The Martingale System – Increasing your chances?

The Martingale system is the most popular and commonly used roulette strategy. The underlying concept is quite simple: you increase your bet after every loss, so when you finally win, you get your lost money back and start betting with the original amount. It sounds pretty logical, and it’s fairly easy to understand and implement. You don’t need to be a math wizard or a strategic brain to use this system.

However, experienced roulette players do not like it very much and do not use it at all. The Martingale is rather risky, and all it does is increase your chances of winning in the short term. Basically, you bet big to win small. You’ll probably win more rounds than usual, but the amounts you win will be small, while the amounts you lose have the potential to be much, much larger.

Using the Martingale System

The most effective way to use the Martingale is to bet only on outside bets with even money – 1-18, 19-36, red, black, even and odd. They have the highest odds of winning (almost 50%), but the lowest payout of all – 1: 1. This means that you win the same amount as you bet for the round. All in all, these are the safest bets you could place in a roulette game.

For even money bets, the bet progression you will use is as follows:

1 – 2 – 4 – 8 – 16 – 32 – 64 – 128 – 256 – 512 – 1024 – 2048 – 4096 – 8192

Placing bets and doubling

You start with a small amount, preferably the table minimum, and keep betting until you lose. When this happens, double your bet size for the next round. This way, if you win, you will get back the money you lost in the previous round and win something extra. If you continue to lose, keep doubling your bet – the logic remains the same. As soon as you win, you have to restart and bet the smallest amount for the next round. Rinse and repeat.

In theory, you can go on like this forever, doubling after every loss and winning a small profit after every win. The harsh reality, however, is that there are many factors that can damage your perfect system and cause you to lose a lot of money.

Can Martingale beat the home advantage?

We agree that the concept is perfect – but the house will always win in the end. In this case, the main villain is the green zero pocket, which is the house advantage in its purest form. Because of this, the odds will always be against you, no matter how you bet. The safest outside bets have almost 50% chances of winning – 48.6%, to be precise, because of the green zero, which does not fit into any category except its own.

The odds are not in your favour and the Martingale system can do nothing about it. Unfortunately, this is true for all roulette strategies.

Hidden dangers when using martingale

We have already mentioned that the Martingale system is considered extremely risky and is rarely used by experienced players. The main problem is that by using it, you can run out of money very quickly – only after a few turns, if bad luck strikes. On top of that, most roulette tables have betting limits, and it is very likely that you will reach them during a long losing streak – not being able to double up and get back the money you lost. This is where the Martingale system fails hard and can cause you a lot of problems.

This table shows how alarmingly fast you can lose a lot using the Martingale. Also remember that your profit will always be the initial amount you bet. You could find yourself in a situation where you have to bet £1024 to win a meagre £1.

The chances of a sudden sequence of defeats

Many players take these figures lightly, thinking that it is very unlikely that they will lose 10 times in a row on equal bets. Let’s do the math and see exactly how unlikely this is for both European and American roulette. For example, the chance that red will not hit for ten consecutive rounds is:

  • European: (19/37) ^ 10 = 0.1275%
  • American: (20/38) ^ 10 = 0.1631%.

We calculate the probability that the scenario « red does not strike for 10 consecutive turns » and not « black strikes 10 times in a row », because it is not the same thing. We have to take into account the zeros – you can get 5 consecutive blacks, 1 zero and 4 blacks after that, which is equivalent to « red not hitting for 10 consecutive turns »

The Martingale strategy cannot help you win a fortune. Focusing on European roulette, the odds of your colour not hitting for 10 consecutive spins are 1 to 784. This may sound good, but keep in mind that the odds are like this only at the beginning of the game. As you play, the odds change, and if you manage to lose five games in a row, the chances of you continuing to do so will increase over time.

If the starting bet is €1, odds from 1 to 784 indicate that you should expect to win around €784 before starting a sequence of 10 losing rounds, which will cost you €1023. As you can see, the Martingale system does indeed increase your chances of winning in the short term, but losses will eventually outweigh the gains in a longer game. And you have to play longer games in order to win an acceptable amount of money to compensate for all your problems.

So can Martingale help me win?

The Martingale system will bring you small gains in the short term, but because of the high progression, it is an extremely risky strategy to use in the long term. In the end, the amount you lose will surely outweigh the amount you manage to win. It may seem to work at first, but the math doesn’t lie.

Every player has a bad experience with this system sooner or later. We give you a fair warning – don’t use it intensively in the long run! You might end up losing a lot of money and enjoy the game of roulette.

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