One Half Up Progression

A description of the One Half Up or 50% Betting System, with examples of basic play and how to win by applying the system as a wagering strategy.

One Half Up or 50% Betting System

There are two major schools of thought regarding progressive betting systems. One camp seeks to maximize profits while winning, while the other seeks to recover losses. The tactics they use are polar opposites, increasing the size of wagers when winning for the former and wagering more when losing for the latter. They are known, respectively, as positive and negative progressions.

The so-called “One Half Up” or “50%” Betting System is an example of a positive betting progression. It requires the wager to be increased by half of the original bet after winning a hand. Whenever a hand loses, wagering returns to whatever was bet initially. There are no sequences to memorize or extensive calculations to be made, which makes this a very attractive approach to wagering for Blackjack beginners.


On the face of it, One Half Up Betting is a very cautious approach to wagering. There are no big shifts in the amount wagered. In fact, it may not look much like progressive betting at all to outside observers. The wagers do not always become larger. They increase or decrease in relatively small increments.

The strategy behind One Half Up Betting is quite similar to that of flat betting: to play hands well enough to win more of them than are lost. The advantage here, however, is that the increases following wins will make winning streaks much more lucrative, while always betting the same small amount during losing streaks will minimize losses.

In some ways, One Half Up Betting also makes use of the theory that drives the Contra d’Alembert Betting System—i.e., the “Law of Equilibrium,” which postulates that when two events are equally likely to occur, they really do, in the long term, appear to occur equally. If the number of wins and losses is about the same, having wagered more on winning hands than on losing hands will result in a profit over the long term.

It should be noted that one useful variation of One Half Up Betting is to increase the wager by 50% only after two consecutive wins. This will stretch a bankroll even further during “bad shoes” without jeopardizing the opportunity to benefit from “good” ones.

Applying the System

Increasing a wager by 50% is easiest when the amount bet is always an even number of units. For this reason a bet of two units is preferable to a single unit as the starting point. In fact, four units would be better still and eight units would be optimum.

At a $5 table, this might mean thinking of a “unit” as $1 instead of $5 and betting $8 as the minimum. In practice, a $5 winning bet would require the next wager to be $7.50, which is technically possible, but not a common betting amount at all. By contrast, a four-hand winning streak starting at $8 would cause the next wager to be $8 + $4 = $12, then $12 + $6 = $18, and finally $18 + $9 = $27 before an odd number of units would be reached.

When using a betting progression to play Blackjack, the question usually arises of what to do about non-even-money situations—splitting pairs, doubling down, higher payouts for natural 21, and insurance. These do not have much of an affect on the One Half Up Betting. The wins can be treated either as “bonuses” separate fro the main wager or as part of the wager itself, in which case the next bet should include the addition of 50% of the extra amount won. Losses, of course, return the wagering to the initial level bet.

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