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Martingale betting system in roulette and blackjack: A complete guide

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Simon Young

September 1st, 2020

While some betting systems can improve your chances of making a profit in the short term, they can never ensure, with complete certainty, that you will always make a profit. It’s quite easy to understand why. If there were a foolproof way to make a profit, every casino in the land would go bust in days.

With that said, the Martingale system is widely used and praised by many. Recreational gamblers, in particular, like the Martingale betting system because it is easy to follow, without the need for complicated math between each spin of the roulette wheel or hand of blackjack.

Martingale System in roulette

While you can head over to TwinSpires Casino and apply it to blackjack, the Martingale gambling system is more widely used in roulette because it works best when you can bet on 50/50 odds, or as close to them as you can. In roulette, you can bet on red or black, odd or even, or the 1-18 or 19-36 number groups at nearly 50/50 odds. You don’t technically get 50/50, however, because of the green zero number.

Following the Martingale system in roulette is simple. Start with a low bet amount of, for example, $1. If you win, repeat. But if you lose, bet $2 next time. You keep doubling your bet amount until you win again. Once you do, you go back to $1 and start over.

The idea is that you will keep getting your money back and keep the profits from your $1 wins. While that might be true, the only way you can guarantee a profit from the system is to walk away the moment you bag your first profitable win.

You don’t necessarily need to make the same 50/50 bet each time. For example, you don’t have to keep backing black until it hits, since logic dictates that there is a 50/50 chance of it being black or red at the start of each round. Just because the previous number was black, it doesn’t make it any more or less likely that the next number will be red.

How can the Martingale system fail?

While it’s true to say that you must win a 50/50 bet at some point, you can never account for a freak run of results.

Doubling your bet every round using the Martingale system can soon add up. Imagine a run of ten losing bets (not unheard of at all):

  1. $1
  2. $2
  3. $4
  4. $8
  5. $16
  6. $32
  7. $64
  8. $128
  9. $256
  10. $512

By the time that the tenth bet comes round, you have to lay out a whopping $512 – and we must assume you can afford that, even though you have already lost $511. And perish the thought you lost another spin – the next required stake would be $1,024!

But let’s assume for a moment that you have very deep pockets and you can keep going, no matter how high the stakes get, until you win a round and get everything back. The issue here is that in live and online casinos, there will be a table stakes limit. What happens if you have lost repeatedly and now can’t double your bet? The system falls down.

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Martingale blackjack

You can take the same principle in blackjack: Double your initial bet size every hand until you win, then go back to the beginning. The problem with using Martingale in blackjack is that you have other factors in play. Let’s say you have lost two hands and now bet $4 on a hand. You have 11 and want to double down to maximize your profits. It’s the correct blackjack strategy, but it throws your Martingale strategy into disarray.

To keep to the Martingale system, you would need to forego any chance of doubling down in blackjack or taking insurance against a dealer’s blackjack. You would also not take any side bets.

Is the Martingale system worth it?

If you can afford to go on a losing run until you win a bet, then it can be a fun way of playing roulette. However, things soon get stressful if successive losses rack up, and the required wager starts getting high. Watch out for that table betting limit, too.

It’s perhaps an interesting experiment, if nothing else. But we all recognize that roulette, in particular, is a game of luck because nothing can influence where that little white ball falls on the wheel. Blackjack is a bit different because you can employ some basic blackjack strategy and skill to improve your chances – and trying the Martingale betting system will not sit well with a winning strategy.

Try the Martingale system for free

The good news is that you can try out the Martingale system for free at TwinSpires Casino. Players there can try out the roulette tables (not the live dealer games) for free. With a play money bankroll, try out the Martingale system to see if you can make a small profit, and test your nerve.

If you think it’s working for you, by all means, make a real money deposit and put your own money on the line. It’s more fun at the live dealer tables.