You may have heard that in the past, some casino players got rich by playing with a certain strategy. In fact, many people are still using the exact same system, especially when it comes to roulette. Of the so-called roulette strategies, the Martingale is by far the most popular betting system. It is a system based on even-money bets and doubling bets after losing rounds. For new players, the Martingale system can be a good introduction to both the advantages and the limitations of a betting system. Experienced players will rightly argue that the system has weaknesses, but that doesn't mean the Martingale isn't worth giving a shot, under the right conditions.
How the Martingale System Works in Roulette
To use the Martingale system on the roulette table, you need an adequate bankroll and a basic understanding of maths. As part of the Martingale strategy, you only place bets that pay out even money, such as Red and Black, High or Low, or Even and Odd, and you double your bets every time you lose.
You should start with the minimum bet at the table. For this example, we assume that it is £1. If you win a bet at any point during the system, you return to the £1 level. However, if you lose a bet, it is time to double your bet on the next round. For example, if you lose a £1 bet, your next bet will be £2. If you lose that, you will up the stakes to the £4 level, etc. Just remember to lower your next wager back to just £1 as soon as you win.
The Martingale System was created to allow you to amass a lot of small wins. Since you always double your bet, the bottom line on every bet won will be a profit of £1, regardless of whether you won the £1 level or any subsequent level. Long-term, you should always end up with a win no matter how many times you lose. That is the Martingale theory in a nutshell.
It can prove helpful to have an end goal in mind when playing this system, and don’t test your luck too much. You could choose to play until you win a certain amount or until a certain length of time has passed.
Problems of the Martingale System
There are several difficulties involved in using the Martingale system. The first problem is the sad truth that it will not allow you to overcome the house edge. Every time you wager, the casino still has the edge. This means you lose more often than not and if you are unlucky you might reach the limits of your bankroll quite soon. Doubling your bets many times quickly adds up to a substantial bet. Starting with a £1 bet, you’ll be betting £32 if you lose 5 times in a row.
This would not necessarily be an issue if you had a truly infinite bankroll, as you could then play for as long as it would take to ultimately make a profit and still be ahead by £1. However, there is, unfortunately, another problem, even for players with extremely well-stocked bankrolls. This is the maximum wagering limit at your table.
Imagine if your roulette table had a £1 minimum and a £100 maximum limit. That would mean that you could make seven bets – of £1, £2, £4, £8, £16, £32, and £64 – before you are not allowed to double your bet any further. And as soon as you can’t complete the strategy by doubling when losing, you’ve truly lost a lot of money.
So if you lose seven bets in a row you will end up losing the whole cycle and £127 at the same time. That would be fine if you only lost seven times in a row once in 128 cycles, which would be enough to break even. Unfortunately, this scenario occurs more often than what you’d think. And, also keep in mind that you’d then have bet a total of £127 for the chance to end up with just a £1 profit.
Advantages of the Martingale System
The limitations described above do not mean that you cannot or should not use the Martingale system. The prerequisite is that you know what to expect when playing with this strategy. Martingale is perfect for players who are willing to take the risk of occasionally losing a significant amount of money in return for regular small wins.
When using Martingale in an online casino, there is a good chance you will end most sessions with low winnings. However, there will be occasions when everything goes wrong that can go wrong, and you lose a lot of money on the spot.
But, if you have a healthy bankroll to begin with, and choose a table that has a big gap between minimum and maximum bet, you might end up being lucky and win. So to conclude, the size of your bankroll and the table limits are what will make or break it when you use the Martingale betting strategy.