Oscar’s Grind

Probably the roulette system with the strangest name, Oscar’s Grind or the Oscar Grind betting system, supposedly came from a craps player with the same name who used this system to win decent amounts of money from casinos. What we know for sure is that Allan N. Wilson wrote about it in his book "The Casino Gambler’s Guide", published in 1965.

The name "Grind" is also related to how slowly the system generates its profits, grinding away until you win 1 chip. The entire system is based on minimizing losses while working towards a tiny profit. It is sometimes criticized for its conservativeness, and Oscar’s Grind is definitely not a system for impatient gamblers or lovers of emotional games of roulette…

How Oscar’s Grind works

This roulette system is a progressive system, only increasing the stakes after winning spins. It is meant to be used only on even money bets. There are only three simple rules (and one extra) that determine this system:

  1. Keep your bet the same after a loss.
  2. Increase the bet by 1 after a win.
  3. A single series is completed after one chip is won. Then the system starts again.

The Golden Rule: Never bet more than you need to win just one chip! This means that sometimes after a win, the betted amount stays the same, or even decreases, in order to win just one chip.

Oscar’s Grind in action

Let’s see for ourselves how this system works. Say we bet one chip on Black, and our streak of Wins (W) and Losses (L) is as follows: L,L,W,L,W,W,L,W. This is what happens:

  1. We bet one chip. We lose.
    Net: -1
  2. Our bet stays 1. We lose again.
    Net: -1-1 = -2
  3. The bet stays the same and we win!
    Net: -1-1+1 = -1
  4. After this win, we increase our bet by one and bet 2. We lose.
    Net: -1-1+1-2 = -3
  5. The bet stays the same (2), and we win!
    Net: -1-1+1-2+2 = -1
  6. After a win we increase our bet, but not if that would make us win more than one chip. So the bet stays 2, and we win!
    Net: -1-1+1-2+2+2 = +1
  7. The series restarts. So we bet just 1 chip again. We lose.
    Net: -1
  8. The bet stays the same and we win!
    Net: -1+1 = 0

So after eight spins, with balanced wins and losses, we have a profit of one chip. Not much, but the system is not based on winning much, instead it keeps losses to a minimum on the road to a small profit.

Pros and Cons of the system

The great advantage of Oscar’s Grind is that it is very balanced, in which losses rarely become too large to handle. Spending a bit of time at a table playing this roulette system could see you with a tidy profit.

On the other hand, the definite slowness of the system can leave a player constantly spinning losses, without winning anything. There is of course also the fact that this system does nothing to offset the house edge, and the average profit will be negative in the long run (and you will lose money). Because the system is so conservative, however, this happens very slowly.

Properly managing the system

Even with such a slow and conservative system like Oscar’s Grind, it can be very helpful to have a clear idea of how much you are willing to bet (and lose) and how much you’re aiming to win. In other words, it helps to have a strategy to implement this system.

  • The total budget needs to be in relation to the value of our unit bet of 1 chip. One unit should be about 2 to 3 percent of the total bankroll. This means that the total should be around 50 times as high as the value of one chip: 50 Rand a chip would mean a total bankroll of somewhere around R2500.
  • Establish income limits: When current profits are approximately half the total bankroll, it is best to retire. Similarly, never exceed your established budget when losing!
  • Establish a point where you give up on a losing streak. For instant, when the current series stands a net profit of -10 chips, it could be wise to just quit the table, take a break and relax. Then, when you return, just start a new series and forget about what just happened.