The Martingale Betting System

Martingale SystemThe Martingale betting system is a betting strategy that gamblers have used to try to gain an advantage over casinos since the 1700s. The basic premise behind the Martingale system is to double your bet every time you lose until you win again. If you keep doubling your bets every time you lose until you win, you'll eventually be back to where you were in the beginning plus a small profit.

It's most commonly used on even money casino games like red/black or even/odd on the roulette wheel. Even though those games aren't truly even money, they're close enough to count.

Let's say you're playing at the roulette table and you use the Martingale system starting out with a $10 bet on red. If you win your first bet, your next bet will also be $10. If instead you lose your first bet, you make your second bet be $20. If you lose that bet too, you move up to $40. If you finally win that $40 bet, you'll be up by a small amount.

As you can see, the Martingale system looks good at first glance. That's why it's been around for so long even though it's a proven long term losing strategy. The problem with the Martingale system is that it doesn't change the odds against you in any way.

The biggest problem with the Martingale system is that it doesn't take into account losing streaks which happen quite often in 50/50 games. It only takes a few losses to either break your bankroll or exceed the table maximum bets. Look at these two charts to see how quickly your losses add up during a bad run:

Martingale System Chart

"Sure," you might say, "but how often will I lose 10 times in a row? After a few bad spins the law of averages says I have to be due for a win." 

Why it Doesn't Work:

First of all, long streaks aren't all that uncommon in 50/50 games. Just flip a coin 100 times and record the results on a piece of paper. You'll see multiple long streaks in a trial of just 100 flips. It's no different at the roulette table.

Even if you only hit an 8 run bad streak, your next bet will have to be $2,560. Are you willing to risk that much money just to break even? The Martingale system looks good at first but it will quickly backfire on you if you hit even a relatively common losing streak.

Second, there is no such thing as a law of averages that says you are "due" for a win. The little ball they drop in the roulette wheel doesn't have a brain - it can't remember where it landed last time. Every single spin of the wheel is an independent event. If the ball has landed on red 10 times in a row, the next spin is just as likely to land on red as it is on black.

If these arguments still don't convince you that the Martingale system is flawed, let's use a different common sense approach. When you search for "Martingale" on Google, you'll get over a million results.

The Martingale system obviously isn't a big secret considering there are millions of web pages out there talking about it. But for some reason all the casinos in Vegas, Atlantic City, and on the internet are still up and going and offering roulette games like usual. You'd think that if the Martingale system actually worked, someone would have used it at a casino by now and caused them to change the rules or take the games down.

The casinos haven't done that because they know the system doesn't work. They haven't lost any money thanks to some "super secret" betting system that's guaranteed to win millions of dollars for you. Besides, if someone had a secret system like that, do you think they would actually sell it to you for the one-time-only price of only $59.99?