History of the Martingale Betting System. The Martingale Betting System originated as early as the 18th century. It was popular in France at that time and was used on games on which the outcome of a bet is nearly 50/50, such as red or black in Roulette. The system became increasing popular in London as casino owner John Henry Martindale would promote the idea to his patrons. Rightfully, it should have been coined “Martindale”, but many people must have mispronounced poor John’s name over time. As such, “Martingale” stuck and that is the term commonly used to describe this form of betting.
Martingale betting strategy is a simple way players try to take advantage of 50/50 games by doubling their bets after a loss. For example, a $5 pass line bet on craps loses, therefore the player bets $10 on the next roll. If that bet also loses, then the bet will increase to $20, and so forth. The bets continue to double in this way until the player wins. After a win, the player returns to the original bet, which in this case is $5, and the cycle is repeated. When players win at any bet in this progression, they are awarded a profit equal to the amount of their original bet. In the previous example, each win garners $5 for the player. This betting strategy is guaranteed to win if the player has unlimited funds, no maximum bet imposed by the house, and no time constraints.
This system was used to great effect by Charles Wells at a Monte Carlo casino in 1891. He defeated this casino at Roulette for all the house money on the table 12 times in a span of 3 days. A song was created to honour the feat titled “The Man who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo”.
So, why isn’t everyone doing this? Of course, casinos have adapted ways to prevent players from bankrupting them. For instance, tables do have maximum limits. Otherwise, players could double their bets forever until they won.
Rate of Play
So, can it still be profitable? Yes! In fact, this betting system increases the odds for a player to win in shorter playing sessions. Common games played that work well with the Martingale Betting System are Roulette, Craps, Blackjack and Baccarat.
So, how do we apply this strategy to online poker? Unlike the other casino games, each individual hand does not matter under the context of using the Martingale system, in the same way. For poker, we increase our odds by taking advantage of the buy-ins. For tournaments, Heads Up (HU) or Sit and Go (SNG) formats are best. There is too much variance in Multi-Table Tournaments, or MTT’s, to enable Martingale as the ideal strategy. It is recommended to start at a $5 SNG or HU game, for example, and if this results in a loss, then register to a $10 tournament table. If this still results in a loss, then register to a $20 tournament table. After a win, collect and begin again at $5.
Cash games are particularly effective using this strategy. For instance, the player can begin with a $1 buy-in. If this is lost, the player will then move up in stakes with a $2 buy-in. The goal in each case is to win the same amount as the buy-in and then cash out. Each successful attempt in this example garners a profit of $1. Of course, players may wish to start higher than this to increase their potential profitability over time.
The Anti-Martingale Betting System
There are several other betting systems. However, to stay on topic, we’ll go over the betting strategies associated with the Anti-Martingale Betting System. As the name indicates, players can try to take advantage of streaks by increasing their bets after a win. A loss under this system means reducing the next bet or betting only the minimum.
Playing online poker using the Martingale Betting System can be lucrative and a lot of fun! Just remember to gamble responsibly and limit playing time to shorter sessions. Many online casinos award points, comps, and/or other rewards and promotions to their players, so this can increase the value of short term gains and decrease the risk of long term play. Good luck!