How to Best Take Advantage of Winning (and Losing) Streaks in Blackjack

Blackjack Background Hand Clicking Mouse

Blackjack is one of the least volatile casino games because you have a 46.36% chance of winning any hand (not counting ties). Add in that you can double down and split hands in favorable situations, and you’re dealing with a near 50/50 proposition.

Nevertheless, blackjack can still be a streaky game. It’s not uncommon to win or lose 3-4 hands in a row.

Some players try to capitalize on winning streaks by increasing their bets, but they often use a randomized approach that involves betting whatever they feel like in the moment.

I’m going to discuss some different ways that you can take advantage of winning streaks through systematic approaches. I’ll also cover how you can turn losing streaks into profits.

But let’s first dive into what your chances are of experiencing both winning and losing streaks in blackjack.

Probabilities of Blackjack Winning and Losing Streaks

Most blackjack streaks last for 2 to 3 hands. This makes winning and losing runs that last for 4 or more hands an unlikely occurrence.

But, as the statistics show, you can never rule out anything in blackjack. The chances of a 9 hand winning streak are 0.1%, meaning this can happen 1 out of every 1,000 times in a nine hand stretch.

Here’s a look at the odds of both winning and losing streaks:

Length of StreakChances of Winning StreakChances of Losing Streak

The stats support why blackjack streaks often occur within 2 or 3 hands. Any winning or losing run after this has less than a 10% chance of happening.

Can You Really Win More Money Based on Blackjack Streaks?

Before we get started on the methods that you can use to take advantage of blackjack streaks, I want to discuss if it’s feasible to increase profits during winning runs.

Before blackjack strategy became more prevalent thanks to the internet, many players simply thought that blind luck governed winning and losing streaks.

But streaks aren’t the result of some mysterious force working for or against you. Instead, this is merely statistics at work.

Mathematicians will tell you that a systematic approach during streaks won’t help you win any more money than if you keep flat betting. But there are certain factors that can cause a winning or losing streak.

One example includes an imperfect shuffle, which leaves clumps of high and low cards. And more high cards (a.k.a. aces through jacks) improves your chances of getting a natural blackjack.

The only problem is that it’s nearly impossible to predict when the deck hasn’t been shuffled thoroughly enough.

Whether or not you can take advantage of blackjack streaks with precision is debatable. But what you can count on is building on your winnings during a hot streak.

Likewise, with the right strategy, you can actually earn profits after a losing streak. And this is exactly what I’m going to cover in the upcoming sections.

Taking Advantage of Blackjack Winning Streaks

A great way to capitalize on blackjack winning streaks is by using a positive progression system. Positive progression strategies involve increasing your bets during hot streaks so that you can win even more money.

The best thing about these systems is that they don’t put your bankroll in danger. Instead, a positive progression system only calls on you to increase bets when you’re already winning.

Of course, the downside is that you can also blow your earnings because you’re betting more, but many blackjack players are willing to take this risk if it means turning marginal winnings into a huge profit.

You and I will cover some of these positive progression systems below. I’ll also discuss how you can use winning streaks to camouflage your card counting efforts.

Paroli System

The Paroli system is one of the easiest positive progression strategies to use. You begin by determining a fixed betting unit.

Ideally, this amount will be worth 2% to 5% of your bankroll. For example, if your bankroll is worth $500, you can use a $10 betting unit.

The Paroli works by doubling your betting unit after every win. You then stop after three wins and return to the original stake.

Some players like going to 4-5 wins before returning to the original bet, but this is risky because we already covered that your chances of winning four straight hands are less than 10%.

Here’s an example on using the Paroli for a three win sequence:

  • You bet $10 and win.
  • You bet $20 and win.
  • You bet $40 and win.
  • You return to the original $10 bet.

The nice thing about the Paroli system is that you win more during hot streaks without being too risky. The trouble, though, is that you only have a 10.6% chance of winning a three hand sequence.

1 3 2 6 System

The 1 3 2 6 strategy isn’t as popular as the Paroli, but it’s still a simple positive progression strategy that can bring you big winnings.

This system begins with choosing a fixed betting unit. And just like with the Paroli, 2% to 5% of your bankroll is a good unit size.

Each number in the 1 3 2 6 system represents how many betting units you risk in the sequence. In other words, you bet one unit, followed by three units, two units, and six units.

You start a fresh sequence every time you lose a bet or win four straight wagers. Here’s an example of using this strategy:

  • Your betting unit is $10.
  • You bet $10 and win.
  • You bet $30 and win.
  • You bet $20 and win.
  • You bet $60 and win.
  • Return to a $10 bet.

The primary advantage of the 1 3 2 6 strategy is that you can book profits even if you don’t complete the sequence. The downside is that you’ll rarely win four blackjack hands in a row and reach the end of the betting string.

Reverse Labouchere

The reverse Labouchere system is one of the most complicated gambling strategies. But you should still be able to pick up this system within a few minutes.

The reverse Labouchere starts with creating a sequence of numbers. The numbers should add up to your desired profit for the betting string.

You then add the first and last number in the sequence to determine your next bet.

If you win the wager, you add the combined amount to the end of your sequence. After a loss, you cross off both numbers and continue to the next wager.

You start over with a new sequence whenever completing the number string. Here’s an example of using the reverse Labouchere:

  • Your sequence is: 1 2 4 5 4 = $16 profit.
  • Your first bet is $5 (1 + 4).
  • You win, and your new string becomes: 1 2 4 5 4 5.
  • Your next bet is $6 (1+ 5).
  • You lose, and your new sequence becomes: 2 4 5 4.

The drawback to this strategy is that it normally takes a while to complete your betting sequence. But the upside is that you can win solid profits after completing the number string.

One Half Increase

The one half increase system is aptly named, because you increase your betting unit by one half after a two-hand winning streak. You continue this half unit increase for every subsequent win.

You can see an example below:

  • Your unit size is $20.
  • You win a $20 bet.
  • You win a $20 bet.
  • Your next wager becomes $30.
  • You win the $30 bet.
  • Your next wager becomes $40.
  • You lose the $40 bet.
  • Return to the original $20 wager.

The one half increase is my favorite positive progression system, because it allows you to capitalize on win streaks without risking the majority of your profits.

Card Counting Cover

One of the biggest challenges in card counting is making sure that the casino doesn’t know you’re a counter. Trying to take advantage of winning streaks is a good way to accomplish this goal.

This is especially the case when it’s early in a shoe hands and there isn’t much deck penetration. If the dealer or pit boss notices you increasing bets at this point, they’ll think that you’re just a regular player who’s looking for more wins during a hot streak.

Let’s contrast this to a card counter who flat bets while winning 3-4 hands in a row. This becomes suspicious when you suddenly increase your bet by wide margins later in the shoe.

A good time to boost your bets during a winning streak is when the true count is at 0 or +1.

These are points when a normal card counter flat bets. But again, increasing your wagers at this point makes it look like you’re simply a progressive better.

Of course, you should avoid spreading your bets too high in these cases, because you don’t have a mathematical advantage. But wagering an extra unit can help you with camouflaging when you’re taking heat from the pit boss.

Taking Advantage of Blackjack Losing Streaks

Taking advantage of a losing streak sounds like an oxymoron. After all, how is it possible to gain any advantage from losing in blackjack?

But you actually can swing things in your favor with the right negative progression systems. A negative progression strategy calls on you to bet more when you’re losing.

This is extremely risky because you can pile up more losses during a cold streak. However, you can also win back all of your losses and book a profit when things go your way.

Below I’ll cover a few different negative progression systems along with how these strategies can camouflage card counting.


The Martingale is easy to use because the only requirement involves doubling bets after every loss.

You start off by wagering the table minimum. You double this amount every time you lose, and return to the table minimum after any win.

Here’s an example of the Martingale:

  • You bet $5 and lose (bankroll at -5).
  • You bet $10 and lose (bankroll at -15).
  • You bet $20 and lose (bankroll at -35).
  • You bet $40 and lose (bankroll at -75).
  • You bet $80 and lose (bankroll at -155).
  • You bet $160 and lose (bankroll at -315).
  • You bet $320 and win (bankroll at +5).

The upside is that this system actually gives you an advantage in theory. As long as you always win to end a losing streak, you’ll earn back your losses plus a small profit.

The major downside is that you can lose your entire bankroll during long losing runs. Another problem is that you’ll eventually hit the table betting limit if you lose enough hands.

This is why I suggest finding tables with a low minimum bet and generous max wager if you’re going to use the Martingale.

Oscar’s Grind

Oscar’s Grind is a fairly complicated strategy that involves increasing your bets following a losing streak.

You start out by choosing a unit size, such as $10 or $20. You then wager one unit until you run into a losing streak.

As soon as your losing streak ends, you increase your bet size by one unit. This continues until you’ve earned a one-unit profit.

At this point, you return to betting a single unit until the next losing streak occurs. Here’s an example of how Oscar’s Grind works:

  • You bet 1 unit ($10) and lose – Bet stays the same (bankroll at -1)
  • You bet 1 unit and lose – Bet stays the same (bankroll at -2)
  • You bet 1 unit and lose – Bet stays the same (bankroll at -3)
  • You bet 1 unit and lose – Bet stays the same (bankroll at -4)
  • You bet 1 unit and win – Next bet is 2 units (bankroll at -3)
  • You bet 2 units and lose – Bet stays the same (bankroll at -5)
  • You bet 2 units and lose – Bet stays the same (bankroll at -7)
  • You bet 2 units and win – Next bet is 3 units (bankroll at -5)
  • You bet 3 units and win – Bet stays the same (bankroll at -2).
  • You bet 3 units and win – Next bet is 1 unit (bankroll at +1).

My favorite thing about Oscar’s Grind is that you don’t have to risk much money after a losing streak. This allows you to win back your money in a more conservative manner.

The drawback is that some blackjack players won’t be happy with how slowly this system works.


Earlier I covered how the reverse Labouchere works, and the regular Labouchere has the same structure, only in a negative progression format.

This strategy begins by creating a number string that represents your bet amounts. The sequence can be however long you’d like, but I suggest keeping it to 5 to 8 numbers.

The next step is to make your first bet by combining the first and last numbers.

You cross both numbers off after a win and continue to the next wager. Following a loss, you add the combined bet to the end of the sequence.

Here’s an example of how the Labouchere works:

  • Your number sequence is: 1 4 6 3 4 7.
  • Your first bet is $8.
  • You lose, and your new string becomes: 1 4 6 3 4 7 8.
  • Your next bet is $9.
  • You win, and your new string becomes: 4 6 3 4 7.

The good thing about this system is that it’s less risky than the Martingale, but you still carry a fair amount of risk because it takes a while to complete each number string.

Card Counting Cover

Negative progression betting systems are another way that you can hide your card counting efforts.

When the true count is at 0 or +1, you increase your units to make it seem like you’re temporarily using a negative progression strategy.

And when the count is in your favor later in the shoe, it will merely appear that you’re using a positive progression system.

Negative progression strategies don’t work as well in camouflaging efforts. The reason why is because pit bosses may think it’s strange that you’re alternating between negative and positive systems.

But this is still better than increasing your bets later in the shoe during a very positive count, then flat betting at every other point.

Return to Minimum Bet

Another way to handle blackjack losing streaks involves returning to the table minimum.

This doesn’t help you to take advantage of losing runs like the systems covered above. But if you’ve been wagering above the table minimum, decreasing your bet will limit losses during a downswing.

The important thing to realize here is that no gambling system can overcome the blackjack house edge. This is why it’s so risky to increase wagers when you’re losing.

By making the minimum bet, you can ride out losing streaks and eventually start betting big again when you’re winning.


Betting more or less during streaks isn’t necessarily a foolproof way to beat blackjack, but betting strategies can at least help you take full advantage of winning and losing streaks.

This is especially the case during winning runs, where a positive progressive system really increases your profits. My favorite positive progression strategy is the one-half increase, but the Paroli, 1 3 2 6, and reverse Labouchere are also widely used.

Negative progression systems help you chase losses and eventually end up with a small profit, but you should be careful with these strategies because they add more risk to a losing situation.

Keep in mind that no betting system overcomes the blackjack house advantage. However, you can at least manipulate your short-term winnings and take advantage of winning/losing streaks with these strategies.

Petko Stoyanov
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About Petko Stoyanov
My name is Petko Stoyanov, and I've been a gambling writer for more than ten years. I guess that was the natural path for me since I've loved soccer and card games for as long as I can remember! I have a long and fairly successful history with English Premier League betting and online poker, but I follow many other sports. I watch all big European soccer leagues, basketball, football, and tennis regularly, and I keep an eye on snooker, volleyball, and major UFC events.