Blackjack Betting Systems

Simply put, a betting system is a way of using money management to maximize your profits. No matter what technique or method you use to give yourself an edge at the blackjack table, if you don’t manage your money properly you will probably walk away as a loser. This is why you need to learn some betting systems.

Card counting and cluster counting, as mentioned elsewhere on this site, includes its own type of betting system. IE: Increase your bet size two to three times your original bet when conditions favor the probability of receiving a winning hand.

But what if you are strictly a basic strategy player? Besides the obvious bank roll increases experienced by doubling down and splitting your cards, what method should you use to increase your chances of walking away a winner? Below are 3 betting systems. The first is a common system which I don’t recommend, but I include on this page as it is one which has been recommended by certain, so called ‘blackjack experts’. The last two are systems which are worthwhile to use depending on your starting bankroll.

Cluster Counting Betting System

Another method for determining the probability of a higher than normal percentage of high point cards being dealt (which is an edge to the player) is known as cluster counting, or shuffle tracking.

This method is based on the observation that cards tend to “cluster” in certain parts of a multi deck shoe, and that the shuffling of the cards at the conclusion of a shoe can be tracked by a player so that he can determine which portions of the next shoe will be high in player friendly cards. A breakdown of this method follows.

When playing a new shoe make note of the flow of cards while mentally dividing the shoe into sections equal to one deck.

Now you need to observe which portions of each section that are high in Aces and ten-point cards.

Rate each section as being rich or poor in high cards and then make note of how the cards are placed in the discard box.

At the end of each shoe, watch how the dealer shuffles the new shoe. Keep track of where the clusters of high cards are located, and where they will surface in the dealing of the next shoe.

When playing this next shoe, increase your wager when you reach those sections of the shoe that are rich in high point cards, and decrease your wager when the deck is rich in low point cards.

Unfortunately, shuffle tracking is very hard to master, and casinos have taken measures to defeat its effectiveness. Some counter measures used by casinos include using two discard racks, changing the pattern of the shuffle, and by using automated shuffling machines. You may still run across blackjack tables where this method can be used, and if you are willing to practice and learn the technique, it can be effective.

In blackjack, there are ways to greatly increase your odds. One way is to use blackjack systems. There are many systems that the game has for users to learn and use to their advantage; however, most cost money to gain access to. In the following section, we will explain the Matrix System for you. If used properly, this system will be an almost sure-fire method to decrease your chances of losing money in the casino!

The Martingale Betting System

This betting system, which was invented over 200 years ago, instructs the player to double his bet each time he loses, on the assumption that he will eventually win and show a profit from the initial wager.

This betting system, which was invented over 200 years ago, instructs the player to double his bet each time he loses, on the assumption that he will eventually win and show a profit from the initial wager.

With a beginning wager of $5.00 you would double your wager with each loss. IE: $5, $10, $20, $40 $80, etc. After a win your wager would drop back to $5.00. All wagers are recovered when you win a hand.

Casinos have table limits to eliminate the effectiveness of this system. After a long losing streak you will eventually hit the table maximum, thus defeating the purpose of this system. Plus, a considerable amount of bankroll is needed to make this system work, and the payoffs simply aren’t worth it. If you started with a $5 dollar wager and lost your first four wagers and won your fifth, (without double downs or splitting your cards) you would be a measly 5 dollars ahead. This is simply not worth it, and if you are losing multiple hands in a row it is time to leave the table, not double your wagers. Also, losing double downs or splits can deplete your bankroll in a big hurry.

Progressive Betting System – 2 Level

This is the simplest betting system to use and still effective. To use this system simply decide on a minimum and maximum bet. Then bet the smaller amount after a loss and the larger amount after a win. For example, say you set your minimum bet at $5 and your maximum at $15. Start with a $5 dollar bet. If you win that hand you bet $15 your next wager. You then continue to bet $15 until you lose. After any loss you return to your minimum bet of $5.

This is a basic, put solid progressive betting system.

Progressive Betting System – 5 Level

This is another simple, yet effective system, based on a 1,2,3,5 back to 1 progression. Example: For a $5 player, the betting levels would be $5,10,15, and 25. With this system you start with your $5 bet and progress to the next level when you win a hand. If you lose a hand you drop back down to your original $5 wager. If you win four hands in a row you should then drop back down to your original $5 wager, hence the 1,2,3,5 back to 1 progression.

Lets take a look at how this works. This system is rewarding when you experience winning streaks but still doesn’t kill you with losing streaks. Lets say you lose your first three hands and then win your next three. Assuming a starting wager of $5 you would be ahead $15 at the end of six hands. If you were betting an equal amount on each had you would be even.

It should be noted that progressive betting systems such as these fail when you experience a win, loss, win, loss, win, loss, type of scenario. In a case like this, you would be better off betting an equal amount on each hand. However, this is the risk you take in your attempt to maximize profits on streaks of 3 wins or more. And in reality it is not as risky as simply using basic strategy and betting an equal amount each hand. The nature of blackjack is such that winning streaks and losing streaks frequently occur, and that is where progressive betting systems maximize your profits.

Matrix Betting System

The betting system we shall look at is what I call the matrix betting system. If the player plays according to the same rules as the dealer (that is, draws to 16 and stands on any total of 17 or greater), then, because the player plays first, the house takes is 8.9%. Given that the dealer must pay 3:2 on blackjack, the house take is reduced to 5.9%. Using the matrix system, the house stake is shaved down to almost zero.

The matrix will suggest the most efficient action to take when certain card totals appear. It gives you the choice to either ‘stand’ (do nothing and stay with what you have) ‘hit’ (take another card), ‘double’ (double the size of your initial bet) or ‘split’ (separate the two identical cards dealt to you and create two separate hands).

For example, say you have a 7 and an 8 for a total of 15 and the dealer has a 6. It is your turn to make a decision. Using the matrix, look across the top row and find the dealer’s total of six, then run down the left-hand side to find your total of 15. In the middle of the matrix, at the junction of the appropriate row and column, we find ‘S’ for ‘stand’. Do not take another card — choose to do nothing.

Note that the player’s total runs down the left-hand side and the dealer’s one-card total is across the top.

Now, some points of clarification.

Player Total 5-8
Take a card against all dealer cards.

Player Total 9
The dealer stands a better chance of not busting with a 2 than a 3, 4, 5 or 6. Remember, if you double you only receive one card. If it is not a ten-value card you could be throwing good money after bad. Always double when your total is nine versus a dealer 3, 4, 5 or 6. The dealer is most likely to lose with these first cards and you are well advised to capitalize on it. Take a card when the dealer has 7, 8, 9, 10 or Ace.

Player Total 10
Double against all dealer cards except a dealer 10 or Ace. You are likely to end up with a total close to 20 — a very difficult hand for the dealer to beat.

Player Total 12
Twelve is probably the worst player total. You should take a card against dealer 2 or 3 and stand against dealer 4, 5 or 6. Against dealer 7, 8, 9, 10 or Ace, you take a card because you have nothing to lose — the dealer is likely to beat you.

Player Totals 13, 14, 15 and 16
Stand against dealer ‘high bust’ totals of 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 and (like player 12 totals) you take a card against dealer 7, 8, 9, 10 or Ace.

Player Totals 17-21
Always Stand against all dealer totals. You have a strong chance of winning and there is no need to tamper with it. The chances of improving these hands are low and of busting, high.