The Martingale betting system may very well be one of the oldest gambling strategies in the world. Originating in 18th century France, Martingale involves the bettor doubling his bet until he wins. In the case of a coin-flip, you keep on doubling your bet on your chosen outcome, ignore all losses and keep betting until you win. Of course, this can lead to big wins once the gambler finally wins, but more often than not, he or she will end up losing their entire bankroll.
Let's say you decide to bet on Heads always and you start with 10EUR. The first outcome is Tails, so you lose. Next, you bet 20EUR, but it comes Tails again. Your third bet, following the Martingale betting system will be 40EUR, the fourth will be 80EUR and so on until you win. Let's say the fourth time, it is finally Heads. You get a payout of 160EUR, which is enough to cover for what you've staked so far (10EUR+20EUR+40EUR+80EUR=150EUR), but the win is not substantial (just 10EUR profit).
Now, in the case of heads and tails you are sure that in a reasonable number of coin tosses, your selection will come up. This is not particularly true for sports betting. You may lose on a number of games before you actually are able to make up for your loss. Another fact to keep in mind is that bookmakers, but also casinos have a limit. You may want to stake 80EUR on your fourth attempt (as in the example below), but your account or just that particular game might be limited to 50EUR. In this instance, the Martingale strategy become useless, because you are simply unable to follow it.
So, in theory, if the game goes on long enough, you could find yourself owing more than you can afford to pay or reaching the house limit and having nothing to show for it. That’s the major drawback of the Martingale.
In other words, Martingale is a short-term strategy only. If you’re looking for a long-term way to beat the odds however, this betting system isn’t it. However, if you do have the funds available to keep doubling your bet every time you lose, your odds of winning will eventually increase with the Martingale betting system. One gambling site reports that after playing roulette for an hour, the chances of winning increased to 82% by using the Martingale (provided you don't hit the house limit). Those are pretty good odds, meaning it could be a workable strategy if you have an unlimited bankroll and can withstand heavy losses.
But in the real world, the average gambler has no such thing. Not only this, but most bookies impose strict wagering limits which mean that sooner or later, you’ll run out of road. So, once that losing streak hits, it can hit hard and end up taking all the winnings you’ve accumulated.
The best rule of thumb is to know when to quit while you’re ahead, and not get in over your head. And, once you do win, it’s time to call it a night.
Note: We, at Blogabet, consider Martingale a poor betting strategy and it is therefore forbidden on our website. This serves two purposes - transparency in statistics and avoiding unhappy, losing money followers. To get more information on this rule, read the FAQ section and the Rules for Sellers.
Always make sure you fully understand a betting strategy before trying to employ it with real money. There are plenty of sites, including Blogabet, which give you the perfect opportunity to try out a strategy without betting or gambling. You can also give the Kelly Strategy a try.