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Best of Mark Pilarski

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Progressive betting and Texas Wipeout

25 April 2005

Dear Mark,
Could you please provide some information on the Five Level betting system? Paul G.

The Five Level Betting System is based on a cyclic progression: 1, 2, 3, and then 5 units, then back to 1 unit. For example, for a $2 player, the betting levels would be $2, $4, $6, $10, and then back to $2. After your initial $2 wager, you would progress to the next level after each winning hand. When you lose a hand, you return to your original $2 wager. Additionally, when you win four hands in a row, you automatically return to your original $2 wager, hence, the 1, 2, 3, 5, and then back to 1 progression.

The Five Level Progressive Betting System recognizes runs of luck, rewarding you when you experience a winning run, but not killing you when you are on a losing streak. For instance, say you lose your first four hands and then you win your next four. If you were betting an equal amount of $2 on each hand, you would be dead even after eight hands. But with a starting wager of $2 and using the Five Level Progressive Betting System, you would net $14.

My favorite progressive betting method, somewhat different in that you don't automatically return to a single unit after your fourth win, goes like this: You set a predetermined percentage increase to follow any winning bet, and pull in your horns after losses. For example; I increase the bet that follows any winning bet by roughly 50%: When the first $2 bet wins, my next bet is $3. If that wins I'm off on the plus-50% gallop: $5, $7, $10, $15, $22 etc, until I lose, and then I drop back to the table minimum, in this case, $2.

What I like best about any winning progressive method of betting, Paul, is that you can minimize your losses and usually protect your winnings.

Dear Mark,
In a recent Texas Hold'em tournament, I got knocked out with the following. It began when I caught a board pair that matched a card in my hand. So, I bet heavily into the pot to drive the draws out, and after a couple raises and re-raises, only one player remained. We both checked at the turn, so, figuring he hadn't caught, I went all in on the river. Lo and behold, the other player also had a matching card in his hand, eventually catching a full house on the final card. Your thoughts please on how I played the hand. Jeff H.

Yeah, Jeff, a matching pocket card to a pair on the flop can make the best of us giddy, yet I've got more trip suck-out stories than you would ever want to hear.

When a board pair matches a card in hand, almost every player I know bets into the pot in order to drive the others off. However, Jeff, if another player raises you after the flop, you better think "Oo oo" and mull over what your opponent might possibly have. You didn't describe your hand, but let's say you had an A-K, and the flop was A-A-7. You were then holding the highest possible trips and the highest achievable kicker. However, when the other player raised you after the flop, you should have figured him for the other rocket, or pocket sevens.

From the perspective of either hand, the race was on to see who would get the full house, and you didn't. You were simply outdrawn, or in poker gamblese, "sucked out." It happens. There's no vaccine.

Gambling quote of the week: "Nobody knows why one person is lucky and another unlucky." D. H. Lawrence, The Rocking Horse Winner (1926)

Recent Articles
Best of Mark Pilarski
Mark Pilarski

As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.
Mark Pilarski
As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.