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The Martingale System

Betting Systems: The Martingale System

The Martingale System is considered to be the “great granddaddy” of all the popular betting systems used in the pastime of gambling. To get a clearer idea of how far back this system goes, think about the traditional “heads or tails” coin toss.  That’s how far back the Martingale System goes.  It’s natural for players to want to establish a system that gives them the advantage over their competition (the casino, usually).  For that reason, it’s inevitable that they’ll discover the Martingale system.

With the Martingale System (which is somewhat the opposite of the D’Alembert System), a player essentially keeps all winnings, and doubles their bet after each loss.  The thought behind this is that by being able to increase a player’s bet when losing, said player is able to be (eventually) compensated for previous losses, in addition to making a profit. This continues on until a player finally wins, and then can go back to their original bet.

While the Martingale System can be effective for players, it can be equally as disastrous if the gamble (literally) doesn’t pay off.

The Martingale System plays upon the popular gambler myth that’s known as “The Gambler’s Fallacy”. This belief states that each individual event in a game of chance is not independent of each other. In other words, there’s a connection (or even a balance) to wins and losses. To simplify it even more, this means that the Martingale System can be summed up as: “If something hasn’t happened yet, then the changes for it happening increase.” This is because there has to be a balance (that’s the common belief, anyway.)

An example of this would go back to the earlier “coin toss” example.  “Heads” has come up for the last five times now.  Certainly “Tails” has to be due any flip now.  It’s a good thought, but (like most systems) it is not mathematically sound. Indeed, it is largely speculation that the next flip will be tails, and cannot be turned into fact simply because it “makes sense” to be that way. The coin could come up heads 100 times in a row, and the next flip has the same exact chance as the first of being heads again.

But eventually, we know at some point, it will flip tails, and that’s what the Martingale System depends on – by doubling the bet after each loss, the eventual win will make it all back. And you know, for some people, it will work out, provided they have deep enough pockets (and a strong enough stomach) to withstand a string of bad luck.

Most don’t, however, and that’s where the system fails. It’s very, very hard to double a bet four or five (or ten) times in a row. While we do admire the thought behind the system, we do urge you to be cautious when using it.

Good luck out there!