What is the Martingale system?

There are three certainties in life: death, taxes, and someone claiming to have a foolproof casino strategy! One of the most lauded betting strategies among avid casino-goers is the Martingale system, a strategy so simple and easy to implement that it has lasted for centuries and successfully made the jump from the live casino to the online space.

But the age-old question remains: does the Martingale system work? With the help of our in-depth guide, you’ll learn the history of the system, how to use it and which casino games it can be applied to. By the end, you’ll know if the Martingale strategy is right for you!

History of the Martingale System

Like most betting strategies, the history of the Martingale system is shrouded in mystery and hearsay – there aren’t any official records of its origin. The system received its name from the casino owner John Henry Martindale, who reportedly used the Martingale strategy in order to capitalise on the losses of his patrons, roughly 200 years ago. Since then, many players have mastered the strategy. 

100 years after John Martindale used the system to swindle money from customers, Charles Wells used it to break a Monte Carlo casino. According to roulette legend, Mr. Wells implemented the Martingale method with such effectiveness that he broke the bank 12 times over three days – winning 1,000,000 francs from an initial investment of just 4,000 francs! Not bad for a day’s work.

Rules

The basic principal of the Martingale strategy is to double your bet every time you lose with the aim of winning back your losses in subsequent rounds – it’s known as a negative progressive betting strategy. Martingale is commonly applied to casino games that offer even money bets – red or black, for example – hence why roulette is a firm favourite among gambling aficionados.

There are two very simple rules: 

When you play the Martingale system, it’s important to choose a sensible base stake (the starting bet) and have the strength to stick with it. If your base stake is too high, the strategy will get away from you and your bankroll will suffer.

It’s important to remember that using the Martingale betting system does not guarantee success, nor does it change the house edge. However, if used effectively it can prove to be a fun and fruitful method of playing. Who knows, you could be the next Charles Wells!

Variations

As with other betting systems, players have adapted the Martingale strategy to suit different purposes, making it easier for cautious players and big-spenders to find betting strategies that are right for them.

The Grand Martingale system is designed for players with a larger bankroll. It is very similar to the original strategy, with the only difference being that you add the original bet each time you lose, as well as doubling it. For example, if you bet £5 on black and lose, you’ll place £10 plus the original bet of £5, meaning that your next bet will be £15. If you win on the next spin, you’ll win £30, recouping your losses and making £10 profit. This variation on the classic Martingale strategy is perfect for players looking to maximise their potential winnings in a short timeframe, although it carries the inherent risk of losing too much if you don’t win.

In contrast, there is the Mini Martingale strategy, wherein you limit the number of times you double your bets. In theory, this reduces the rate of loss to your bankroll but also makes it more difficult to recover losses once they are gone. This a great strategy to help see out a losing streak.

Martingale in Other Games

While roulette is probably the best game for using the Martingale betting system , it is by no means the only game in which the strategy can be applied. Due to its simple, rigid method, players have used Martingale in multiple casino games, with blackjack, baccarat, and craps being the primary examples. In each of these games, the betting strategies remain the same: double your bet when you lose and bet your base stake when you win. As when applied to roulette, it’s useful to bet on even money payouts (or as close to) so as not to incur too many losses. With baccarat, for example, it would be a terrible idea to bet on a tie – with a payout of 9:1 – as you’re more likely to lose your bankroll before you win.

Advantages of Martingale

For beginners starting to get a grasp of casino strategy, or for veterans looking to imitate Mr. Wells, the Martingale Strategy has plenty of advantages:

Disadvantages of Martingale

Alas, as with many betting strategies , there are some flaws to the Martingale system :

Now that you’re well versed in the Martingale strategy, why not try it for yourself? If you’re not feeling like Charles Wells just yet, test your betting strategy on a free game before moving up to the real thing!