If you don’t keep track of how many bets you place and what the value is, you’ll find it very difficult to know exactly how much you’ve won or lost in the long run.
The basic idea behind a progressive system is to alter your stake based on the outcome of your bet. Start with a basic stake and then increase or decrease accordingly. Exactly how much you change your bet depends on what system you use. Why should you use a progressive system? They’re seen to provide a structure to betting and therefore can help you work out expected long terms returns.
Here’s a breakdown of a basic progressive system:
|Positive Progression||Negative Progression|
|Increase stake when you win||Decrease stake when you win|
|Decrease bet when you lose||Increase bet when you lose|
These systems first became popular in casinos, particularly in games like Blackjack and Roulette where bets can be placed quickly. Though they can be applied to any wagers. Let’s look at a specific example of positive and negative progressions.
As you’ve already seen, positive progression systems utilise winning runs to build profits. And losses are kept to a minimum during losing streaks.
They’re fairly straightforward to understand and can appear logical. But be aware of the limitations: progression systems rely on streaks and probability. No system will give you an edge.
One of the simplest positive progression systems is the Paroli system. Here’s how it works: You set yourself a base stake and increase your bet by this amount every time the bet comes in. So in practice:
Or to think of it in casino terms, you bet 1mbtc on black in one of our live roulette games. If it lands on black, your next bet is 2mBTC. If you win three bets in a row, you go back to your original stake. And if you lose, so with our example if it lands on red or 0, you bet 1mBTC.
That’s all there is to it. The logic behind stopping after three wins is that it's not particularly uncommon to win three bets in a row.
If a positive progression is one that involves increasing your stake when your bet wins, a negative progression system increases your stake when you lose. This system can incur large losses as it relies on a losing streak coming to an end when a sufficiently large bet is placed to cover previous losses.
Take the Martingale theory. This negative progression system has its roots in eighteenth century roulette tables. And like all betting strategies, it sounds logical. Every time you lose a bet, double your stake. Every time you win, go back to your initial stake, so you always maximise your winnings. Sounds simple? That's because it is. It also requires a fairly large bankroll to cover yourself for the inevitable losses. Beginning with a 2mBTC stake on a roulette table, betting on evens, a run of 8 losing bets will mean staking 0.512 BTC. Your cumulative bets will already be over 1 bitcoin by this point. Following the Martingale system rigidly can quickly lead to huge losing bets. If it takes roughly 5 minutes to place bets, spin the wheel and winnings to be issued, you could be off the table within the hour with a much lighter wallet than you started with.
The theory is that you will eventually see a win no matter what the losing streak. However this relies on the idea that previous events somehow influence the future. To look back at the roulette example, in every new spin the ball is just as likely to land on red as it is every other time the wheel is spun.
Progressive systems, like other betting strategies, undoubtedly offer a semblance of structure to placing numerous bets. Though they rely on eventually breaking a streak at the right time. Some betting strategies, like the Kelly Criterion can provide effective bankroll management. However it’s important to recognise the limitations of any strategy and find the right one to work for you.