Paroli Betting System
Sometimes called “Anti-Martingale” or “Reverse Martingale,” the Paroli Betting System is a form of positive betting progression, similar to the Parlay Betting System. Whereas Martingale advocates doubling up on a loss, Paroli requires the exact opposite—doubling the wager following a win. This tactic has been around since the 16th century when it was used in a popular Italian card game called “Basset.”
Positive progressive betting systems based on wins are generally thought to be more stable than negative progressions based on losses. They are not as dependent upon the size of the initial bankroll as is Martingale. Table limits are no imposition at all, and when losses do occur, they are gradual and far less spectacular.
Paroli Betting System Basic Play
To begin using the Paroli Betting System for Blackjack, the player wagers one unit. If the hand loses, one unit is wagered again. The player will continue wagering in this manner until a win occurs.
Following a win, the player will “double up”—increasing the size of the next wager by a factor of two. For example, if the winning bet was $5, then the subsequent wager should be increased to $10. If this bet loses, the player will go back to wagering one unit ($5).
However, if the doubled up bet wins, then the following wager should be doubled up again—in this case, to $20. If this wager loses, the player will return to betting one unit ($5). However, if it wins, the player has a decision to make—take the profits or continue the progression, doubling up again?
Most players limit their Paroli Betting series to three wins in a row, and then they return to wagering one unit. Some prefer to end the progression at four wins. The odds of winning on the next hand are roughly the same at any point during play, so there is no mathematical reason to discontinue doubling at three wins rather than four.
For this reason, the player should decide beforehand the minimum number of wins required before claiming the profits and restarting the progression. It is partly a matter of personal preference, but the decision may also be influenced any information gained during the course of play about the status of the deck—whether it currently favors the player or the house.
Applying the Paroli Betting System
The Paroli Betting System is best used with “even money” games, such as Baccarat, Roulette, or the Pass Line when playing Craps. Its application to Blackjack is much the same, but with a few wrinkles caused by the unique wagering options that are available and some of Blackjack’s special circumstances.
For example, the player may wish to treat “pushes” (ties or draws) as non-events, leaving whatever has been wagered and reclaimed as the next bet in the progression. Aggressive players may treat a push as a win, while conservative players may treat it as a loss. Again, this is a matter of personal preference and how rich/poor the deck may be at the time.
Similarly, when a natural blackjack (21 on two cards) occurs, paying 3-to-2, most players simply treat it as a win, pocket the extra winnings as a bonus, and continue the progression. More aggressive players may double up on the entire amount won. Conservative players may use any blackjack as a signal to end the progression and start over.
When the opportunity to double down occurs while betting a Paroli progression, the player can treat it as a “double win” if it succeeds. In other words, if after having doubled up once already on a win and wagering $10, the player catches a hand count of eleven and doubles down, the full amount wagered will be $20. If a decision has been taken to limit the series of wins to three, a successful double down will meet this criteria and a new progression can begin. If the double down loses, the series ends and the next bet would be $5.
Splitting is a bit more complicated. Of course, if both hands lose, the result is a loss and the progression starts anew. If both of the split hands win, it can be treated as a “double win,” the same as in the case of doubling down. If one hand wins and one loses, it can be treated as a push, and the same is true if both hands push. If one hand wins and one pushes, the result is the same as a win, but if one hand pushes and the other loses, the result is the same as a loss.
Finally, should the House Rules allow doubling down after splitting, the Paroli player must be prepared to abandon the system temporarily or else come up with a special strategy for the multitude of possibilities that can occur under such circumstances. Doubling up on multiple hands resulting from a hand that has already been doubled up twice can require a healthy bankroll, but the rewards are potentially quite lucrative.