The Reality of Martingale Betting System

Published on January 9, 2018

Ask the present President of the United States, Mr. Donald Trump and you would know that running a Casino can be a nerve-wracking affair. But not so for John Martindale, one of the early 18th-century casino owners. Mr. John Martindale, known among the social circles of the time as a very greedy man, introduced The Martingale strategy. Though he himself never used the strategy but encouraged his casino friends to use it. He would persuade his players with false stories of other players winning huge sums of money by using the strategy. In this article, we try to give you an in-depth picture of the pros and cons of the Martingale Strategy. Also, we shed light on the Anti-Martingale variation of the famous strategy.

 

 

What Makes the Martingale Betting Approach Work?

 

 

The Martingale System found its true admirers amidst recreational players. Because of its elementary nature and supposedly rational approach, it easily became the most popular betting strategy of the masses in the early 19th century. There have been various betting strategies. Most of these approaches involve remembering complex equations and making quick mental calculations of the wagered amounts. Recreational players who are not professionals at betting need a simpler approach and Martingale Betting system perfectly caters to that demand.

 

The system can be easily applied to traditional as well as online casinos.

 

Martingale System is based on the idea that after a loss a bettor will increase or decrease the wagered amount. With years gone by, Martingale system has evolved to take different forms. However, the central core idea of all the different variations is the same. The system is applicable to the games of chance where the odds of winning against the odds of losing are same i.e 50-50.

 

Traditionally, in Martingale System a player playing a game with 50/50 win to loss outcome, doubles his next bet when faced with a loss in the previous bet. When a win is achieved a new cycle begins. The advantage of this strategy is that the player wins the highest bet of the cycle.

 

Let’s try to understand this with the following example: Say Mr. John starts with a $2 bet and he loses it. Now as per the Martingale System, Mr. John further bets $4 on his next bet and if he loses the bet again, the next bet would be $8. If this bet is won, he will have recovered all his investments and also made a profit of $2. Then, the cycle starts all over again with John’s starting bet being $2 again. At this point, you might feel like “Great man… The Martingale System is a sure shot winning approach in games with equal odds”. Novice players like us seem to fall into the trap. The Martingale System is actually an illusion.

 

 

The reality of Martingale System

 

 

By adopting the Martingale System as a game strategy, the player takes a high-risk approach for meagre gains. The Martingale System uses ‘the statistical probabilities of chance’ to its full advantage creating a false safety net for the player. From the very outset, the player is trapped into the approach where he has very high chance of winning several small bets and an almost equal chance of losing a very high bet or amount. As the player wins small amounts with high frequency, the player becomes the part of the false perception that winning more will transpire to more overall profits.

 

However, this is not how things end. As per the mathematical law of trials, each individual event is independent of the last. The events are not correlated or in probability term mutually exclusive. Unless there are some restrictions imposed players cannot and should not feel secure with this system.

 

 

The Statistics Dilemma with Martingale System

 

 

The Martingale System has many problems. The paramount being the naivety of players. Players need to understand that the longer they play, the odds of their encountering a bankrupting losing streak increases.

 

Going by the rules of Statistical mathematics, the chance of losing a 50/50 bet more than 9 consecutive times is 0.001%. This means when you play for 1000 times once you will encounter a losing streak of 9 games.The total loss on a 1 dollar bet Martingale for a 9 bet sequence is $1059. No matter what the maximum bet could be in the betting cycle this negates any possible gains. In layman terms, in one out of every 1000 wager sequences, the Martingale strategy exposes an individual to huge potential losses.

 

Other concerns include curbing of the players betting limit by the casino. Casinos all over the world control the betting limits to such an extent that the Martingale Strategy never turns against them. For example, the outside max table bet for the majority of roulette tables is $1000 dollar. After 9 consecutive loss wager, the table max is reached and hence automatically restricts the player from increasing the next bet.

 

A player can come close to an even game by playing at tables with large limits by using Martingale approach. However, unless and until backed by a huge bankroll, the player can’t even fathom using the approach. Moreover, the player at some point is sure to encounter a 15-20 loss streak which in turn wipes out any gains made before the losing streak.

 

In general cases, the player has the option of moving to higher tables when a max is reached at a particular table. There are good possibilities that the player will encounter a losing streak in these higher tables and with each loss the player has to double the next bet. To end evens, the player needs to have an infinite bankroll and the player must end up playing on a no limits table. Both of these requirements are hypothetical in nature and impossible to implement.

 

 

The Anti-Martingale System

 

 

The Anti-Martingale system is a popular update to the Martingale approach. The player in this approach is supposed to half the next bet when there is a loss and double the next bet after a win. However, same as the Martingale System, this approach also fails over the long term.

 

Governed by the law of independent trials, the player is ultimately supposed to hit a point where all his gains are eliminated by a streak of losses.

 

Hence we see that Martingale System does not lead to gains for the players. Unless and until hedging is done, the idea of making money through this system is just another castle in the air.

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