Oscar’s Grind Betting System Explained

Dancing Dealers pose at a roulette table. Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Circa Resort & Casino/AFP

Oscar’s Grind is a betting system that helps you eke out small wins on a consistent basis. It is named after a gambler could Oscar, who featured in Allan Wilson’s seminal 1965 tome The Casino Gambler’s Guide. Read on to learn more about Oscar’s grind and to decide whether it is a strategy you would like to pursue.

How Does Oscar’s Grind Work?

Oscar’s grind system focuses on cycles. The idea is to end each cycle in one unit of profit and then start again. As is always the case with a betting system, you must start by selecting your base unit amount. It is typically a percentage of your bankroll.

For example, you might have $1,000 to play with and decide to make your base unit 4% of that bankroll, or $40. Oscar’s grind system can be used on bets where the odds of success are close to 50/50. That includes blackjack and baccarat hands, side bets like red/black on a  roulette wheel, and certain bets on a craps table.

A team member prepares a blackjack table. (Photo by OLI SCARFF / AFP)

You start off by wagering one unit. If it wins, you have immediately achieved your goal of securing one unit of profit, and the cycle ends. You can then begin again. If you lose, you continue to bet one unit until you finally win. After each win, you increase the size of your stake by one unit – for example, from $40 to $80, and then to $120 and $160 and so on.

After each loss, you keep the size of your stake the same. As soon as you end up in at least one unit of profit, the cycle ends, and you start again by placing one base unit.

An Example of the Oscar’s Grind Betting System

Let’s say you have a base unit of $40 and you bet “red” on roulette. The ball lands on black, meaning you are down one unit. You bet again and suffer and lose, leaving you down two units. Your third bet wins, leaving you down one unit, or $40. After winning, increase your stake to $80.

Men make their bets on a roulette-type game amid the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by JOAQUIN SARMIENTO / AFP)

If your next bet loses, you will be down $120. You then bet $80 again. If that bet wins, you are only down $40. You then increase the size of your bet again to $120. If that wins, you are up to $80. You have achieved more than one unit of profit, so the cycle ends, and you start again. In this example, you won three bets and lost three bets, but you ended up in two units of profit.

Pros and Cons of Oscar’s Grind

The cautious nature of Oscar’s grind system appeals to many players. Losing streaks are never too painful because you do not increase your bet sizes after losing. It fosters sensible bankroll management, and it applies a degree of mathematical rigor to the wagering process.

It might initially sound complicated, but it is actually very simple – play in cycles, only increase your bet amount by one unit after a win, and begin a new cycle each time you achieve at least one unit of profit. The downside is that it can be a long and painstaking process. You regularly need to put in a lot of time and effort just to end up with a unit of profit – which is why it is called a grind.

A team member prepares a roulette table for play. (Photo by OLI SCARFF / AFP)

It does not really capitalize upon winning streaks, and you do not chase losses in a particularly aggressive fashion, so you can win a couple of hands and still be down overall. Alternatives to Oscar’s Grind The Paroli, the 1-3-2-6 system, and the Reverse Martingale are better systems for players that want to capitalize upon winning streaks.

Players that want to chase losses can check out the Martingale, the D’Alembert, and the Labouchere systems.