Betting Systems: Why They Don’t Work

Betting systems have existed since – pretty much the day casino games were created – and as long as casinos continue to be popular, it’s unlikely we’ll ever see the end of betting systems.

In today’s post we’re going to be taking a look at what betting systems are, why they simply don’t work – and we’ll look at some of the most common and popular betting systems, so that you know exactly what to avoid when it comes to it.

We’re going to begin by looking at what betting systems actually are.

What Is A Betting System?

A betting system is a method used by gamblers to try and ‘beat the casino’. Some systems can be advertised as ‘lowering the house edge’, while others claim to exploit ‘little-known loopholes’ – and while the sellers of such systems always try to come up with creative new ways to market them, essentially all systems have one thing in common; they promise to be able to make you a profitable gambler, if you follow the system.

Now, exact betting systems vary quite a bit, and the betting strategies outlined within them are also very different. One thing that tends to be a commonly-seen factor however, is that most betting systems rely on even-money bets. We’ll look more at this later on when we talk about specific betting systems.

While betting systems can sound great – at first – it’s important to remember that casinos are in business for a reason. The games they offer have been proven over hundreds of billions of spins/hands – and the sole reason they’re still offered at casinos is because they provide a house edge to the casino.

Interestingly, despite being presented with this evidence (and despite seeing first-hand that betting systems do NOT work), many gamblers continue to believe that they will one day beat the casinos with the help of a betting system – and one of the biggest contributors for this, is what’s known as Gambler’s Fallacy.

Gambler’s Fallacy

Gambler’s fallacy is – at its most basic – very simple to understand, and it all revolves around the idea that, because a specific event hasn’t happened in a while, that that event becomes more likely.

A good example of how this works is by flipping a coin. Let’s say you choose tails, and flip a coin – and it lands heads; OK, not a big deal, you flip again. Now, imagine it landed heads 10 times in a row. You’d probably be a little surprised – and you might find yourself saying things like ‘it’s got to come in this time’.

In your head – even subconsciously – you’re beginning to think that it’s more likely that tails is going to land – despite there being a 50/50 shot of both results. Another way of looking at it…

The coin doesn’t have a memory. Each time it’s flipped, it ‘resets’, so regardless of the previous result there’s an exact 50/50 chance of each result coming in.

A good example of where many of us will experience gambler’s fallacy – to a small extent – is when playing Roulette. Say, a color has dropped four or five times consecutively; you may well find yourself having a small bet on the other color, thinking it’s only a matter of time before it lands – and this is despite the fact that, mathematically, the odds of the next color being red/black are identical.

It’s this exact train of thought that can lead players towards betting systems – and the systems are designed, explicitly, to pray on this kind of mindset.

Below, we’re going to cover some of the most popular betting systems – and you may well have seen these before (or even tried them yourself!)

Popular Betting Systems and Strategies

The Martingale

The Martingale is – by far – the most popular, and commonly-used betting strategy in the world, and you’ll find this system all over the internet, with many players claiming it’s the ‘only betting system to actually work.’

The Martingale system relies on a player using even-money bets – such as, for instance, betting on red/black colors on Roulette – and the basics of the system is that you simply begin playing one of these even-money bets, and double up your stake if the bet is a loser. You continue doubling your bets until the bet comes in, at which point you restart the system, and begin on the lower betting amount.

Now, in principle, the Martingale doesn’t sound like a particularly unrealistic system. You simply double up your bets each time you lose, and when it comes in, you’re in profit, and you begin the process again. Sounds easy, right?

Unfortunately, there’s a couple of complications to bear in mind. First of all, all Roulette, Blackjack and Craps tables have betting limits. This means you can’t bet more than a certain amount per spin. For example, if you were playing a $5-500 Roulette table, the minimum bet accepted is $5, and the maximum bet allowed is $5. So, while you could use the Martingale system, if you needed to bet above $500, you wouldn’t be able to – rendering the system pointless.

Similarly, long losing runs in gambling are not unheard of – indeed, they’re not even uncommon – and there’s a very good chance that you’ll run out of money using the Martingale system before you’ve had a chance to recoup your losses and making a profit.

The D’Alembert System

The D’Alembert System is one of the more brutal betting systems – designed for Roulette – and while it’s nowhere near as well-known as the Martingale, it’s beginning to become more popular given the rise in popularity of online gambling.

The system is relatively easy to follow, and you simply begin by betting a unit that you’re comfortable with. If you lose, you increase your bet by one unit. If your bet wins, you decrease your bet by one unit.

This process continues until you are back at your starting unit size, and once this happens, you’ll be ‘in profit’ by your original unit size.

It’s relatively simple to understand, but we’re not going to get into the specifics of the system here, as, well, it’s simply not good to promote the system. It doesn’t work, and the major problem with it, is that you need to get more wins than losses, which – statistically – is clearly not going to happen in the long run.

Also, like the Martingale system, a small number of consecutive losses can lead to you needing to place massive bets in order to recoup losses – and using this system, you can quite easily blow your entire bankroll in a matter of minutes, as is the case with most betting systems.

Reverse D’Alembert

As you can probably gather from the name, the Reverse D’Alembert is a reverse of the D’Alembert we just covered. Instead of increasing your bet after a loss, you decrease it – and, after a win, you increase it.

The Reverse D’Alembert typically requires you to start with a higher betting unit that the non-reverse system, and this is down to the fact that an initial losing streak would mean you couldn’t follow the required betting strategy, unless you had the bankroll to cover it.

Labouchere System

The Labouchere is one of the most popular betting systems, and it’s becomming increasingly popular, with detailed internet guides and videos showing how it works, and how it can supposedly be used to ‘profit from casino games’.

Similar to the Martingale system, the Labouchere uses even money betting at its core, and it all begins by the player setting themselves up what’s known as a betting line. It’s this betting line that determines the size of the bet each spin/hand, and below, you can see an example of what a betting line looks like:

1, 2, 1, 3, 1, 5, 2

To begin using the system, you would take the left-most number (the 1), along with the right-most number (the 2), and add them together. This is then the amount you would bet, so, in this case, it would be 3. This is the amount of units you stake.

Now, if the bet is a winner, both of these numbers are crossed out. The next spin then uses the next numbers in – so, in this example, the 2, and the 5. If the bet loses, the numbers one-in (the 2 and the 5) are also added together, on top of the original two numbers – and this is then the bet unit size. This continues until a win occurs.

Like the Martingale, the Labourchere is seriously flawed; while it is possible to use the system in the very short term to occasionally generate small profits, table limits and bankroll restrictions will soon ensure that you’re unable to continue using it if you get a few consecutive losses.

Stay Away From Betting Systems!

Say that phrase over and over until it’s solidified in your head!

Every day you’ll see stories of people who thought they’d found the ‘perfect betting system’ – only to find that it quickly ate up all of their funds, and didn’t work as expected.

Casinos are in business for a reason; their games produce a consistent profit. While it is possible to win at casino games occasionally, in the long-run you’re always going to lose – and this does NOT change with a betting system.

Instead of using a betting system, you’re far better off reading up about the game, and understanding the best and worst bets to make. For example, if you’re playing Blackjack, having a good understanding of the best mathematical strategy can greatly lower the house edge – and while this doesn’t give you an edge over the casino, it does allow you to play the game in the most mathematically correct fashion.