Playing the Streak - or Was that a Trend?

Streaks occur at craps all of the time.  Despite the fact that the odds of any streak continuing are only about 50% after each consecutive Pass or Don’t Pass, you’ll see streaks of 5, 10, or 15 Pass or Don’t Pass decisions from time to time.  If you were to record the results of 5000 games the end result would be approximately 2500 Pass and 2500 Don’t Pass decisions.  But in the short run anything can and will happen.  So what do you do?  Always bet the right side?  Always bet wrong?  Always bet the same as the last decision?  Always bet opposite of the last decision?  Any of these plays will work – when the streak is going your way.  The problem is sometimes the streak is “chop,” and that will dog will bite you just about every time.

When flat betting the Pass or Don’t Pass my preferred strategy is to bet the same as the last decision – with some caveats.  My initial bet on a new shooter will be based on my prior observation of his success with the dice.  If I’ve seen him toss a lot of sevens on the come out previously then I’ll play the Pass Line.  Conversely, if he’s sevened out every time he’s touched the dice I’ll probably play the Don’ts.  But once a player has established and made a point I will continue to follow the streak – betting the same as the last decision.  Of course, one of my favorite situations arises when we have four or five non-qualifying players lined up at the table.  Then I have an opportunity to play four or five consecutive Don’t bets – which can mean big bucks if played properly.

Once you’ve decided how you are going to structure your play, there are only three types of betting sequences you can employ with successive betting opportunities: flat betting, up-as-you-lose progression betting and, up-as-you-win progression betting.

Flat betting simply means that you will make the same bet on each successive wager of online casino gambling – win or lose. This method will result in the expected loss rate associated with the edge against the player for whatever game you are playing. To put it another way, flat betting decreases your variance and, thus, increases your chance of keeping the majority of your bankroll intact. To win a negative expectation game while using a flat bet strategy, you have to win the majority of the hands played.  That means you have to get lucky.

Progressive Betting comes in two basic approaches; “up-as-you-lose” and “up-as-you-win”.

The up-as-you-lose betting progressions are the ones you see most frequently.  The most famous of these is the Martingale, or “double-up” progression.  With each loss you double your bet size.  In a $10 game your progression would be $10, $20, $40, $80, $160, $320, $640, etc.  You increase the bet size after each loss.  If you like skinny dipping with piranha you may enjoy this type of play.  The strategy does allow you to win less than half of the decisions and still walk with a profit.  Profits are small – just one unit per series.  The problem arises when you hit the max bet for the table you’re playing on – usually at around the eighth step in the progression.  Then you’re faced with a huge loss – and no opportunity to place the next bet in the series due to the table limits.  Play the Martingale and you can expect to hit the table limit wall from time to time – with devastating results.

The Fibonacci is an up as you lose progressions some people call a slow Martingale.  With the Fibonacci, each bet is the sum of the two previous bets losing bets.  When you hit a win you make the same bet again, looking for consecutive wins.  Two wins in a row puts you ahead for the series, and you regress and begin the series again.  If you lose that second bet you continue with the progression from the point at which you lose.  A typical unit progression with the Fibonacci is 1 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 5 – 8 – 13 – 21 – 33 – 54 – 87.  A prolonged losing streak here gets expensive as well, which is why many “systems” based on the Fibo include “re-set” points with a higher initial bet and stop losses.  I’ve used the Fibonacci successfully on the Don’ts for years, and have also found it to be a solid progression to use on the Free Odds bet on the right side in a casino that offers up to 100X odds.  But my preferred flat bet strategies are “up as you win” plays.

The up as you win play I use most frequently is the Paroli – increasing my bets on a win – at least up to a certain level.  The Paroli is designed to cut off losses quickly, while ramping up on wins.  In its simplest form you begin with one unit. On each successive win you increase your bet by one unit.  On any loss you start the series over with a one-unit bet.   These types of progression take advantage of successive wins and allow for larger bets that come from previous winnings (instead of from your pocket).

The trick with any of these is to find a progression that works well with the game that you are playing, jives with your play personality and fits within your bankroll tolerance.  Betting systems are designed to beat the short-run volatility of the game and increase your odds of beating the house at craps or any other casino game on any given session.  Just be aware that anything can and will happen in the short run, and if things can go wrong they probably will.  Be prepared to get in, get up, and get gone.