If you are into gambling, we have no doubt that you have heard about betting systems. Their proponents claim they are the secret to success in gambling, and if you only buy this betting system or that, you're a sure winner.
But what exactly are betting systems, and do they really work?
Betting Systems Defined
A betting system is a method of adjusting the size of your bets during a series of games or hands, in a way that would supposedly let you win more money. Many betting systems exist, and each one is hailed by its inventor (or whoever is selling/reselling it) to be the best one.
Examples of Betting Systems
Some betting systems are based on your win-loss record during a current gambling session. A "negative progression system" such as the infamous Martingale Betting System requires the gambler the bet more money when they lose, and less when they win. If you bet $1 and you lose, you bet $2 in the next game. If you win, you get back what you lost before (break even); if you lose, you double you bet again to $4 and so on.
The goal of the Martingale system is to win back what you lost by betting more each time. The flaw of this system is twofold: first, it needs a very large bankroll to be practicable; second, gambling games today all have a limit on how much you can wager. This makes this system useless.
Another type of betting system is a "positive progression system" in which the gambler bets less when they lose and more when they win. This is safer than the previous one. When you win money from the casino, you are essentially betting it right out again. You bet more money, but some of it isn't yours.
A betting system can also follow a specific pattern such as 1-2-3-4-3-2-1. (Bet 1 unit, then 2 units, then 3 and so on.) You can make up your own based on numbers you like or think are lucky.
The Truth about Betting Systems
One thing is for sure about betting systems which you need to understand: No matter what system it may be, it does not change the odds of the game! If the house edge is 4% without betting systems, it will still be 4% even if you use a system. Betting systems only let you manage your bets; whether or not you win your bets is another matter.
Unfortunately, many systems are based on the premise that the outcome of the next game can somehow be predicted based on past results. For example, a system may tell you to step up your wager if you lose three times in a row. This is dubious because it assumes you are more likely to win simply because you lost three times already. That is not true. Gambling games don't keep track of what happens before, so a win or loss in one game can not influence the result of the next one.
The reality is no betting system can make you a guaranteed winner. If it could, those people selling these systems would be in the casinos making millions instead of selling ebooks in niche web sites. A really successful gambler would spend their time gambling, not lecturing about their supposed secrets.