Oscar’s Grind, Whittacker Progression & Hollandish Strategy

There are dozens upon dozens of strategies designed to overcome the casino’s advantage in roulette. While we’ve covered the most popular betting systems such as the Martingale, D’Alembert and Labouchere, there are some lesser-known methods that may be worthy of consideration.

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Oscar’s Grind

This strategy is relatively new in roulette terms. While many other betting methods have roots in centuries-old mathematical theory, Oscar’s Grind was first described in the mid-1960s. As the name suggests, this approach is not for those looking to make a quick buck, but rather the kind of gambler who is happy to spend hours at the table in pursuit of small, regular wins.

Oscar’s Grind is designed for even-money bets (red/black, evens/odds, 1-18/19-36), and has four simple rules:

  • Starting with one unit, and keep betting the same amount until you win.
  • After a win, increase your bet by one unit and repeat the process. This makes it a positive progression, as the bet size increases after wins, whereas most popular systems (such as the Martingale) are negative progressions where wagers go up after losses.
  • A system is complete when you make a one unit profit. Then you can return to the beginning of the cycle.
  • The final, most important, and overriding rule, is to never bet more than is required to win one unit. Sometimes after a win, the amount instructed to bet could make you win more than one unit. In this scenario, your bet could in fact stay the same, (or even decreases) after a win, so as to make sure you only profit one unit.

Here is an example where the final, overriding rule comes in to play: We start with $5 (one unit) and lose, bet $5 again and lose, bet $5 again and win. We are down $5. We now bet $10 (two units) and lose, then bet $10 again and win. We are still down $5. The rules state we should now increase our bet to $15 (three units), but if we were to do that and win, we would profit $10 (two units) and we only want to profit $5 (one unit). So thus, the final rules comes in to play and we are forced to keep our next bet at $10. Win that, and we are up $5. Perfect.

This strategy is suited to patient, cautious players who cannot afford (or just wish to avoid) big losses. What is usually implemented in the Oscar Grind system is a maximum betting unit of four (a four-stage method), so there is no chance of winding up with dangerously large wagers and running up against the betting limit – a common problem with some negative progressions like the Martingale and the Fibonacci. If we were to reach a stage where we were betting four units and won, we would then be betting five units (if a win didn’t net us a return of more than one unit), and technically, we could just keep going. So by rule of thumb, if we do get to four units and win, we should stay at four units.

The downside to Oscar’s Grind is that there is no potential advantage to a losing streak and a run of bad luck will see you haemorrhage money. Thus, it is important to define your maximum allowable deficit (or ‘stop loss’) before you start playing – otherwise there is a chance you could lose your entire bankroll, one unit at a time.

Whittacker System

The Whittacker is another system developed for use with 50-50 outside bets in roulette. It is closely related to the Fibonacci strategy, in that it uses the exact same method to determine the sequence of numbers.

For those who are not clued up on 13th-century Italian arithmetic, each number in the Fibonacci sequence is the sum of two that came before it. So, starting at one, the pattern goes: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, etcetera. When applied as a roulette strategy, these numbers represent the amount of units wagered.

The Whittacker progression is essentially a hybrid of the Fibonacci and Labouchere methods. The pattern of bets is identical to the Fibonacci – when you lose, the sum of your last two unsuccessful wagers equals the amount of the next bet, and you go back two numbers when you win. For example: if we start at $1 and lose twice, the next bet is $2. If that loses, the next bet is $3. If that wins, we return to $1.

But while the Fibonacci can stretch to infinity and beyond (betting limits aside), the Whittacker usually asks players to stop at a predetermined point in the sequence. Like the Labouchere, you write out (or memorise) the exact numbers you will use beforehand – so if we only wanted a short, low-risk set, we might jot down 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8.

There are a few different takes on what happens after a successful bet. A common approach is to cancel out the last two numbers in the sequence until there are none left, at which point the system is complete. For example: if our selection is 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, after the first win we would cross off 13 and 21. After the next win, we would eliminate 5 and 8.

The benefit in using the Whittacker strategy over the standard Fibonacci is that limiting the length of the progression means you can only lose a certain amount – especially if you decide to use the highest number as a stop loss in case of a bad streak.

Hollandish Strategy

This method shares some similarities with Oscar’s Grind, in that you return to the start of the progression once you achieve a profit. However, the betting patterns are rather unique and allow for larger returns.

In the Hollandish strategy, winning bets increase in two-unit increments. So if we start at $1, the sequence would be $1, $3, $5, $7, $9, and so on. While in most systems the wager changes value after each spin, here you have three bets during each stage. If you are down overall at the end of stage one, you move up to the next wager; and if your bankroll is in the plus, you return to the beginning.

For example: we start at $1 and go loss, loss, win, leaving us $1 down, and thus moving on to the next stage. At the $3 step we have three losses, putting us $10 down. At $5, we lose two and win one, which makes it $15 down. At the $7 stage we win all three spins to go $6 up, after which we start again at the first $1 step.

Like Oscar’s Grind, the main advantage of this system is that the slow betting progression significantly dampens the risk of blowing your bankroll and running into the maximum. Another positive is that it doesn’t require as many wins as losses to turn a profit – in the above example, for instance, we went up $6 with seven losses and only five wins.

Still, the Hollandish strategy suffers from the same problem as all betting systems in roulette: a losing streak will ruin you. The house always has the edge, and there is no strategy on the planet that can overcome rotten bad luck. So decide on a stop loss and stick to it, my friends.