Betting Progression: Positive vs. Negative

Gambling is just that — a gamble. However, there are still strategic ways to use your bankroll and place bets to maximize your chances of winning and give you an edge. Two of these often-used betting systems are progressive positive and negative bets, but which is better? We compare progressive & negative betting systems.


When it comes to betting strategy many new gamblers are often fresh out of ideas — and that’s where progressive and negative betting systems come into play. It’s not uncommon for newcomers to enter a blackjack table or game of online roulette without fully knowing what you’re doing.

Of course, one of the thrills of online betting is playing games you’ve never sampled before and potentially winning thousands of dollars by striking lucky. But the biggest tip any expert gambler will offer you is to make sure you have a strategy heading into a game.

There are literally thousands of betting strategies designed to master casinos, from top poker tips to the best way to win at craps. And while many of these strategies are focused on specific games, the progressive betting system is one that you can deploy on any bet – whether it be casino slots, table games, sportsbook or even bingo!

This guide will take you through the basics of the progressive betting system using roulette as an example and explain why players deploy the strategy when placing their bets. You will then be able to use it when playing in an online casino today!

What are Progressive Betting Systems?

Progressive betting systems is a term used for a gambling strategy that uses math to determine your next bet. The concept has been around for generations and provides gamblers with a template from which to place upcoming bets, in order to control how they play certain games.

Progressive betting systems can be used in all online casino games that you play against the house, whether they be online slots, roulette or even sports betting. The main principle of a progressive betting system is to start with a fixed pot and a fixed wager amount, and to follow a betting pattern depending on the outcome of your bets.

The opposite of progressive betting systems is a fixed betting system, where you simply place the same bet amount each time.

For this article and to make the math easier, we will assume all bets are $1 and focus on roulette. There are two core types of progressive betting system: positive and negative. We will detail the broad aspects of both types, although within them there are specialized betting systems from which you can craft your strategy in even greater detail.

The table below shows the core principle of progressive betting — you either increase or decrease your next wager, depending on the success of your previous bet.

Positive Progressive Betting Negative Progressive Betting
Increase bet amount when you win Decrease bet amount when you win
Decrease bet amount when you lose Increase bet amount when you lose


100% up to $400


Positive Progressive Betting Explained

Let’s take a look at positive progressive betting first. In positive progressive betting, the idea is to take advantage of wins by betting bigger next time, yet remaining conservative with defeats by betting smaller when you lose.

Take a roulette game for example. You have $10 and bet $1 on red, which wins. In the positive progressive betting system, you then bet $2 next time. Say that $2 bet on red wins and so you bet $4 on the same outcome for your third bet. Every time you win, you double your previous stake. In this system you are effectively re-betting your previous win, while leaving your balance untouched. Once you lose, you start to decrease your stake.

That really is as simple as positive progressive betting systems need to be. By re-betting only your last win, you are able to reserve your balance in preparation for losses. The question to then ask is ‘when do I stop?’

Many players will stop at a few successive wins, so they can ‘bank’ the winnings and start afresh with a bigger balance. Doing this means your pot can grow without ever risking it all in one bet.

The progressive betting system explained here is a general doubling method. However, there are some, more detailed, progressive betting systems such as Paroli, 1-3-2-6, and Contra d’Alambert. Of these, the Paroli system details how you stop your progression after three wins, bank what you’ve won, and start again. This way your balance acts as an index from which you will hopefully never fall under.

Negative Progression Betting Explained

The majority of conservative online casino players shy away from negative progressive betting because it is a much riskier venture and actually goes against natural logic. Remember, smart gamblers don’t ever risk the house on a single bet unless they are absolutely sure of it.

Those players who deploy the negative progressive betting system will increase their bets when they lose, and reduce them when they win. This may sound like a quick fix to recovering losses – and it is, so long as you win. The problem with all negative betting systems is what happens when you hit an inevitable losing streak, because then you will likely use up your reserves trying to chase a win.

What’s more, any winning streak in the negative betting system results in an increasingly lower return because you reduce your stake every time you bet.

We will again use the $1 bet on roulette for this example. Say you start with $20 but lose three roulette bets in a row. That’s $1 + $2 + $4 = $7 lost, leaving you with $13 remaining. You decide to go again and bet $8 on red. If this loses then you’ve almost totally wiped your reserves. Red wins and you claim $16 back, taking your balance to $21. That was a lot of risk to earn just $1.

What’s more, because you win your stake now drops to $4, meaning a win here would be half of your previous earnings and lead to another even smaller stake next time.

Eventually, if you hit a winning streak you’ll be betting ¢25 a spin, which is hardly worth the risk. That’s why negative betting systems tend to lead to little profits even if you’re lucky enough to win.

Some examples of negative progression betting systems include:

sneakers and arrows pointing towards positive and negative directions

Which one will you choose?

Positive & Negative Progressive Betting: Which is Better?

The answer? Positive betting systems are widely considered better than negative betting systems, and the fact there are so many different types of positive system only aids players who are looking to deploy a casino strategy.

But with both systems players must be aware that they rely on luck — yes, you can use a casino bonus or no deposit bonus. You can only depend on luck when you hit a roulette table or spin on slot machines. Systems make bet decisions easier and also help you reserve funds in case of a big losing streak. But in the end, it takes discipline and a strong understanding of each casino game’s rules to truly master gambling strategy.

Best Casino Games for Progressive Betting Systems

If you want to try your hand at progressive betting systems then roulette is the obvious first choice as you can bet on red/black or odd/even and test out your strategy with relative confidence. Roulette is a predictable game in that there are few surprises, bar the ball falling on 0 or 00.

Other reliable games for these types of strategies are slots and bingo. Both require only one bet per play, so you won’t end up in a situation where you’re raising, calling or doubling down.

If you want to learn blackjack strategy or video poker strategy then check out our guides today! These games require multiple bets in a single game, so progressive betting systems aren’t so useful for first-time players. Of course, you can decide to deploy a system to any casino game but for straightforward results, roulette is the king.

For all the latest info on which sites offer the best casino bonuses & more, check out our best online casino reviews.

Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller is a veteran casino writer with decades of experience writing online casino reviews and game guides. His betting strategy articles, and gambling news updates have been a fixture in the industry since 2004.

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