Winning and losing streaks

Streaks - how results happen

Toss a coin ten times. You'll probably get 5 heads and 5 tails.

But you probably won't get: H T H T H T H T H T in that order.

You're much more likely to get something like: T T H T H H H T T H .

Both of these sequences have the same probability of occurring. The first sequence looks more 'natural', but in reality it hardly ever happens.

Try again: toss the coin 100 times. You'll always get a sequence of the same result, sometimes lasting three or four throws.

Heads and Tails

Often, the total number of heads will outweigh the number of tails by a large margin e.g. 61 to 39 and vice versa. Even with a 'normal' sequence that gives 50 - 50, there will be streaks of three or more of any one result.

Red and Black

Dealing with these sequences is what leads gamblers to talk about streaks - winning streaks and losing streaks.

Put simply, a streak is two or more of the same result.

Betting with or against a streak

With a winning streak, you have two choices - either bet on the streak, thinking it will continue, or bet against it, expecting the results to return to their alternate nature.

So which is best? As a rule, neither. We cannot recommend that you always back with or back against a winning streak. The reason is that over the course of a session, the nature of the results will change from alternating to consecutive several times.

The secret to successful gambling is guessing the state of the session and betting accordingly. In other words, if the session is alternating, bet against the winning streak, if it is consecutive, bet with it.

Think of the session like the sea - sometimes the water's smooth, sometimes it's choppy. So long as you recognise the current conditions and react properly, you won't 'drown'!.

How to recognise a winning streak

So, how many bets do you need to watch before you can judge whether you are in a winning or losing streak? Again, it varies. Clearly, a low number of bets doesn't give a clear enough indication. Similarly, too many bets may cover a number of changes and therefore missed opportunities.

No-one can get it exactly right all the time, but with experience, the successful gambler gets a kind of intuition as to how the streaks are going and knows when to change the bet.

Sometimes, you'll get it wrong and change the bet just as the bets change in your favour. But if you keep your wits about you and bear in mind at all times our overall gambling strategy, you should never lose big and hopefully have lots of small wins

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