Negative progression betting is when you bet more when you are losing, and less when you are winning.
Negative progression betting is when you bet more when you are losing, and less when you are winning.

There are countless roulette betting systems out there, and for some reason the majority of players who use them choose the negative-progression systems.

Negative progression simply means you bet more when you’re losing and less when you’re winning. The theory is that in a long-run trial of betting outcomes, the expected deviation from win-percentage will not be excessive, therefore by betting more when you´re losing you’ll fare pretty well.

So where´s the positivity?

Well, that depends on the outcome. Playing the negative slide will get you profits on almost every roulette session you undertake, but the one time you lose can wipe out your profits for hundreds of sessions—and then some.

Besides the negative bet-increases, the one thing all negative-progression betting systems have in common, even the ones with fancy French names invented by eighteenth-century French aristocrats who were more often degenerate gamblers than not, is that they change absolutely nothing in your chances of winning. They just redistribute when and how much you lose. They are no different than positive-progression systems as far as the odds governing your chances of winning on each spin.


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Let’s give it a shot

Say we want to go out and play roulette and earn $5 per day. Our bank roll is $5,000, which is the average maximum bet on high-end roulette tables across the world. A popular negative-progression for this is called the Martingale system, of course originating in the early days of Le Grand Casino in Monte Carlo.

Martingale calls for an original 1-unit bet, in our case $5, and to double that bet after every loss. Each time we win we’ll take down the $ 5 profit and return to the original $5 bet. Let’s simplify our bet to “red,” which on a European-style wheel with only one zero (0) has a 49% chance of winning.


The first thing you might notice is that every day we have almost a 50% chance of making our $5 on the first spin. When we lose, we have that same chance with the $10 called-for bet on the second spin, and if we lose that, we have the same chance with the $20 bet…then $40, then $80, then $160, then $320, then $640, then $1,280, then $2,560, then…

Guess what? We just ran out of chips!

Evaluating this, you can win $5 every single day for a year and a half, during which you never lost ten spins in a row. But the day always comes when you do lose ten spins in a row, and when it does you’re wiped out!

And if you have the terrible bad luck of losing those ten spins in a row during the first days, weeks, or even months of the trial, your bankroll is busted!

The Martingale is the most extreme of the negative betting systems, but they all more or less lead to the same plank. My advice is to play roulette with a positive-progression betting system that lets you take advantage of winning streaks, which do come just as the losing streaks do.

Imagine hitting ten “reds” in a row playing Martingale and winning a measly $50. But when you lose ten in a row with the double-up, you lose a whopping $2,560!

So go for the big win and protect against the big loss!

Editor's note: you can also find a handy list of roulette betting systems here, including positive progression strategies.

About The Author
Richard Marcus is a former professional casino player/cheater that is currently working as a casino security expert and gaming consultant in Las Vegas. He is also the author of several books related to the casino industry.



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