Martingale Strategy in Roulette

The Martingale strategy is one of the most famous, the simplest but also the trickiest betting strategies not only in Roulette.

History of the Martingale Strategy

The strategy was named after John Henry Martindale, whose name was later mutilated to Martingale. J. H. Martindale was a casino owner in London. He was so convinced that the casino would always have to win that he encouraged players to double their bets as long as his casino was in trouble.

A hundred years later in 1891 the Martingale strategy was successfully used in Roulette by legendary Charles Wells, who broke the bank 12times within 3 days in Monte Carlo! His success was an inspiration for a song "The man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo".

He started the play with 4,000 francs, but he brought home 1,000,000 francs! He lived life in rich, but in the autumn of his life speculations on bursa become fatal to him and he lost his fortune.

The Principle of the Martingale Strategy

The principle of the Martingale system in Roulette consists in doubling the bets after each lost spin. The players usually make bets on red or black numbers, but you can well bet on any other even-money bets, i.e. on low (1–18) and high (19–36) numbers and on even and odd numbers.

Bet one unit (a dollar for example) on your even odd. If you lose, double your bet, that is 2 × 1 = 2 units. If you lose now, double your bet again, that is 2 × 2 = 4 units etc. If you keep losing, continue to double your bets until you win, i.e. 8, 16, 32, 64, 128... units in successive steps. Whenever you win, you always gain one unit (see the exhibit below).

Table – Martingale Strategy in Use
SpinYour Bet in UnitsLossProfit
The Next BetLoss in UnitsCumulated Loss in Units
1.1×2112 × 1 – 1 = 1
2.2×2232 × 2 – 3 = 1
3.4×2472 × 4 – 7 = 1
4.8×28152 × 8 – 15 = 1
5.16×216312 × 16 – 31 = 1
6.32×232632 × 32 – 63 = 1
7.64×2641272 × 64 – 127 = 1
8.128×21282552 × 128 – 255 = 1
etc.Whenever you win you always gain one unit, the sequel ends and you start over with one unit.

The Drawbacks of the Martingale Strategy

There are several drawback of the Martingale system. Doubling the bets makes them grow in geometric progression. Therefore it is recommended to begin with a small initial bet. Even though the bets can grow rapidly when having a bad series. (→ Roulette Record Series)

Some players are convinced, when e.g. red color came 3times in a row, that it would be more probable for black color to come up. The answer is: No, not at all! A new spin represents a new event. That means you have got the same chance for black or red number to come up (18/37 in French Roulette, 18/38 in American Roulette). Roulette has no memory!

Moreover these days it would be hard to follow the success of Charles Wells. Simply for the reason that all casinos set limits for the maximum bet. For instance, if the minimum bet would be $100 and maximum $5,000, then you can double your bet only 5times: 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200. And it is not unusual when the same color comes up 7- or 8times in a row!

If we abstracted from this and had unlimited capital and no limits for bets, then it would be really "probable" that you would finally win using the Martingale strategy.

Testing & Simulations of the Martingale System

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