Roulette- What is the Martingale Strategy?

what is the martingale systemAs with many gambling strategies there is very little scope for achieving real life changing wins. Let’s be honest, if there was a real way of beating the house we’d all be at it and casinos themselves would be losing millions by the day. On the face of it any type of technique or strategy used in roulette is fairly worthless. The whole process is a balancing act and whether you win or lose more often than not it tends to be down to pure blind luck. There are a few common strategies out there, one of which is the Martingale strategy, which has its pros and cons.

The trick when playing at a casino is to win big early and cash out. On any given day at a casino, some players win, some lose and some come out about even. But the casino always takes a chunk of the money churning around the system- that's the house edge which is 2.6% in European Roulette and 5.2% in American. Yes, casinos have days when they lose money to players, but if you average it out over a month, then they are up- it's a business after all.

The idea behind the Martingale strategy is fairly straightforward. You place a small even-money bet, say a bet on red or black, and if you win you place the same bet again. However, if you lose you double the original bet in order to help try to recover the loss from your previous spin. You continue to do this until you win. Of course doubling up the bet means you are placing a higher stake on each subsequent spin following a loss and it means you are betting higher and higer sums just to win double your original bet back. But there is no guarantee at all that you will win and ultimately you may find yourself quickly without any more money to gamble with. There is always a cliff in the Martingale- this is the point at which you either run out of money to double your bet after a loss, or you hit the table limits and you are unable to do anything but repeat your bet. Many roulette variants, like this Realistic Roulette game, make it easy for you to double your bet with a x2 bet option.

If you continue to lose each time then your next bet will grow exponentially. So you will need to make sure you have a fairly substantial bankroll to cover the strategy (the lower you start your initial bet, the more room you have to cover a long string of results that don't go your way).

But if you manage to land a few wins whilst you’re playing then you’ll soon begin picking up a few chips here and there and your pot will start ticking up. The key is: Don't Be Greedy! The longer you stay at the table, the higher the chance of you experiencing a string of results that will wipe you out. Make sure you play with the mindset that "the cliff is just around the corner" and don't push your luck. Of course once more the old fallacy of “winning streaks” comes in to play here. The odds of spinning in a win are never increased or decreased when based on the previous spin. Just because there has been a sequence of 6 reds that have spun in so far, doesn't mean that the odds of the next spin being a red or black are any lower. They are exactly the same.

There is also a similar technique known as the Anti-Martingale system whereby the player increases his or her bet after a win instead of after a loss:  exactly the opposite in other words. Other systems that try to acclerate bets on a winning streak include the Tier et Tout system and the Reverse Fibonacci. Following a win the player increases the bet and after a loss the player decreases their bet to the original level. The aim here is to accelerate any winning streaks, but it does involve you being very methodical about when to pull out of the sequence. You are not going to win every single bet, and although a run of 10 wins is theoretically possible, it is not very likely.

We'd recommend you go for a run of 3 wins as a maximum and then pull out. otherwise you are going to wipe out all of your profit on your first loss. Remember, there are less agressive systems out there (like the Piquemouche System, for example).

For this and other variants of The Martingale, including the Super Martingale, head to our list of the best roulette systems where we have free details on many strategies- some of which have video tutorials.