Weird and wonderful ‘strategies’ for successful gambling are nothing new. Throughout the course of history, people genuinely believed they can get one over on the house.
Which may have been true in the past, but today is pretty much impossible.
But there’s one particularly popular strategy in the mix which, from a purely mathematical perspective, does hold a degree of potential. Often tried with varying degrees of success at the roulette table, the Martingale system certainly stacks up on paper.
The question being – does it actually work? And if so, is it a system you can use to beat the house edge when playing online roulette?
How the Martingale Gambling System Works
One of the biggest points of appeal with the Martingale system is its simplicity. You don’t need to memorise anything, you don’t need an in-depth understanding of the game and you don’t really need to focus too much on what’s taking place.
Instead, it’s simply a case of placing wagers in the following way:
Step 1: Bet the Table’s Minimum
Betting small amounts to begin with is the only feasible option with the Martingale system, which can quickly become expensive. If it’s possible to bet as little as £1 at the roulette table, don’t even think about getting a penny more. All wagers should be placed on outcomes with a probability as close to 50/50 as possible, such as red or black.
Step 2: Double Your Bet After Every Loss
If you wager is unsuccessful, you double the wager and again place it on a near-50/50 probability outcome. Continue in the same way for as long as your losing streak lasts, or until you are prevented from doubling your wager by the rules of the house.
Step 3: Return to the Original Stake When You Win
Each time a wager is a successful, you go back to your initial £1 wager and start again. The idea being that doubling your bets after each loss will eventually lead to a win that will cover your losses, while providing you with a small profit to set aside.
Continue the process indefinitely and you should eventually begin turning a profit. Starting out with £1 and doubling after each loss, a losing streak that lasts four spins followed by a win will see you covering your losses and making a profit of £1.
Hardly huge, but a seemingly fool-proof way of turning a profit at the roulette table.
Why Doesn’t Everyone Use the Martingale System?
At this point, you may be questioning why the Martingale system isn’t more popular than it is. If it’s a genuinely bulletproof system for turning a profit, shouldn’t it be everyone’s strategy of choice?
The short answer is no, and for two important reasons:
1. All casinos impose a maximum wager restriction at the roulette table, meaning that at some point you will not be able to continue doubling your wagers at the tail end of a losing streak.
2. If you could persuade the casino to remove these maximum wager restrictions, you would need an unlimited bankroll to weather the potential losses leading up to your first win.
Here’s a brief overview of how the system can play out at the roulette table:
The table’s betting limit is £500
You bet £1 and lose
You bet £2 and lose
You bet £4 and lose
You bet £8 and lose
You bet £16 and lose
You bet £32 and lose
You bet £64 and lose
You bet £128 and lose
You bet £256 and lose
You can no longer double your wagers
Just nine spins into your casino experience, you’ve managed to change an initial £1 wager into losses of almost £500. All with absolutely nothing to show for it in return, other than the frustration of having spent a small fortune on just nine spins of the roulette wheel.
Of course, you could argue that from a statistical perspective, losing nine times in a row by betting on red or black is improbable. Which it is, in a sense, given the probability of almost 50/50.
But as the outcome of every event at the roulette wheel is 100% random, you could technically lose a thousand times in a row by betting on the same colour. There are absolutely no guarantees and nor is it possible to predict when any given losing streak will come to an end.
Plus, the fact that wagering restrictions always apply means the Martingale system is effectively rendered null and void at almost every casino table.
Does the Martingale System Work Online?
The flaws and limitations of the Martingale system apply irrespective of where the strategy is implemented. Online casinos are pretty similar to their conventional counterparts, by way of house rules and restrictions.
Play at any online casino and you will find maximum wager rules apply at the roulette wheel. Consequently, you cannot count on the Martingale system to generate profits when playing online.
But there is one possible (though rare) exception to the rule, which could work in your favour:
Using online casino bonuses to fund the Martingale system.
Now, most casinos are smart enough to impose the kinds of terms and conditions that make it impossible to profit at their expense. Hence, the terms and conditions that apply to bonus offers are usually quite extreme.
For example, you might only be able to use your bonus credit to play online slots.
But in some instances, free credit is handed out that can be spent at the roulette table. In which case, you’re looking at the perfect opportunity to see the Martingale system in motion.
You’re unlikely to walk away with a fat wallet, as bonus credit carries heavy restrictions on how much can be won and withdrawn. But as this is one of the only ways you’ll ever get to try out the Martingale system for free, you may as well give it a shot.
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