What is the Martingale betting system? How it all began …
The Martingale betting strategy is one of the oldest betting systems in the world – and it has its roots in eighteenth-century France. According to legend, it takes its name from a former London casino owner, one John Henry Martindale, who was reportedly an early adopter of the strategy. (The spelling of his surname evidently became lost in translation over the years as Martindale became Martingale. These days. everyone calls it the Martingale betting system.)
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This popular strategy is used by sports bettors as well as those playing casino games, in particular roulette. So if you enjoy sports betting or a casino game or three, and would like to know more about the Martingale betting system, read on.
How does the Martingale system work?
By now you're probably wondering how the Martingale strategy works.
In theory at least, the Martingale strategy is one of the simplest casino gambling betting strategies out there. Essentially, it means you double your losing bets until you back your losses and maintain the one unit profit. (If you're already winning, stick to a one unit stake).
So, for example, you sit down at the roulette wheel or for some other table games and it's time to place bets, under the Martingale betting system if your starting bet is for a tenner on red and the result is black, you bet £20 on your next bet. If that still doesn't yield a winning bet, your stake on the next bet after that goes up to £40 and so on, even if you feel you're on a losing streak.
Whenever you do hit a winning streak, you simply go back to your first stake and start the process again from the next wager onwards.
Martingale betting: some terminology explained
Anti Martingale system: This take on the Martingale system involves doubling up on winning bets and reducing losing bets by 50%. It's essentially a betting system promoting a “hot hand” mentality when you're on a winning streak and a loss-cutting strategy when you're experiencing a losing streak. The anti Martingale strategy is also known as the ‘reverse Martingale' system. It's considered a relatively safe way to wager your bets – but remember there are never any guarantees.
Grand Martingale system: Another twist on the regular Martingale strategy is the ‘grand Martingale system'. With this version of the betting system, you double your stake while also adding an extra unit rather than just doubling up after you lose a bet.
Mini Martingale system: With this version of the betting system, the Martingale betting strategy involves limiting the amount of double-up bets. This stops you from losing huge sums of money. But you could still go through a lengthy losing streak. However, in the short term it at least means you endure any losses slowly.
Is Martingale strategy legal?
People often want to know, understandably, whether Martingale strategies are legal. We can answer that very quickly and say that they are certainly not illegal, and no online roulette operator or casino will ban you from using the Martingale betting strategy when you play casino games and the like.
However, it may only be realistically viable in some situations. The Martingale player, for example, needs to have a next-to infinite bankroll to keep funding money bets in the event of any losing streaks, at the blackjack table, roulette wheel or similar. So it may not work if you don't have sufficient bankroll.
The other thing to bear in mind is that a casino might well impose limits on the betting amount you can stake on each bet, although house limits will differ with each casino. Such a table limit, for example, may be imposed if you eventually hit a series of winning streaks using the Martingale betting system. What's more, many casinos have upper betting limits, which apply from your initial bet onwards .
What are the pros of this betting strategy?
The beauty of the Martingale is that, as betting systems go, it's incredibly straightforward. You don't need an in-depth understanding of maths to pick it up very quickly. And the same principles apply from your first bet onwards, until you eventually win. You always return to the same steps you followed in the previous round.
Other betting system options aside from Martingale betting involve using complex mathematical formulae.
In fact, many players may already be using this betting system in sports betting or table games without even realising that they are effectively using the Martingale strategy.
Also, this betting system should mean that, when you play roulette or a similar even money bets game, you end up making a total profit overall, even if it's not a huge one. So when you do eventually hit a win, you should at least be able to cancel out any losses made from sports betting or casino games.
The simplicity of this betting system means that even those who are new to online casino games such as roulette will be able to use the Martingale system as soon as they start to play with real money. You can also make the Martingale system work for you if you're a seasoned casino player who's new to betting on particular table games.
Are there any downsides to the Martingale system as a betting strategy?
As mentioned above, with Martingale betting you need a hefty bankroll to fund any losing streaks as you wait for a winning wager. So you may want to do your betting at a casino with high upper limits for each wager. Or you may have to do something like join the casino VIP scheme. In most cases the casino will place a limit of some sort, and will always have the house edge firmly in mind, from your initial bet onwards.
Equally, because of this, whether you're placing even money bets or anything else, the wins from this betting system are unlikely to be huge. (That's not to say that the Martingale system won't be profitable.)
Finally, bear in mind that with the Martingale system, you can quite easily use up your entire bankroll if you are not careful. Be aware of this, and the house edge, when using the Martingale strategy. And while it's tempting to keep on making your next bet and the next bet after that, through very losing streak, it's also good to know when to stop betting.
So should I use the Martingale system or not?
If you're looking for a new betting system the Martingale is simple and easy to understand. But it can feel as though you're staking quite a lot of money and taking quite a high risk for relatively modest returns. The Martingale system also depends on the gambler's fallacy which states that, eventually, you're bound to win.
Strictly speaking, that's not true. Just because you have had a string of losses with your bets, that doesn't necessarily mean you're poised to win. Equally, no one has an infinite of money to spend on bets.
So it is probably wise not to rely on the Martingale strategy too completely. However, there is nothing stopping you from having some fun by placing bets and trying it out with low stakes.
Just remember to play responsibly and remember that the Martingale betting system is not infallible, either for sports betting or table games. Stay within your limits and you won't go far wrong.