Blackjack Strategy: Strategies vs Systems

Being that it is a game of skill, it is no surprise that blackjack is played with a strategy. Unless you wish to lose scads of money and in that case you play however you want. But for blackjack players who want to turn a profit, they will use a strategy.

Over the course of yesterday and today I compared flat betting in blackjack against progressive betting. I showed how progressive betting is not all that it is said to be and that it can cost you more money in the long run. What I did not talk about is what a progressive betting system in blackjack is.

First off, let’s you and me get one thing straight—a strategy and a system are two different things. A strategy is a plan of a blackjack player plays his hands. Strategy can be worked with to fit different situations in the game. For example, if the cards are running high, the blackjack player who is playing with a strategy can adapt his playing accordingly.

A player who plays by a system does not have that adaptability. He must abide by his system. Which means he plays the same way no matter how the cards are flowing, and in doing so, he loses opportunities along the way to make blackjack even more profitable.

An example of a betting system that is commonly used in blackjack is the Paroli progressive betting system. This is the betting system that Player B used in the comparison I spoke of.

In the Paroli betting system, a player will begin with a base wager. If he wins he will increase his wager by double. He will then keep increasing his wager by doubling until he loses a round, at which point he will return to his base wager.

If a blackjack player were using a progressive betting system like the Paroli system and happened to notice that the cards were running high, he would be unable to deviate from his betting system to take advantage of it because he cannot upset his system.

That is the difference between a betting strategy for blackjack and a betting system. So while a betting strategy may require more time to make a larger profit, it is safer in the long run to use than a progressive betting system in blackjack.

The Epic Tale of Progressive Betting in Blackjack Strategy—The End

Throughout yesterday we followed two blackjack players—Player A and Player B—through a few rounds at the blackjack table. Or it could be both of them playing blackjack online. Whether they are playing blackjack online or in a casino does not matter since the effect of progressive betting is the same no matter where you play.

After all, you still stand to win around 42% of the time and lose the other 58% regardless of whether you prefer to sit at a blackjack table or play online.

And that brings us to the conclusion of our tortoise and the hare version of blackjack and progressive betting.

We learned that in Part I that Player A and Player B both won four rounds, leaving Player A with a gain of $40 and Player B with a gain of $100. This shows that a progressive betting system can be profitable in blackjack.


In Part II we learned, with a win-loss-win-loss streak that Player A broke even; he won $20 and lost $20 in those four rounds. But Player B, because of the progressions of his betting system, wound up with a net loss of $20.

Looking at Player B we see that while his progressive betting system pulls in money on a winning streak, he stands to lose what he gains and then some if he does not hit a winning streak.

And playing without a winning streak is a more realistic approach to blackjack considering that, like I said above, you stand to lose around 58% of the time in blackjack. Knowing that you stand a greater chance of losing, even if you are using basic strategy, means that your chances of hitting a winning streak are not high. And without several winning streaks and not a lot of losing, the profitability from using a progressive betting system will not payout in the long run.

While it will take longer and might not be as thrilling, flat betting is the safer and more enduring way to earn a profit in blackjack, your best odds at making money in other words. Which makes Player B our tortoise and Player A, with his snazzy betting system, the hare of blackjack.

The Epic Tale of Progressive Betting in Blackjack Strategy—Part II

Where did we leave our players in our tale of progressive betting for blackjack strategy?

We left our Player A and Player B—our tortoise and hare—at the blackjack table. Both players had each won four rounds. Player A had won $40 as a result, while Player B had won $100 as a result of his progressive betting.

Clearly Player B is feeling quite relaxed and enjoying his blackjack playing. And he is probably feeling pretty confident that his progressive betting strategy will put him ahead in blackjack—unlike poor Player A who is flat betting.

See how it is reminiscent of the Tortoise and the Hare?

With the $40 compared to the $100, progressive betting has the edge. Not unlike the hare’s edge over the tortoise.

Now we are going to take our players for a little up and down playing. The next four rounds go like this: win, loss, win, loss. For Player A, he will be wagering $10 each time. Player B’s wagers will look like this: $10, win and increase to $20, lose and drop back to $10, win and increase to $20, and lose.

When you break the math down you can see that Player A will break even. He will have won $20 and lost $20 overall, and his bankroll be exactly where he started.

But Player B, well that is a different story. He won $10 in the first round, then increased his wager to $20 and lost. He then dropped back down to $10 and won. So he then increases his blackjack wager back up to $20, but he loses that round too. So in rounds one and three he won $20, but in rounds two and four he lost $40, which gives us a net loss of $20.

This is the moment when the hare realizes that he has goofed off far too long in the race and that the tortoise is ahead him, heading for the finish line.

As for you, you are beginning to see the down side of using a progressive betting system as a part of your blackjack strategy. But how will the story end for Player A and Player B? Check back tomorrow to find out!

The Epic Tale of Progressive Betting in Blackjack Strategy—Part I

It is not uncommon to see players using a progressive betting strategy when at the blackjack tables. They seem content with their system but I am not sure they are aware that a progressive betting system just does not pay off in the long run in blackjack. And how you bet is a big part of your blackjack strategy since your aim in blackjack is to make money.

Like usual let’s take a look at an example and compare flat betting in a game of blackjack to using a betting system in the same game of blackjack.

In this example players A and B are playing at a $10 minimum table and both start out betting $10. Player A is our flat bettor and player B is our progressive bettor.

Both players have played four rounds of blackjack. This could be online blackjack or blackjack in a brick and mortar casino. It does not matter where it is being played considering the effect of both bettering strategies will work the same in both types of blackjack.

In four rounds player A has wagered and won, brining in a total of $40. Player B has also won all four rounds but because he has wagered $10, $20, $30 and then $40, he has won $100.

In this instance the point goes to the player B and his progressive betting system.

This example shows us why players tend to resort to progressive betting systems when playing blackjack. They see it as an easy way to win money and make a profit when playing blackjack. Not to mention faster.

Do you recall the tale of the tortoise and the hare? The hare assumed that because he was the naturally faster animal he would win the race; he goofed off and played around with confidence. He figured he had the better method.

Check back and find out what happened to player B and his progressive blackjack betting system, and which player is the hare and which is the tortoise when it comes to blackjack.