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The Martingale Roulette Strategy presents as one of the most popular betting systems of all. This innovative betting system in no way forecasts the outcomes of roulette spins, but it serves as effective way to walk away a winner. A caveat is advised at this point: players are cautioned to read up as much as possible about roulette betting systems, before settling on one to use. 

The literature on roulette systems is peppered with multiple instances of fraudulent schemes. Avoid them at all costs. No roulette system can guarantee specific results, at any time. The best we can do as online casino players is to utilize time-tested betting systems that can help us to manage our bankrolls better. 

Before we proceed, it’s wise to introduce the concept of short-term vs long-term roulette strategies. Over the short-term, any result is possible at any time. This, despite the European Roulette edge of 2.70%, and the American Roulette edge of 5.26%. Over the short-term, these percentages don’t matter at all. It is imperative that players understand the differences between short-term vs long-term roulette sessions. 

Our fascinating discussion of Martingale is predicated on short-term sessions of play only. As you are about to find out, it gets pretty pricy to use this roulette betting system.  While some claim that Martingale increases your chances of winning, this is patently false. Rather, it helps you to better manage your bankroll so that when you do win, you will come out ahead overall!

Table of Contents 

•    When was the Martingale system invented?
•    How should the Martingale betting system be used?
•    How does the amount of time you spend playing affect you?
•    The biggest shortcomings of the Martingale strategy?
•    Does this betting system really work?
•    Final word on the Martingale betting system


When was the Martingale Betting System Invented?

The Martingale System originated in the 18th century, in France. Over the years, this roulette betting system has grown in popularity, overshadowing pretty much all other betting systems that currently exist. The concept behind this system is simple: a player doubles the size of a bet on every loss, ultimately leaving you with a small profit tantamount to your original bet.

How should the Martingale Betting System be used?

The Martingale Roulette Strategy is not applicable to all bets at the roulette table. In fact, it only works with even-money bets. Those are bets that pay 1:1. The following betting options are available when the Martingale system is used:

•    Black and Red
•    Odd and Even
•    1-18 and 19-36

In French Roulette, Odd and Even bets are known as Impair and Pair, while 1-18 and 19-36 are known as Manque and Passe. If you use Martingale on betting selections that don't have a 50-50 outcome (or close enough to it), the system collapses in on itself.

Important Point: The Martingale Roulette System is only effective on even-money bets. If you bet on individual numbers using the system, the probability of success is greatly diminished, since your odds of winning are 1/37 in European Roulette and French Roulette, and 1/38 for American Roulette.

As far as betting goes, the Martingale system requires you to double the size of your bet when you lose, until you win. Examples will help to clarify how the system works in practice:

•    Bet #1 – $5 on Red – Bet Outcome – LOSS
•    Bet #2 – $10 on Red – Bet Outcome – LOSS
•    Bet #3 – $20 on Red – Bet Outcome – LOSS
•    Bet #4 – $40 on Red – Bet Outcome – WIN

Now, let's look at the wins and losses, including the total cost of accumulated bets throughout this 4-bet process.

•    Bet #1 – $5 on Red – Bet Outcome – LOSS – Total Cost of Bets - $5 
•    Bet #2 – $10 on Red – Bet Outcome – LOSS – Total Cost of Bets - $15 
•    Bet #3 – $20 on Red – Bet Outcome – LOSS – Total Cost of Bets - $35
•    Bet #4 – $40 on Red – Bet Outcome – WIN – Total Cost of Bets - $75 

While the 4 bets cost the player a total of $75, with 3 losses and 1 win, the total payback with even money bets of 1:1 amounted to $80. When you subtract the $75 cost of bets placed, we are left with a nifty profit equal to the original bet of $5.

How Does the Amount of Time You Spend Playing Affect You?

The Martingale Roulette system was never designed for use over the long-term. There are several important reasons for this:

•    No player has an infinite bankroll to account for the uncertain outcomes of roulette spins.

•    Roulette tables have minimum and maximum betting limits which you are not allowed to exceed.

•    Over the long-term, the house always wins no matter what. 

The RTP of American Roulette is 94.74% (house edge of 5.26%), the RTP of European Roulette is 97.30% (house edge of 2.70%), and the RTP of French Roulette can be as high as 98.65% (house edge of 1.35%). 

What the numbers show is that the return to player is always less than 100% over the long-term, no matter what system you use.

Let's assume a player is enjoying a casino table game like European Roulette. The player has a $500 bankroll and wishes to use the Martingale strategy at an online casino:

•    Bet #1 – $10 on Black – Bet Outcome – LOSS
•    Bet #2 – $20 on Black – Bet Outcome – LOSS
•    Bet #3 – $40 on Black – Bet Outcome – LOSS
•    Bet #4 – $80 on Black – Bet Outcome – LOSS
•    Bet #5 - $160 on Black – Bet Outcome – LOSS

At this point, the sum total of the bets on European Roulette amounts to $310, with no winnings to show for it. With a limited bankroll of $500 ($190 remaining) the player will not be able to make Bet #6 of $320, even if it resulted in a win which the player wouldn't know until spin results were revealed.

Clearly, the longer you play, the more likely you are to run out of money, or system failure ensues.

The Biggest Shortcomings of the Martingale Strategy

We have already highlighted the major bugbears when using the Martingale betting system. It is not a crystal ball, and it will not help you to forecast the outcomes of roulette spins. Plus, Martingale does not operate with 50-50 odds at the casino. 

There are no true odds that are 50-50, despite appearances to the contrary. This take a look at the true odds of even money bets with American Roulette and European Roulette respectively:

•    Bets including high or low numbers (1-18 and 19-36), odd or even, red or black have a probability of 47.37% of occurring. The house edge of 5.26% works against players in American Roulette games. You can bet on any of the even-money bets, but you will never be able to account for the green 0 and the green 00 in this variant of the game. 

•    Bets including high or low numbers (1-18 and 19-36), odd or even, red or black have a probability of 48.64%. The house edge of 2.70% works against players in European Roulette games. You can bet on any of the even-money bets, but you will never be able to account for the green 0 in this variant of the game.

The only game with a true 50-50 outcome is a coin toss. In an online casino, even games like baccarat and craps – with improved odds – do not offer 50-50 outcomes. The short and sweet of it is that no betting system, including the Martingale Roulette Strategy, will offer any significant advantage to the player over the long-term.

Another glaring inadequacy of this betting system is the casino itself. You can use Martingale as part of your roulette strategy at 888 casino US while enjoying attractive promotions, or any other operator of your choice, but table maximums will be your undoing. Even a millionaire who wants to use this system at a casino offering super-sized betting will ultimately fail. Either the player goes bankrupt, or exceeds the table limits.

Does This Betting System Really Work?

While it is inherently flawed due to the nonexistence of 50-50 odds, table limits, and bankroll limitations, Martingale can help you to break even + add a small profit valued at your original bet size. Over the short-term, you can certainly use Martingale with any number of even-money bets and mix things up. You don't necessarily have to bet on red every single time, you can switch between red or black. Or you can choose odd or even, or high or low numbers.

The merits of using the Martingale Strategy are instantly felt when multiple successive losing bets are more than compensated for with just 1 winning bet. Unfortunately, gamblers fallacy tends to creep into the picture with players. They believe that it is impossible for red or black, odd or even, high or low numbers NOT to come up at some point. 

In truth, every single outcome is independent of every other outcome. There are no correlations between outcomes in roulette. Black can come up 100 times in a row, or not at all – every result that comes up is determined by luck alone. Gamblers fallacy dictates that at some point, a player must surely win and that's why it makes sense to use Martingale when playing real money casino games.

Many players attribute hot streaks and losing streaks to luck, superstition, and supernatural forces. In truth, it's simply variance at play. Variance describes the volatility about the mean – the ups and downs, a.k.a. the fluctuations. Would you believe that it's entirely possible to experience 10+ losses, one after the other? In fact, that’s a small number. 

Players have one other issue when using the Martingale strategy for real money casino games: Chasing your losses. As a responsible gaming advocate, 888 casino US strongly encourages roulette players to set a budget and stick to it. Never exceed your gambling allotment, irrespective of how lucky you feel you will be on the next spin. 

If you start off with a $5 bet and you lose 10 times in a row, do you know how much money you will have wagered using Martingale? More importantly, do you know how much money you will gamble just to chase a profit of $5?  You can apply these rules for mobile, PC, or Mac roulette games. Let's take a look!

•    Bet #1 – $5 on Red – Bet Outcome – LOSS – Total Cost of Bets - $5 
•    Bet #2 – $10 on Black – Bet Outcome – LOSS – Total Cost of Bets - $15 
•    Bet #3 – $20 on Red – Bet Outcome – LOSS – Total Cost of Bets - $35
•    Bet #4 – $40 on Black – Bet Outcome – LOSS – Total Cost of Bets - $75 
•    Bet #5 – $80 on Red – Bet Outcome – LOSS – Total Cost of Bets - $155 
•    Bet #6 – $160 on Red – Bet Outcome – LOSS – Total Cost of Bets - $315
•    Bet #7 – $320 on High Numbers – Bet Outcome – LOSS – Total Cost of Bets - $635
•    Bet #8 – $640 on Red – Bet Outcome – LOSS – Total Cost of Bets - $1,275
•    Bet #9 – $1280 on Red – Bet Outcome – LOSS – Total Cost of Bets - $2,555
•    Bet #10 – $1560 on Low Numbers – Bet Outcome - LOSS – Total Cost of Bets - $ 4,115
 
From a meager $5 bet, your 10 successive losses would cost you a grand total of $4,115. It's a pretty tall order, just to chase down a profit of $5 on a winning bet!

Final Word on the Martingale Betting System

Over the short-term, you may enjoy tremendous success with the Martingale betting system while you’re playing real money casino games. This is true whether you are at a live casino with real dealers, in real-time, or while you are playing online roulette. Check yourself before you wreck yourself. 

Your bankroll is your lifeblood while you are playing roulette, guard it carefully and at all times. Certainly, try the Martingale roulette strategy from time to time, in demo mode, before you play in real money mode. It can be expensive, and you will ultimately exceed the table maximum.

If you like this article we suggest you to read The Best Roulette Tips for the Ultimate Roulette Experience as well.

About the Author
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With digital marketing strategies in his blood, Louis Wheeler has traveled around the world, exploring gambling cultures and gaining experience in casino games from 2003. If you are in a casino anywhere around the planet, you may find him right next to you, playing blackjack, roulette or texas hold'em.