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The Deadly Martingale Roulette System

 Nicholas Colon, Author

A roulette ball rests on red seven

The Martingale is a roulette strategy that dates back to at least the 18th century.  It is rumored to have been started by the greedy casino owner John Martindale.  As you may have guessed the name of the Martingale system is a variation on Mr. Martindale’s surname. It is worthwhile to note that Mr. Martindale did not use the system himself, but did strongly encourage it among his patrons.  He would often infer to his players that other players had consistently won significant sums of money using the system.

If you’re learning how to play roulette and about roulette systems, then know that the Martingale system is far and away one of the most popular systems for playing roulette known to recreational players.  This is not because it is effective. It is because it is such a straight forward and simplistic system to apply, much like the similar d’Alembert roulette system. The player does not have to memorize any complex equations, or quickly and mentally calculate algebraic expressions.  

Insights on the Martingale Roulette system

Over the years there have been dozens, and possibly hundreds of variations on the Martingale system.  All of these variations orbit around the central idea of increasing the bet after a loss.  In most cases the system is applied to games of chance that have a near 50/50 win to loss outcome, such as the roulette black and red bets. It’s always a good idea, on this note, to brush up on the rules of roulette.

The traditional Martingale system simply doubles the next bet after a loss is attained. When a win is achieved the cycle begins anew. For example if the player starts with a 1 dollar bet and losses the first bet, the next bet would be 2 dollars, and if the player loses that bet the next bet would be four dollars. If that bet is won the cycle begins at one dollar again. This approach dictates that the player will win the largest bet of each betting cycle.

Using the Martingale system

At first glance the Martingale system seems to be too good to be true. The novice player playing roulette sees this as a sure path to easy money. But like the perception of a parking space near the door at shopping mall on the busiest shopping day of the holiday season, the Martingale is too a mirage. 

This roulette system opens up the player to an unlikely but very high risk, for very little reward. The Martingale system manipulates the statistical probabilities so that the player has a high chance of winning a several small amounts and a very low chance of losing a very large sum of money. Because the player is winning small amounts more often, the player falls into the false perception that wining more often means winning more total dollars.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Some roulette tips from us: there are many problems with the Martingale system.  The first concern the player should be acquainted with is that the longer the player plays the more likely they are to experience a catastrophic losing streak. Statistical Mathematics dictates that there is approximately a 0.1 % chance of losing a 50/50 bet more than nine consecutive times. This translates into for every 1000 wagers that a player makes they can expect to lose 9 bets in a row, one time.  And because the player doubles their bet after every loss, the player will lose 1000 dollars for the same 1000 bets, thus eliminating any gains the player would have achieved over the same time.  In its simplest form the betting strategy is exposing the player to exponential losses.

The second and third concerns that the player should take notice of is the constraints of betting limits imposed by the casino and the limited bankroll of the player. The constraints imposed by the casino ensures that a martingale system cannot be beneficial to the player. Most roulette tables have a red and black table max bet of 1000 dollars. After 9 bets the table max is reached and the player is prohibited by the rules to increase their bet.

If the table max was reached the player would have the option to move to a table with a higher limit. The problem with this approach is that it is entirely possible that the player could continue loosing several more times.  And again after every loss the player has to double their bet.  For the system to be plausible the player must possess an infinite bankroll, which is never the case.

The Martingale is a not system that leads to a positive expectation for the player, and should not be treated as such.


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