1-3-2-6 Betting System
Most betting systems that are not based on card counting are variations of some form of positive progression, and this one is no exception. The system known as the “1-3-2-6 betting system” derives from the Paroli betting pattern, whereby the player seeks to win four wagers in a row. It is most often applied to table games with even money odds, such as Roulette, Baccarat, and Craps. For Blackjack players, it can be a useful tool when a table is streaking, taking advantage of long series of winners and limiting losses on series of losers.
1-3-2-6 Betting System Basics
The player begins by wagering one unit. If the bet loses, one unit is wagered repeatedly until a win is achieved. Following the winning hand, a bet of three units is made. Again, if it loses, the player returns to betting one unit. But if it wins, the next wager is two units. A subsequent loss returns the wager to one unit, while a third winner in a row requires the next bet to be six units. This is the final bet in the progression—1, 3, 2, 6.
What happens in each case is quite straightforward. There are only five possibilities, including four ways in which the progression can end with a loss and one way it can end with a win. That may seem like a sure path to the poor house on the face of it, but adjustment of the wager on the third and fourth hands is what makes this system viable.
Outcome of the 1-3-2-6 Progression New Win/Loss (units)
Lose 1 -1
Win 1, Lose 3 -2
Win 1, Win 3, Lose 2 +2
Win 1, Win 3, Win 2, Lose 6 +/-0
Win 1, Win 3, Win 2, Win 6 +12
As the table shows, if the progression ends on the first or second hand, there is a small net loss. If it concludes on the third or fourth hand, there is either a net gain or the progression breaks even. The goal is to obtain sufficient winnings on the longer series of hands to cover the losses on the short ones and yield a profit over the long term.
Playing the 1-3-2-6 Betting System
The simplicity of the 1-3-2-6 betting system is its charm, but it is also its shortcoming when applied to Blackjack. Unlike Roulette or Baccarat, Blackjack is not strictly an even money game. A natural 21 pays 3-to-2, not 1-to-1. Also, insurance, splitting, and doubling down can complicate the wagering and must be taken into account by any one using this pattern of betting.
How to handle the occurrence of a natural blackjack is rather easy. Most players treat the extra income as separate from the progression and set it aside as a bonus. Similarly, insurance can be ignored and never taken or else paid for out of the blackjack bonus pool.
The risk increases two-fold when doubling down. Most players will end the progression and begin anew after winning a double down, but some prefer to treat the extra win as a bonus and continue the progression. A loss, however, ends the progression automatically, so to make up for the added expenses, some players will double their basic wager. This can quickly add up to large bets and is not advisable. Instead, the progression should begin again as normal, with the extra loss to be covered by anticipated extra winnings later on.
In much the same way, splitting needs to be treated as a special event, with additional winnings tucked away to cover potential extra loses later in the session. The temptation to chase after lost wagers on splits or double downs must be avoided if the progression is to have any possibility of success. It relies on unwavering commitment to the pattern.