BETTING STRATEGIES

We do not advocate the use of betting strategies, but for those who prefer to use them, we have explained some of the most popular methods below:

1. Martingale
2. Kelly Criterion
3. d’Alembert
4. Oscar’s Grind
5. Fibonacci
6. Labouchere

Martingale System

The Martingale System is simple and easy to use. It is based on betting on selections with odds even or higher. It is particularly used on roulette, betting on red and black, odds and evens, 1-18 and 19-36.

If you play Martingale, you start by betting the lowest amount on your selection. Let’s say, that the lowest bet is £/€1. If you win, you win £/€1, because you get the double.

If the ball doesn’t land on your selection, you lose £/€1. This loss is exactly what the Martingale System should deal with. If you lost £/€1, in this method, you then bet £/€2 in the next round on the same selection. If you win in this round, you will get £/€2, which will compensate for the loss in the last round and you will also get another £/€1.

If you lose in this round as well, you will bet £/€4 in the next round, and if you win, you will make a £/€1 profit and recover your previous losses.

You keep “doubling up” your bet until you win and get £/€1. From then, you will start over with £/€1 bet and follow the same pattern, until the ball lands on your selection again.

Ideally, a player can get by small steps to a large winnings. However, this theory only works, if you follow strict rules, which if broken, can cause the player to lose all money.

Kelly Criterion

The Kelly criterion is a formula used to determine the optimal size of a series of bets.

In most gambling scenarios, the Kelly strategy will do better than any essentially different strategy in the long run (that is, over a span of time in which the observed fraction of bets that are successful equals the probability that any given bet will be successful).

In one study, each participant was given £/€25 and asked to bet on a coin that would land on heads 60{9be188ec538e6fb07d8f6470dd358a2d659670bfc6327946fa85447dd94e7b77} of the time. The prizes were capped at £/€250. 21{9be188ec538e6fb07d8f6470dd358a2d659670bfc6327946fa85447dd94e7b77} of the participants reached the maximum, 28{9be188ec538e6fb07d8f6470dd358a2d659670bfc6327946fa85447dd94e7b77} of the participants went bust, 18 of the 61 participants bet everything on one toss, while two-thirds gambled on tails at some stage in the experiment. The average payout was £/€91.

Using the Kelly criterion and based on the odds in the experiment, the right approach would be to bet 20{9be188ec538e6fb07d8f6470dd358a2d659670bfc6327946fa85447dd94e7b77} of the pot on each throw. If losing, the size of the bet gets cut. If winning, the stake increases.

Kelly supporters usually argue for fractional Kelly (betting a fixed fraction of the amount recommended by Kelly) for a variety of practical reasons, such as wishing to reduce volatility, or protecting against non-deterministic errors in their advantage (edge) calculations.

In recent years, Kelly has become a part of mainstream investment theory and the claim has been made that well-known successful investors including Warren Buffett and Bill Gross use Kelly methods. William Poundstone wrote an extensive popular account of the history of Kelly betting.

Jean le Rond d’Alembert

The concept of the D’Alembert method is quite similar to the well-known Martingale strategy, although the progression that it’s based on is a lot flatter – and that goes hand in hand with a lower overall risk.

The D’Alembert roulette strategy is named after the French roulette theorist Jean le Rond d’Alembert who lived in the 18th century. Just like the Martingale it is based on a progression after each loss, meaning that the bet is being increased after a losing round. Whereas in contrast the progressions are not as steep as when using the Martingale strategy – bets are doubled after each loss.

As a result of flatter progressions, one winning coup does usually not cover all losses that were made before. The advantage is however, that the bets don’t increase as quickly.

That again means that a longer losing streak can more be dealt with easier, and overall the game has the potential to go on much longer. The risk is that the player runs out of money or hits the table limit, which would force him to end the game, of course still exists, but it is much lower than when playing by the Martingale strategy.

The D’Alembert roulette system is mainly used when playing on the very outside bets – those are red/black, even/odd and 1-18/19-36. The basic assumption of the roulette strategy is, that the frequency of how often the outside bets win, is always going to balance out in the long run. So if there is, for instance, a longer series of red, this can be only temporary. Eventually both red and black are going to even out.

This is how the D’Alembert roulette system is being used – you are to place one chip on the outside bet of your choice. As long as you win, keep doing this over and over again. As soon as you lose, you start increasing each of your bets by one chip. With your next winning coup, you start taking one chip away again. The goal is to keep following this principle until you are back to your original bet, which is one chip. If you can make that, you will have made one chip for every winning coup.

In the table you can see an example for the D’Alembert roulette strategy. It might not be a very realistic course of events, since it is pretty unlikely to lose four rounds in a row and then win five (although it’s definitely not impossible). The example was designed to illustrate how the progression works and how you can make nice, rapid winnings – if the chance you bet on comes up somewhat frequently.

Oscar’s Grind

This is a very simple strategy that won’t require much explaining. It’s a very similar system to the D’Alembert. To start with, Oscar’s grind is an even chance betting system so it can be used on Red/Black, Even/Odd and 1-18/19-36.

To start with, this system has four stages which you move through as you’re winning. The stages are as follows: 1 – 2 – 3 – 4

The idea of this system is very simple: When you’re winning you increase your bets by 1 each time until you get to 4. When you’re losing you keep your bets the same. The aim is to get a 1 unit profit each time and once this achieved you go back to betting 1 again, regardless of whether you made it up to betting 4 units.

So the golden rule of this system is simple: Go back to the beginning of the progression once you have a one unit profit. It doesn’t matter which stage of the progression you were at when you achieved the one unit win, go back to the start. Another thing to remember is that you neither increase or decrease your bets after a loss. Here is an example.

Bet 1 and lose
Bet 1 and lose
Bet 1 and win
Bet 2 and win

That is a very simple example. As you can see, the bets stayed the same when we were losing and as soon as a win came in, we moved up to betting 2 units. Because the bet of 2 units won, we had won one unit overall so that was the end of the cycle, we would then start over by betting 1 unit. Here is a longer example:

Bet 1 and lose
Bet 1 and win
Bet 2 and lose
Bet 2 and lose
Bet 2 and lose
Bet 2 and win
Bet 3 and win
Bet 4 and lose
Bet 4 and win
Bet 4 and win

At this point, you would be in plus by 3 so you would walk away.

Fibonacci System

The Fibonacci system is a negative progression betting system, meaning it involves increasing your stakes following a losing wager. The theory is that doing this will help you to win money, as you’re likely to have higher stakes on winning wagers than you are on losing wagers. This principle applies to all negative progression systems.

There are simpler systems than the Fibonacci, but using it is not overly complicated. You just need to learn a few rules about how to adjust your stakes. You also need to be aware of the Fibonacci sequence, a well-known series of numbers that has several uses.

We explain how to use the Fibonacci system below, and also discuss whether it can actually work or not. We’ve started by providing some additional information on the Fibonacci sequence and it’s history.

The Fibonacci sequence was first introduced in Indian mathematics, although it was not then known by that name. It gained wider exposure, particularly in the West, when it appeared in the book Liber Abaci (translated as “The Book of Calculations”), published in the early 13th century by the Italian Leonardo Pisano.

Among other achievements, Pisano helped to popularize the modern number system in the Latin speaking world. He was known by several other names, including Leonardo of Pisa and Fibonacci. It is after him that the Fibonacci sequence is named.

This sequence starts with a zero and then a one, and each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two numbers. It can go on infinitely, with the first fifteen numbers appearing as follows.

You could be forgiven for wondering what’s so special about this sequence of numbers. They actually play an important role in many aspects of mathematics and nature. They have been referred to as nature’s number system, as they frequently appear in the natural world.

If you’re interested in learning more about this powerful set of numbers then you might like to read Wikipedia’s page on the Fibonacci sequence. You don’t really need to understand the finer details of the sequence to use the associated betting system though.

The Fibonacci system is usually used when placing even money bets in the casino. It is commonly used by roulette players on the outside bets, such as red or black, or odd or even. Craps players can use it on the pass or don’t pass wagers. It can also be used playing blackjack or baccarat, or for even money wagers in sports betting.

This system utilizes the Fibonacci sequence, but ignores the zero at the start. You should therefore either try to memorize the sequence or have it written down somewhere.

Before you can put the system into practice you need to decide how much you are going to stake per unit. This can be any amount you choose, but we’d recommend keeping it small relative to the total amount you have to gamble with. About 2{9be188ec538e6fb07d8f6470dd358a2d659670bfc6327946fa85447dd94e7b77} is a good guideline, and we strongly advise going no higher 5{9be188ec538e6fb07d8f6470dd358a2d659670bfc6327946fa85447dd94e7b77}.

You then have to follow three rules regarding your staking.

  1. Start with One Betting Unit
    Your first wager in each cycle should always be one single betting unit. This is because, ignoring the zero, one is the first number in the Fibonacci sequence. So if you’d decided that you were going to stake $5 per unit, your first wager would be for $5.

2. Start with One Unit
Following a losing wager, you should move to the next number in the sequence for calculating the required stake. So, after losing your first wager, you’d move to the second number one in the sequence. That’s how many betting units you stake for your second wager. If you lost that one too, you’d move to the next number in the sequence. That’s a two, so you’d stake two units. Assuming $5 per unit again, the required stake is now $10.

This rule applies after every loss. You always move to the next number in the sequence, so you’re always increasing the stakes following a losing wager.

3. Move Down the Sequence After a Win
Following a winning wager, you should move down TWO numbers in the sequence. So if you won after staking 13 units, for example, you’d stake just five units on the next wager. If you won after betting 55 units, on your next wager you would stake 21 units.

This rule applies after every win, with the following two exceptions.

– If you haven’t moved up at least two numbers in the sequence before winning, then you simply start at the beginning again. You start at the beginning of the sequence if at any point you are in profit for a cycle.

– The second exception in rule three is one of the things that makes this system a little more complicated than others. You have to keep track of how much you are winning or losing during every cycle of the system, so that you know when to finish and go back to the start. This is easy enough when you’re playing online, as you can keep track with a pen and paper or use a spreadsheet. It’s a bit harder when playing in a live casino though, so you need to stay focused.

Labouchere System

This is a similar principle to the Martingale, another negative progression system, but the Labouchere does not attempt to recover all previous losses with one single win. Instead, it tries to recover losses with multiple wins.

We have covered this system in some detail below, explaining how it’s used and looking at whether or not it can help you to make a profit.

The Labouchere system was developed by keen roulette player Henry Labouchere (1831 – 1912). It was designed to be used at the roulette table, specifically the even money outside bets such as red or black, or odd or even. It can be used with any even money proposition though, including other casino games such as blackjack and baccarat. Sports betting is an option as well.

To start with the system, the first thing to do is write down a sequence of numbers. Technically this can be any sequence you want it to be, although you do need to put some thought into it. We’ll cover this in a bit more detail later. For the sake of this explanation, we’ll use the following simple sequence.

The potential profit for each cycle of this system is equal to the total value of the numbers in the sequence chosen. In this case, it’s $6.

Each time you bet, your stake should be equal to the sum of the first number and the last number in your sequence. Using the above example, you would therefore stake $4 (1 + 3).

If you win your wager, you then remove the first and last number from the sequence. So, with this sequence you would cross off the one and the three.

If you lose your wager, you instead add the amount staked to the end of the sequence. So losing your first wager with this sequence would mean adding a 4.

The above rules apply after every wager. Win, and you cross numbers off. Lose, and you add a number to the end. For each subsequent wager, you always stake the combined amount of the first and last numbers.

The only exception to this rule is if you’re ever left with just one number. Then you just stake that amount. If you happen to win that wager, the cycle is over and you start again with the original sequence. So, when using 1-2-3, you’d only have to win the first two wagers for the cycle to be over. You’d have won $4 and then $2, for a total loss of $6. As we’ve already pointed out, that’s the total of all the numbers in the original sequence.

This all seems simple enough so far, but things get a little more complicated when losing a few wagers. That’s when the sequence starts to get longer. Here’s a couple of examples, again starting with 1-2-3.

Example 1
– If you lose the first bet of $4 then you would add a four to the end of the sequence of numbers, which would now be 1-2-3-4. The next bet would therefore be $5 (1+4). If that won then you’d remove the one and the four.

– Left with 2-3, the stake for the next wager would also be $5 (2+3). Let’s say the next wager loses. A five now needs to be added to the sequence.

– The required stake is now $7. If you win the next wager, the two and the five need to be crossed off.

– The required stake is now $3. Winning that means the cycle is over. The losing bets total $9 ($4 + $5), and the winning bets total $15 ($5 + $7 + $3). That’s a total win of $6, which again is equal to the sum of numbers in the original sequence.

Example 2
– Bet $4 (1+3), lose. Add 4 to the end, giving 1-2-3-4 Bet $5 (1+4), lose. Add 5 to the end, giving 1-2-3-4-5 Bet $6 (1+5), win. Remove 1 and 5, giving 2-3-4 Bet $6 (2+4), lose. Add 6 to the end, giving 2-3-4-6 Bet $8 (2+6), lose. Add 8 to the end, giving 2-3-4-6-8 Bet $10 (2+8), win. Remove 2 and 8, giving 3-4-6 Bet $9 (3+6), win. Remove 3 and 6, giving 4 Bet $4, lose. Add 4 to the end, giving 4-4 Bet $8 (4+4), win. Remove 4 and 4, finishing the chain.

– In this cycle you would have lost five bets and won four. The total losses would be $27 and the total wins $33. The overall profit would still be $6, despite having more losing wagers than winning wagers.

– This is essentially the main concept of the Labouchere. No matter how long the chain, by eventually removing all the numbers you will make a profit equal to the total value of the original sequence of numbers. In theory, this can be achieved by winning a smaller number of bets than you lose, as the winning bets will be at higher stakes than the losing bets.

– As you can see, this system is more complicated than some of the simpler alternatives. However, once you get used to the rules it’s not that difficult to understand.

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