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How the Martingale System Works


martingale system explainedIf you’re an avid gambler, you’ve probably heard about the Martingale system before. If you are unaware, it is one of the most popular gambling strategies out there, with many gamblers using it both for table games and sports betting.

As is usually the case for popular betting systems, a “legend” or “myth” has come to be associated with the system. Obviously, some gamblers swear by it. But some warn you to be wary of using it.

The conflicting opinions have given rise to the question: does the Martingale system work?

Well, this is what we aim to explore on this page. Below we have a look at how the Martingale system was invented, how it works, and the pros and cons of using it. We have also listed some online casinos with free games to practice the strategy if you are interested in using it. So, let’s get into it!

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Origins of the Martingale System

The Martingale system actually refers to a load of similar negative progression strategies invented in 18th century France. The common factor in all of these systems is that the bettor would double their wager after every loss.

The idea is for a single win to get you back up to your original stake. It was also recommended that bettors used it with wagers that had as close to a 50/50 outcome as possible. For example, a red/black or even/odd bet in roulette.

This betting system grew incredibly popular due to the idea that every player is bound to win some time on a 50/50 bet. The problem was that not every gambler has a bankroll to support continued stake increases.

But it was argued that only the unluckiest of gamblers would ever hit a losing streak so bad that they would never be able to recover financially from it. The jury is still out on that one, though.

How to Use the Martingale System

The Martingale strategy is pretty easy to understand and use, so it is popular with many gamblers. Essentially, there are three steps to it.

  1. Before you start a gambling session, set a betting unit. For example, one betting unit could be $5.
  2. If you lose a bet, double the units you bet. For example, if you started at $5, your next bet will be $10.
  3. Keep doubling your bet until you reach a win. Continuing with the above example, your bet will keep doubling as such: $5 (first bet), $10, $20, $40, $80, and so on.
  4. When you get that win, start with your initial bet again. In the case of the example, $5.

Traditionally, you should use the Martingale system in games that allow you to make bets with as close to a 50/50 chance of winning as possible. So, roulette and blackjack are usually likely candidates. Never try it on slots (you’ll make yourself sad.)

martingale betting system

Advantages of the Martingale System

Here are some of the reasons you may want to look at adopting the Martingale system:

  • It is easy to understand and use. All you have to do is double your bet after each loss.
  • Doubling your bet after every loss ensures that your bankroll always returns to the amount you started with.
  • The Martingale is ideal for short gaming sessions. If you notch up a few wins, you could easily walk away with no losses or perhaps even a profit.

Disadvantages of the Martingale System

There are far more reasons you shouldn’t use the Martingale system. The prominent reasons are the following:

  • You need a big bankroll to keep going if you are on a big losing streak. This system burns through your bankroll than positive progression strategies, where you only increase your bet after a win.
  • This system is not made for a long gaming session. Remember that the house always wins, and the longer you play, the more likely this statement is to ring true.
  • You could hit the betting cap on a table if you keep on increasing your bet. Thereafter, you may not be able to recover all of your losses with a single bet.

Should I Use the Martingale System?

Generally, we recommend that players stay away from using negative progression betting systems. These are all the systems where you increase your bet after a loss.

Unfortunately, these systems are created with the idea that you will eventually win a bet. And, chances are, that’s true. However, consistently doubling your bet has a high chance of bankrupting you before you get to that win.

Additionally, people need to remember that a betting system is more like a money-management system than a game strategy. It does nothing to lower or increase the odds you face in a game.

So, as stated above, the house eventually always wins. And, sometimes, using the Martingale system helps the house win faster.

However, instead of taking our word for it, we recommend that you try the strategy out for yourself on some free casino games. We have a load of casinos listed above that will let you test the system without losing any real money. Then, you can make up your own mind on it.
Other Recommended Betting System Guides:

  • Whittaker System
  • Labouchere System
  • Parlay System
  • Flat Betting
  • Reverse d’Alembert
  • 1-3-2-6 System
  • d’Alembert System