# How to use Martingale Betting System: Guide and Examples

Sergio Zammit | Verified by Mark Hoover
Last updated: | 11 min read

When playing casino games, players employ various strategies to improve their chances of winning. One common technique is the Martingale betting system. The strategy is relatively popular, and the primary reason is that it works with many games. You can even apply the technique when betting on sports.

This article covers the ins and outs of the Martingale strategy: how the system works and its application in different gambling games. We’ll also look at the advantages and disadvantages and some variations you should know about. So, read on for all the details about this effective yet simple betting system.

## What is the Martingale System

The Martingale system involves doubling your bet after each loss while gambling. Then, if you win, you return your bet to the initial amount. Generally, the idea is to recover your losses while making profits.

This betting system has more to do with bankroll management than gameplay. It’s not a technique that’ll improve your odds of winning game rounds at a casino. Instead, it will ensure that your winning bets yield good returns.

Players usually apply the strategy for games that allow even-money bets, where there’s a 50% chance of winning or losing. Historically, it’s said that the gambling method was invented for 50/50 games like betting on heads or tails in a coin toss. That’s why the Martingale betting system is more popular with games like blackjack and roulette. And if you are still new in the world of the casino games, check our guide on how to gamble online, where you can find all information you might need.

## How the Martingale System Works

Not many betting strategies are as simple as the Martingale. You can apply the method while gambling, even if it’s your first time at a casino. To start with, you’ll need to decide your initial bet amount. It’s always best to begin with a modest sum when using the Martingale technique.

Suppose you have a \$1,000 bankroll; you can specify your initial bet as just 1%. That means you have \$10 to start gambling. If you bet \$10 and win, you’ll continue with the same \$10. However, if you lose, you’ll double the amount to \$20 with the Martingale betting system.

Now, if you win with the \$20 bet, it means you’ll receive \$40 as winnings if it’s a 50/50 game. The \$40 return includes the \$20 you staked for the round and \$20 net profit. This means after your first two bets, you have a net of \$10 in winnings (\$40 won from \$30 staked).

On the other hand, if you lose the \$20 bet, your next stake is \$40, which can bring \$80 in returns if you win. If you remove the \$40 you bet and the \$30 lost previously, you’ll be left with a \$10 profit. With each win, you revert to \$10 and continue the same process.

New players often ask, “Is martingale strategy legal?” The answer is a firm yes because there’s no cheating involved; you simply increase and decrease your bets based on your wins and losses.

## Martingale Betting System Example

To make things easier to grasp, below is a chart of how the Martingale technique works when you start with an initial \$10 bet:

 Bet number Bet amount Game outcome Return Profit/Loss 1 \$10 Win \$10 \$10 2 \$10 Lose -\$10 \$0 3 \$20 Win \$20 \$20 4 \$10 Win \$10 \$30 5 \$10 Lose -\$10 \$20 6 \$20 Lose -\$20 \$0 7 \$40 Win \$40 \$40 8 \$10 Win \$15 \$50 9 \$10 Lose -\$10 \$40 10 \$20 Win \$20 \$60

So, for the first \$10, the result was a win, resulting in a \$10 profit. The second \$10 bet loses, so there’s \$0 profit, and the initially won \$10 is gone. The third bet increases to \$20, and it wins, bringing a \$20 profit.

The Martingale system follows the same approach until the 10th bet, where the profits accumulate to \$60.

Of course, this chart is only an example of how the Martingale strategy works in practice. Any of the bets can win or lose, so there’s no sure guarantee that following the system will result in profits. The odds of gaining some wins in the short term are high, but that still doesn’t imply certainty.

## Applying the Martingale System in Roulette

When using the Martingale roulette strategy, the focus is on even-money bets. These options payout 1:1, meaning if you bet \$10, you’ll net \$10 in profit from a win. That’s perfect for this betting system.

However, roulette only has three even-money betting options:

1. Red or Black: Betting whether the winning number will be red or black.
2. Odd or Even: Betting whether the winning number will be odd or even.
3. High or Low: Betting whether the winning number will be high (19-36) or low (1-18).

The above bets are just as straightforward as the Martingale betting system itself. To apply the strategy, you just have to choose from one of the three and set your initial bet.

For example, if you choose to bet \$10 on red, you get a \$10 profit from a win. You then continue with another \$10 bet and can decide to continue on red, go with black, or choose any other even-money option.

However, if you lose, you’re at a \$10 deficit. As explained earlier, you double your bet to recover your money. So, with the Martingale strategy for roulette, your next bet after the \$10 loss will be \$20. You’ll continue doubling the bet until you win, and then you return to your \$10 initial bet. Learn more about roulette odds here.

## Applying the Martingale System in Blackjack

In blackjack, it’s you against the dealer, so things are 50/50. It’s either you win or the dealer wins, and that makes the card game perfect for the Martingale technique. In a way, you gain an advantage when you use a Martingale blackjack strategy since getting a natural blackjack has a payout of 3:2.

The Martingale betting system is much more straightforward in blackjack, as it’ll work with every round. However, unlike the Martingale system roulette strategy, your chances of winning in blackjack don’t depend only on chance. Skill plays a significant role, too. You have to decide when to hit, stand, double, or split. Making the wrong decisions will make the Martingale strategy blackjack option less effective.

Furthermore, you need to consider the rules of the blackjack table you’re playing at. The rules determine the probability of winning a hand, and the odds need to be somewhat equal for the betting system to work. In particular, you should pay attention to the splitting and doubling rules.

## Martingale Strategy in Other Casino Games

Besides the blackjack and roulette Martingale strategies, the system will work for many other casino games. You can use it anywhere there’s a 50% chance of winning or losing. Let’s look at some top games where you can or cannot apply the strategy:

### Baccarat

When playing baccarat, you bet on the Player or Banker, and the payout is generally 1:1. You may get a commission when you bet on the Banker with some variants, but the primary returns are even money. So, as usual, if you bet and win, you continue with the same amount. But if you lose, you double with the Martingale betting system.

### Craps

The popular Craps dice game has a betting table similar to roulette. Additionally, it features even-money bets like Pass Line or Don’t Pass Line that pay 1:1. Therefore, just like you apply the Martingale roulette approach, the same will work for Craps. Simply double your stake after each loss on an even-money bet and return to the starting point when you win.

### Slot Machines

Slot games don’t have a consistent betting structure, and the outcomes of each round are entirely based on chance. As a result, the Martingale betting system is impractical when spinning reels at casinos. If you double your bet after each loss at a slot machine, you’re sure to record more significant losses at the end of the gaming session. If you want to know more about this, check out our article on how to win at slots.

### Poker

While poker is a card game like blackjack and baccarat, it’s not suitable for the Martingale technique. That’s because, regardless of the variant, there are no even-money bets that pay 1:1. The concept doesn’t fit since poker has a complex betting structure. At the poker table, you rely more on strategy and making the right decisions. Systems like the Martingale are unreliable, as there’s no fixed betting progression. Find out more about poker strategy here.

## Martingale for Sports Betting

Practically, the Martingale betting system can work in sports betting. It appears simple: you stake on the outcome of an event, and if you lose, you double your bet. But since the idea is to recover previous losses with each increased bet, you’ll need to find odds that offer a 50% chance of success. That can be extremely difficult.

Generally, no sports betting market can offer a 50% winning chance, considering the sportsbook “juice.” The juice applies to every bet, ensuring the betting platform makes a profit, regardless of the outcome. You may find markets that offer close to 50%, but you won’t get an exact even-money option.

If you want to use the Martingale strategy for sports betting, you’ll want to research money lines and totals. These options offer close to a 50% chance of winning. For instance, consider a -110 moneyline, where you’ll get \$100 with a \$110 bet. It’s not \$100 for \$100, but it’s close. The \$10 difference is the “juice” described earlier.

However, the challenge lies in finding such near-even-money bets over and over to maintain the Martingale progression. This is not very likely in real life, which is why many experts rule out the strategy for sports betting.

## Pros and Cons of Using the Martingale System

The question now is, “Does Martingale work?” Well, it depends on your approach to the gameplay. However, it’s best to even things out before deciding whether to use the technique. For that, let’s discuss the upsides and downsides.

### Pros

• Simplicity: The strategy is straightforward, as all you have to do is double your bet after each loss. Unlike some other casino gaming techniques, there’s not much mathematics involved.
• Short-term profits: If you’re playing games with a 50% chance of winning, the results are bound to favor you at some point in the short term. With the Martingale, you can profit with each win and potentially cover previous losses.
• Risk management: The advantage here is similar to the previous one in that the betting system can help you minimize losses over time. Returning to the initial small bet amount also helps you manage your bankroll. Hence, if you’re still playing, it can help balance the risks.

### Cons

• Requires a big bankroll: You can only maintain the Martingale betting system if you have a bankroll large enough to cover twice your previous loss with each new bet. So, if you don’t win soon, you may run out of money.
• Limited to even-money bets: Using the Martingale technique only supports bets that offer a 1:1 payout. That’s why the roulette strategy Martingale is the most flexible, as it features up to three even-money bet options.
• Doesn’t increase winning odds: Some people believe the strategy improves winning chances. However, it doesn’t. Your odds of winning each game round are entirely independent of how much you bet.

## Martingale System Variations

Players invented variations of the Martingale betting system with the intention of improving it. It’s best to also learn these variants, as they may suit your strategy better than the traditional technique. Check them out below:

### Reverse Martingale (Anti-Martingale)

As the name says, this approach is the opposite of the standard system. Rather than increase your bet when you lose, you double it when you win. The idea is to capitalize on winning streaks and get more profits. But if you lose, then all the profits are gone.

### Grand Martingale

Here’s a variation of the Martingale betting strategy that’s popular among high rollers. It’s similar to the regular technique, except if you lose, you double your bet and add an extra unit. For instance, with the standard Martingale betting system, you’ll double your bet to \$20 with a \$10 loss. However, the Grand method requires increasing the bet to \$20 and adding an extra \$10, making \$30 in total.

Note that it’s not the same as tripling the bet. If you lose \$20, you’ll double to \$40 and add \$10, which equals \$50 (not \$60). The advantage of this variation is that your wins will be more likely to cover losses, and you can make some profit. But, as you probably guessed, it requires an even bigger bankroll to maintain than the standard method.

## Alternatives to the Martingale

If the Martingale system doesn’t suit your gameplay, there are some alternatives to consider. We’ve listed the popular ones below:

• Labouchère system: Also known as cancellation or split Martingale, this involves deciding on a betting sequence before gameplay. Then, you stick to it through the rounds. It’s more practical when playing roulette than any other game.
• Fibonacci method: With this option, you bet following the Fibonacci sequence. Hence, your next bet will equal the sum of your previous two bets if you win. If you lose, you regress in the sequence.
• D’Alembert system: Here, you increase bets after each win and reduce after a loss. It’s similar to the Martingale betting system, but with D’Alembert, you increase and decrease by a unit rather than double or return to the initial bet.

## FAQs

### Does Martingale betting work?

Martingale betting can help you cover losses with a single win. However, it requires having a large bankroll and does not increase your winning chances.

### Is the Martingale betting system legal?

Yes, the Martingale betting system is legal as it doesn’t involve cheating. Players simply double their lost bet amount.

### Is the Martingale system allowed in casinos?

Yes, the Martingale system is allowed in casinos. However, some maximum limits may not accommodate doubling your initial lost bet amount.

### What is the 100% profitable Martingale strategy?

There is no 100% profitable Martingale strategy. The outcome of the gaming rounds as you play is independent of the amount you bet using the technique.

References:
Martingale (betting system) – Wikipedia.com
The Gambling Strategy That’s Guaranteed to Make Money and Why You Should Never Use It – ScientificAmerican.com