The Martingale betting system is considered one of the most popular systems, mainly due to its unrivaled simplicity. It’s suitable for a vast number of games, from roulette to football and used on countless bookmakers by millions of punters around the world. It is also rejected by many others as a high risk strategy, given that you can lose a vast amount of money in a short period of time.
Its origins date back to 18th century France, where a small number of roulette players managed to make this strategy exceedingly popular. Martingale was designed for 50% chance games, such as a coin toss, where the gambler wins his stake if a coin comes up as heads and loses it comes up as tails. The gambler simply doubles his bet after every loss, so that the first win will cover immediately all previous losses and additionaly give a profit, which would be equal to the original stake. The Martingale strategy quickly applied to roulette, especially in the red-black betting, because the probability of hitting either is nearly 50%.
Why punters love it
It’s extremely popular between apprentice punters because the eventual win is seen as a certainty by its advocators, provided that a gambler has infinite wealth and there are no stake limits. In fact, there’s no gambler who has been recorded to possess a fortune by using it. The risk is high, too: The growth of bets is becoming bigger after every loss and could be catastrophic for a gambler, who is unlucky enough to have a long losing streak.
The gambler usually wins a small net reward, but looks safe enough to give him the impression of following a winning. The gambler’s expected value indeed is near zero, because the probability of a catastrophic loss is bigger than his total gains. Casinos still offer the Martingale option, especially in roulette betting (red-black), because the house’s edge is diminishing the expected value. The likelihood of a complete loss of amount is actually not at all improbable, as the bet size rises extraordinary. Consecutive losses, as many punters could describe, occur more often than many of us believe and could lead a gambler to bankruptcy.
Where to try Martingale
Martingale roulette strategy
A lot of players that want to follow a certain strategy in their playing style, wonder if it is even allowed to use the Martingale system on a casino, a real or online one. Even apprentice gamlbers realize that casinos in general don’t risk too much of their money and that’s exactly why they have placed the number zero on the roulette wheel. They also place table limits, which are protecting them of high losses. In the long term, casinos will always make a lot of money off the players, no matter if they play with a strategy or not. That’s the main reason they still exist.
The Martingale roulette strategy is used when playing on outside bets: 1-18 or 19-36, red or black, even or odd. They have, of course, the highest odds of winning (the actual percentage is 48,6%, as in either option zero is excluded), but also offer the smallest payout, just 1:1. In case of winning you get your bet back plus an equal amount. If for example, you bet one chip on black and win, you will get your chip back plus one more chip for the win. In football betting Martingale is used in each way betting or in special bets like over/under, on odds close to even.
The winning strategy when using the Martingale system depends on a certain amount of factors: The first one is your available amount, second is how much money you place on your initial bet and last, but not least, the game you play. Let’s take a game of roulette, where you bet 5€ on red, play for an hour (30 spins), and have 1000€ total on your bankroll. By betting 5€ every time (not using Martingale), you’ll win only about 46% of the time, with an average win of 16€. You’ll lose 54% of the time, with an average loss of 28€. Now say that you start with the same setup except this time, you’re using the Martingale, which means doubling your bet after every loss. The chances of winning on your one-hour session shoot up to 82%, but when you win, your average win is only 66€, while your average loss is 462€. This means, that even a single loss, can prove to be disastrous.
Does the Martingale actually work?
The Martingale strategy works best in short term. The longer you play, the more likely you are to lose, given that it is highly likely that you’ll lose several bets in a row and either run out of money or hit the table limit. In fact, if we use the above example with, e.g. a six-hour session, then your chances of winning will drop to just 38%.
Another thing that decreases your chances of winning is having a small bankroll. You must have enough money to double your bets when you hit an inevitable long losing streak. In our one-hour example above, we had an 82% chance of winning with a 1000€ bankroll. But if you started out with only 500€, your chances drop to 72%.
As it happens to nearly all betting aspects, past results cannot be used to make a future bet a safe one. That’s why all Martingale-type systems fail in the long term. It’s a matter of chance, not accurate prediction. In order to calculate the expected return of a series of bets, you have to multiply the sum of all the bets you will place, with your chances of winning. Casino games are designed in a way to return a negative value in every individual bet. Additionally, you cannot expect a winning martingale strategy even if you set limits on time using it or strict limits on earnings or on number of bets.
Trying it out
It won’t hurt to try the Martingale for yourself. For a small period of time the Martingale might bring you some winnings, but in the long run, the strategy becomes extremely risky. Sooner or later every roulette player encounters a bad Martingale experience, which is usually a very painful one. The Martingale may suit you, if you wish to increase your chances of winning, but at the same time, are willing to lose a larger amount than you would normally have. Your bankroll should be at least 200€ if you’re making 1€ bets, or 1000€ bankroll if you’re making 5€ bets. Additionally, you’re advised not to play for more than a few hours and face the fact that you are taking the risk of losing your entire bankroll.
There’s also a possibility of trying the reverse Martingale! Contrary to classic martingale betting style, where gamblers increase bets after each loss, you can follow exactly the opposite tactics: increase your bettimg amount after wins and reduce them after a loss. Using this, the gambler will make more money from a winning streak and will reduce his losses on a bad streak.
Those who insist on single bets argue that they’re independent from each other, so there’s no actual prediction of winning or losing streaks. Real life results argue that these streaks are longer compared to those of a purely random process. This means that both the martingale and the reverse martingale system could theoretically apply and be used in trading systems.
Top 5 reasons to use Martingale
- Easy to use
- Ideal for short betting sessions
- You know how much you’ve bet at any time
- Increased chances of winning (not risk free)
- Can be used on almost any two-way, equal odds market (sports betting, casino games, stocks)
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