The Parlay system of betting is based on a long-held concept of gambling: play with the house’s money whenever possible. What does this mean, exactly? It means building your profits gradually until you can withdraw your original stake and wager solely from your profits. This is known as pyramiding your profits, and this betting strategy has been used by many gamblers to win at everything from horseracing to sports betting to blackjack.
The Parlay system is a positive progression betting system, which means you will only be increasing bets when you win. Before we delve into the specifics of the system, let’s look at the general definition of a parlay. A parlay is using your accumulated wins to obtain even more profit by increasing bets as you win. In horseracing for example, a bettor would look to parlay a winning bet on one race into a winning bet on another. Let’s say that on race one a bettor bets $5 on a horse and wins. On the next race he will take the original stake ($5) plus the profit ($5) and bet the total amount ($10) for a chance at a greater profit.
In blackjack, things are a little different. You cannot fully parlay your bet each time and hope to win because you never know when a losing hand will end the parlay. Here’s an example:
Hand 1----Bet 1 Unit---------Win
Hand 2----Parlay 2 Units----Win
Hand 3----Parlay 4 Units----Win
Hand 4----Parlay 8 Units----Win
Hand 5----Parlay 16 Units---Lose
If you attempt a parlay according to the above example, after five hands you will be -1 unit. You should never wager the entire amount of your profits on a parlay, because sooner or later you will lose your entire stake and have to begin over again.
The key to executing the Parlay system successfully is to adopt a more gradual increase of your bets. Here’s another example which demonstrates the basics of a successful parlay:
Hand 1------Bet 1 Unit--------Win
Hand 2-----Parlay 2 Units----Win
Hand 3-----Parlay 3 Units----Win
Hand 4-----Parlay 4 Units----Win
Hand 5-----Parlay 6 Units----Win
Hand 6-----Parlay 9 Units----Lose
In this example you would end the sequence of hands with +5 units, a nice profit. Even though you lost the last hand, the Parlay system made you a winner overall. You would then begin the sequence over again with a new bet of one unit.
It is easy to see that making money with the Parlay system depends on putting together a big streak of winning hands. This is true for all betting systems. The big difference with the Parlay is that it takes into account the possibility of multiple winning streaks during a blackjack session. Let’s assume that you play blackjack for a total of three hours. During three hours you will have multiple winning streaks as well as losing streaks. The Parlay system guarantees you will only lose the table minimum when you are on a losing streak. It also guarantees you will be banking a profit during a winning streak. Just look at the above example of a six-hand sequence. If you had lost all six of those hands you would have lost just six units. However, as we demonstrated, if you had a winning streak of 5 hands you would have made a profit of five units.
This is where the Parlay system becomes a lot of fun. As you progress through your session and rack up wins from small winning streaks, eventually you will be many units ahead. At that point, you withdraw your original stake and begin to play only with your session profits. You have now done what every serious gambler dreams of doing; you’re playing with the house’s money.
As an example, assume that you began your blackjack session with a 250-unit bankroll. Using the Parlay system you have been able to win 100 units during your session. You now remove your 250 units by sitting them aside and continue to play using only the 100-unit profit you have made. If you manage to win more with the profit of 100 units, great! If you lose it then you have simply broken even.
There is a great potential to make money with the Parlay system of betting, but every blackjack player needs to remember that a successful player is a player who can walk away from the table with a profit. There is only one thing which will nullify the effectiveness of the Parlay system, and that thing is greed. Many gamblers are always looking to win more and are never satisfied. If the win 100 units, they want to win 200. If they win 200, they want to win 400. If you can control your greed and be willing to always walk away from the blackjack table with a profit, the Parlay will work very well for you!