The Martingale system works like this: if you lose then you play double on your next bet. Because people bet different amounts, let’s use the word “unit” to describe the bet. So when you lose one unit, you bet two. If you win, you win a total of one unit. For the Martingale system, this holds true so long as you can continue doubling your bet. The problem lies in exponential growth, however. If a unit equals $10 dollars, and then you lose 7 times, it requires $1,270. Your 8th bet will be $1,280. So you will essentially be risking $2,550 to win $10. If you have played much blackjack, you know losing 8 in a row is not that unusual. So I came up with a variation to the Martingale system to tackle the problem.

I have worked as a dealer in a casino for 16 years. I can not tell you how many different systems I’ve seen people use. I’ve even seen mathematician’s use stupid systems. The first and foremost beneficial action you can do is to follow basic strategy. At a minimum, you should play extremely close to basic strategy. Here is what a basic strategy card looks like:

From http://www.online-casinos.com

*If you click the image, you should be able to print it out from their web page.

If you have done much research into blackjack then I’m sure you ran across card counting. Card counting is where you increase your bet when the deck is rich in 10’s and Ace’s. Blackjacks pay a unit and a half, so increasing your bet during high-count times, creates an advantage for the player. (Sometimes, the house calls counters advantage players) It should be noted though, unless you are willing to risk drastically higher stakes and do a lot of work to maintain an accurate count they do not raise your edge exceedingly.

I do not relish the notion of keeping up with the “count”, or increasing my bet by 10 times my original amount. When I designed my system I wanted something that did not force me to remember a collection of information, like card counting. I also wanted something that would not require an immense bankroll, like the Martingale system. So I designed something that is both economical and easy enough to remember while drinking. I’ve done remarkably well with this system. It allows me to drink, and I win more than I lose.

My system works on negative progression, that means that your bet increases when you lose. Unlike the Martingale system though, you only increase you bet one unit when you lose rather than doubling it. When you win, you decrease your bet by one. So if you decided you were going to use a unit of $10, then every time you lost you would add $10 to your last bet to get the amount of your current bet. Every time you win a bet, you subtract $10 from your last bet to get your current bet. That is the basis of the whole system: incremental negative progression.

There are only 3 exceptions to the above rule. This has to do with double downs, splits and Blackjacks.

1) If you win a double down it counts as 2 wins so subtract 2 units from your winning bet for your current bet. If you miss a double down add only 1 unit from your loss to get your current bet. Example: Your unit = $10. You currently have a $50 bet, double down, and win. Your next bet should be $30.

2) Splits work the same way as double downs. If you win 2 splits it counts as 2 wins, so subtract 2 units from your winning bet to get your current bet. If you win 4 splits it counts as 4 wins, so subtract 4 units from your winning bet to get your current bet. If you lose splits, only count half of the loses. So 2 loses means your current bet will be 1 unit higher. (Your choice when it is an odd number of loses to round up or down) Example: Your unit = $15. You currently have $120 bet, split twice, and win all 3. Your next bet should be $75.

3) When you get a blackjack it counts as 2 wins so subtract 2 units from it to get your current bet. Example: Your unit = $25. You hit a blackjack for $100. Your next bet should be $50.

Another Note: Combine the number of wins and subtract the number of losses in complex hands and use the number of wins. Example: Your unit = $10. You bet $70, have 4 splits and 2 double downs. Lets say you only lose one of the double downs, you have effectively won 2. (Lost 2 and won 4) Here is each hand in the example:

A.) DD, got 18, and won = 2 wins

B.) DD, got 13, and lost = 2 loses

C.) Got 19, and won = 1 win

D.) Got 20, and won = 1 win

With your bets changing every hand, the dealer is going to hate you. Even if you do not use this method, you should still tip. If this approach helps you, TIP! I’ve been asked many times, “What is [expected, normal or standard] tipping.”. There is not a fixed amount to give. The guidelines that I think you should use are these: 10 percent of your buy-in per hour, or 1 unit per hour if you are using my system. You will notice I did not say winning or losing. I did not even mention anything about tipping whenever you make a blackjack. That is because although I tend to believe that you should tip more when you are winning, I do not “blame” the dealer one way or the other. To me the dealer is just like a waiter. He just delivers my cards rather than my food. Regardless if the food is good or bad, I tip based on the service given in both cases.

I do not bet for the dealers, but some dealers prefer bets to hand-ins, so it is debatable. I do not tip rude dealers, or dealers who are bitchy or complaining the whole time I’m there. (I usually change tables, in any case) I do not think you should tip someone who does not interact with you at all.

If you truly want to be a winner, I have the “golden rule” for you: Set the amount you want to win, BEFORE YOU GO. I can not stress this enough. Get a number in your mind that you would be satisfied with before you leave the house. LEAVE when you achieve this goal regardless of where you are in the system. If your goal is to triple your buy-in and you have reached that goal: Leave. Do not let it bother you if you are not back down to one unit. The system will increase your bankroll even though your average bet slowly keeps getting higher. When it comes to winning, pay attention to your bankroll, not your current bet. I also would not recommend trying to collect more than triple your buy-in. It requires several hours, and the higher your goal the less likely it becomes that you will hit it.