One of the most frequently asked questions from those who are new to online gambling is, “Is there a trick to this?” Many players want a magic strategy, something they can do to influence their odds and win more when their luck is bad. Different casino games have different strategies; some are wholly luck-based, like roulette, while others require skill to improve your odds, like blackjack.
The truth is casino games are designed to be “rigged” in the house’s favor. How else would the organizers of the games make a profit? Now, while casino games are designed to make you lose over time, some strategies out there aim to reduce the casino edge as much as possible. Today, we’ll examine the most famous one: The Martingale strategy.
What is the Martingale strategy?
The Martingale strategy, also known as the Martingale system, is a betting strategy that originated in 18th-century France. It’s best demonstrated with a hypothetical casino game based on a simple coin flip. If the coin lands ‘heads’, you win the bet. If it lands ‘tails’, you lose.
The Martingale strategy works on the assumption that, given an infinite number of bets, you will win eventually. This means you should double your bet after every loss so that if you win, you’ll be able to earn back all your losses and then a profit equal to the original bet amount.
Let’s say a gambler starts with a bet of $5, then loses. Following the Martingale strategy, he doubles down to a bet of $10. If he wins, he makes a $5 profit. If he loses, he doubles to a bet of $20. If he wins that bet, he still makes a $5 profit. This continues ad infinitum, ensuring that the gambler will, inevitably, make a $5 profit at some point or another.
Wait, isn’t that free money?
After reading that, you may think, “Wait, won’t the Martingale strategy guarantee a profit every single time? Why doesn’t anyone use this to profit steadily from casinos?” Unfortunately, if you thought this, you’ve fallen victim to the Saint Petersburg paradox.
What you’re missing about the strategy is the exponentially increasing bankroll you’d need to afford the losses. Doubling the bet after every loss means you’d need a massive bankroll if you’re unlucky. You could quickly go broke after around four losses in a row if your starting bet is too high.
The other drawback to the Martingale strategy is that casinos are aware of it. To avoid it and other situations where players make bets large enough to put the casino in danger, nearly every casino has “table limits,” capping the maximum size of the bet. You might reach the table limit when trying out the Martingale strategy and become physically unable to recoup your losses.
Benefits of the Martingale strategy: Ease of execution
The most significant benefit of using the Martingale strategy is how easy it is to learn and implement in your games. You don’t need to do or even know anything complicated; it’s just “If I lose, double the bet.”
This means you don’t have to invest much time learning the strategy and can just try it out. If it works for you, you can enjoy using it! If it doesn’t, you wouldn’t have wasted much time or effort learning the strategy.
Benefits of the Martingale strategy: A consistent profit (most of the time)
The other big benefit of using the Martingale strategy is that it essentially almost guarantees a short-term profit. If you have a bankroll big enough to double the bet multiple times, you will always recoup your losses and earn a profit equal to the original bet size.
This is why the Martingale strategy is best for short-term betting. If you’re planning to have a session that’s a few hours long, the Martingale is probably your best bet. The Martingale also helps when you’re inexperienced and trying a new game since it allows you to recoup your losses while learning.
What casino games should you use the Martingale strategy with?
The Martingale strategy is not for every casino game. It’s best suited for ones with 50/50 odds, like the hypothetical coin toss game we mentioned. A real-world example would be roulette since a bet on red or black is as close to 50/50 odds as possible. Roulette also usually has higher limits than most casino games, making it an excellent fit for the Martingale strategy.
The strategy is less effective for games that don’t have 50/50 odds of winning and/or pay different amounts back to the player. For example, blackjack odds are never 50/50; they depend on your hand and your strategy.
Another area where the Martingale strategy falls flat is slots. While you can use it, you’re hindered by slots not having a uniform payout and each slot having a different return-to-player (RTP), the percentage of your bets you earn back.
Try out the Martingale strategy!
We hope you learned much about the Martingale strategy and whether you should use it when gambling. If you want to try the strategy, we recommend playing casino games like roulette online. The digital platform is far more convenient since you can play from the comfort of your home instead of traveling to a real casino.