Wouldn’t it be awesome to find a strategy which works for every casino game, every time? Countless gamblers have tried to do so, and much more are happy to try out systems widely promoted as infallible. One of the most popular is the Martingale Betting System which advocates exponentially increasing bets with every loss. It can be applied to a number of different games, from a coin-flip to Blackjack, Roulette, and Craps. But is it really all its supporters claim it to be? Let’s take a look.
How does Martingale Roulette system work?
The system is based on the assumption that the win-loss outcomes are evenly distributed over a longer series of bets. For example, if you should flip a coin 100 times, you wouldn’t be wrong to expect that it would land 50 times on heads 50 and 50 on tails. (Do note, though, that it wouldn’t be reasonable to believe heads and tails would be evenly distributed over those 100 flipping sessions). You see what this means? Suddenly a game of chance, where one can’t predict the outcome, in a way becomes predictable. There’s a possibility to beat the house after all!
The above has been proven mathematically and beyond doubt. So if it works for a coin flip, there’s no reason it couldn’t work for Roulette bets such as Red/Black or Odd/Even – right? So go take a seat at a Roulette table. According to Martingale, this is how you should play it: make an even-money bet, and if you lose, double your wager. Continue doing the same until you win, and then revert to your original bet. Let’s say your gaming session goes as follows:
- Bet 1: you invest €10 and lose (-€10)
- Bet 2: double the wager to €20, and you lose (-€20)
- Bet 3: bet €40 (2x €20), and you win (+€40)
- Bet 4: go back to the original €10 bet, and lose (-€10)
- Bet 5: double to €20, and win (+€20)
So where do we stand after 5 spins? You’ve lost a total of €40 and won €60, meaning you’re up €20. Not bad, right?
The simplicity of the system and the mathematical “proof” behind it are the two most important reasons the Martingale system became and remains so popular. But does it really work?
Does Martingale Roulette System Really Work?
One thing standing in the way of making this system a success is the fact that all tables feature maximum bet limits. Remember the coin flip? Even if we are fairly certain 100 flips with a result in (roughly) 50:50 ratio, it’s very possible to see long streaks of heads before tails land, and the other way around. Take that to a Blackjack table. When on a longish losing streak, one could hit the table limit before scoring a win which is supposed to compensate for all previous losses. Let’s say you were betting €20 per round at a €500 table.
- Loss 1 – you double the wager to €40
- Loss 2 – you double it once again and it’s now €80
- Loss 3 – still out of luck and the bet increases to €160
- Loss 4 – you’re now betting as much as €320
- Loss 5 – a point at which you should be wagering €640, but can’t; you’ve hit the table limit!
Bottom line: €600 has gone down the drain and you’re unable to continue applying this infallible system in the hope of recovering your investment.
Even if you place smaller bets and thus give yourself more time to hit a win, it doesn’t guarantee the table limit won’t get in the way. And then there’s another little snag, namely your bankroll. Imagine you’ve got €100 to play with and start wagering €5 on Roulette.
- Loss 1 – your initial bet doubles to €10
- Loss 2 – you’re betting €20 per round
- Loss 3 – your wager is now €40
- Loss 4 – should be placing €80 bets but can’t because €55 of your original €100 budget has already been spent.
Eventually, it’s taken only a few spins of the wheel to bust your chances of winning with Martingale.
Are there people who have used the Martingale system and won? Of course, there are! Same as there are those who played without any system whatsoever and went home significantly better off. Even if the system initially proves to be a success, the harsh reality will eventually settle in. One way or another, it all comes down to luck and knowing when it’s the right moment to stop and walk away.