What is Martingale?

If you gamble yourself or are somehow related to games of chance, you’ve surely heard of the Martingale System. It’s a little thingy that at some point intrigued every player in the world by its seaming efficiency. Just imagine: you can play any game and literally never lose, that is, if your losing streak won’t be too long or if you have an open-ended budget.

In all other cases this system is probably best avoided as if you lose using the Martingale method, you’ll probably lose a lot, because that’s how it works.

The previous part is enough for most of us, but some people used the Martingale Strategy and won, so we feel like explaining to them that it doesn’t matter if you use this pseudo-system or not.

The system itself is targeted at preventing you from losing, but totally fails at it, and we will show you why.

Martingale System History

As every “scientific” betting system, this one should have its history, right? In some articles you’ll learn that Martingale was a gambler, in others, that he was a mathematician, or a casino owner or just a bright guy that figured out how to win at coin-flip games. In fact, the only thing we know about this system is that it was first used in the early 18th century in France. That’s all, folks, no history!

Martingale System History

The point of suchlike stories is to make this crappy system look a bit more reliable, and who could be more reliable than a 300-year old scientist (gambler/casino owner/some guy)?

How it’s Supposed to Work

So, what is a Martingale system? The “system” itself is fairly simple. It’s based on the doubling of the bet after every loss so that the first occurred win will return all losses plus the initial bet. After each win, you return to the initial bet.

Let’s suppose that the initial bet is 1. In this case, you bet 1 and in case of losing, you would bet 2 on the next round. The bets would grow in the following progression: 1-2-4-8-16-32-64-128-256-512-1024 and so on.

Don’t you see a problem here?

How it’s Supposed to Work?

The problem is in the players themselves, and it’s called the gambler’s fallacy. You might know it as the Monte Carlo fallacy, because of the famous example of a seemingly impossible event. On August 18, 1913, in Monte Carlo Casino, a roulette ball had hit black 26 times in a row. The players had gone mad and lost millions of francs, betting on red again and again, because they believed that it’s more likely to hit after a long streak of blacks, which is totally wrong.

Usually, the martingale system is used only in random games with a 50% chance to win, like the red/black bets on roulette, pass/don’t pass bets in craps, etc. In such games, each event has its independent chances of winning or losing, and it isn’t connected to previous events in any way.

By the way, If there was a guy who used the Martingale system that night in Monte Carlo Casino at that famous table, his 26th bet against black would have been 33,554,432 francs, assuming the initial bet was 1 franc. Usually, roulette tables have a table maximum bet, and it rarely exceeds one thousand of minimal bets, which means that any Martingale believer would have been unable to proceed after their tenth loss.

If you think that the losing streak of ten losses is unlikely to occur - well, then this system is for you.

Cons and, hmm... Cons

Here are some obvious drawbacks of the Martingale strategy (if we can call it so), that aren’t explained in the articles that promote it:

  1. As all the results are entirely random, the only thing that betting systems do is prolong (or reduce) the time of playing. The probability of winning is completely the same whether you use Martingale or if you just bet all your money on the first round of the game.
  2. The strategy is built in a way that when you hit a win - it’s your minimal bet, and when you lose - you lose big. It’s not even funny to give away large sums of money and take them back in small pieces. Not exactly a fun gambling experience, is it?
  3. The worst thing is that all casino games have a house edge, and the odds aren’t equal from the very beginning. In the case of more complex games than roulette (blackjack or craps, for example), a newbie is way more likely to lose everything, and it will happen very fast.
  4. The only case when Martingale works is when a player has infinite funds, and he plays at a table without bet limits. Both of these conditions are practically impossible, and it takes us to the statement that the Martingale System is basically bullshit.

Other Smart-Ass Martingale Systems

Other Smart-Ass Martingale Systems

If, after reading the previous paragraphs, you assumed that the Martingale system couldn’t bring profit - you’re wrong. It’s very profitable, and we know for who exactly - for the sellers of betting systems, of course. Martingale, Anti-martingale, Reverse Martingale, Triple Martingale, Super Martingale, and so on - guys just change the rules slightly and present a “new, revolutionary system” that surely will take you to the list of top casino winners.

The worst part is people believe them and buy these systems. The truth is that no gaming venue offers a fair 50/50 odds, because it’s not profitable, and there’s no betting system capable of beating house edge in random games.

Conclusion

The games of chance are called so not by accident. Their results fully depend on mere chance, and you can’t change that. It’s already proven by thousands of super-accurate computer simulations that there is no betting system offering higher odds of winning than plain betting, so if you like to gamble - just do it.

The only thing that might help you to win more or lose less is your common sense. Stop when you’re losing before you lose too much, and stop when were lucky enough to win. Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it?

Updated: 27 Feb 2018

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