Blackjack Betting progression is very important and should not be overlooked when playing the card game. Below are the topics and they are explained in greater detail further down. Simply click on the topic to read more about it!
Many blackjack players, after they have mastered the basic strategy of blackjack and the principles of card counting, still fail to make a profit at the game. The reason for this is that they do not know how to bet properly. Becoming familiar with progressive betting in blackjack is the third piece of the blackjack puzzle, behind basic strategy and card counting.
Why is progression betting important in blackjack? There are a few reasons which deserve to be explained in greater detailed.
First and foremost, betting progressions give you a plan of attack. Without a solid betting plan, a blackjack player is dead in the water. It doesn’t matter how much knowledge and skill you have at the game of blackjack if you don’t know how to bet. You cannot simply sit down and throw money at each hand. A smart blackjack bettor knows when to increase their bets and when to cut them back.
Secondly, a blackjack betting progression helps you to manage your bankroll effectively. Your bankroll is the single most important tool in your blackjack arsenal. Without a bankroll you are out of the game. You cannot play without money, and all of your abilities won’t help you if you go broke. Using a progression betting system will help you to set loss limits and win limits, both of which are extremely important.
Last, but not least, is the fact that progression betting will make you a better card counter. Betting in this way forces you to focus on the count in blackjack and whether the deck is favorable to you or to the casino. The progression strategy you will use depends upon being able to win multiple hands of blackjack in a row, and you can only expect to do that when you know what the count is.
Basic strategy, card counting, and a betting progression all work hand in hand to help you become successful at playing blackjack. You cannot reasonably expect to win consistently without having expertise in all three areas. You should spend just as much time practicing your betting strategy as you do practicing the other two. You can play blackjack for fun here.
The best way to give you an understanding of betting progressions is to present some examples and show you how they work. Before we do that, there are a few basic things you need to understand.
When speaking of the actual bet made at blackjack with a betting progression, the term always used is unit. A unit is always equal to one minimum bet at the blackjack table. For example, when the minimum bet at a blackjack table is $5 then one unit equals $5. In all of the examples here on Counting Edge we will be using units to demonstrate how betting progressions work.
There is another advantage that comes from regarding a minimum bet as a unit in blackjack. When you use a blackjack betting progression to make your wagers, there will come a time when the deck becomes very favorable and you are able to win several hands in a row. Your bet can become very large, and psychologically it is much easier to make a big bet when you think of that bet in terms of units. Let’s assume that your unit is $10. In many blackjack betting progressions winning just five hands in a row will have you making a $160 bet on the next hand. For some blackjack players this bet size is way out of their comfort zone. If you regard that same bet as 16 units, it becomes much easier to push those chips into the betting box. You do not want to allow a mental aversion to prohibit you from making the bets you need to make in order to be successful at blackjack. Always think in terms of units instead of dollar amounts.
A progression bet usually begins with two units, or two times the minimum bet at the table. At a $5 blackjack table your starting bet will usually be $10. At a $25 table it will be $50, and so on. Most progression betting systems incorporate this in order to allow you to “pull” a profit after the first winning hand in a progression. See the Counting Edge article on the “Up and Pull” betting method under blackjack money management.
As the name implies, all progression betting systems involve a logical increase of your bet in winning situations. These methods are designed to have you bet more when you are winning and less when you are losing, thus protecting and preserving your bankroll.
A simple search on the Internet will reveal a large number of blackjack progression betting systems for sale. Many of the people who sell these progression systems are little more than carnival barkers hawking a worthless scheme designed to get you to pay $49 or more for information that is outdated and ineffective.
When it comes to using a betting progression at blackjack, the wrong information can have negative consequences. The truth is that blackjack is a game which does not automatically lend itself to the use of betting progressions. Many progressions that work in other forms of gambling just won’t work in blackjack.
The reason this is so is that all progression betting systems depend on streaks. In order for a player to make a profit with progression betting, the player must win multiple bets in a row. Blackjack is a game that involves many swings, and it is very rare for a player to put together enough winning hands to make a betting progression work.
The danger in using a betting progression in blackjack is that the player can very quickly find themselves in a situation where they do not have the necessary funds to make a bet large enough to get even and begin the progression over again. An excellent example of this would be the Martingale System or any system that involves increasing your bet after a loss. Let’s look at an example.
The betting progression you decide to use demands that you double your minimum bet after each loss. At a $5 blackjack table the progression works this way. You begin by betting one unit, and if you lose you double the next bet to two units. Lose again and your next bet must be 4 units. If you lose that one, and the one following it you will need to bet 16 units just to get even with the house. 16 units in this scenario are equal to $80! That is a very large bet for a $5 blackjack table, and this amount is reached after just five losing hands in a row.
Anyone who has ever played even a few hours of blackjack will know that it is possible to lose five, six, or even seven hands in a row at blackjack. This is why using the wrong betting progression can be dangerous, especially if you have no knowledge of basic strategy or card counting. The ability to count cards is mandatory when using a progression in blackjack. As a player, you must know when to abandon the progression until the deck becomes favorable.
All these things being said, there are ways to use a progression system successfully when playing blackjack.
Most every blackjack betting system can be classified under one of the following categories:
As we have discussed in another section, those systems which compel the player to increase their bets when losing are inherently flawed and will not work at the blackjack table. It is too easy for the player to lose many hands in a row, thus making it impossible to get even unless the player has a huge bankroll. Stay away from any progression betting system which involves increasing your bets after you lose a hand.
The only progression systems which will work in blackjack are those which demand that you increase your bets when winning. It is important to note, however, that even these systems will fail at blackjack if the player does not understand basic strategy or does not know how to count cards.
There is a good rule of thumb to always remember when you are betting on ANY game in the casino: bet more when you are winning and less when you are losing. If you want to gamble seriously, with a chance to make a serious profit, this is the rule of betting that you cannot break.
In the previous section we identified the two types of betting progressions in blackjack. Now, let’s take a look at some examples of each type of system in more detail, beginning with the negative progression.
The negative progression is one which calls for the player to increase their bets when losing. The basic idea behind a negative progression system is to give the player a way to remain even with the house until they can manage a streak of successive winning hands.
A negative betting progression typically begins with a bet equal to the table minimum. As an example, let’s say that you are playing blackjack at a table with a $5 minimum bet. To begin, you make a $5 bet (one unit). What happens next depends on whether or not you win this hand. If you win, you will make another $5 minimum bet (one unit). If you lose, you will double the next bet to $10 (two units). Let’s see how this works over a series of hands at the blackjack table. In the ten hands below, W is used to indicate a winning hand and L is used to indicate a losing hand:
In the example above you would have bet in the following manner:
TOTAL BETS—- 22 units
Now, let’s look at the return on your investment for each hand:
TOTAL RETURN —- +4 units
In the example we have just shared, your negative betting progression would have yielded you a profit of 4 units ($20) over ten hands of play. Not bad! You must, however, take into account that in this series of bets you won 50% of the time. In actual blackjack play this is very rare. The house edge will guarantee that you win less than 50% of the time in blackjack. Even if you know basic strategy and know how to count cards, you cannot reasonably expect to win 50% of the time. So, let’s look at a more realistic negative blackjack betting progression in which you win 30% of the hands in the ten-hand sequence:
TOTAL BETS— 32 units
TOTAL RETURN — -12 units
In this example, you would have lost a total of $60 at a $5 blackjack table over ten hands. What is even worse is that you were forced to bet more over the course of the ten hands.
As you can see, a negative betting progression in blackjack is a losing proposition. If you get lucky and win several hands in a row to begin you will make a small profit. The house edge, however, guarantees that you will endure several losing streaks and this will be costly. Whenever you use a negative betting progression in blackjack you will either win a very small profit or you will lose a big portion of your bankroll.
By now you may be thinking that blackjack betting progressions aren’t such a good thing after all, and with good reason. From what we’ve shown you, making a profit at blackjack with a progression system just doesn’t seem possible. The first step in showing that progressions can be used successfully is to give you some examples of a positive progression.
A positive progression is one which calls for you to increase your bets when winning. For any type of betting system to work you must be able to capitalize on streaks. Streaks are when you win multiple hands of blackjack in a row. A positive progression is designed to help you make the most of these winning streaks.
In a positive progression you also begin with the minimum table bet, or one unit. Some positive progressions have you begin with two units, such as the Up and Pull Progression, but for now let’s look at a standard example. We will use the same ten hands we used as examples of the negative progression above. Here is the sequence, with W representing a winning hand and L representing a losing one:
In this positive progression scenario you will be betting one unit to start and doubling your bet after each winning hand. When you lose a hand, your next bet returns to one unit and the progression starts over.
Here are the bets you would have made in this positive progression:
TOTAL BETS—- 23 units
Your return under this progression system would be as follows:
TOTAL RETURN—- -5 units
You certainly wouldn’t be very happy with that result, would you? And remember, in this example you won 50% of the hands. Let’s take a look at the second example in which you win 30% of the hands:
TOTAL BETS— 21 units
TOTAL RETURN — -7 units
At this point it would appear that neither betting system, either positive or negative, has any value. Look a little closer. In the negative progression example, when winning 30% of the hands dealt, you bet 32 units for an overall return of -12 units.
In the positive progression using the same example you bet 21 units for an overall return of -7 units.
Two things should become immediately apparent about the use of a positive blackjack betting progression:
When you use a positive betting progression you limit your losses, so a positive progression is much preferred over a negative one.
Even though a positive betting progression is better, it is still not enough to make you a winner at the blackjack table.
After reading the previous sections you should have a good idea of what a blackjack betting progression is and how it works. You should be familiar with both negative and positive progressions and the drawbacks of each system. Now it is time to give you the final pieces of information you need to successfully use a progression betting system in blackjack.
There are three elements that will make you a winner at the blackjack table. These are basic strategy, card counting, and the right betting system. The progression system you decide to use is the last of the three elements because it does not matter how you bet if you do not understand the first two. So, once you have mastered basic strategy and learned how to count cards you are ready to use a betting system that will allow you to make a profit. The following rules will help you determine which system to use.
Rule number one is to always use a positive betting progression. What you are trying to do with a betting system is to capitalize on your winning streaks at the blackjack table, and this means increasing your bets when you are winning. Never bet more when you are losing. This is a sign of a gambler, not a serious blackjack player.
Rule number two is to begin your progression when the deck is in your favor. This is where your knowledge of card counting comes in. You should only be using your progression system when the true count of the deck is very high. This gives you the best chance of putting together a big winning streak. Remember, you always win less than 50% of the hands you play over the long haul. If this weren’t the case, the casinos would be out of business. The trick is to know when those winning hands are likely to come and to bet appropriately. When the deck is “heavy”, meaning that the true count is high, begin using your positive progression. When the deck is “light”, meaning that the true count is low, continue to bet the table minimum.
Rule number three is to never attempt to recoup losses by raising a bet. If you have lost several hands in a row there is a temptation to make a big bet in order to get even. This does not work. Blackjack is a game of patience and you will have to wait until the deck gets heavy before making big bets. This might mean sitting through three or four shoes until the count gets high.
Rule number four is to always lock in a profit on every winning hand. This is where many people make a mistake in using a blackjack betting progression. They think that a progression betting system means to double the bet after each winning hand. Instead, you should pull back a portion of each winning bet and increase the following bets by units. For example, if you are betting $10 per hand at a $5 table then you should increase each winning bet by $5 on the next hand:
In the above example you have put together a winning streak of four hands in a row. After each winning hand you have increased your bet by $5, or one unit. On the first hand you lock in a $5 profit. On the second hand you lock in $10. On the third hand you lock in $15, and so on. Raising your bets by one unit at a time is one of the keys to making a blackjack betting progression work. As soon as you lose a hand you will begin the progression again with the minimum bet.
If you follow the four rules listed above, and combine your progression system with an understanding of card counting and basic blackjack strategy, you will become a blackjack legend. The casinos will tremble in fear whenever you sit down at the blackjack table.
Blackjack Betting Systems Explained
Their are many blackjack systems that can be applied to the blackjack game. Here are a few interesting ones that i think you will also enjoy reading about. They are the following:
Also worth reading is the piece about betting spread, click here