Progressive betting in blackjack, or any other casino game, is one of the most sure ways to lose all of your money. The betting strategy is simple, and that’s what often attracts people to it. You just keep doubling your bet every time you lose until you finally win a hand. After all, even on a terrible losing streak you’ll win a hand eventually, right? Well, in theory this sounds logical, but in reality progressive betting systems will lead to huge losses over time.
There are several pitfalls that you will eventually hit if you’re using a strategy based on progressive betting. First of all, at some point you might run out of money and not be able to afford doubling your bet after a loss. Here’s how things will look if you lose 7 hands in a row starting at $25…
Bet #1: $25 (total loss = $25)
Bet #2: $50 (total loss = $75)
Bet #3: $100 (total loss = $175)
Bet #4: $200 (total loss = $375)
Bet #5: $400 (total loss = $775)
Bet #6: $800 (total loss = $1,575)
Bet #7: $1,600 (total loss = $3,175)
At this point you’re down $3,175 and you now need to bet $3,200. Can you afford that? How about if you lose an 8th hand in a row… Can you afford to be down $6,375 and then bet another $6,400? Even if you think you can afford it, when you finally win a hand you will be up a whopping $25 for all your work and emotional stress. Will you lose 7 or 8 hands in a row? Maybe not in the first hour of play, but there is no question that at some point you will lose more than 8 hands in a row no matter how good of a player you are.
Looking at the above example, you can probably guess what the next problem with progressive betting is. Even if you have an unlimited bankroll, at some point you will hit the table maximum bet and will not be allowed to raise your bet further. Most Indian casinos will usually have a $500 or $1,000 table maximum. Many high limit rooms in Las Vegas only go up to $5,000. Even the high end properties in Vegas such as Wynn, Bellagio and Aria will only go up to $10,000 on their blackjack tables.
Other factors involved in blackjack progressive betting are the player options of doubling and splitting. If you ignore these options the house edge against you will increase. If you use these options, as you should, you could end up with 2X or 3X your bet on the table. I’ve had pairs split into four separate hands and have needed to double all four of them. That meant I had 8X my original bet on the table. If the dealer busts and I win, that’s great, but if the dealer pulls a 21 and I lose all of my hands, that’s a tough pill to swallow. Now imagine you’re about five losses deep (down $775 and betting $800) into your progressive betting system and you’re dealt 8,8. The dealer shows a 6, so you split. Another 8 comes to you, so you split again. Now you get two face cards and a 3 to match your 8s. You stand on your 18s and double the 8,3. You get a low card on your double and the dealer turns the 6 into an easy 19. After all, a a dealer’s 6 only busts about 42% of the time. In this scenario you lose $800 X 4… That’s $3,200 in one shot! Now you’re down $3,200 + $775 and need to bet $4,000 just to make that original $25 in profit. Lose another hand and you’re at the table max without an opportunity to recoup your losses. It’s over and you only lost six hands in a row. Ouch!
The shortcomings of progressive betting apply to all casino games. Roulette, craps, baccarat, sportsbetting… you name it, progressive betting will guarantee you lose at it. Not even card counting is able to avoid the ultimate collapse of such a flawed system. You might win for a day or two and gain false confidence, but when the reality of progressive betting hits you it gets ugly quick. With one losing streak you will lose what you gained over the previous sessions and more!
The bottom line – DO NOT USE A PROGRESSIVE BETTING SYSTEM! Many uneducated gamblers will try to mask the fact that their progressive betting system loses by adding little twists and tweaks. It has been proven over and over again that you will still lose if your strategy is based on a progression. Don’t sell yourself short, learn something useful that actually works and holds a long-run advantage. Take the time to learn about blackjack and card counting (not just counting +1 and -1, but everything that goes into being successful at counting cards), and you’ll maintain a long term advantage over the casinos.