The Martingale Roulette Strategy

The Martingale Strategy is a stop losses type strategy thought to potentially limit losses made during gambling games, roulette in particular. It is one of the most well-known and oldest of such methods still used today. In fact, there are historic records which indicate that this strategy predates the invention of roulette. Given how long it has been around, it is difficult to pinpoint with any degree of certainty its exact origin.

Casinos with Roulette

Origins of the Term Martingale

There is still no consensus of opinion today of the exact origins of the name of the system, although it is very probable that the term originated from the French "maringale", (martingale in English), which in horse riding refers to a special rein or tack designed to prevent horses from raising their heads back, rearing up, throwing a rider from their saddle or otherwise harming them, which in essence, is analogous to the objective of this strategy when applied to roulette, namely, to recover the losses of consecutive bets at the roulette table by increasing your bets following losses: if the player has a sufficient financial cushion, the Martingale betting system permits a series of consecutive losses to be compensated by doubling the at the end of each of these bets the same amount as the initial bet or a little more. Clear? No!

How it Works

The game process in roulette according to the Martingale system is developed by placing simple bets (red/black, odds/evens, high/low). Traditionally, in order to exemplify the systems' functions an explanation that upon making the bet on red of the winning number, the player selects the colour simply because of their personal preferences, whereas, the Martingale systems on par with all roulette bets which carry a payment ratio of 1 to 1.

The Martingale system provides the following simple rules for betting:

  • Starting with the money available and within the determined limits of simple bets on a roulette table, the player calculates for themselves the size of their initial bet. Next, the player places said initial bet in favour of any of the simple probabilities
  • In the event if a win for the player, the player collects their winnings and betting restarts anew, the initial quantity now in the same position
  • In the event of a loss, the player repeats the bet in the same position as before, doubling the amount bet

In the event that a series of consecutive losses is produced, the player's bet will continue to grow with geometric progression, in other words, exponentially, with step two. This is why the Martingale system is often referred to as a progressive roulette strategy.

Theoretically, the Martingale betting system should guarantee the player an outcome without losses, and given the possibility of winning with any of the simple bets (such as on black or red) is always identical, the losing streak cannot continue forever and doubling the bet following every loss should compensate all of the previous consecutive losses, therefore the player should simply wait patiently for a win with which they will recover all of their initial bets plus 1.

However, in practice, there are at least two complications to which the player absolutely must consider according the the Martingale system.

Countermeasures against the use of the Martingale Principle

The first obstacle to guaranteed success of the game can come from the player's financial limitations. The size of the bet increases in the event of a long losing streak of spins without success could exhaust the players financial reserves. For example, should a bet start out as 1 unit, a sequence of 10 losses will result in a bet which is over 1000 times the original bet:

  • First bet: 1
  • Second bet: 2
  • Third bet: 4
  • Fourth bet: 8
  • Fifth bet: 16
  • Sixth bet: 32
  • Seventh bet: 64
  • Eighth bet: 128
  • Ninth bet: 256
  • Tenth bet: 512
  • For the eleventh bet the player will need: 1024

The only solution to this problem is the adequate management of one's available finances and also by making a good decision regarding the initial bet. In order to play using the Martingale system, the available funds must be greater than the initial bet by no less than 30-50 times. In view of this, it should be obvious that the greater the available funds, the longer a losing streak of consecutive losses can be sustained and reversed whilst still being covered by this strategy and at the same time providing for the possibility of a successful game.

The other obstacle to overcome is the casino's own rules designed to prevent the use of progressive systems, said measures consist in a simple limitation of minimum and maximum betting limits on roulette tables. For example, limiting minimum bets to $10 and maximum bets as $300 which effectively nullifies the martingale strategy by the 5th bet. In other words, 5 consecutive losses will require a bet larger than the casino's maximum bet is needed in order to recover losses.

However, players do have something up their sleeves as something as a partial solution to the house rules.

One way the player might adapt to the house rules, for example, is by choosing a table and a casino with the widest possible range of best in order to extend the possible number of consecutive bets by doubling.

Another option open to the player is that once the necessary bet has reached the house limit for simple bets, the player has the option of sharing out the number of bets directly onto the gaming field (for example in the straight up position by betting on all of the red numbers).

A further method is for the player to have some of his friends around the table playing with them in secret, collectively pooling their resources together and having previously agreed in which situations in which they should complete bets for the primary player in order to surpass the house limits on bets.

Conventional casinos are, of course, wise to these practices but they are not always prohibited outright. That said, it is impossible to control such practices online where players organise to pool money together to try and beat the odds. When players use the Martingale Strategy roulette games can become more interesting due to the anticipation of seeing if it will be successful or not.

Many other systems similar to the Martingale strategy have been developed down the years with the aim of allowing players to beat the odds, beat the house and make hit the big time, including the grand martingale strategy.