Classic Betting Strategies – Oscar’s Grind
According to legend, in the 1950’s a craps player named Oscar developed a progressive betting system for grinding out a small profit. And so, Oscar’s Grind was born. While the system yields only small profits, it has the nice feature of operating at low risk. You won’t win a gazillion dollars, but you won’t lose a fortune either.
Oscar’s Grind System will win one unit of profit per series of bets. To start playing you bet one unit. If you win, bet one unit again. When you lose, a series starts and you bet one unit a second time. Never increase the size of your bet after a loss, but every time you win increase your bet by one unit. However, any time if a bet would win and earn you more than one unit on the series, reduce your bet so that if it won, you would only win one unit. Although that sounds complicated, it’s not. Let’s take an example and see how easily it works.
Grab a pencil and paper and follow along with me. We’ll start with this series of wins and losses from my actual craps play (pass line bets only) at Caesar’s in Atlantic City. W, L, L, W, L, L, L, L, W, W, L, L, W, W, W, L, W, W. There are nine wins and nine losses, so this is not an unusual sequence. Using Oscar’s Grind we start by betting one unit and win, so we haven’t started a series yet. We bet one unit again. The bet loses, a series starts, and we bet one unit again. This bet loses, but our next bet of one unit wins, so we raise our bet to two units; it loses. The next three bets (each one two units) all lose, but the next two-unit bet wins so we bet three units, which also wins.
Let’s stop for a minute and see what our loss is so far for this series. Our results were: -1, -1, +1, -2, -2, -2, -2, +2, +3, which calculates to a net loss of four units. (I’m leaving out the very first bet we placed because a series didn’t begin until we got a loss.) Keep following along with me. Our next results are -4, -4, +4, +5 and now we have a loss of three units on the series. Our next bet calls for six units but if we won, our series would show more than one unit of profit; so we only bet four units. The bet wins.
This series is over. We won our one unit, and so we start a new series with a bet of one unit. It loses, but the next two bets of one unit both win. Notice I can’t bet two units after the first win because that would win me two units for the series, so I only bet one unit. Overall we show a win of two series, which works out to two units of profit, and we also won a unit for the very first bet before a series started. Three total. It’s not much, but it’s better than losing. Also notice that flat betting of nine wins and nine losses nets us exactly zero.
When using Oscar’s Grind be sure to record your bets and results on a piece of paper so you don’t lose track of what you are doing. Even if you go to a land-based casino, don’t be intimidated, take a pencil and paper with you and write everything down. You must stay with the system once you start; set limits for the amount you want to win, and the amount you are willing to lose. Once set, stick to those limits.
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Joseph Starr (pen name) completed his formal education when he earned a Ph.D. in Finance and Accounting. He taught business, economics, and computer subjects at the college level for thirty years and is now retired. Visit his website to read about popular gambler’s aids to help you win at the casinos.