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Martingale System | Martingale Strategy Explained

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Martingale System | Martingale Strategy Explained

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The Martingale betting system is a negative progression betting system with a simple premise — double your bet size every time you lose. The long-term logic behind this strategy is that when you use it on even-money bets, you’ll be able to recoup the losses that have built up following any losses. But does the Martingale system really reduce your chance of losing?

What is the Martingale System?

Martingale betting emerged in the 18th century as a viable attempt by players to manipulate the odds in games of chance. It’s a progression system, and like all progression systems, you must either decrease or increase the size of your bet when you lose. With the Martingale in place, you double the size of your bet every time you lose.

The most crucial point about Martingale system strategy is that the wins should be sufficient enough to cover the losses and leave you with a small profit. It’s primarily used in casino games like roulette, with equal application via online casino apps or at your local casino.

The Martingale system is designed for bets that pay even money, such as odd/even, red/black, 1–18, and 19–36 in roulette. The aim is to make small winnings from an initial bet, making the Martingale one of the key roulette betting strategies around.

Now, it’s time for probability — the single most important aspect of our Martingale system explained series. In roulette, you have a 48.6% chance of landing such a wager due to that green zero socket on the roulette wheel. These bets pay even money, or 1:1, hence the reason why roulette is probably the best game for the Martingale system. However, the system also applies to even-money wagers such as Pass and Don’t Pass in Craps or the Player bet in Baccarat.

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Using the Martingale System in Practice

Say you want to use the Martingale strategy in roulette. Here’s how this roulette system works in practice. The table minimum is $1, so you decide to start small, and it’s a smart decision since you’ll be able to recover the losses faster without risking too much of your bankroll.

So, you’ve placed a $1 bet on black, and the ball landed on red. For the next round, you are supposed to bet twice as much, or $2. You lose that wager as well, so the next one should be $4. If you get it right, you’ll be looking at a payout of $8, which is enough to cover the stake so far ($7) and give you a $1 profit.

Here’s another example, this time using $10 wagers on even-money (1:1) bets on an American Roulette table. 

Round Wager Result Total Profit/Loss
1 $10 Lose -$10
2 $20 Lose -$30
3 $40 Lose -$70
4 $80 Win $10
5 $10 Win $10
6 $10 Lose $0
7 $20 Lose -$20
8 $40 Win $20
9 $10 Win $30
10 $10 Lose $20

Best Casino Games for Martingale Betting Strategy

The Martingale system relies solely on the near-equal probability of even money bets found in roulette, baccarat, and blackjack. Essentially, it boils down to a near coin flip when you select your wagers.

In fact, the principle of doubling the bet after a loss, creating a scenario where a single win can recover all previous losses and yield a profit equal to the original bet, is only available in these games.

Roulette

How to Play Roulette - martingale system

The Martingale betting system is primarily applied to the following bets in roulette:

  • Red/Black
  • Odd/Even
  • High/Low

These betting options offer a payout of 1:1, meaning if you bet $1 and win, you receive $1 in profit plus your original bet back. The rationale for using the Martingale in roulette hinges on these bets having the closest to a 50-50 chance of winning.

The probability greatly depends on the type of roulette you are playing. Most, if not all, online roulette casinos offer both European and American versions, where the former offers 48.6% probability on these wagers and the latter just 47.37% due to two zero pockets. Make sure to check out our Martingale strategy chart to see.

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Blackjack

Blackjack Games - Martingale system

In blackjack, all winning bets are paid even money (1:1), except the natural blackjack, making it a viable option for a Martingale betting strategy.

However, one pitfall with blackjack and the Martingale system is the Insurance bet. This bet is designed to safeguard you from the dealer getting a blackjack, but it’s a statistically losing proposition over time. Namely, the odds of the dealer having a blackjack are approximately 9:4, or about 30.8%, which is in direct conflict with the very nature of the system.

Baccarat

how to play baccarat - martingale system

The Martingale system is particularly effective with Player bets in baccarat for various reasons. The Player bet entails no commission, and a straightforward 1:1 payout you get in baccarat games at online casinos, which makes it perfect for the Martingale betting system.

On the other hand, the Banker bet, despite the greater winning probability of 45.86% compared to the 44.62% of the Player bet, incurs a 5% commission on wins, affecting the overall profitability of the Martingale system.

Martingale System in Sports Betting

BetUS sportsbook - martingale system

Does the Martingale system work when it comes to sports betting? Well, no, there are certain hurdles if you want to win higher amounts. Namely, the hurdle comes down to even-money odds (+100) in bets being subject to the “vig”, a built-in percentage that bookmakers charge for taking in your bet. That vig can go up to 10%, so that’s why the lines for the NFL spreads are the standard -110.

To illustrate, let’s say wagered on the Kansas City Chiefs to cover the spread on -110 with a $110 wager. They failed to do so and so you’ve opted to back the Bengals in the next round instead. Now, with double the stake, plus the potential profit and the vig (which after two rounds was sitting at $20), your next wager is $231.

That one didn’t pan out either, so your next bet is $474.10. Now, the Chiefs cover the spread and win against the Bengals. However, you are still short because of that vig, making the system futile regarding sports betting.

Pros & Cons of the Martingale Betting System

For all the advantages that come from the Martingale betting system, there are a couple of drawbacks, too. Let’s take a closer look at both.

Pros: 

  • Doesn’t require any math skill
  • Can be applied to multiple casino games
  • Works at online and land-based casinos
  • Recover your losses with one spin
  • Applies to bets with the highest probability

Cons:

  • Requires a large bankroll
  • No casino bets are truly even-money

Martingale vs. Other Roulette Systems

Martingale is not the only doubling roulette strategy out there. Let’s take a closer look at other roulette systems you can use in top offshore online casinos with different versions of the game.

Reverse Martingale System

We can see the reverse Martingale strategy as a counterweight to the Martingale betting system since it encourages players to double their bets after wins rather than losses. This anti-Martingale strategy aims to maximize the potential of winning streaks, allowing you to increase the wins while having the hot hand.

With the reverse Martingale, the logic is that wins as well as losses come in streaks and that by betting more on the winning end of it, you should walk away with the profit, especially if you can leverage funds from casino promotions to do so.

You begin with the lowest bet possible on even money wagers and build from there. You keep betting the same amount until you win. After that, you double the next bet. When you lose, you start from scratch with the lowest bet.

D’Alembert System

The D’Alembert system bears some resemblance to the Martingale one since both are negative progression betting strategies, meaning you will increase the stake when you lose. However, the D’Alembert brings the best from both worlds, which makes it a great betting strategy when learning to play roulette. Here’s the deal.

The system implies that you need to increase the stake gradually after a loss and decrease it when you are enjoying a hot streak. It’s a flat progression strategy, not nearly as aggressive as the Martingale betting system, but it won’t be bringing in any huge wins either.

Like the Martingale strategy in roulette, it works best with even bets, like red/black, even/odd, and 1–18/19–36, all of which boast the probability of a payout close to 50%. Experts claim that starting with the bet that’s just 1% of your bankroll is the best way forward.

Cover-the-Table

Cover-the-Table is a roulette strategy where you hedge your bets against the losing outcome by covering as many wagers as possible. There are many ways to cover the table, especially at new betting casinos with loads of roulette games, but the fact remains — it is a risky proposition for a small profit.

For example, you can bet on 35 numbers minus the zero and place a $1 bet on each. If one of them comes through, you will be looking at a profit of $1. However, if the ball lands on the zero, you lose all.

Final Thoughts

The Martingale system is a great strategy for casino bets that involve near-coin tosses. It capitalizes on doubling bets after losses to recover losses quickly. It’s also simple, and the promise of recouping all losses with a single win is what makes it the go-to roulette system for many beginners. Why not try it out at the play-money tables to see how it works for you?

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FAQs

What is the Martingale system?

Is the Martingale system legal?

Can I use the Martingale strategy in any game?

Does the Martingale system work?

Responsible Gambling

Even if you are on a roll with Martingale betting, it’s vital to always bet with your head and never over it. Make sure to understand the dangers of gambling and abide by responsible gambling rules by setting deposit and loss limits and also limiting the time spent on gambling. If you or anyone you know struggles with excessive gambling, know that you are not alone.

There are several institutions dedicated to helping problem gamblers and their families, such as:

Resources

 

Jon Young

Jon is a gambling editor and writer with over 18 years’ experience in the business. He has managed some of the largest gambling and poker magazines in the world and still finds time to hit the slots and blackjack tables of Las Vegas.

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