First devised in the 1700s by a London casino owner, the Martingale betting system is one of the simplest and most familiar bet strategies used by punters in the world today. Its apparent simplicity makes people erroneously believe that the Martingale betting strategy is guaranteed to turn you a profit.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain how the Martingale betting strategy works, why it can lead to positive returns but also what its major limitations are for the standard punter.
In short, we’ll answer the question of whether the Martingale system can consistently beat the bookies!
What is the Martingale Betting System?
The Martingale system is a betting system that tries to assure the punter of a profit on two-selection bets (50/50 bets) by doubling the stake of a losing bet with their next bet until their bet is a winner.
By doing this, the punter will guarantee themselves a profit of the same amount of their unit stake when they land a winning bet.
Once a bet is won, the system then restarts with the first bet at the standard unit stake bet amount.
How it works – A Martingale betting calculator
Our simple Martingale betting calculator shows how a successful Martingale betting system would work when betting on red or black on roulette or another similar 50/50 bet.
- Bet 1 – £10 on Black – Lose – (£10 loss)
- Bet 2 – £20 on Black– Lose – (£30 total loss)
- Bet 3 – £40 on Black – Lose (£70 total loss)
- Bet 4 – £80 on Black – Win – £160 return
Total Staked – £150. Total Return £160 – User lands £10 profit.
The theory of the Martingale system is that after a win, on their next bet, the punter would go back to a £10 bet and repeat the process, guaranteeing them a £10 profit each time.
Are there variations to the standard Martingale betting system?
Yes, there are some variations to the standard Martingale system.
- Mini Martingale – This is where you limit the number of times you double down on a losing bet before calling it quits.
- Reverse Martingale – This option sees you double down on your wins, rather than your losses.
- Grand Martingale – This strategy sees you bet an additional betting unit stake after every loss, which increases the profits of a win after several losses to more than your original bet stake.
Martingale Casino Game Betting
Image credit: Ralf Roletschek
Martingale systems can be easily used on casino games that offer a chance to double your money on your original stake. This includes the following bets/games:
- Baccarat (Banker bet)
- Red/Black, High/Low, or Odd/Even bets in Roulette
- Craps (Don’t Pass bet)
Finally, one important thing to note, if you bet at a crypto casino using the Martingale system, if your casino accepts bets in crypto, rather than exchanging them for dollar/euro values, you may need to pay close attention to how much your unit stake is, as it may not be a standard and easily remembered amount.
Martingale Sports Betting
If you want to use a Martingale system in sports, or even esports, then there are some things you need to know before you place that initial bet on CSGO or the big football game.
You should only bet on markets that offer you two selections, roughly odds of 50/50 on either selection. Finding these bets can be quite tricky as sometimes sports betting sites will offer odds of just shy of even money on two-selection bets, which means you will not earn enough profits to cover your losses, even if you win.
Team Kinguin vs. Red Reserve – DreamHack Montreal 2018 (Image credit: Ye Fang Kuang)
So while you can use Martingale for sports betting, unless you are betting very small stakes, most experienced punters tend not to use the system when placing sports or esports bets.
The Limitations of Using the Martingale Betting System
On the face of it, for certain casino bets at least, the Martingale system looks infallible. After all, you are not likely to go 6 or 7 50/50 bets in a row and lose every single one, aren’t you?
This is an excellent example of a gambler’s fallacy, where faulty logic makes people believe their system will always check out. Unfortunately, that is not the case in the world of casino gaming and esports and sports betting.
So the key limitations of using the Martingale system include:
- Using the standard system, you will only ever win 1x your unit stake.
- After successive losses, you can end up having to bet huge amounts just to win 1x your original stake.
- Casino or Sports Book limitations on bet size mean that you may not be allowed to wager above a certain amount on a game, which means that if you hit a losing streak, you will not be able to recoup your money as doubling your bet will take the bet amount above the limit.
- It can be easy to run out of money in your bankroll if you hit a losing streak of bets. For example, if you start with an initial bet of 1% of your $100 bankroll, if you lose 6 bets in a row, then you have lost 63% of your bankroll ($63). That means you can’t double the size of the last losing bet ($32) as you have run out of cash. Your six losing bets have cost you $63, meaning you have $37 left in your account and you need $64 for the next bet in the Martingale sequence).
You can check out some other betting advice and strategies in our section on esports betting guides.
Martingale Betting System FAQs
Does Martingale betting work?
What is a Martingale in betting?
Is the Martingale system profitable?
What causes the Martingale strategy to fail?
1. Casino/Sports Book limits on the upper value of your next Martingale bet.
2. The player runs out of money after a small number of Martingale bets.
3. Players not understanding the system is designed for two selections, 50/50 type bets, and trying to use the system on the wrong type of bets.