Blackjack has long been known as one of the most popular card games in the world. A game of both skill and chance, with some of the lowest house odds in the casino, when played using proper blackjack strategy, knowing what you’re doing when playing blackjack can significantly increase your chances of beating the house and walking away as a winner.
Much of playing blackjack well involves knowing when to stand, hit, split, surrender or double down, and over the years professional blackjack players, as well as mathematicians and statisticians, have come up with different sorts of systems to know when to do what.
When it comes to blackjack betting systems, a quick look through Amazon will present dozens of books written by experts on how to beat the dealer and opinions are as varied as are the author’s backgrounds. One of the most popular is known as the Progressive blackjack betting strategy.
Origins of Progressive Betting Systems
One of the most prominent and popular blackjack betting systems involves what is known as a progressive blackjack betting strategy. The term “progressive betting system” originates with a man named John Henry Martingale. Martingale was a casino owner in London in the 18th century who was so confident in his house edge at real money casino games like roulette that he would actively encourage his players to double down, (double their bets) as long as the house was losing…. Admittedly a strange practice for an early casino owner who could lose everything if things kept going the player’s way. martingale, oddly enough, went on to do quite well as the odds really were on his side.
Around a hundred or so years later a man named Charles Wells decided to employ a similar progressive betting strategy at Monte Carlo. Over a period of three days, using this system, Wells would break the bank at Monte Carlo 12 times, turning 4,000 francs (about $51,000 today) into over one million francs ($12.9 million today) in just 72 hours.
In many ways at least when it comes to progressive betting systems, this was the shot heard around the world and what today is known as the Martingale system was born. Wells, however, had been betting on roulette, a game with a significantly higher house edge than blackjack, and involving much less skill.
Progressive Blackjack Betting
Transferring the Martingale system into a progressive blackjack betting strategy is pretty straightforward. As the name implies, it’s a progressive system, meaning you increase the amount of your bet with each winning hand.
The Martingale system as applied to roulette stated that you should double your bet after a loss and continue doubling your bets after every loss until you win. When you win, place the exact same bet as when you started. With a substantial enough bankroll, in other words, enough longevity at the table, this system was said to grant you a small net win over time.
Obviously, this system requires quite a bit of cash to become successful and is today known in blackjack as negative-progression betting. If you don’t have enough cash to keep doubling after every loss, this system will end in disaster.
Positive Progression Betting
The inverse referred to as a positive progression betting strategy, requires much less cash on hand to get results, or at least so say progressive blackjack betting strategy, pundits. With each win, you double your bet. On a losing hand, you return to your original wager and start the system over.
This progressive blackjack betting system not only minimizes your losses, giving you more time at the table to apply the best blackjack betting practices but also maximizes your wins, de facto increasing your bankroll and playtime.
The key to this system still rests in knowing and effectively applying the basic blackjack strategy. Knowing how much to wager when the odds have shifted in your direction and when to hit, stand, split, double down or surrender are fundamental to the system’s success.
Let’s take a very basic example. Say you step up to the blackjack table with $100 and decide to wager it all on your first hand. Lo’ and behold you win. The positive progressive blackjack betting strategy dictates that you should double your bet. So, you wager $200 and win again. Following the strategy, you wager $400 but lose. You’re immediately wiped out.
Did the strategy fail? Probably not. More likely, and if you had been paying attention to basic blackjack strategy, you would have known that you need to have enough cash in reserve to be able to match your bet in a split or double down when the time is right.
The Importance of Basic Blackjack Strategy
By failing to follow the tenants of basic blackjack strategy and blindly following the positive progressive blackjack strategy model, you opened yourself up to a total loss.
Now, let’s step back and play the same system again using both basic blackjack strategy and progressive blackjack betting strategy.
You head to the blackjack table with $100 and bet $50 on the first hand. You’re dealt an ace and a four and the dealer is showing a six, so you double down. The dealer goes bust and you win. Now you have $200 in your bankroll, so following the positive progressive blackjack betting strategy you bet $100. This time you’re dealt two eights so it’s time to split. Now you have $200 on the table and you win that second time. You end up with $400.
Applying the strategy, you now bet $200 but this time you go bust and lose. You still are up $100 and can keep on playing. As long as you apply the strategy wisely in relation to blackjack basic strategy, your odds of walking away a winner are some of the absolute best on the casino floor.
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In conclusion, then, a progressive blackjack betting strategy can be a lucrative way to not only stay in the game but walk away as a winner as long as you keep two essential points in mind.
First, always and I mean always, apply blackjack basic strategy.
Second, if you’re interested in applying the negative progressive blackjack betting strategy make sure your bankroll is substantial enough to carry you over a long, long period of time, as this strategy, when combined with basic blackjack strategy is a cash marathon, not a sprint.
Tuah bin Razak
Tuah is an experienced writer and casino enthusiast with 12 years of industry knowledge. With a degree in Journalism, he delivers objective and comprehensive casino reviews, covering game variety, user experience, security, and customer support. From slots to blackjack, roulette to poker, Tuah's expertise guides both beginners and experienced players in making informed decisions. Expect engaging articles providing valuable insights for an enhanced online gambling experience.