Oscar's Grind betting system explained

Oscar's Grind system

Oscar's Grind strategy explained and tested

Although a modern gambling system, the exact origins of the Grind system have been lost. It is first described in 1965 by Allan Wilson in his "The Casino Gambler's Guide", attributed to a gambler named - believe it or not! - Oscar.

It's also known as Hoyle's Press, though no-one knows who Hoyle is, either! Some Roulette players use a very similar system which goes by the name of the Pluscoup Progression.

Whatever you call it, the Grind gambling system is simple.

When using the Grind, you see your overall gambling session as a series of betting cycles. The aim of this system is to make just 1 unit profit per cycle. Once this profit is achieved, the cycle stops. It doesn't try to make more than 1 unit and even stops itself from doing so.

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Casino School

Do gambling strategies work?

No gambling system can guarantee success. If someone invented one, they certainly wouldn't sell it(!) and the casinos would be very quick to ban its use.

A good gambling strategy is one which gives you the best chance of success over a large enough number of games, by taking into account the mathematics of the specific game you're playing (the 'house edge').

The Oscar's Grind strategy is a very simple staking plan, and one which is very popular among low-risk gamblers who are looking to make steady profits rather than gamble large amounts chasing big wins.

Oscar's Grind is a Positive Progression system like the Martingale and Labouchère. These systems are often used by gamblers who believe in 'Hot hands' and winning streaks. Sadly, these gut feelings - though widespread - are not based on mathematical reality and fall into the trap of the Gambler's Fallacy - the belief that past events can influence future results. The size of your bankroll and the bet limits set by the casinos mean that eventually some gamblers will lose their entire supply of cash. Not often, and not everyone, but enough for the casinos to allow you to use these systems until someone does!

How does the Oscar's Grind system work?

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The Grind system works as follows:

You bet 1 unit.

If you win, the cycle is ended and you start again.

If you lose, you continue through the cycle as follows:

  • When you're losing, keep the bet the same.
  • When you're winning, increase the size of the bet by 1 - unless that would give an overall profit for the cycle of more than 1.
  • Once the cycle has resulted in a 1 unit profit, the cycle ends.

An illustration

We've tested a number of gambling systems in a set of realistic scenarios. One of those is the 'Alternating Loss' test where you don't hit a long winning or losing streak (Lose, Lose, Win, Lose, Win, Win, Lose, Win, Lose, Lose, Win, Lose). This kind of sequence is one that can often cause problems for Positive Progression systems.

The table below shows how the Oscar's Grind fares in this scenario:

# Bet W/L +/- Notes
#1 1 Lose -1 Bet stays same
#2 1 Lose -2 Bet stays same
#3 1 Win -1 Bet increases
#4 2 Lose -3 Bet stays same
#5 2 Win -1 Bet does not increase
#6 2 Win +1 Cycle ends
it is seeking to literally grind out a 1 unit profit and no more

After 5 bets, you're down 1 unit and the bet size is 2. The system says to raise the bet when you're winning, but raising the bet size to 3 would give an overall profit of 2, which goes against the rules of the system! To make sure we don't win more than 1 unit for the cycle, we have to keep the bet size at 2.

This last rule gives rise to the most confusion when first using the Grind gambling system. But it's important to remember that it is seeking to literally grind out a 1 unit profit and no more.

The Grind system - tested

The table below shows how the Grind fared in all of our systems tests.

For a reminder of the tests we use, check out our systems summary page…


1. Alternating win
2. Alternating loss
3. Consecutive win
4. Consecutive loss
5. Good win
6. Bad loss

Overall result for all 6 tests


3 units profit
2 units loss
5 units profit
5 units loss
9 units profit
13 units loss

3 units loss

Slow, steady profits

The above series of tests shows that the Grind gambling system won't win or lose large amounts. As the name says, it's a slow, methodical process in pursuit of a steady 1 unit profit.

Regardless of whether conditions are alternating or consecutive, the Grind system returns a profit in an overall winning situation and a similar loss in an overall losing situation. In other words, in a realistic gambling scenario of a significant number of sessions, Oscar's Grind will tend to break even. For this reason, it's important to bear in mind our first Golden Rule of Gambling: quit when you're ahead!

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Oscar's Grind in Sic Bo and Roulette

The limited nature of Oscar's Grind makes it suitable for small consistent wins when betting on the close to Evens chance bets in Roulette (Red/Black, Odd/Even, 1-18/19-36) or Sic Bo (High / Low).

Please bear in mind that these bets are not true 50/50 bets - the Zero in Roulette and the Triple bet in Sic bo mean that the odds are not quite 50/50:

  • Sic Bo - 48.61%
  • European Roulette - 48.60%
  • American Roulette - 46.37%

Incidentally, the figures above show why we recommend playing European Roulette, rather than American!

Oscar's Grind in Blackjack

Oscar's Grind may seem like a good staking plan for Blackjack if you're a disciplined player who only bets the same amount on each hand. However, using this system really inhibits your play in an unnecessary way. For example, there will always be situations when playing Blackjack where the best bet would be to Double or even Split. This could result in wins of half units or plus or minus two units. As the goal of the Grind is to win exactly one unit, this puts you outside of the rules of the system. You're then faced with the choice of sticking to the Grind system and potentially no longer playing with an optimal Blackjack strategy, or playing perfect Blackjack and halting the Grind mid-stream. Clearly, we'd recommend neither!

Don't let losses mount

If the slow, steady nature of this gambling system appeals to you, our only warning is to bear in mind our overall gambling strategy and set a limit to your losses. Although these will never be huge, the Oscar's Grind system does not allow a quick method of winning them back.

It may appear a low-risk system, but our tests show that the Grind can get into a situation it would be difficult to get out of again. For that reason, we recommend it for medium-risk gamblers, those who can withstand small losses in pursuit of moderate gains.

A little too slow?

If you're looking for something safe and steady like the Grind, but a little faster-paced, a number of systems fit the bill.

In our gambling systems test, 3 systems returned an overall profit - the Paroli, the 1-3-2-6 and Fortune Palace's own 1-3-2-4. Before committing to the long-haul of the Grind, it might be worth checking out one of those first!

Where to use the Grind system

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