Playing roulette online or in a regular casino can be great fun and because it’s such a simple game to play and understand it’s also very, very popular. However, whilst it offers heaps of excitement and can, with just a little luck, be very profitable, there is one trap that simply must be avoided, and it’s called Martingale.
Martingale is a gambling “system” that was created in the 18th century in France and is a form of negative progression betting system. That means that you raise the stake after a lost bet and in Martingale that specifically means doubling your stake after each loss.
Doubling after each loss can be applied to any bet but is most commonly used for wagers where the chances of success are approximately 50/50 and the bet pays at even money. Because of this the system is primarily associated with betting on red or black at roulette.
The theory goes that if you bet one unit (let’s say $10) and it wins, then great, you’re 10 bucks up and you either walk away or stick with your $10 bet. If you lose, you double to $20, a win then leaving you $10 to the good, in which case your options are the same – walk away or bet again with a one unit stake. If you lose, you simply double your stake and the appeal of Martingale is that no matter how many spins in a row you lose, by doubling your stake you’ll always arrive at that $10 win when you do win.
However, Martingale is flawed for two main reasons, the most important being that unless you have unlimited time, an infinite bankroll and a casino with no maximum bet, at some stage you will be unable to double your stake.
The second is that even though you are doubling your stake, you can’t overcome the house edge, meaning that the casino retains the advantage. So, whilst the system will probably work in the short term, long term the casino will still win the same percentage it always does, the equivalent of the house edge. You might win $10 every night for a year but that $3650 would be wiped out – and then some – by a run of nine losses, leaving you down $1460 and a run of nine straight blacks or reds is far more common than you would think.
In short, never, ever, ever use the Martingale system on roulette or anything else!