If you’re serious about being more than just a decent blackjack player, it’s recommended you learn about advanced techniques such as progressive betting strategy. However, not everyone knows what a progressive betting strategy is; here’s a quick but detailed look at what it means to be a progressive bettor.
The Types of Blackjack Players
It’s said that there only a few types of people who play blackjack. There’s the rank amateur who really doesn’t know what he or she is doing, those who have mastered basic strategy but little else, card counters, and those who use progressive betting strategies.
Amateurs are usually brand new to the game, or just haven’t thought it necessary to learn much about it. Individuals like this often bet haphazardly while playing their hands with little more than a whim. Basic strategy players, on the other hand, have mastered the literal basics of the game when it comes to things like when to hit, when to stand, and when to split, but often use flat betting strategies in conjunction with this knowledge.
Meanwhile, card counters literally keep track of how many high cards or low cards have been played up until that point and adjust their betting strategies based on that knowledge.
Finally, progressive bettors have mastered basic strategy – a must for any blackjack player – but also change their betting behavior based on how the previous hand has been played.
Benefits of Progressive Betting
Many luminaries in the blackjack world have written long and hard on how progressive betting and flat betting often end up yielding the same results over the long term. However, proponents of progressive betting strategies have dismissed these claims, instead stating that progressive betting isn’t just superior to using a flat betting strategy but can also yield better profits than the arcane but highly effective practice of card counting.
To card counters and flat betting strategists, the idea of increasing your bet after a winning hand was irrelevant because the chance of playing two winning hands in a row wasn’t any more likely than playing two lowing hands in a row.
It just seemed like common sense, not to mention solid logic, and for decades most that consider themselves authorities on the game of blackjack have simply adopted this as truth. As a result, most individuals are largely dismissive of claims that progressive betting offers any kind of benefit whatsoever. However, there are some reasons why progressive betting is a viable strategy.
Breaking it Down
If you break it down, the probability of winning one hand and then going on to either lose the next hand or win it are more or less identical. What this means in turn is that the chances of winning or losing two consecutive hands is more or less identical as well – and progressive strategists extrapolate this onwards to winning or losing three hands in a row and ever onwards.
In other words, when it comes to long term probabilities, any blackjack player out there is going to either win or lose around the same number of hands in a row, regardless of whatever betting method he or she is using – even if the rationale is completely random.
So where does this lead? Well, it means that if you typically bet more money after you win a hand and bet less money after you lose a hand, on average the amount you wager during a run of winning hands will be higher than the average amount you wager during a string of losing hands. It’s deceptively simple: the profit you make from play should outweigh your losses during play.
Progressive Versus Flat Bettors
So what does this mean for individuals who prefer to make flat bets? Given the same exact cards in the same exact order of play, a flat bettor is going to always win less – and lose more – than someone using a progressive betting strategy instead.
This is because flat bettors can’t take advantage of the opportunity to have larger bets during runs of consecutive winning hands, yet runs of losing hands will result in the same amount of losses for flat bettors as they will for progressive bettors.
Card Counting and Betting Strategies
A word must be said on card counting in relation to flat and/or progressive betting strategies. Research has suggested that there seems to be no relationship whatsoever on how many consecutive wins and losses come up based solely on counting cards. What this means is that card counters have the same probability of losing their next bet as a progressive or a flat bettor.
This is independent of actions of the card counter, which typically involve increasing their bets as favorable card counts come up. Additionally, research has shown that card counters tend to need larger bankrolls than progressive bettors – and that card counters are at a disadvantage when it comes to progressive bettors and their ability to quit play while winning.
Most proponents of progressive betting are staunch in their support of card counting, at least on an academic level. Card counting does work – otherwise casinos wouldn’t be so keen to stamp out the practice. However, progressive betting strategies also work, and since they don’t earn the ire of pit bosses and casino owners, it’s often seen as a solid and smart alternative to delving into the world of card counting.