Oscar’s Grind – The positive progression style of betting in Blackjack

Playing blackjack online can be great fun, and it can also be an opportunity to win a nice wad of cash. Many blackjack players just like to play casually, but if you are serious about earning big money from your blackjack playing, then you need an effective blackjack betting strategy. Here, we’ll discuss one of the more famous strategies: Oscar’s grind.

What is Oscars grind?

Oscar’s grind was invented, surprisingly enough, by a gambler called Oscar. It was actually invented originally to be used with craps, but it translates perfectly well to blackjack.

Oscar’s grind is designed to be deployed during either a winning streak or a losing streak, i.e. a part of the game where you either keep winning or keep losing over and over again. These are completely random events, so they’re impossible to predict; playing Oscars grind blackjack is itself a gamble!

How does Oscar’s grind work?

Oscar’s grind is what we call a positive progressive betting system. It’s essentially the opposite of the Martingale system; in the Martingale system, you increase your bet after you lose, whereas in the Oscar’s grind system, you return to your first bet after a loss, and bet twice as much after a win.

Start off by betting a small amount (we’ll call that small amount “a unit”, just for simplicity). If you win the first hand, then you restart the betting at a single unit, and pocket your single unit profit from the win.

If you lose the first hand, keep betting one unit until you win. If you win, but haven’t earned a net profit of one unit, then you carry on raising your bet by one unit for each hand until you have reached that profit level.

Remember: you only up the size of your bet if you are consistently winning (on a winning streak) and only if you still haven’t been able to pocket one unit of net profit yet. (Net profit is how much you have taken (gross profit) minus how much you have lost).

You don’t want to aim for an overall profit of more than one, e.g. if you bet 4 units and win the hand, and are then on 2 units, you would bet just 3 units so as to return you 1 unit in profit.

This is why the system is called a “grind”, because you are slowly grinding away at that profit, one unit at a time.

Upsides of Oscar’s grind

The Oscar’s grind strategy comes with a number of key advantages:

  • The probability of achieving some profit, even if it is only a small one, is quite high if you stick to the strategy and deploy it correctly
  • The number of wins that you need to make up for a losing streak is quite small, e.g. if you made 10 losses in a row you would only need four wins in a row to make up for that
  • Because of the gradual, “grinding” nature of the strategy, it takes a very long time for you to either run out of money or reach a table limit. Thus, it’s a very durable strategy, even if you encounter a lot of bad luck and high losses.

Downsides of Oscar’s grind

  • Because the profit gains from Oscar’s grind come very slowly and gradually, it requires a lot of patience and determination to stick to. If you are the impatient type, you might find your nerve severely tested by Oscar’s grind.
  • Equally, if you are a more experienced player who is using to getting big wins, you might find the returns from Oscar’s grind a bit lacklustre compared to your usual style of play.
  • Streaks are random and impossible to predict, meaning the system itself is a gamble that might not pay off in every instance. If you happen to have very bad luck, and don’t get any winning streaks, you will never be able to effectively deploy the strategy.

Grind away!

Despite a few shortcomings, Oscar’s grind is certainly an excellent strategy. Unlike the Martingale system, it’s a strategy that can be used over the long run. As always with Blackjack though, you need to set a strict limit to the amount you are willing to spend. Never chase your losses, and only keep gambling as long as you are enjoying yourself.