Popular Betting Systems Explained
Martingale or Labby Line? What Are They? What the heck is Oscars Grind?
In blackjack, roulette and sportsbetting, especially with a chase system (such as our favourite NHL betting system), two popular betting systems are the Martingale and the Labby (Labouchère) line. While they might seem similar, they are quite different. Let’s take a look at them both so you can decide which is the best style for you.
The Martingale is extremely popular because it is easy to understand and works fairly well. The problem is when it doesn’t work, the results can be disastrous. The premise of the Martingale betting system is simple. If your wager loses, you continuously double your bet until you either make a profit or go broke. Please note that we do not condone using a Martingale and do not take responsibility for losses incurred should you choose to use this system.
Your original bet is $100, to win $100
You lose so you bet $200 to win $200
if you lose you bet $400 to win $400
again, if you lose you bet $800 to win $800 etc…
This is because you have to take into account all of your progressions to that point. For instance, when you place a wager of $800, you have wagered $1700 (100 + 200 + 400 + 800) to that point. If you win, you win $1600 for a profit of $100 (1700 – 1600 = $100).
If playing the Martingale system, we highly recommend that you start with small wagers and take into consideration betting limits and your personal bankroll. Losses of 6, 7, 10+ in a row WILL happen, this is a reality.
Labby (Labouchère) System
The Labby line, or system is a bit different than the Martingale as it works on a cancellation basis. The Labby is popular because while it is still a chase, you mitigate your risk, as you are not doubling your bet each time.
For the labby system, you start with a 4 (or 6, 8, 10 etc) number line, and add together the first and last numbers in your line to create your bet.
Set a line at: $10-$10-$10-$10 so your base bet is $20 (10+10)
If you lose, add the bet to the end of the line… so the new line is
$10-$10-$10-$10-$20 so your base bet is $30 (10+20)
If you lose… $10-$10-$10-$10-$20-$30 (base 40)
If you win though, you knock off the first and last number to create the new line of:
x-$10-$10-$10-$20-x, then a new base of $30
If you win… x-x-$10-$10-x-x … your goal is to clear the line. Then, every couple of times you clear a line you can up your baseline. For example, to $15-$15-$15-$15 where your base bet starts at $30.
So as you can see it does take longer to build your profits, but with a deep bankroll, you don’t have to go risking crazy amounts of money to get back to your starting point.
The system you play really has a lot to do with your bankroll, your risk tolerance and the game you’re playing. We prefer a variation of a labby line, as a Martingale is just too risky when winning sports bettors can expect to lose ~44%+ of the time.
Oscar’s Grind is another of those popular betting systems used on even-money wagers at several casino games, most notably at roulette. Author Allan Wilson noted the system in his 1965 book, giving it the name Oscar’s Grind from a player he interviewed. The player’s name was Oscar and the ‘Grind’ system of play references the idea that the bets never get too high and the player simply grinds out a small win each day.
This is essentially the anti- Martingale. Here’s how it works (assume we are playing a 50/50 Roulette proposition):
The simplicity of Oscar’s Grind is that the wagers start at 1 unit and do not increase until there has been a loss and then a win.
It stays at 2 until a profit is made and the bet returns to 1, or it increases to 3 if there has been a succession of loses and then a win, and the streak is still in the negative.
The goal is to make a profit of 1 unit with each string of wagers. You may find that writing down each string is helpful and a good tool for reviewing the events later.
For example, let’s assume the table-stakes bankroll is 100 units.
Bet one unit and win: We are plus 1 unit and keep wagering 1 unit (This string actually is a winner and we start a new one)
Bet one unit and lose: Keep wagering 1 unit until there is a win. Then the wager is raised to 2 units. If there is a string of losses and then a win at 1 unit and the bet is raised to 2, and then another win at 2 but the string is still in the negative, the bet is now raised to 3. The same continues to 4 units and higher if there is still a loss on the string. If the entire 100 units are lost, the play is over. Ideally, a profit will be realized at some point and the string ends at +1. Then, a new string is started at 1 unit.
These are just a few popular betting systems and we hope that you have learned something. There are many others out there but these are some of the most popular betting systems that we have had the most success with.