D’Alembert Sucked at Gambling, But His Betting System Rocks

D'Alembert On Left And A Baccarat Table on Right With D'Alembert System in Bottom Right Corner

The D’Alembert is one of the most famous betting systems. It provides a low-cost way to chase gambling losses and eventually end up with profits.

Jean-Baptiste le Rond d’Alembert (1717-1783) created this staking system. The Frenchman is forever known as a legendary mathematician and inventor, so it’s little surprise that he had the ability to create a popular betting strategy.

What is surprising, though, is that the brilliant D’Alembert absolutely sucked at gambling. He fell for one of the most common tricks in the gaming world.

I’ll discuss why he was such a bad gambler throughout the following post. I’ll also cover how, despite being a weak gambler, D’Alembert produced one of the most-effective betting systems.

What Is D’Alembert Known For?

Born in 1717, Jean-Baptiste le Rond d’Alembert was a jack of all trades. He recorded impressive feats in the fields of mathematics, music, physics, and philosophy.

In 1743, he mapped out his own laws of physics in Traité de dynamique. D’Alembert also served as the mathematics and science editor of France’s Encyclopédie. Additionally, he came up with the D’Alembert operator, which analyzes vibrating strings and continues to play a role in modern theoretical physics.

In Croix ou Pile, D’Alembert argued that if one side of a coin keeps turning up during coinflips, then the other side’s odds of winning improve. This faulty argument forms the foundation of his staking system.

Why Did He Suck at Gambling?

D’Alembert didn’t develop his betting system as a stroke of genius. Instead, he used it as a way to approve that trend betting works.

Trend betting (a.k.a. the gambler’s fallacy) refers to an idea that the odds of winning improve by betting with or against a trend. Most commonly, gamblers bet against a trend because they believe that the other side is due for a win.

Here’s an example of this concept:

  • Jean-Baptiste is playing baccarat.
  • He witnesses the banker hand win four consecutive rounds.
  • He bets on the player hand while thinking that it’s due to win.

When discounting ties, the banker hand (50.68% probability) and player hand (49.32%) have relatively equal chances of winning. These close probabilities make it presumable that one side can only win so often before the other side must win.

Closeup of a Baccarat Table

However, it’s easy to disprove this notion by spending just a few minutes studying gambling strategy. Simply put, the odds don’t change due to past results.

Referring to the baccarat example, the probabilities of the banker and player hands winning stay at 50.68% and 49.32%, respectively, no matter what. The banker could win 10 times in a row, and the odds still wouldn’t change.

Many gamblers are able to see through the gambler’s fallacy after a short amount of research. It’s strange that a genius like D’Alembert couldn’t do the same. I’m assuming that he lost quite a bit of money if he placed stock in trend betting.

How Does the D’Alembert Betting System Work?

You can see why Jean-Baptiste le Rond d’Alembert wasn’t such a great gambler. The system that he created stems from false beliefs.

Nevertheless, the D’Alembert is one of the best-available betting strategies. It relies on a simple premise of chasing losses without facing too much risk.

Here are the basic steps behind using the D’Alembert:

  1. You start out by placing the table’s minimum bet.
  2. Focus on even money-wagers because they have the highest odds of winning.
  3. You continue making the minimum wager until losing.
  4. Following a loss, you increase your next bet by one unit.
  5. You continue increasing wagers by one unit until winning.
  6. After a win, you revert back to the minimum stake again.

Here are a couple examples of this system in action. The first scenario shows a clean D’Alembert run, while the second one presents a more-realistic version of what happens:

Example #1

  • Your unit size is $5
  • Bet $5 and lose; losses at $5
  • Bet $10 and lose; losses at $15
  • Bet $15 and win; even
  • Bet $10 and win; winnings at $10
  • Bet $5 and win; winnings at $15

Example #2
Multi-Color Casino Chips

  • Bet $5 and win; winnings at $5
  • Bet $5 and lose; even
  • Bet $10 and lose; losses at $10
  • Bet $15 and lose; losses $25
  • Bet $20 and win; losses at $5
  • Bet $15 and lose; losses at $20
  • Bet $20 and win; even
  • Bet $15 and win; winnings at $15
  • Bet $10 and win; winnings at $25
  • Bet $5 and win; winnings at $30

Advantages of the D’Alembert System

This betting strategy holds a few advantages over the average system. Here’s a look at the main benefits that you’ll get from the D’Alembert.

Win Back Losses

Your main two goals when gambling are likely entertainment and winning. Regarding the latter, you may be happy as long as you leave the casino with a small profit.

Unfortunately, the casino holds a house edge in every game. They’re more likely to beat you when you’re just flat betting. The D’Alembert solves this problem to some extent.

It sees you go after losses in a controlled manner. You can win back losses faster than when just flat betting.

After all, you’re upping wagers by one unit after each loss. You’ll end most of these sequences by not only reclaiming the losses but also grinding out a small profit.

Low Volatility

Compared to many other systems, the D’Alembert is low on the volatility scale. It doesn’t force you to increase bets extremely high and is, thus, less risky.

Contrast this to another negative progression system: the Martingale. The latter forces you to double bets after each loss.

You’re going to either hit the table’s maximum limit or run out of money faster with the Martingale. If you don’t want to face this extreme risk, yet still feel like trying a system, then you can opt for the D’Alembert.

Less Chance of Hitting the Max Bet

Casinos realize that players can use negative progression systems to quickly earn back losses. That said, they institute maximum betting limits to hamper such betting strategies.

The average blackjack table, for example, has a $500 minimum wager. You can lose several times in a row before reaching this limit. But once you do hit the cap, you’ll no longer be able to carry out a system with complete effectiveness.

Aerial View of Casino Blackjack Tables

This is another area where the D’Alembert gains more value. It puts you at a lower risk of hitting the maximum betting limit during a losing streak.

Here’s a comparison between the D’Alembert and Martingale to show this effect:


  • Maximum wager is $500
  • Bet $5 and lose (first loss)
  • Bet $10 and lose (second loss)
  • Bet $20 and lose (third loss)
  • Bet $40 and lose (fourth loss)
  • Bet $80 and lose (fifth loss)
  • Bet $160 and lose (sixth loss)
  • Bet $320 and lose (seventh loss)
  • Next wager would be $500—$140 short of the next double-up ($640)


  • Maximum wager is $500
  • Bet $5 and lose (first loss)
  • Bet $10 and lose (second loss)
  • Bet $15 and lose (third loss)
  • Bet $20 and lose (fourth loss)
  • Bet $25 and lose (fifth loss)
  • Bet $30 and lose (sixth loss)
  • Bet $35 and lose (seventh loss)
  • Bet $40 and lose (eighth loss)
  • You’ve already surpassed the Martingale with a large cushion before hitting the max wager

Drawbacks of the D’Alembert System

While I like the D’Alembert, I don’t want to leave you with the impression that it’s totally perfect. Here are the drawbacks that you should keep in mind when using it.

Slow Grind

As mentioned earlier, low volatility is a virtue when it comes to betting systems. However, it can also make winning losses back as boring as watching the senior’s bowling circuit.

After the third straight loss, you’ll no longer be able to reclaim losses with a single bet. Instead, you’ll need multiple wins to get back to even.

I’ve ripped on the Martingale due to its high volatility and overall riskiness. But it’s certainly a more exciting gambling system when compared to the D’Alembert.

If you’re somebody who likes quick thrills, then you may not get this feeling when using the D’Alembert. The latter is basically a staking system for conservative bettors to try.

Takes Patience

Continuing off the last point, this gambling strategy isn’t for the impatient. Oftentimes, it puts you in seesaw series of 10 to 15 wagers.

Here’s an example of this happening:

  • Unit size is $1
  • Bet $1 and lose; losses at $1 (first wager)
  • Bet $2 and lose; losses at $3 (second wager)
  • Bet $3 and win; even (third wager)
  • Bet $2 and lose; losses at $2 (fourth wager)
  • Bet $3 and lose; losses at $5 (fifth wager)
  • Bet $4 and lose; losses at $9 (sixth wager)
  • Bet $5 and win; losses at $4 (seventh wager)
  • Bet $4 and loss; losses at $8 (eighth wager)
  • Bet $5 and loss; losses at $13 (ninth wager)
  • Bet $6 and win; losses at $7 (10th wager)
  • Bet $5 and win; losses at $2 (11th wager)
  • Bet $4 and lose; losses at $6 (12th wager)
  • You’ve gone through 12 bets and still aren’t close to getting back to one unit

You might still appreciate these long grinds if your embrace using systems. However, you could hate it if you like quick results instead.

Not Guaranteed to Bring Profits

No existing betting strategy will give you a long-term advantage over the house. The D’Alembert isn’t an exception to this rule.Hundred Dollar Bills

At times, you may feel like this staking system is in fallible. It will help you eek out small profits in many gambling sessions.

The problem, though, is that the D’Alembert doesn’t wipe out the house advantage. It merely manipulates short-term results.

The D’Alembert Is a Quality Betting Strategy Overall

After weighing the pros and cons, I still have to say that the D’Alembert is a worthwhile gambling system. It has several traits that make it attractive when compared to other betting strategies.

First off, it will help you reclaim losses time and time again. You only need 1-2 wins to eliminate a three- or four-round losing streak.

It also doesn’t come with the same volatility as the Martingale or most other negative progression systems, like the Labouchere and Fibonacci.

You’ll still win back losses and face less risk with this system. You’ll also hit the table’s betting limit less frequently.


D’Alembert may not have been the greatest gambler. In fact, he was no better than the many other people who’ve fallen for the gambler’s fallacy.

Even still, he was able to use his incredible math skills to hammer out a genius betting system. The D’Alembert staking system is no doubt one of his most notable inventions.

It provides a chance to go after losses without risking the farm. It even works a high percentage of the time too.

If you’re unsure about using a betting system, then I’d recommend this one to start with. It works quite frequently and doesn’t usually put your bankroll at risk.