# Blackjack betting Guide

Why Betting Progressions Don't Work
May 12, 2023 – 10:33 pm

As I mentioned in Chapter 7.1, the intent of a progressive betting system is to vary the size of your bets in a predetermined manner, according to whether or not the previous bet won or lost. In this section, I will show you, with one example, why betting progressions won’t work.

### MARTINGALE BETTING PROGRESSION

The Martingale betting system is easy to understand and use: you just double your bet after every loss until you finally win, at which point you will be ahead by one betting unit. For example, suppose you wager \$10 and the results of the next three hands are loss, loss, and win (L-L-W). Using the Martingale system, you lost \$10 on the first hand, \$20 on the second hand, and won \$40 on the third hand. You wind up with a net win of \$10, which is the goal of the progression, to win an amount equal to your starting wager.

How can there be anything wrong with the logic of the Martingale? Just leave the table after a win and you always walk away with a profit. Right? Well, yes and no. Long streaks of consecutive losses will doom the Martingale player, but pundits will always counter with “the chance that this will happen is slim.” Really? Let’s take a look.

### THE MATH FOR THE MARTINGALE

You have about a 52 percent chance of losing a hand in blackjack (excluding ties). The chance that you will lose, say, ten consecutive (resolved) hands is 0.145 percent.

This means:
• You will average one sequence of ten losing hands (excluding ties) in about every 692 sequences of ten hands.
• This losing streak will occur about once in every seven hours of play (assuming you play 100 resolved hands per hour).
• And get this ... you don’t know when that string of ten consecutive losses will occur in the seven hours (of course, it may not occur at all).
• You have roughly a 6 percent chance of losing ten in a row in the first hour; a 12 percent in the first two hours; and a significant 29 percent chance after only five hours.
• Sadly for Martingale bettors, a streak of ten consecutive losses is not such a rare event after all.