Oscar's Grind strategy

Let's take a closer look at an all-time favourite positive progression used by professional gamblers all over the world called Oscar's Grind. This method does wonders in the short run, but does it have the same effectiveness in the long run?

If you're not familiar with progressions and betting strategies in general, we suggest you read our article about them first.

Oscar's Grind is based on the common misconception that a negative streak has to be followed by a similar-length positive one, and tries to take advantage of this by winning more in the winning part of the streaks than what is lost in the losing part. In theory, this sounds very nice, but in the practice streaks are just a way for our mind to rationalise randomness, but mathematically they do not exist, therefore the theory is invalid. Although Oscar's Grind may not be the system that beats the house, it has a great chance to show profit in a single short session of roulette or blackjack.

How does Oscar's Grind work?

Playing with Oscar's Grind is very simple. Start a session by betting 1 unit. If you're ever in profit, finish the current session and start a new one. If you lose, keep the betsize the same as the previous bet. If you win though, increase the betsize by one, unless winning the next bet would give you more than 1 unit of profit. In this case risk the absolute minimum that grants you a profit on a win. This may sound complicated, but it really isn't.


Oscar's Grind's Algorithm


Let's look at an example. Let's say your inital bet is $1. You lose that bet, so you risk $1 again. Another loss, how unlucky. Bet $1 again, and lose again. Your session is at -$3. You risk $1 again, but in this case, you win. Since you won, you increase your betsize to $2. You win again, equalising the losses: your session is at $0. You might be tempted to increase the betsize again to $3, but we only really want $1 of profit minimising our risk as much as possibble, so instead of $3, you only bet $1. If you win, the session is over and you should start a new one.

Analysing Oscar's Grind

As you can see from the previous example, the recovery from a 3 bet losing streak was only 2 bets, and we made a profit of $1 after a 3 bet losing streak and a 3 bet winning streak. Therefore if these streaks were happening the way we described above, after every time the 'streaks even out' we'd make 1 unit of profit.


Oscar's Grind - 10k spin graph
Simulation of the results of 10.000 bets using Oscar's Grind


In reality, that's not the case. The house edge and the huge variance this strategy has will produce great swings and unrecoverable losses in the long run. We here, at casino-strategy.com ran some simulations and wrote a short research paper on Oscar's Grind - if you like graphs or looking for further examples, check it out.

The variance of this strategy is definitely lower than Martingale's or Labouchere's, since you increase the betsize by 1 instead of doubling, so the average bet will stay much smaller - however, if you prefer taking the least amount of risk, the Paroli betting system might be a little bit better than Oscar's Grind (that has the same rate of increasing the betsize, but has a cap, while Oscar's Grind does not).

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