What Is 1326, and Does It Work?

blackjack table gambling
Men play “Blackjack” as they take part in a casino croupier job training session. Sebastien Bozon/AFP

Whether you’re playing blackjack, craps, roulette, or betting on sporting events, someone will tell you they have a system for beating the house and raking in money.

That’s a lie: Just about EVERYONE will tell you they have a system. And yet, casinos seem to be doing pretty well for themselves, so someone must be losing. A lot.

We’ll take a look at one of the most popular systems out there, see if it can help you, and determine if it works: 1326

The 1-3-2-6 system was allegedly invented by card counters, to help them pace themselves as they use their illegal advantage to beat the house. Now, we don’t recommend the part of that strategy that will get you in big trouble. But even if you’re not counting cards, there are plenty of people that swear by 1326.

What is 1326?

The system is a pattern for placing the amount of each bet, and the numbers refer to multiples of your starting bet.

Step 1: 1

Place your first bet at 1x the amount you want to start with. For instance, if you want to bet $5, then your first bet will… obviously… be a $5 bet.

If you lose, you start the pattern over and place another 1x bet, or, in this example, $5.

If you win, you move on to the three.

Step 2: 3

Your next bet will be 3x the first bet amount. So, if you won your $5 bet, you now have a total of $10 (your initial $5 bet and your $5 in winnings).

Add another $5 of your own money and place your next bet. It’s for $15, or 3 x $5.

Again, if you lose, you go back to step one and place a $5 bet and start the system over. But if you win, you go on to…

Step 3: 2

You’ve won two bets in a row, and your $15 bet paid off with another $15. So you have $30 on the table. Take $20 of it and pocket it, leaving $10 on the table for your next bet, or 2x the original betting amount.

If you lose, you go back to step one. If you win, you head to the final step of the four-step process.

Step 4: 6

You’ve won three bets in a row and now have $20 in your pocket and $20 on the table (since you won your $10 bet and added another $10).

Take $10 back out of your pocket and add it to what’s on the table for a $30 bet, or 6x your initial bet.

Now, win or lose, you go back to step one and start the four steps over.

Your Payout

If you make it through all four steps and win, you’ll end up with a total of $70 –your $30 bet in step four, $30 in winnings on the table, and $10 in your pocket.

You bet $5 to start and added another $5 out of pocket in step one, so you’ve septupled your money (multiplied it by seven).

If you lose in step four, you’ve lost everything you won in the first three steps but still have the $10 you started with in your pocket, which is why you can start the process over with a clear conscience.

Does It Work?

Obviously, betting amounts are very easy for the house to track. So, if this method actually worked to BEAT the house, you can be assured they’d put a kibosh on it.

The mere fact that you can use it and no one will care should be all you need to know. But there’s also a library worth of studies out there showing that, even if you use this method, you’ll lose money in the long run, because the house has an edge.

Despite that, you might want to use it anyway.

Benefits of 1326

Even if it doesn’t guarantee you a win, the method helps by keeping you in control and on a budget.

Worst case is you’ll lose in step one, and be out your initial stake, or step two, and be out double your stake in two bets. But assuming you win regularly, it will keep you from losing too much too fast.

It will also keep you from taking wild risks when you’re on a hot streak while still raking in money. If you keep using 1326 and keep winning, you’ll be growing your bankroll in your pocket while keeping a relatively low sum on the table at all times.

So the math may not tell you to use the system, but the psychological benefits could make it worth your while.