Blackjack Systems - And why they don't always work

A short search on the internet for "blackjack systems" or similar will reveal a plethora of results offering information on every conceivable blackjack system ever thought up, including the ever popular Martingale, Paroli and Hi Lo systems, how to evaluate them, which casinos to play at when putting them into practice and even those that promise "insider secrets" (for a fee of course) to help you win every hand. The latter seem to be the most common and supply "customer testimonials" that are simply unbelievable along with stats that are so vague but sound so good that they get you thinking that may there is a winning formula after all! You've seen the movie 21 and know that card counting works and so you get excited...soon you'll be rich!

Now before you go spending your hard earned money to buy the magic blackjack system that promises you the Midas touch of Blackjack, STOP... like most other blackjack systems, it's probably a scam and the system cannot work. Let's look at some of the popular systems and why they don't always work:

Card Counting

While extremely complex, card counting can and does work at land based casinos, you cannot however count cards at online casinos because most employ a continuous shuffler algorythm which means the "true count" vital to this method is lost which invalidates counting efforts.

There are also a variety of card counting "sub-systems" you may encounter like the Hi Lo count, Hi Opt I and II counts or KO count, again these are dependant on maintaining the "true count" so none of these will work when playing online.

Martingale Blackjack System

Although this is one of the most popular blackjack systems, it is exceptionally flawed. The theory is simple and states that when using basic blackjack strategy you should double your bet every time you lose because eventually you'll win and get your money plus a small profit back. Unfortunately though, most blackjack tables impose limits so when you get to the limit and lose again you'll have lost everything and won't be able to double any further. In addition to this, the system is based on losing an infinite number of bets and it's not unusual for blackjack players to lose 7 to 8 hands in a row at tables with a minimum bet of $5. Eventually everything adds up and you'll be betting alot of money in order to make $5! This means that you need to have quite a substantial bankroll and will probably lose most, if not all of it.

You may win a few times while using this method but in the long run if you keep tab of your results, you'll find that you lose more than you win because the house edge is always in play, no matter how good your basic blackjack strategy is.

The Paroli System

The Paroli strategy is opposite to that of the Martingale System and uses positive progression tactics (ie. if you win the first bet you then incresase the next one). Supporters of the Paroli system advocate that this system takes advantage of your winning streaks, and minimizes your losses during losing ones, and while this may sound good, long term statistics show that "streaks" do not exist in gambling, so if that is the case, how can this system take advantage of something that doesn't exist? Again, there is also the House Edge to consider which may be minimised while employing solid blackjack strategy but still exists even in the smallest form over the long term.

The 1-3-2-6 Betting System

This betting system is named after the progression of bets that comprise it, so as the name implies, the pattern followed by this system is: bet 1 unit, then 3 units, then 2 units followed by 6 units in a continuous cycle. While this system may seem to be filled with intrigue and carefully calculate patterns, it requires a player to win 4 consecutive hands to complete the system's betting cycle which seldom happens in a game of Blackjack.


There are a large number of other Blackjack systems available but when examined closely there is single line of truth for all and that is that with the exception of Card Counting which only works at land based casinos, all other systems have flaws to some degree and nothing is as effective in helping you maximise your winning potential than following solid basic Blackjack Strategy and these winning tips.