How Betting Systems Can Serve a Short-Term Purpose

Chips Stacks on Top and a Roulette Table on Bottom

Betting systems are well known by the savvy gamblers that have been around the block a time or two. These systems assure players will see instant profits by merely outmaneuvering the casino.

Unfortunately, almost exclusively, these systems are all style and have little substance. I’ve watched as hundreds of gamblers have sat down to a table with dreams of riches and went bankrupt faster than previously thought possible.

Today, I’m not here to bash the betting systems as altogether a waste of time and money. Some systems can benefit the player when used moderately.

Let’s examine how betting systems can serve a short-term purpose for casino gamblers.

The Differences Between a System and a Strategy

The primary difference between your average betting system and a proven strategy is that strategy reduces the casino’s advantage over players, and betting systems try to overcome that advantage.

It’s an essential distinction because strategies and systems are often overlapping. In some cases, players confuse a valuable technique for gaining an edge and a system to beat the house short term.

When you think of a betting system, consider something that will not work to give you a long-term advantage. However, the betting system can be a player’s best friend in a brief period.

But things can quickly go south and leave players wondering how their entire chip stack vanished so quickly.

How the Two Intertwine

The betting systems and casino strategies intertwine closely because many gamblers never understand the difference between the two.

As a novice gambler, it isn’t evident when trying to wade between potential opportunities for success. The vast majority of systems claim they have a strategy for anybody who wants to beat the casinos.

People Playing Poker Badly

Furthermore, they all incorporate a strategy for how you should bet to maximize your returns. So, players take notes of all the available information and assume they have a way to beat the casino now.

Yet, more veteran casino gamblers can quickly distinguish the fatal flaw in betting systems. Regardless of how hard you try, the house edge remains constant.

Never Expose Your Bankroll to Additional Liability

Before you ever walk into a casino, you need to understand the essential elements of bankroll management. How a gambler looks after their gambling bankroll will determine what measure of success they see in the future.

You should never bet more than one to three percent of your bankroll on a single wager. If a gambler begins betting more than that, the possibility of going bankrupt comes much quicker.

Never expose your bankroll to the point of becoming another casino statistic. Stick to that plan, and you’ll always have more success in the casino.

So, if you’re going to use a betting system to get some immediate wins, you need to have a bankroll that accommodates such heavy action.

How the Martingale Works and Why It’s Not as Good as It Sounds

The Martingale is a negative progression where the idea is to leave the casino with a profit by offsetting any losses. Let’s look at how the Martingale works, and then we’ll examine the glaring problems.

Here’s how a betting progression looks using the Martingale:

  • Player bets $10 and loses (-$10)
  • The player then bets $20 loses (-$30)
  • The player now bets $30 and wins ($0)
  • The player goes back to a $10 bet

The idea is to double your wager on even money bets until you win. As you can see above, the system looks like a fantastic way to never leave the casino as a loser.

Closeup of Blackjack Table

Unfortunately, more complex math and outside variables aren’t accounted for in the above scenario. The gamblers who try this system have two major obstacles in their way.

The first is that the system assumes you have an infinite bankroll, which probably isn’t the case. Secondly, the system completely ignores the table limits casinos put on games.

Let’s take a look at what happens when players hit a small losing streak using the Martingale:

  • Player bets $10 and loses (-$10)
  • Player bets $20 and loses (-$30)
  • Player bets $30 and loses (-$60)
  • Player bets $60 and loses (-$120)
  • Player bets $120 and loses (-$240)
  • The next bet of $240 loses (-$480)

After only six losses, the player is in the hole of nearly $500. If the player has any cash left in their bankroll, they are pushing the table limits. I’d also like to emphasize that a seven-round losing streak would cost the player almost $1,000 on an initial $10 bet.

That is the problem with using a betting system like the Martingale. However, if you can avoid losing streaks altogether, you can make money by snagging consecutive wins.

Betting Only on the Banker in Baccarat

One system that I see a lot of gamblers going after is at the baccarat table. Baccarat is a fun casino game because it’s entirely left up to chance.

Players make no decisions on the hand, and the house edge for the banker bet is only 1%. That makes baccarat one of the most player-friendly games in the entire casino.

The casinos will charge a small 5% commission on all winning banker bets, but that’s already factored into the house advantage. So, players get left with a game that won’t siphon money away from them too quickly.

You can make money short-term when you catch some winning streaks. However, the house edge never stops working against you. So, knowing when to get out is the key to success in betting the banker in baccarat.

Cancellation Systems Offer Similar Risks and Rewards to the Martingale

A few cancellation systems like the Labouchere system offer a slightly different twist on your standard Martingale. The Labouchere uses units desired to set forth a betting system that helps players achieve short-term goals.

The benefit of this betting system is that you aren’t constantly doubling down after losses. However, after suffering a string of losses, players may be forced to make significant wagers for several consecutive hands.

Hand Placing Poker Chips on Baccarat Table, Question Marks

Like other betting systems, it all comes down to short-term variance and not hitting a losing streak. In the end, players will lose spectacularly as the house edge creeps up on them.

Placing Even Money Wagers in Roulette Eliminates a Lot of Risks

Most of the players I see using betting systems play roulette and make even-money wagers. The idea is that these bets come as close as possible to being a coin flip, so you’ll be able to rack up consecutive wins for a profit.

The advantages of making even money wagers in roulette are certainly there. However, French Roulette gives players even more flexibility.

That’s thanks to a rule known as la partage, which pays back half of the wager on even money bets when the ball lands on zero. Using a betting system like the Martingale in French roulette still carries some risk, but you have better odds against the house.

The most prominent problem players face in this game is that you’ll seldom see it in a land-based casino. So, unless you’re playing online, you’ve got little hope of finding a French roulette game.

You Can Make Short-Term Profits Using Betting Systems

Unfortunately, using a betting system like the above won’t develop any long-term profits. The casinos’ advantage is insurmountable, and players need to diminish that completely before winning for an extended period.

Still, using a betting system will lead to more opportunities for players to walk out of the casino a winner than some other practices. The price you pay for that privilege is losing money faster than ever before when it goes wrong.

When You Focus on Fun, These Plans Can Work

If you’re in the casino to have fun, I always suggest taking the path that will help your bankroll stretch as far as possible. But some players feel the need to incorporate some scheme into their regular gambling.

Handing Out Money

The betting systems can provide a bit more excitement to your gambling adventure for those players. Yes, it’ll be a hard day in the casino if you blow through your bankroll with a losing streak. Thankfully, you’ll have a few sessions when things go perfectly, and you leave with a grin and a wad of cash.

Advantage Techniques Are Your Only Path to Success

If you genuinely want to become a successful gambler, you’ll need to learn advantage techniques. Skills like card counting can completely turn the edge against the casino.

Some players focus on sports betting or poker to get an advantage and make a profit. You can choose any of these activities as your area of expertise, but it’s more work than many gamblers are prepared to tackle.

In the long haul, you’ll always be better off by abandoning the notion that betting systems will make you money. Focus on proven advantage techniques that put the advantage on the player, and you’ll make money consistently.


Merely because you’ve learned how betting systems can serve a short-term purpose doesn’t mean they should be at the top of your to-do list. Many of the methods above carry significant risk and can quickly put your bankroll in a bind.

Stick to strategies where the house edge can be eliminated or greatly diminished. Then you’ll have a better shot of becoming a consistent winner instead of a repeated loser.