If you study betting systems long enough, you’ll discover that no such strategy overcomes the house edge. One way or another, they all eventually succumb to the house advantage.
It’s almost remarkable that no gambling system exists that can topple casinos. After all, famous mathematicians are behind some betting strategies.
Blaise Pascal, for example, invented the syringe and hydraulic press. But not even he could find a way around the casino’s edge.
Did betting system inventors like Pascal actually believe that they could beat the house? Or did they just set out to create new and inventive ways to gamble?
The following the guide discusses some of the most-famous betting systems and their inventors. It also covers the creators’ philosophies when developing their gambling strategies.
Who Are Some of the Famous Betting System Inventors?
Many betting strategies are available today. However, certain ones stand out due to their popularity and developers. Here are some of the most-notable gambling strategies in existence.
Jean le Rond d’Alembert invented the betting system that bears his name in the eighteenth century. The Frenchman developed this negative progression strategy as a way to slowly win back losses.
Like all of the systems covered here, the D’Alembert begins with placing the table’s minimum bet. You continue with the minimum wager so long as you’re winning.
Following a loss, however, you increase your bet by one unit. You keep increasing wagers by one unit after each consecutive loss.
Meanwhile, you’ll decrease bets by one unit following every win. You continue in this manner until reaching the minimum wager again.
Here’s an example on how the D’Alembert works:
- Unit size = $5
- Bet $5 and lose (-$5).
- Bet $10 and lose (-$15).
- Bet $15 and lose (-$30).
- Bet $20 and win (-$10).
- Bet $15 and win (+$5).
- Return to the minimum wager.
Politician and writer Henry Labouchère lays claim to one of the more-complicated betting systems . Nevertheless, most gamblers are able to quickly catch on after a brief explanation.
The Labouchere begins with you writing out a string of numbers. This sequence should add up to how many profits you wish to win.
You might, for example, seek $20 in a given sequence. In this case, you could create the following string:
- 3, 4, 5, 4, 4 = 20
To determine bets, you take the first and last number from the sequence. If this wager wins, then you’ll cross out both numbers and move on to the next bet. Assuming the wager loses, then you add it to the end of the string.
Here’s an example on putting the Labouchere into action:
- Sequence is 3, 4, 5, 4, 4.
- You bet $7 and win—new sequence is 4, 5, 4.
- You bet $8 and lose—new sequence is 4, 5, 4, 8.
- You bet $12 and win—new sequence is 5, 4.
- You bet $9 and win—sequence is completed ($20 profit).
This system is the only one on the list that wasn’t developed by a famous mind. English casino owner John Henry Martindale (not Martingale) created this betting strategy as a way to trick gamblers.
Martindale walked around his casino and encouraged players to double their bets after losses to win money back. Following a win, he’d advise them to return to the minimum wager.
Here’s an example on how the Martingale works:
- Bet $5 and lose (-$5).
- Bet $10 and lose (-$15).
- Bet $20 and lose (-$35).
- Bet $40 and win (+$5).
Developed by Blaise Pascal, this system is the opposite of the Martingale. Rather than doubling bets after losses, you double them following wins.
Of course, you want to bank winnings at some point. That’s why most Paroli users normally return to the minimum wager after winning three straight rounds.
Here’s an example on using the Paroli:
- Bet $5 and win (+$5).
- Bet $10 and win (+$15).
- Bet $20 and win (+$35).
- Return to the minimum wager.
What Were the Philosophies Behind These Gambling Systems?
D’Alembert, Labouchère, and Pascal all created their systems with the hopes of winning. They likely all put considerable effort into developing staking strategies that they hoped would win.
Labouchère (1831-1912) was a wealthy English aristocrat who bragged about losing £6,000 at the racetracks during his college years. He eventually began studying systems, including the D’Alembert, to improve his results.
This research led Labouchère to develop his own strategy. Despite not being a mathematician by trade, he created one of the more-complex systems.
D’Alembert (1717-1783) was great at mathematics, although he fell for the gambler’s fallacy. He incorrectly argued that if tails kept coming up in coin flips, then heads was more likely to come up the next time. Therefore, it’s probable that he falsely thought his gambling system could produce guaranteed profits.
Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) was instrumental in probability theory for gambling and other fields. He was ahead of his time in coming up with concepts like expected value, which many pro poker players and sports bettors use today. Given Pascal’s supreme command of gambling and math, he may have realized that the Paroli wasn’t guaranteed to work.
John D Martindale is an interesting contrast to the geniuses discussed above. He reportedly encouraged gamblers to use the Martingale in hopes of winning money back from them.
Of course, the Martingale can work effectively for long periods of time. It’s a great tool to use when chasing losses.
Like other gambling systems, though, it eventually fails in the long run. This is why Martindale was able to effectively encourage people to use his system without looking like a scam artist.
Why Don’t Betting Systems Actually Work?
Many gambling systems are good at generating short-term winnings. However, they don’t change the odds of whatever game they’re used on.
You’re supposed to use systems with even-money wagers, which provide the best chances of winning. Here’s a look at the probabilities behind different even-money bets:
- Baccarat – 50.68% chance of winning (minus 5% commission)
- Blackjack – 47.5% (not counting ties)
- Craps – 49.29% (pass line bet)
- European roulette – 48.65% (any even-money wager)
If you use the D’Alembert with European roulette, for example, then you still have a 48.65% chance of winning any given even-money wager.
The house, meanwhile, stands a 51.35% chance of winning. This probability doesn’t change just because you use a betting system.
Of course, you might go on a hot streak and convince yourself that a certain system is infallible. Sooner or later, though, you’re going to suffer a cold streak due to the house advantage.
Will There Be a Betting System That Overcomes the House Edge?
Some of the smartest mathematicians in history have developed gambling systems. None of them have created a betting strategy that’s guaranteed to work every time.
The Martingale has the most potential to deliver guaranteed profits. You’d theoretically always win with this system with infinite money. Of course, nobody has an unlimited supply of cash.
Even if you were this lucky, you also need to worry about table betting limits. Casinos instate maximum wagers to reduce the effectiveness of systems.
At most land-based and online casinos, you can only wager up to a maximum of $500 per round. You’ll eventually hit this limit when using a system like the Labouchere or D’Alembert.
Of course, certain forms of gambling are beatable with a proper strategy. Sports betting and Texas Hold’em are two such examples. You’re not going to use a simple betting system, though, and win guaranteed profits through fixed-odds casino games.
Each gambling system inventor covered here likely had different thoughts when creating their betting strategies.
Martindale knew that doubling bets after every loss can only work so long. Therefore, he pushed this system on to his casino patrons knowing that they’d eventually lose.
Labouchère turned his gambling hobby into a study of different betting systems. The result was a strategy of his own that’s still widely used today.
D’Alembert created a staking strategy that’s like a less-volatile version of the Martingale. Therefore, players with smaller bankrolls can use it without as much fear.
Pascal is credited with many inventive concepts in the gambling field. The Paroli system, although not foolproof, is just another one of his great ideas.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. …