Betting Progressions – Martingale vs Paroli

There are a great many players out there who sit down at the craps table or the roulette wheels, and soon find that they may want to either raise or lower their bet. However, one major issue involved is that there are a lot of these players that aren’t sure when they should change their bet, or even what they should change it to. Safe to say that this casino question poses quite the conundrum. Online casino games can be fast-paced and overwhelming for people, and players might find themselves unable to decide quickly enough, meaning that they do nothing at all. Other players at the table, however, will seem to be raising their bets and raking in the winnings.


Now, this may come as a shock to you, but there are also plenty of players out there who don’t base their bets on the other people around them. It’s perfectly fine to bet what you want and walk away when you’re done – whether you feel luck has turned against you, or even if you simply want to do something else or call it a night. You don’t have to play every game that comes your way, and you don’t have to play using the same strategies that everyone else seems to be using. Trust us when we say this though, not everything is always as it seems when it comes to casino play.

That said, there are strategies and methods for raising a bet after a winning streak. They’ve been used time and again by many players who swear by them. Since these methods have stuck around for such a long time, you may find it beneficial to learn about them, especially if you find that they may work for you.

Before diving in, please make sure to note that the casino always has a house edge, on every single bet that every single player makes. There are no foolproof winning strategies in roulette or craps. Viewing your winnings as “money belonging to the casino” instead of your own can be a very expensive mistake to make.

Negative and Positive Progressive Betting Methods

There are two main categories that all progressive betting methods fall under – positive betting methods and negative betting methods. The names alone should be self-explanatory, but for novices out there here’s a little extra information. A positive method is when you increase your bet with every win that you land in order to bring even more money in. Negative methods, on the other hand, are when you increase your bet with every loss so that you can break even and mitigate losses. They both have pros and cons, and they have both been used to shake off a bad run or take advantage of a hot streak.

When it comes to progressive betting methods and before we jump into the good stuff, there is something that we need to address once and for all. Some people might tell you that the idea of progressive betting is “new” and “revolutionary”, don’t fall into the trap. Many a super-hyped betting strategy “creator” will tell you this, but there is absolutely no truth to it. Positive and negative betting strategies have been around for a long time, with there being plenty of evidence to back that up.

We said it before and we’ll say it again, there are no “guaranteed ways to win” either, the house edge is always in play even when you use a progressive betting method and it can certainly hit you hard if you don’t know what you’re doing.

With that out of the way, let’s look at the two biggest progressive betting methods in the world, shall we?

The Martingale is the Most Famous Negative Betting Method

Arguably the most famous betting method across casinos worldwide, the negative betting method, the Martingale, has been the subject of many articles, chapters, books, and discussions for literal decades. Ultimately, the majority of the response by gambler writers has been criticism. The reality is that, while not perfect, some of this criticism is actually a little bit unfair.

The Martingale is based on the idea that all losing streaks will end eventually, and when it does, you can break even or even win big with one single win. Being a negative betting method, this requires you to double your bet with every loss. The theory behind the Martingale is sound, but the problem appears when the increasing of bets becomes so steep that it breaks the budget. The fear, and sometimes reality, is that it can wipe out a bankroll, as you keep throwing money at the table in order to chase losses.

For example, if you were to experience a $10 loss, you would double your bet and increase it to $20. Another loss becomes $40, and yet another becomes $80, which then jumps with every loss to $160, then $320, then $640. At this point you have to hope that you get a win – the majority of casinos won’t let you raise a starting wager of $10 to over $1000. This caps your potential to win back losses and pretty much sees you to the casino door with a balance in the red.

The total loss for this example would be staggering for someone who started with a $10 wager. If you should win on any of the bets above, the only profit you actually get is that first $10, so you’re risking a large amount for a $10 win. It shows just how risk strong this strategy is and proves that it isn’t for the faint of heart.

What we’ve mentioned above is the major issue with the Martingale method. The house limits what you can bet, so you can only suffer around seven or eight losses with the Martingale before the casino’s maximum bet amount ends the game for you. If it were possible to use the Martingale for an unlimited amount of increases, and happened to be blessed with a large enough bankroll to back your game, then yes, you would have to win only one to get your losses back.  (And yes, there is a very minuscule chance that you can lose a billion games in a row, but it is much more likely that you would be dead by then. What matters here is that you can see the most common outcome of the negative progression, and note that it’s not a happy ending.)

There are a large number of players new to casinos games that believe they’ve invented the Martingale or a similar negative progression. Progressions such as these do have a logic to them that can’t be denied. Novices will find that they do well for a few games, or even for a few days, and then they will lose a long line of bets, suffering a loss of everything they’ve won so far. Learn your lesson from those of us who have tried this method, and avoid it unless you have a giant bankroll behind and are willing to start betting small to stretch it as far as possible.

The Many Martingale System Variations

There are plenty of variations on the Martingale betting method out there. To be honest, a large amount of them are even more risky than the original method, which is saying something considering the example above and its many pitfalls.

The Grand Martingale takes the original a step further. With every loss in a game, you increase your wager by even more than a double. It’s true that you receive a bigger profit if you should land a win, but you’re also risking the loss of the same amount of money, just much quicker. For example, a Grand Martingale sequence may look like $10, then $25, then $60, then $150, then $350, then up to $800, until you hit the house limit. Take the Big Shot Martingale is even more money, going from $10 to $1000 in only five steps, where you then hit the limit and stare down a pretty hefty loss.

There are also limited versions, known as mini-Martingales, where you can go from $10 to $20 to $40, and then quit betting. After you reach the third step you drop to $10 with the hopes that you’ll land a winning streak to catch up your losses. The mini-Martingale systems are a little more forgiving on the bankroll, but still require to have a big appetite for risk – it’s just the nature of the beast with this betting strategy.

Is it Worth Trying?

Should you try the Martingale? Probably not, unless you like a big risk factor attached to every wager to place. Basically, all the Martingale can offer is a small win and the chance that you’ll get this small win over and over until you run the gauntlet of bet increases. Next time you’re there, take a stroll around the casino and look at the various scores. By just watching for a couple of hours, you’ll see the beginnings and devastating endings of Martingale players and their losing streaks. Ultimately, the Martingale is just not worth the risk of the losses you’ll actually suffer.

It doesn’t matter what proposition that you bet on, you can even start out with a losing streak on the very first round of bets, not winning at all before you hit the limit. For those brave enough to attempt the Martingale, please take this one piece of advice: betting on an inside number at the roulette wheels or a proposition bet in a game of craps will only end in tears.

Positive Progression Betting Methods

With the warnings of negative progressions like the Martingale betting method out of the way, let’s talk about positive progression methods. If you’re looking to really take advantage of a winning streak, then positive progressions are going to be far more friendly to you – you’re welcome. This is because you’re using a win to advance your bet, not a loss, so the losses that you do hit won’t be so steep if you’re smart about it. This way of play is driven by positivity and there certainly isn’t anything wrong with that.

The most well-known and commonly-used positive progression method is the Paroli system (also known as the parley). There are different ideas of who the “Paroli” that the system is named for really was – it’s unknown if Paroli was a man, a woman, an object, and animal, or anything else. This system has existed for centuries, so the answer may just be lost to time. That being said, this has dampened the power and legacy of the Paroli system and its influence on the whole gambling world.

The Paroli system works by a set of three doubles on wins. You bet $10, and win, so you increase it to $20. Win again, you increase to $40. Then, you drop back to $10 for a winning total of $70. If you should win the third bet of $40, you can even place a fourth for $80. Every step that you go is riskier than the last, as you may just wipe out all the previous wins in the sequence. However, being wiped out in the Paroli system is nothing like the crushing losses the Martingale or its variations can cause.

When you hit rock bottom with the Paroli system, it’s like being set back to zero. Instead of facing an uphill climb, you simply have pay back into your bankroll and start again.

A Little Bit More About the Paroli System

Many players that enjoy using the parley system only want to increase once – following the previous example, from $10 to $20 – and then drop back down to the initial bet. This is a common “variation” of the Paroli, which is flexible for those with varying budgets. At roulette, you’ll find it with even-money or two-to-one proposition bets. If you prefer craps, you’ll notice it being used on bets such as the Pass Line or six and eight Place bets. It’s safe to say that the Paroli betting system is pretty flexible, with it being adaptable to many different types of casino game, including land-based, and even live casino online.

You can even lengthen the Paroli as far as you’re willing to go, as long as the wins keep coming. An aggressive Paroli means that you don’t drop down to the initial wager, so if you win the first $10 and raise to $20, if you lose you stay at $20, then raise to $30 when you win at the $20. The advantage to the Paroli is that the losses won’t approach anywhere near any negative progression system. You can have great luck through the sequence of wins only to lose all of them, but your losses aren’t likely to number in the $1000-range.

Paroli is a betting strategy that’s driven by the power of positivity, and that’s not just a quick turn of phrase. There is something behind this system and its power to protect the player, instead of leaving them staring risk in the face at every turn. Adaptable and far less exposed, it’s easy to see why players are turning to it, especially those that aren’t quite willing to risk it all at the casino tables of the world.

What About Changing the Bet Level?

One betting system that many find interesting is a system where you lower your betting level during losing streaks. If someone is, for example, a roulette player that plays with $30 who has reached losses up to $300, or wherever you are uncomfortable reaching, you can drop your bet level to $15 in an effort to last through the losing streak. This system works with even money bets, or two-to-one propositions. By halving your bet, you double the number of total bets you can make, and if you start gaining your lost money back, you can then raise your bet back to $30.

Looking at how this system can be adapted on a game by game basis, roulette players who bet inside may also find this system to be beneficial to them. The inside game has noticeably higher stakes – even just landing one inside number as a win can make up a lot of what you may have lost. It’s important to be careful about your bets here. Craps players will want to give this system a shot with Place bets – other bets are very low anyway, so reducing them just isn’t worthwhile. Whichever way you twist the Paroli system, odds are you’ll find a way to make it work no matter your game of choice.

Okay, What’s the Better Option?

You are looking at two very different betting strategies here, while both have pros and cons like we’ve established. The real truth is that most players are going to get a lot more out of the Paroli, this is especially true for casual players. It’s basis in positive play stands for a lot, as it eliminates the potential of incurring deep losses, something that’s very favorable for novice players. When players take up the Paroli system, they’re in pretty safe hands, even it’s not exactly a thrill a minute way to play.

Then we have the Martingale strategy, we aren’t going to say that this system is all bad, because it’s not, but its drawbacks are pretty big. Yes, it’s famous, yes, it’s routinely talked about, but maybe that’s because of its ties to gambling legends rather than its proven track record. For new players, this strategy can deliver devastating results if not executed properly. Variations on the Martingale are more favorable, but you can’t get away from the fact that you need deep pockets and the steel to incur a potential string of losses in order to have any kind of success when using it. Pros should take a look at, but anyone else should do their best to steer clear.

The Choice is Yours – Risk vs Reward

The bottom line here is that we recommend you avoid negative betting progressions. If you want to play long games, spending a lot of time at the tables, negative progressions are much too risky. Some very pro gamblers like to take a chance with a Martingale, but even then, we don’t advise it. If you’re looking for consistent wins, your best shot is with positive progressions. That said, remember the casino always has a house edge, and any money you win is yours, not the casino’s, and you should play with it as such.

What it really comes down to is a personal choice. Negative progressions, positive progressions – we know what we would do, but you have to come to a conclusion for yourself.  Best of luck both in the casino and out of it – no matter what betting strategy you end up using!