What is Martingale betting system?

Martingale betting system

Martingale System

Let’s put the Martingale system to bed right here in the first paragraph. It’s fool’s gold. Don’t use it as a betting system no matter what. It’s a strategy of many small wins, but that inevitably massive loss will eventually arrive, wiping out all previous wins. So just to be clear I’ll write it in bold letters – Martingale system doesn’t work, and will only lose you money.

It’s even arguable that the Martingale system isn’t really a system but simply a staking plan. And no staking plan can turn a losing system into a winning one. Staking plans are to be used to maximise the profits of an already winning system.

What is Martingale betting system?

Let’s keep this description retro, explaining the original martingale system, before people added all the bells and whistles in an attempt to make the strategy look more profitable. The revised systems will be explained later.

In a nutshell, the martingale system is a strategy that would have you double your previous bet every time you lost. This system was originally derived for games in which you had a fifty-fifty chance of winning – such as a coin toss. Meaning when you eventually make a winning bet, you’ll be in profit to the tune of the original stake you placed.

On paper, this system couldn’t lose. But it did make one unrealistic assumption, and that’s where the system fails. Martingale assumes you, the gambler, has unlimited wealth. And with this unlimited wealth, it’s only a matter of time before you hit a winning bet to recover all previous losses and leave you in profit.

Unfortunately, none of us have unlimited wealth. And with the exponential growth of each new bet, it isn’t long before even a very rich punter will go bust. Add to this, the fact that most establishments also have a “house limit”, the martingale system can only absorb a certain amount of losses before the house no longer takes your bets. The table below shows how quickly the martingale betting system can get out of hand – Starting with a £5 bet.

Bet No.Bet Amount% Chance
1st bet£5100%
2nd bet£1050%
3rd bet£2025%
4th bet£4012.5%
5th bet£806.25%
6th bet£1603.13%
7th bet£3201.56%
8th bet£6400.78%
9th bet£12800.39%
10th bet£25600.2%

The table shows that if your unlucky enough to make it to the tenth bet without a win, you’d have to shell out a massive £2560. And the chances of this happening is 0.2%, which is a little over 500-1. And remember you are placing this bet having already lost £2555.

As already stated, the martingale system was originally designed for games of chance where you had a 50% probability of winning. So as the world of gambling evolved away from coin tosses and into today’s massive casinos, online sports betting, and forex sites, so did the system. Firstly, casinos, becoming very popular among roulette players, but soon spreading too many other games that had odds of close to even money.

But the evolution of the system didn’t stop with moving to new games and sports. Several new system makers splintered the main strategy behind the martingale into standalone systems. This was mainly due to the acceptance the system didn’t work. And for people that sell betting systems for a living, the bad press martingale was getting, meant they needed a new twist in order to sell their wares. Below are the main offshoots from the original martingale system.

Reverse Martingale

Also known as anti-martingale system, reverse martingale tells you to do the opposite of the original strategy. Martingale’s staking strategy falls under the umbrella of strategies known as Negative Progression staking – meaning you raise your betting stake every time you lose.

So for reverse martingale, you do the opposite. Every time you lose you decrease your stake, and every time you win, you increase it. This is known as a Positive Progression staking plan. And being martingale, the amount you increase your stake is exactly double.

The goal with reverse martingale is to ride the good fortune of a winning streak. But of course, at some point, a loss will happen, and you’ll lose it all. So if you are going to use this system you must first set a goal for where you walk away with the winnings. The goal or target is a personal choice, and all depends on the amount of risk you are willing to take.

Grand martingale strategy

The “Grand Martingale Strategy” is basically a more aggressive version of the original. Which is crazy when you think about how quickly things escalate using the standard martingale. It’s normally stated that the advantage of using the Grand martingale system is the bigger wins you make when the losing run finally ends. But in reality, this method is just a quicker way to the poor house.

What you do with the grand martingale system is not only double your stake after each loss but add an additional stake equal to the amount originally bet.

Stop loss martingale system

The stop-loss system is a great idea. As with all betting, people should know where their financial limits are, and not push past them in the hope that a win is just around the corner. And of course, the stop loss martingale system deals with the main issue behind the original, and that’s, nobody has unlimited funds to survive a big losing streak – And even if you did, casinos or bookies would not entertain the massive bet needed.

So how does the stop loss martingale system work? Just like the original, except now you set a limit to the number of losses you can absorb. Once this is hit you will start again with your original stake size.

Also, up until now, we have thought of all martingale strategies as taking place on roulette tables or other casino-based game, where the odds are against you. If you stop thinking of martingale as a gambling system and instead think of it as a staking plan, it starts to lose the “don’t touch no matter what” feel I have been preaching. Especially if you ignore roulette and instead focus solely on sports betting.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still better staking plans you can use (Kelly criterion for example), but martingale is no longer the evil betting system of the fool if used with a stop loss and with sports betting. Why? Well, the reason is simple, because you can have the odds in your favour betting on football, horse racing or whatever sport you’re knowledgeable in.

Betbubbles.com is a sports betting site, so you might think I’m against casino betting. I’m not, as long as you’re having fun. But I’m smart enough to know, that no matter what system, strategy or staking plan you use, the odds will always be against you if you’re playing against the house.

Martingale variable odds system

As sports betting is the only medium you should possibly consider using the martingale system for, it makes sense for there to be a variable odds option. This is because it’s not easy to continually find a bet where the best odds on offer are exactly an even money shot.

Martingale variable odds system comes with its own problems because now you will also have to vary your stakes. To make things easier for anyone using this version, we have made a martingale system calculator for you to use below. This will help you to figure out what your stake should be to return one unit of profit (taking into account all previous losses).

Why do you have to alter your stakes? I thought this was a double you bet strategy? Well, it is. Originally anyway. But the whole point is to make sure that after a winning bet, you cover all previous losses and finish one unit bet up. And making a profit is the only important part of any system.

Remember, this staking plan should only be used on value bets (although I’d strongly recommend revising different staking plans), this shouldn’t be used on any randomly selected sporting event. It only works if you have chosen your bets wisely.

The problem with most punters is that they don’t have a good selection process. And they fall into the gambler’s fallacy trap. This is where they believe an event is more likely to occur because it hasn’t happened for a while. For example, 5 tails have been flipped in a row means heads must be more likely to be flipped on the next toss. This is madness, it’s still fifty-fifty. Don’t fall into this trap, because if you do, you’ll also believe the martingale system is a monetary feast waiting to be picked clean.

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