Martingale System for Casino Games: How Does It (Really) Work?

Martingale System

The Martingale System is one of the most commonly used betting strategies for traditional casino table games, as well as sports betting.

The Martingale Betting System is one that many people have latched onto due to its simplicity and an assumption that no-one can possibly lose all of the time (spoiler: not true).

But does it really work? Or is it just another betting fallacy? Read on to discover all there is to know about one of the oldest betting systems in the book.

What is the Martingale System?

The Martingale Betting System (sometimes called a 'betting strategy') dates back to the 18th century. The system is named after a man named John Henry Martindale, a proprietor of multiple gambling properties in the UK back in the day.

Although the betting strategy title is slightly different from his surname, it was inspired by his belief in the system.

He would encourage his customers to use it in his casinos, who would believe him when he said that many of his high-roller players had won vast sums of money at the tables.

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Try the Martingale System Online

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How Does the Martingale System Work?

The Martingale System quickly became a go-to approach for recreational punters as it was a straightforward and seemingly rational strategy.

There were no algorithms or equations to remember, and they simply had to remember the following:

  • Double your next bet after a loss
  • Continue doubling your next bet after a loss until a win is achieved
  • Restart the cycle again

For example, if you were to place an initial bet of $10 on black on the roulette wheel and the ball landed on a red number, you would wager $20 on the next bet.

If you were to lose that bet, you would wager $40 on the following bet and so on, until you win a bet.

It is an approach that has proven particularly popular with those fascinated in roulette strategies and blackjack strategies.

Games that offer a perceived coinflip outcome on winning and losing, i.e. those with the tightest house edge.
However, there are several pitfalls to be mindful of, as we'll explain later below.

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Try Out More Roulette Strategies

If you're intrigued by the Martingale Betting System, take a look at our full Roulette Strategy Guide, and work out your best way to win on the roulette tables!

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The Pros & Cons of the Martingale Strategy

As we've pointed out, despite the fact that the Martingale strategy is an intriguing system to try on a variety of casino games, it does come with drawbacks. These are points you should fully consider when deciding which strategy to employ, so we've outlined this below.

The Pros of the Martingale Strategy

  • If you continue to double your bet after every loss, you are certain to win back the amount you lose – and improve your net winnings in the short term.
  • Speaking of short-term betting, Martingale betting works best if you're thinking of playing for a short timeframe rather than a long session.
  • The Martingale strategy can help beginners quickly recover losses whilst learning to play a new casino game.

The Cons of the Martingale Strategy

  • You'll need a large betting bankroll to be able to handle a run of losing bets, as this system depletes your bank far quicker than most other strategies.
  • It's not tailored for long-term players – the longer you play, the more chance there is of the Casino's house edge eating into your bankroll.
  • It's possible the Martingale system will be affected by caps on the maximum bet at any given table. If you experience a lengthy losing streak, you may not be able to sufficiently increase your bet above the maximum bet to retrieve your losses.

Using the Martingale Strategy for Casino Games

If you're testing out new casino table games like online roulette and online blackjack for the first time, the Martingale system could be a dangerous option for you.

Alternatively, you might wish to consider the anti-Martingale betting system:

  • Half the next bet after every losing money bet
  • Double the next bet after every winning bet

You could try this out on some table games at the same site with a 50-50 percent split of the bankroll.

This allows you to see whether the anti-Martingale strategy can help you capitalize on "hot" winning streaks better than the regular Martingale.

To try the Martingale strategy for blackjack, roulette, and other casino games, check out one of our recommended online casinos such as FanDuel Casino, BetMGM Casino, and PokerStars Casino in the US, and Sky Vegas, bet365 Casino and 888casino in the UK.

Based in Canada or elsewhere? Check out JackpotCity Casino and their extensive selection of table games.

You can also select the best casino for your location from our top list below, and click to play with a casino bonus at these sites:

Martingale Betting Strategy FAQs

To conclude this guide to the Martingale betting system, let's go through some of the questions our readers sent us on Facebook and X (formerly known as Twitter).

What is wrong with the Martingale Roulette strategy?

If you encounter a losing streak on the roulette or blackjack table, you can lose your betting bankroll alarmingly quickly.

You might think that it's impossible to lose ten times in a row when betting on red. The statistics show that there is a 784/1 chance of losing ten bets in a row for betting on a color on a European Roulette table.

If your starting bet is $10, you could expect – statistically – to win £7,840 before encountering said losing streak.

However, this losing streak would wipe out your profits, costing you $10,230 in the process. It just goes to show why Martingale strategy is very much a short-term option and not for the long run.

Does the Martingale strategy always work in Blackjack? Why?

As we've already touched upon, the Martingale strategy works best for casino games that offer 50/50 'coinflip' situations.

Blackjack is (almost) one of those. In terms of table limit restrictions, some casinos will only offer a minimum bet, with no maximum bet ceilings either, which gives blackjack players a chance to chase their losses continuously – providing they have a bankroll that's substantial enough to handle losing streaks.

Is the Martingale strategy legal on betting and casino sites?

Yes, Martingale betting systems are permitted when you play casino games online. There's no reason why it wouldn't be prohibited.

In the long term, the casinos will always take money off players, but those prepared to practice Martingale for short-term bursts could succeed.

Can a Martingale system work in Forex trading, too?

The Martingale is actually increasingly popular among Forex traders.

That's because, unlike stocks, the value of fiat currencies almost never fall to the bottom. When you trade forex, there is a 50% chance of your trade being profitable, and a 50% chance of your trade being a loss.

This makes Martingale strategy a possible forex trading system, however you'll still need deep pockets to handle losing runs, particularly if you make bad decisions regarding entry points into the forex markets.

This article was originally published in July 2019, it was last updated in November 2023.

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  • Learn how to use the Martingale System to win more on casino games, and use a CASINO BONUS to practice online.

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Lewis Mitchell
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Senior Casino & Gaming Manager

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