The Martingale Strategy: Is It a Win-Win System or a Fraud?

The Martingale Strategy: Is It a Win-Win System or a Fraud?

Among all the strategies that gamblers use, the most popular is the Martingale system. There are several reasons for its fame. Firstly, it is extremely simple as you can understand its basics in just a few minutes, even if you are not very good at mathematics and have never dealt with gambling before. Secondly, many bloggers who called themselves casino gurus actively advertised this strategy just over 10 years ago. They promised their subscribers easy earnings and guaranteed winnings. But is the Martingale system really that good? In this article, we will talk about this and about the principles of its work.

The Essence of the Martingale Strategy

Martingale is a mathematical system, according to which you need to change the size of the next bet depending on the previous result. At the same time, the bet increases exponentially, which makes the strategy extremely volatile. The main idea is the assumption that the same result cannot always fall out and it will change sooner or later. If you double the bet with each loss, then the first successful outcome will compensate for all previous losses and bring you a small profit.

The geometric progression leads to a rapid increase in the bet size, so the strategy requires you to have a large bankroll.

To start using the Martingale system, it is enough to remember just a few rules. During the game, you need to perform the following sequence of actions:

  1. Specify the initial bet size, for example, it can be $1. This figure can be more or less depending on your wishes and the size of your bankroll in the casino.
  2. Bet on an outcome in any game that has a winning probability of approximately 50%.
  3. If you lose as a result of the draw, repeat the bet on the same outcome, but double it.
  4. Repeat this action until you win. After that, change the outcome and return to the initial bet size.

This way, you make up for all the chips you’ve lost so far, and you also earn a small income whenever you win.

Where Can You Apply the Martingale Strategy

The Martingale system is better suited for bets that have a 50% winning chance. Therefore, most gambling titles are not suitable for its use. The lower the winning probability in one particular round is, the worse the strategy works.

Martingale Strategy in a roulette
European and French roulette versions are more suitable for Martingale

You need to choose games and specific outcomes very carefully. As an example, we will suppose you’re playing the following games:

  • Roulette. You need to bet on equal chances, that is, on red/black, even/odd, and over/under. The winning probability of each of these outcomes is close to 50%, so you win half the bets on average. This is exactly what you need.
  • Baccarat. In this game, bets on the Banker and the Player give approximately equal chances. At the same time, they bring you winnings from x0.95 to x1. The prediction for a Draw is not suitable, as this outcome has a much lower winning probability.
  • Craps. Bet on general outcomes like Come or Don’t Come. They bring you a win about half the time, so they are suitable for applying the Martingale strategy.

Martingale can work in other games, as well as with other outcomes in the games described above. Your task is to choose a bet that has an equal probability of winning and losing and gives a prize of 1:1.


Now let’s see how the Martingale system works in practice. Let’s say you have chosen to play roulette, and your initial bet was $1. You need to place your chips in one of the even odds fields. If you lose three times in a row and then win, the intermediate and final results for a series of bets will look like this.

Bet NumberBet Size, $ResultTotal, $

At the same time, you need to understand that you can win already at the first bet, or a series of failures can last 5, 10, or even more rounds. The geometric progression of the bet growth makes the Martingale strategy extremely unprofitable for owners of small bankroll. To use it, you should have a really large bankroll at your disposal.

Why Is the Martingale Strategy Not Perfect

The mathematical model that underlies the Martingale strategy and theoretically makes it win-win involves betting on outcomes with a win probability of exactly 50%. With this value, you can return at least the entire amount of expenses in the long run and even make a profit if you’re lucky. However, not a single gambling title in the casino can give you these chances. In the European roulette, the winning probability when betting on equal chances is just 48.64%.

In American roulette, bets on equal chances win 47.36% of the time due to two zero sectors.

Thus, even if in case of victory you receive a payout of exactly 1:1; this leads to losses in the long run, since you won’t win 50% of your bets.

The second important drawback is maximum bet limits in any game of chance. Because of this, even if you have the financial capacity, you won’t be able to raise the rate indefinitely. And with a long series of failures, there is a risk that at some point you won’t be able to double the bet.

Bet size when using Martingale strategy
Bet growth during a series of losses

For these reasons, the Martingale strategy can’t be considered as a way to beat the casino in the long run. Sooner or later, you will find yourself in the red and you will no longer be able to compensate for losses with future bets. However, you can use this strategy in the short run. For example, you lack a small amount to buy a bonus game in some slot. You can make a series of small bets and receive the desired result in most cases.

The final decision on whether or not to use the Martingale strategy is up to you. If you’re willing to take the risk, you can try. But remember that gambling is not a means of earning money, so you have to be ready to lose funds that you have deposited at the casino.

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Publication Author
Donald Peterson
Author of articles
Donald Peterson is an avid gambler from Edmonton, Alberta, who also writes about his experience with casinos. He’s been in the business for over 10 years, following the ever-changing industry landscape. His articles are aimed at helping beginners with choosing casinos, suitable games, and strategies.
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