The D'alembert system is a betting strategy designed for binary option bets. It's a popular alternative to betting strategies like Martingale, which also functions as a binary betting strategy. Binary betting refers to bets placed on games which only allow for 2 outcomes, like the outside bets on roulette, which includes wagers like “red or black” and “odd or even”.
The D'alembert betting system is considered a safer alternative to other betting systems because it only asks players to increase their bets in small increments, rather than doubling down on each loss like Martingale asks players to do. But is D'alembert actually safer than other betting strategies, and more importantly, does it even work? Let's take a look and find out.
How The D'alembert System Works
The D'alembert system like many other betting systems, aims to give players the chance of placing bets, while recouping any losses with minimum risk. The rules it asks the player to follow in order to achieve this are simple:
- Players start off with their minimum betting unit e.g £1
- For every loss, players must go up a single unit
- For every win, players must go down a single unit
- Bets can only go as low as the minimum betting unit
In effect, this means that every time a player loses a bet, they will increase their bet by a single unit. When players win, they will decrease their bet by a single unit and they will continue to do this until they reach their minimum bet. So if the player is betting £1 as their minimum bet, then as long as they're on a winning streak, they will continue to bet £1, until they lose and have to increase their bet by a further £1 each time they lose.
A standard round of D'almbert bets may look something like this:
The idea is to recoup any losses, whilst risking very little, and staying at fairly low bets. Staying at low bets is preferable as nearly all casino table games come with a maximum bet limit. Once you cross that limit, you can no longer increase your bets and so you're rendered unable to make back any of your losses as quickly.
D'alembert relies on players increasing their bets after each loss, with the aim of earning back more money when you eventually hit a win, in order to recuperate any of your previous losses. The smaller bet increases after each loss allows you to still win back any previous losses, while holding in for longer by not stretching your bankroll and avoiding crossing over the maximum bet limit of the table game.
The Problems With The D'alembert Betting System
The one clear downside to the D'alembert betting system this is it can’t make up for losses very quickly. As we saw from the chart above, it can take several wins in order to get back into profit and the problem is only increased the higher your bet becomes. Another additional problem, is that unlike many other betting strategies, your total bet doesn't revert back to its minimum. It can take several consecutive wins to bring your bets down, which if you end up having more losses than wins, even over a long period of time, you run the risk of eventually going over the maximum bet limit.
But there is still a fundamental problem that affects both D'alembert, as well as every other binary betting strategy out there, which is that it's built on a false premise. As with most betting strategies, the aim is to keep losing to a minimum. These betting systems are played out on binary outcomes because the idea with any binary choice is that their prevalence will vary over a long enough period of time. In this sense, if you keep playing forever, eventually you'll have more wins than losses, and you'll also have more losses than wins. The idea is to just keep playing for a long enough period of time, until eventually your wins outweigh your losses, before cashing out.
But there are a few problems with this. While you can recoup your losses, there’s nothing stopping you having too many short term losses which can drain your bankroll before you can recoup your money. Another issue is the house edge, which makes the odds no longer a 50/50 outcome. In Roulette, the presence of the green 0, skews your chances on outside bets to 48.6% in European and 46.37% in the American version. Even other binary betting games like Punto Banco have a third option in the for of the tie bet. This is an unlikely outcome, but has been included in the game to destabilise the binary option of either you or the dealer winning the round, effectively removing the 50/50 odds.
The logic behind this system is sound, since with infinite time and resources, and 50/50 odds, this should result in a net gain. The problem is that resources and time are always limited and your chances are never truly 50/50. Casinos are as aware of how betting strategies work as the players are, and have put in additional safety nets so they don't work quite as well as they might appear at first.
The D'alembert Betting System: A Winner Or Loser?
In the long run, the D'alembert system has little gain over just regular play. As we've noted, the chances of you winning or losing in the long run are no longer 50/50. Some players will use the D'alembert system and come out with a win, others will use it for a long period and never manage to break even. Some players could even play the game at complete random and still come out with a win. There are no safeguards built into D'alembert that make it particularly safe, especially in light of the changes which have been made to casino table games in order to prevent a majority of betting strategies from working.
Of course, the system can always work for some and does potentially offer a minor edge to those who use it. Our advice is that if you are going to try it out, be ready to pull out as soon as you have a win, or are starting to lose. D'alembert isn't certain enough that you're going to win every time and in no way is a short cut to becoming a millionaire, so always be aware of its flaws if you are going to give it a go. To the rest of you, we advice to steer clear, as it's not the unbeatable betting strategy you may have been told it is.