The Martingale system is a betting strategy that was devised in the 1700s in France and is generally applied to betting on roulette, although it can actually be used for any type of betting, either casino, sports or anything else, where the odds of success is roughly 50%.
There are some websites, where you can read about the “amazing” benefits the Martingale system may bring you, whilst many punters will either “invent” the theory for themselves or else will hear about it somewhere. However, like any other system, it hides some big financial risks. This suggests that you have a good control over yourself in order to not get too indulged in the idea that you have managed to “hack” the roulette system.
Of course, there is some basic logic behind Martingale, so make sure you are completely aware of it before you apply the method to your own gambling experience. Bear in mind that it is more related to the way you manage your bankroll than to any improvements to your chances of winning at roulette.
How the Martingale System Works in Roulette
Explained briefly, Martingale is a negative progression betting system. This strategy suggests that you double your bets every time you lose. You choose a minimum betting minimum unit to start with, based on the table limits and the total sum you have decided to spend for the whole session. If you lose, you double the sum. No matter how many times you fail to guess the result, you should always double the sum every time this happens. When you finally win, you start betting from the minimum unit again.
The idea behind this method is that no matter how many times you lose, one big win is enough to compensate for all of them and grant you a small benefit, depending on your starting bet.
Keep in mind, though, that the Martingale should be applied for bets with winning chances close to 50%, high enough to make it worth trying out. It is important to make your bets in a way that guarantees you this, as otherwise, a long losing run will drain your finances before you have even realized this. It is generally employed when betting on the colors in roulette, but you could also bet on high/low or odd/even.
Theoretically, this means you cannot lose a lot of money, as you will have a winning spin, sooner or later. Logically, there should be no difference between theory and practice…However, in practice there is.
The Martingale in Action
Here is an example with concrete amounts of money to help you get a clear idea what the Martingale is all about.
So, you start with a base unit. The exact amount is all up to you, but we recommend that it is no more than 2% of the whole sum you intend to spend. Let’s take $5 for example. This is your base unit.
- 1st bet $5 on red – loss
- 2nd bet $10 on red – loss
- 3rd bet $20 on black – win
- 4th bet $5 on odd – win
- 5th bet $5 on red – loss
- 6th bet $10 on red – loss
- …and so on.
So, the total amount you have bet for all 6 spins is $55. So far, you have won $25 and your profit is $10. Of course, if you continue betting these numbers will change and your profit may increase or decrease. This is just an example and how long you will play is your own decision.
Unlike some other methods, Martingale has its variations. They are based on the original method, but with a different progression pattern of bets and bet limits.
The first type is the Reverse Martingale, also known as the Anti-Martingale. The classic Martingale system advises you on doubling your bets every time you lose. The Reverse Martingale says the opposite – double your bets every time you win. You start betting the lowest amount of money possible and keep it flat until you manage to win. Then, double this amount.
In case you lose, you should start from the minimum betting amount you have set for yourself again. If you happen to win, double again. The idea behind this variation is that winnings and losses come in streaks. So if you bet a lot during the winning streaks and small amounts of money while continuously losing, you will not end up broke in the end.
Of course, like any other method, Martingale has its positive and negative sides. The major advantage of it is the fact that while you keep betting the same minimum amount of money after every loss, you cannot really spend that much.
Additionally, your profits will pile up pretty fast, as soon as a winning streak comes. So, your losses will be covered in no time. The only thing you should bear in mind, though, is the importance of knowing when to give up. This means that at some point during a winning streak, you will have to stop betting if you want to actually benefit from the game.
On the other hand, after some quick maths, you will reach the conclusion that a single loss after a winning streak is enough to clear all your profits, gathered till this very moment. And this is a very possible ending, considering the fact that, after all, roulette is simply a game of chance and no strategy can oppose to this fact.
The Grand Martingale resembles the classic Martingale quite a lot. The slight difference, however, is that every time you lose and double your bet, you add up the amount of the starting bet, too. For example, the table limit is $5. You bet $5, you lose and double your bet, but also add the minimum amount. So, for the next spin, you have to bet $15.
The positive aspect of this strategy is that one win is enough to cover all your previous losses. This way, there is a big chance that you do not spend that much until the end of your session, provided that you win even once. Also, the more times you lose, the bigger amounts you can win, as the progression here is quite steep.
However, keep in mind that even though you will earn a lot of money after a lucky spin, this money will be roughly equal to the total amount you have previously bet. So, your profits, after all, will not be as significant, as you maybe imagine them to be.
In addition, if you want to be able to keep up with the strategy, you need a table with a really large table limit, in case a long run of losses comes.
Another variation of the Martingale is the Mini Martingale. The only difference from the simple Martingale is that at some point, you stop doubling your bets. So, in case you are having a long streak of losses, you have to stop betting more and more from a certain amount on and keep it flat, until you win. Then, of course, stake the bet unit you have started with.
The most obvious advantage of this variation is that you are less likely to lose a ridiculous amount of money as fast as the original Martingale gives you the chance to. The only thing you have to be really careful about is the exact time to stop doubling your bets. The idea of a bigger win after a long streak of losses may lure you into betting more and more while believing that the next spin is going to be your great shot.
What is more, this is the only way in which the table limit cannot stop you from using the system. This is a major problem for many gamblers who have decided to try out the Martingale. After you get close to the maximum limit, you simply have to stop doubling and continue playing.
The Mini Martingale is a double-edged sword, however, because as soon as you stop doubling the sums for your bets, you will no longer be able to cover all your previous losses with a single win. It is a fact that you will lose money comparatively slowly, but covering your spendings with a single bet will not be possible.
Positives of Using the Martingale at the Roulette Table
One of the most significant pros of using the Martingale while playing roulette is the simple psychological boost it gives you. You will feel a lot more confident if you have a betting system for a backup of your stakes. After all, especially if you are new to the roulette world, any strategy is better than no strategy at all. It is a way to deal with the constant struggle of how much you want to bet for the next spin.
It is a good idea to have some separate funds for the aim of trying out the Martingale. This way you will not have to worry that, affected by the rush of adrenaline, you may spend more than you have.
There are certain advantages to sticking up to the Mini Martingale principle in particular. With it, you are supposed to stop doubling your bets at some point, so basically you can bet sums lower than the table limit and still have the chance to try out Martingale for yourself and bet continuously. This is impossible with the other variations, as they do not suggest any changes in the constant progression, except for the cases in which you win or lose.
There is a way to actually benefit from the Martingale system. It is good to have a strategy and the Martingale offers you a few logical theories you can choose from. Just know when you should stop playing. It is possible to have some small wins from time to time, while keeping your stakes reasonable, and pile up a neat amount of small wins. It is advice worth mentioning that you stop playing after a big win. This guarantees you that you will not end up losing a fortune from the whole experience.
Negatives of Using the Martingale at the Roulette Table
The first reason to seriously reconsider applying the Martingale for your bets is called “The Gambler’s Fallacy” or “The Monte Carlo Fallacy”. The reason it exists originates from the idea that previous results affect the future ones. In other words, an event that has not happened recently is more likely to occur in the future. Of course, this belief is more like a myth, as you all realize, that no matter what strategies you use, luck is the only factor, decisive for the outcome of the game. Every spin of the wheel is completely independent and not affected by the previous ones in any way and no one can predict in any way how long a winning or a losing streak will be.
People think a long losing run just cannot happen but the reality is that any croupier who has been spinning the wheel for a while will have seen countless runs of consecutive reds or blacks. Six, eight, even 10, even 15 or more consecutive reds or blacks is a perfectly normal occurrence if you play long enough. If 10 reds come up, the odds on the next spin being red remain exactly the same – just under 50%.
Another reason why the Martingale may not be the best strategy for roulette games can be understood after some quick maths. Imagine, as in the example above, that you bet $1, lose, double to $2, lose again, double to $4, lose, finally, double to $8 and win. Now, $1+$2+$4 makes $7. So basically, your profit from 4 bets is the initial stake of $1.
Of course, this example involved only small amounts of money. However, some table limits do not allow such. You may be required to take a lot greater financial risk. Or it may occur that you start with small amounts, like in the example, but have a long losing streak and end up having to bet more than a thousand, just in order to be able to cover for the previous losses. After all, the progression is very steep and you may run out of money or reach the table limit, which automatically means that you cannot cover all the money you have lost.
Another aspect of the Martingale you will have to deal with is the house edge. No matter how much you stake, it cannot overcome the inbuilt house edge the casino has due to the zero, or double zero pockets if you’re crazy enough to play Martingale on an American Roulette table.
You may be lucky enough to have some small winnings from time to time. However, Martingale does not really provide you with a chance of getting large financial benefits.
Of course, in case you are already bored of the usual chaotic betting and would like to spice up your game of roulette a bit, the Martingale system is there to give you the opportunity of doing this. However, responsible gambling here is crucial for your experience and outcome of the game.
No matter which variation you choose, keep in mind that, like any other game of luck suggests, you cannot influence the result in any way. Speaking honestly, the only thing under your very control is your bankroll. As Martingale, with all its types, is quite a risky strategy, you should be responsible and know when you should give up.
If you are playing on an online platform, it would be a good idea to purchase a prepaid card or a voucher and use it for the purpose of making deposits. This way, you can decide how much you will spend before the excitement of the game have influenced your clearness of judgment and responsibility.
However, relying on this scheme involves taking an enormous financial risk, that in most cases proves to be bringing an insignificant income and financial benefits from the game. Do not forget, after all, that if the Martingale was such successful a system, there would be no players using any other betting methods.