from increasing your bets until you win.

Martingale betting system

The D’Alembert Betting System

The D’Alembert betting system is a bit more complex than the Martingale, which means you will need to follow more rules and be more attentive.

With this progression, you will bet one unit more than your previous hand every time you lose and one unit less every time you win.

This way, you will vary your bets and try to avoid losing too much during losing streaks while still making the best of your winning runs.

D’Alembert Betting System

Labouchere Betting System

The Labouchere betting system is another negative progression system that resembles the other two I described in some ways. However, with Labouchere, you will be choosing the way you bet yourself.

First of all, you will need to come up with the amount of money you are looking to win. Let’s say you want to win $100. Now, you will need to distribute that $100 into units of your choosing, any way you like.

You will have a sequence of numbers that add up to 100 that looks like this (for example):

5 – 5 – 5 – 5 – 5 – 5 – 5 – 5 – 10 – 10 – 10 - 10 – 10 – 10

To start, bet a sum of the leftmost and the rightmost number. If you win, cross out those two numbers, in this case, the first 5 and the last 10.

If you lose, do not cross any numbers out, and instead add the full number (in this case, 15) to the right side of the sequence.

5 – 5 – 5 – 5 – 5 – 5 – 5 – 5 – 10 – 10 – 10 - 10 – 10 – 10 – 15

You will now bet the sum of the leftmost and the rightmost number again, regardless of what they are. This time it would be a total of 20.

If you keep repeating this sequence, you will eventually cross all the numbers out from your list, and you will have won exactly $100, or whatever amount you set for yourself in the beginning if you do not reach the max bet limit at your table.

The Labouchere betting system can be hard to track without writing it down, but it is extremely fun to play.

When you decide to play blackjack again, try any of the progressive betting systems, and you will see how entertaining it can get.