The Martingale System

If you search the internet for the term “betting systems” you may be surprised that you will have around 1,000,000 results returned to you. By far the most popular betting system used for Jackpot Party casino games such as Blackjack and Roulette is the Martingale system. In fact doubling up systems like this can be found in poker as well and on sites like pokerstars.co.uk then it is common to see people chasing losses in a similar way.

It was invented in France back in the 1700s and was initially used for a very basic game that was essentially “heads or tails,” where a coin was tossed and if it landed on heads then the player would win twice his stake back but if it was tails then he or she would lose to the house. If the person lost their bet they would then have to double their next bet and so on and so forth until they won again, at which point they would show a small profit.

The person who invented this system must have thought they were onto a real winner because the tossing of the coin was a 50/50 outcome so in theory the person placing the bets could always win money. Whilst this is true what it fails to take into account is two assumptions that actually show how flawed the Martingale system really is. The first is that the person doing the betting has unlimited resources and the house would accept any sized bet. You see the bet sizes raise exponentially after a series of losses so if you bet £10 a coin toss and lost six tosses in a row your seventh bet would need to be £640 and even then you would only win £10! Hardly seems worth it.

Of course casinos do not have many 50/50 games, in fact they simply do not exist. Casinos are there to make money and they do so stacking the odds in their favour, with slot games and the like providing the bulk of their revenue. One popular casino game bet that is close to 50/50 is betting on red or black on a Roulette board. On an American Roulette wheel, with two green zeros, the probability of you winning your bet on black or red is 52.63% . If you bet six times and lost, as in the coin tossing example, the chances of actually losing all six is only 2.23%, which seems pretty low risk. But if you span the wheel 150 times there is a 77.2% chance that you will have six consecutive spins during that sample size and if you spin it 250 times then you would lose six bets in a row a staggering 91.1% time!

With these examples it should be quite easy to see that the biggest flaw of the Martingale system is the fact the player will either go broke before they win their money back or the table limits of the game in question will be reached and the system then falls down.

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