What is Progressive Betting?

Whether it’s sports betting or casino gaming, there are known methods to make sure that players can manage their gaming and bankroll. One of the more commonly used types of systems is known as a progressive betting system.

In this guide, we’ll cover the different kinds of progressive betting approaches, the common systems that you will find, and their advantages and disadvantages.

As is the case with any strategy, there are no guarantees. Progressive betting systems can be used to provide a structured approach to playing; however, they do not guarantee any outcomes, and they can be aggressive depending on the system you are using. Make sure to have a budget in place to help manage your betting before deciding on any systems.

What are Progressive Betting Systems?

Firstly, let’s clarify what progressive betting entails. When a player is at the table, for example, in roulette, they will have set themselves a bankroll that they begin with and an amount that they will stake first. Then, when they win or lose, they will raise or lower their bet. As this can be in either direction, there are two main categories of progressive systems. You can either use a positive system or a negative one.

Positive Systems

A positive betting system is one where a win will see a player increase their following stake, and a loss will result in a lower preceding wager. So, for example, if a player stakes £5 on their first bet and they win, they might increase to £7.50 for the following round.

Negative Systems

Now, a negative system is the exact opposite of a positive one. Instead of increasing the stake when winning, players employing this type will do so when they lose. So, a win would see them drop down to a lower stake - for example when a loss occurs, a stake might increase from £2.00 to £4.00.

Examples of Progressive Betting Methods

While progressive betting might not be the most difficult concept to wrap your head around, there is a wealth of different systems available that make use of this approach. These can vary in difficulty to implement, but even the most complex can be applied once understood. Due to their ease of use, there are a number of popular and famous systems that all kinds of players use within their game.


The martingale is one of the most popular methods that players might be familiar with and exists both as a progressive and a negative system. The original Martingale would be described as negative as it sees the player double their stake if they lose a hand or round of a game. If they win the one directly following, they will go straight back to their preceding stake. The martingale is considered to be one of the most aggressive systems, as it can lead to quick increases in your stake value.

A Reverse Martingale or Anti-Martingale is its opposite, positive version. In this case, instead of doubling the stake after a loss, a player would do so when they win a hand.


Unlike the Martingale, the Paroli system is purely based on positive progression. It is also a much more limited method, attempting to minimise losses but also limiting the maximum stake. Instead of being open-ended and allowing players to keep doubling their stake as long as they keep winning, this system only allows for two increases (or three wins) before the bettor returns to their initial stake. A loss also returns the player to their first bet. This helps to control the aggressive nature of the system.

So, if someone placed a £1 bet and it won, they would double it to £2. If it were to lose, they would return to placing a £1 stake. However, if it wins, they will double again to £4. A further win will be the last before they have to return to their smallest bet, and their final stake would be £8.

1-3-2-6 System

The name of this method makes this seem like the most complicated of the systems, and if you’re fully aware of it, it can be more complex than its counterparts. Here, the player follows an up-and-down approach to their stakes. Rather than simply progressing by doubling or increasing by a set amount, you have to follow the name’s strategy.

The easiest way to put this is, if you were to win four bets or hands in a row, you would stake £1, £3, £2, and £6. If a loss occurs at any point, they will have to go straight back to £1. This is another slightly conservative system and is more so than the Paroli, as it takes a step back part of the way through and caps out at 6 times the initial stake.

Advantages of Progressive Betting Methods

The major advantage of progressive betting systems is that they don’t require any in-depth knowledge of the games that you choose to play. Instead of being based around different aspects of gameplay, you just need to know that a win means increasing or decreasing your stake and a loss the same. Even the most difficult methods require little game knowledge to be employed; however, it is always better to have a good understanding of the game you are playing before making any bets.

Furthermore, these methods are made to keep players from chasing losses. Ultimately, a good strategy is about bankroll management. You should always avoid staking more than you can afford and have clear limits in place for playing. When playing at 21.co.uk, you can explore our full list of safer gambling tools to support your gameplay.

Disadvantages of Progressive Betting Methods

While a progressive strategy in betting can be good for avoiding chasing losses, it’s very possible that your stake could easily get out of hand. This is why progressive systems are often not recommended, especially if you do not have a budget in place.

As your stake could double a number of times, depending on your strategy, you even risk reaching the stake limit for your table. That will quickly put an end to your progressive strategy and approaches like Martingale will no longer work.

Take Time to Think | BeGambleAware.org | 18+

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