This article is about betting strategies used on blackjack and relates to other casino games too. I delve into that mysterious and often misunderstood world of betting strategies and systems. 

I’ll attempt to explain the principal codes of why using one can lead to success and at other times fail to. 

Join me in this guide as I try to make sense of what betting strategies are all about. And whether they can help players win more in the short-term or generate any long-term tangible profits. My focus will be on topics such as:

  • The meaning of betting strategies and systems.
  • The casino’s house edge.
  • Expected values and betting odds on blackjack.
  • And the randomness of outcomes.

I’ll conclude by answering whether blackjack betting strategies are worth trying when you gamble on casino games such as blackjack. 

How does a betting strategy operate when used on casino games? 

Most betting strategies are wagering governors. When you use a betting strategy, you’re agreeing to follow its fixed rules. The core rule regulates the amount of money – the bet size or chip value – a player should wager on the outcomes of casino games.

A lot of wagering betting strategies were created to try and gain an advantage over casino games with fixed payout odds. Most betting strategies were designed to be played on even-money chance games. 

Do betting strategies work on casino games?

Many betting strategies try to conquer the nature of randomness by advising players to increase their stakes following losing outcomes. 

However, negative progression betting strategies create too much risk because, the issue players face is to avoid losing too many times in a row before winning again. Therefore, most betting strategies fail because they only focus on the wagering aspect of things.

What are the best casino games betting strategies? 

The best type of betting strategy for some casino games focuses on bet selections when playing roulette and decisions that form the advantage play rules for blackjack. 

They should also have more rules to follow to protect a casino player’s bankroll. For example:   

  • Wager X amount more when winning and for X number of games or on certain games.
  • Wager X amount less when losing and for X number of games.
  • Maybe skip some games. 

The rules of betting strategies can be complex or simple to understand. Each is vastly different though, and results will vary depending on the sequence of a player’s win/loss ratio. 

What is the difference between a betting system and betting strategy? 

Replacing the word "system" with "strategy," helps a little because strategies don’t seem to hold the full connotation that they fail to generate profits when applied to casino games.

Talking about a strategy rather than a betting system can mean more about why:

  • a particular bet selection in roulette, 
  • or decision in a card game like blackjack is made. 

Is there a difference between a strategy and betting system? 

To understand the strategy/betting system connection it’s important to divide a player’s wagering decisions into three parts:

  • What the bet is or what has been bet on.
  • Why some games are skipped. 
  • The bet size for games and/or decisions within games like blackjack. 

But the words, system and strategy are interchangeable — they relate to a betting structure. 

We must identify what each method entails to understand betting structures proper. Otherwise, we’re likely to reach conclusions based on stereotype, e.g. "Casino betting strategies simply don’t work because of the house edge." But there are gamblers who can’t accept the conclusions of such a statement. 

It’s a bit like wanting to understand more about quantum physics to advance further knowledge. You know, you want to tackle the difficult to understand aspects as well as the unknown, and undiscovered things.

So, moving forward, I aim to guide you about betting strategies for casino games, to try and reach a reasonable conclusion. 

To do this, I’m going to focus on Blackjack, one of the most popular casino games, often played live in online casinos these days.

Casino Betting Strategies

Does the house always win against blackjack players?

When it comes to casino games, the mathematical conclusion to betting structures is that they don’t work. This is because the house edge can’t be changed in the player’s favor. 

The house edge is designed with fixed odds on casino games where the sequence of outcomes are random.

It begs the questions: 

  1. If ‘the house always wins’ at least over the long-term, does this belief (even if fact) render structured ways of betting futile in terms of players generating long-term profits?
  2. And have betting systems and strategies received negative press of the back of this belief thus the subject not fully explored? 

If you’re even a little bit, NO and YES in answers to questions one and two respectively, then as to whether betting systems and strategies work on casino games, such as blackjack might be as fascinating to you as the subject is to me. 

If you agree with the following statement you clearly have some faith in – at least the idea of – there being an effective betting strategy. 

"A new betting strategy or improvements to existing ones could be developed to work better for players gambling on casino games like blackjack."

For instance, consider the following betting systems. The Martingale and the Paroli systems. The Paroli is a positive progression method whereas the Martingale a negative progression method. 

For all sorts of reasons both are not perfect betting systems. But the Paroli system is better than the Martingale because it seeks to maximise gains on winning streaks. 

But of course, no betting strategy used on fixed odds casino games, including blackjack can guarantee a high success rate of winning. This includes over the short-term or long-term. 

Do betting strategies work on blackjack?

When it comes to applying betting strategies to blackjack games we need to take apart the different components in play.

1. Although the outcomes of hands in blackjack are random, the decisions players make have a bearing on the results based on what cards have been dealt:

Depending on the blackjack rules a casino makes, a player using perfect basic strategy can experience a reduction of the house edge to just under 0.5%.

2. Blackjack advantage play mostly relies on card counting, but other tactics such as spotting the dealer’s hole card can be used in land-based casinos:

The advantage percentages for a player using the tactics can range from 1% to as much as 13% respectively. However, hole card spotting is rare in land-based casinos and impossible to spot playing live online blackjack because of the camera angle. 

3. When players can double down in blackjack (and correct calls are made) substantial profits can be gained.

4. Blackjack players can also raise wagers when the circumstances are conducive such as in the following instances:

  • When there’re slightly more wins over losses e.g. (Player = 55% vs. Dealer = 45% to P=60%/D=40% on average) and/or:
  • When there’re minimal losses between wins (2 to 4 on average) and the same range of wins on winning streaks, are the ideal conditions to use a betting strategy such as the Paroli system or a modified, better version of it. 

When you reassemble the parts that form a greater blackjack strategy, it’s worth noting the following: the larger the bet size being risked, the higher the probability that short-term profitable returns can be gained. 

Of course, larger bet sizes increase the risk of losing more money. But a savvy blackjack advantage player will mitigate by adjusting his method of wagering based on the circumstances.

As to the long-term viability of profiting from casinos when playing blackjack, you should consider the following:

  • Casinos increase the house edge in blackjack by changing the rules such as allowing dealers to hit on soft-17s and blackjack payout odds of = 6:5 instead of 3:2. 

Other factors such as playing blackjack on an eight-deck shoe, or games that have a continuous shuffle machine in use, can negatively impact the player’s ability to overcome the casinos house edge. 

Should you try to count cards playing blackjack when casinos use continuous shuffle machines?

Continuous shuffle machines ensure cards are dealt randomly, thus card counters find it extremely difficult – if not impossible – to keep track of the cards already played as well as cards remaining in the deck and make a noticeable profit. 

Blackjack players will only get to see a limited number of cards before those cards are placed back into the machine. Therefore, the player’s expected value is low.

Blackjack betting strategies

Can using a near perfect betting strategy on blackjack increase your chances of winning? 

Advantage play on blackjack alone is only going to give a player an opportunity to increase winnings by a limited percentage of their bankroll. 

The best near perfect betting strategy for blackjack involves trying to work out when a winning streak is about to start or has just started. 

Then take advantage of those limited winning outcomes (increasing value of wagers). But remembering to go into defensive mode when it’s clear the winning streak is about to end or has just ended (decreasing wagers).

As the outcomes of games progress, if you’re not hitting your higher value hands at blackjack, and the dealer is beating you, it’s more difficult to recover losses relying on advantage play alone. 

It will cost at least three times more to move from flat betting, and/or some form of defensive mode to a full on weak offensive i.e. chasing your losses.

A near perfect blackjack betting strategy will control the bet size of your wagers. This will save you from entering the blackhole of losing more of your playing chips. 

Conclusion – whether betting strategies work on blackjack

Betting strategies used on blackjack are not just wagering strategies such as like using the Martingale or Paroli systems. 

A blackjack betting strategy involves advantage play first. It then uses the power of money to lay it on thick when wins are running rich.

Betting strategies work on blackjack because the house edge can be reduced and in some circumstances even negated with a player experiencing a percentage advantage. 

But because outcomes of hands are still subject to randomness, there’s still no guarantee that a blackjack betting strategy (that also uses advantage play) can maintain even short-term success.

And where the result of short-term success generates profits, there’s no telling what the long-term picture might look like for any individual blackjack advantage play gambler using a good strategy.

Stephen R. Tabone is an English Writer from Great Britain. He is a casino games professional pattern player and outcomes systemiser. He is the Author of Bestselling Baccarat books, ‘The Ultimate Silver Bullet Proof Baccarat Winning Strategy 2.1’ and ‘The Ultimate Golden Secret Baccarat Winning Strategy 3.0’.

In 2011, Mr. Tabone earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours in Creative Writing and Philosophy from the University of Greenwich, London. And holds qualifications in Law and in Business.