The Martingale system is one of the most famous strategies used by roulette, blackjack, baccarat and craps players at both land-based and top online casinos. It is a negative progression system, meaning you increase the size of your bet each time you suffer a loss. This Martingale strategy guide will explain how the system works, how it can be applied to the world's most popular casino games, and the advantages and disadvantages of using it. Read on for a full explanation of the Martingale betting system.
How The Martingale System Works
The Martingale system takes its name from an 18th-century London casino owner called John Martindale. It was initially named after him, but it became known as the Martingale system as it spread across the world. Legendary gambler Charles Wells was reportedly using the Martingale strategy when he broke the bank at Monte Carlo in 1891, and the system has remained popular ever since.
The concept is pretty simple. You can use the Martingale betting system on wagers where the odds are close to 1:1, such as red/black or odd/even on a roulette board. The idea is that you double the size of your stake after each loss you incur. Eventually you should recoup any losses, provided you have a large enough bankroll and that you do not fall foul of table limits.
First you must set a base unit amount. This is a percentage of your bankroll, and you should stick to it throughout your session. Let's say you have a bankroll of £500, and you decide to set your base unit as £10. Your first wager would be for £10. If it wins, you keep your stake the same and bet again. When you lose, double the size of your stake. Your next bet would be for £20. If it loses, double it again to £40. Keep going until you win. As soon as you win, you return to betting one unit again.
This table provides an example of how the Martingale system can be used in practice:
|Wager||Stake||Result of Bet||Win / Loss|
Although you have lost nine out of 15 hands in this Martingale betting system example, you are still £70 in profit. This shows how powerful an aggressive negative progression system like the Martingale can be. However, it is by no means foolproof, as we will explain in the next section of this Martingale system guide.
The Martingale system is popular among many players, because it is easy to follow and allows you to control your bankroll. The system works best when you play casino table games that offer the lowest house edge. This article explains Martingale system blackjack, Martingale system roulette, Martingale system baccarat and Martingale system craps. We will then explain the anti-Martingale system at the end of the guide, in case you would prefer to follow a positive progression system.
- Online Casino Betting with the D'Alembert Betting System
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- Online Casino Betting with the Fibonacci Betting System
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Martingale Betting System: Pros And Cons
There are several advantages to using the Martingale betting system when playing casino games:
- You will always recoup your losses by winning a single hand. The very nature of the Martingale strategy guarantees that you will eventually win back the amount you lose, because you double your stake after each loss. All you need to do is win one bet to wipe out a long series of losses.
- The Martingale betting system helps you accumulate a series of small profits. This is because you simply continue betting one unit after each win. In contrast, the anti-Martingale strategy requires you to double your stake after each win. Eventually, you will suffer a loss that wipes out all of your winnings – unless you walk away while you're ahead.
- The Martingale system is a lot more aggressive than alternative negative progression systems. For example, the D’Alembert system only requires you to increase your stake by one unit with each loss, rather than double it. This means you can win a bet, but still be down overall, as you will not erase all of your previous losses in one fell swoop. The same is true of the Labouchere system. It can be disheartening to win and still be down overall when following a negative progression system, but that is not the case with the Martingale strategy.
- It is easy to follow the Martingale system. You only have to remember to double your stake after each loss, and revert to one unit with each win. There are far more complicated strategies, such as the Fibonacci betting system, which requires you to follow a long sequence, or the Labouchere system, which requires a pen and paper and lots of adjustments. Human error is unlikely to creep in when following the Martingale strategy, and you can spend less time making calculations and more time enjoying yourself at the casino table.
- The Martingale system gives you control over your bankroll. It is generally better to follow a system than to simply bet random sums of money throughout a session.
- The Martingale strategy works well for reasonably short sessions. It is an exciting strategy, as it involves rapidly ramping up your stakes, and many players thrive on that sort of action.
However, there are also some disadvantages to using the Martingale betting system instead of alternative strategies:
- The Martingale system requires a large bankroll. You must double your stake after each loss, and the size of your wagers can therefore soar when you endure a losing streak. For instance, if your unit price is £20 and you lose seven bets in a row, you will have to stake £2,560 on your next bet. If you lose that, you need to bet £5,120. If you do not keep doubling your stake, the system stops working, so it is not worth using a Martingale system if you do not have a large bankroll.
- The concept of significantly ramping up your stake when losing can be psychologically difficult for some players. In the Martingale strategy example used above, you would already be down £5,100 after losing eight straight bets, and you would be facing a loss of £10,220 if you were to lose again. It requires fortitude to keep betting increasingly large amounts after incurring heavy losses, so it is not worth using the Martingale system if you fear that you would lose your nerve.
- The Martingale system is guaranteed to work if you have an unlimited bankroll, but you can also run into the issue of table limits. Sticking with the example used above, if your first bet was for £20 and you lost nine bets in a row, you would need to place a bet of £10,240 for your next hand. That would push you over the limits of many online casino tables, so you need to find a casino with high table limits, and also consider keeping your initial base unit stake pretty low.
- The Martingale system does not capitalise upon winning streaks. For example, if your base unit is £10 and you win six straight bets, you will earn a profit of £60. However, if you are following the anti-Martingale approach and you win six bets in a row, you would make a profit of £630.
- Some people might find the Martingale system anticlimactic. For example, if you lost nine bets in a row and then won a bet of £10,240, you would walk away with a £20 profit. You may have recouped your losses, which is a great feeling, but £20 can seem pretty paltry after winning a bet of £10,240.
- No betting system can cancel out the inherent house edge built into all casino games. If you play for a prolonged period of time, there is a danger of you embarking on a lengthy losing streak, which could push your bankroll to the limits. The Martingale system works best when you play for a reasonably short amount of time and use casino bonus offers to eat into the house edge.
Martingale Blackjack Betting System
Classic blackjack carries an RTP (return to player) ratio of 99.41%. Some variants offer an even lower house edge, and you can use bonuses to cut it further, so your chances of success on a bet are extremely close to 50/50. Blackjack is therefore the perfect game for a Martingale system.
A Martingale blackjack strategy works best if you find a table with a relatively low minimum wager limit and a high maximum stake. You should set aside a bankroll and then choose a relatively small proportion of that bankroll as your base unit. If you opt for a £20 unit price, your first wager when playing Martingale system blackjack would be for £20.
If your bet wins, keep the money and go again. The idea behind the Martingale system blackjack approach is to accumulate a large number of small, one unit wins, while aggressively chasing down losses and wiping them out with a single triumph.
If your £20 Martingale system blackjack bet loses, you are required to double your stake to £40 for your next bet. If you win, you will have erased your previous loss, and you can start again by betting £20. However, if you lose a second consecutive bet, you must increase the size of your stake to £80.
The Martingale blackjack strategy requires you to up the stake to £80 if you lose three in a row. By this point, you would be hoping to wipe out those three previous losses with a win, but if luck is not on your side, ramp it up to £160. When following the Martingale system blackjack strategy, you have to keep upping your stake, to £320, then £640, then £1,280 and so on, until you finally secure victory.
All it takes is one solitary win to wipe out all of your previous losses, but it can be a pretty nerve-racking ride. You need a large bankroll and a table with high limits in order to pursue the Martingale blackjack strategy.
The high RTP on a blackjack table factors in extra winnings that players can earn by being dealt a blackjack, successfully doubling down or successfully splitting cards. This can be especially beneficial when following a negative progression system like the Martingale. For example, if you were to lose six bets in a row and then win a bet of £1,280, you would make a profit of £20. However, if you were dealt a blackjack on that seventh bet, you would make a profit of £640, as you get an extra 50% bonus for being dealt a blackjack.
It can get a little complicated when considering doubling down or splitting aces. However, if you successfully double down or split cards when playing Martingale system blackjack, you will make a healthy profit. If your double down bet fails, you could then simply double that doubled down stake (essentially quadrupling your stake) for your next bet in order to keep following the system. The same is true if both bets lose after splitting cards. If just one bet wins and the other loses, you are back to square one, and you can make the same bet again.