Devised by roulette players in the eighteenth century, the Martingale system is one of the most enduring and popular roulette strategies. In fact, it has proven to be so popular that it has led to a number of variations and derivative roulette strategies over the years, and it is widely used in other casino games and gambling markets.
Although the system carries a large degree of risk, it has remained popular because it is simple to use. Many roulette systems require mathematical calculations or lot of patience to carry out, but the Martingale can be operated easily, even by beginners.
The Martingale roulette strategy has to be used with what are known as ‘outside’ bets; that is bets on binary outcomes, such a Red/Black or Even/Odd. These bets have the smallest payout, but offer the best chance of winning at roulette. The strategy is simple to execute. Place a bet of your chosen size on the outcome you want. If the bet loses, you double your next bet. As soon as you win a bet, which in theory will cover your losses and give you a profit, you then return to the initial bet size and start the process again.
For example, let’s say you make your first bet on Red at R100. If the spin comes up with Black, then your next bet will be R200. If you lose again, you will bet R400 on your next bet. If this bet wins, you will win R400, which will cover the R300 you lost on your previous two losing bets and will give you a profit of R100. You will then return to betting with your original R100 stake, doubling it with every loss. In theory, this strategy will ensure that you continue to earn a steady profit equal to your original stake.
The theory of the Martingale strategy has an enduring appeal. Even if you have a string of losing bets, eventually you will land on a winner, and as long as you’ve kept your nerve and continued to double your bet, you will recoup all your losses and make a profit. The fact that it is also an easy system to operate has also appealed to roulette players who may be put off by some of the more elaborate roulette strategies out there.
While many roulette players swear by the Martingale strategy, it does have some disadvantages, the most notable being the speed with which the size of your bet escalates. By doubling it every time, you can soon end up betting a huge portion of your betting bank. For example, let’s say you started off betting R100. After a run of just five losing bets, your sixth bet would be for R3200. Using the Martingale system can test your resolve and your nerve, and is therefore not suitable for the more risk-averse players.
This rapidly escalating bet size could also bring you up against the game limit. If, for example, there is a R10,000 limit but the system requires you to bet R12,800, you would not be able to continue and the strategy would break down.
The Martingale System can be a profitable approach, but its high risk nature and volatility in the required bet size mean that it is best employed by experienced players, with a large betting bank and the nerve to handle the big bets that the system sometimes requires.