Martingale Roulette System


I saw more than one roulette system in the years I ran the tables in a Northern Michigan casino. Only one worked consistently (more on that in a moment), but that doesn't mean that the others were without value. One in particular was fun to watch; it is called the "martingale betting system."

The idea behind the martingale system is very simple, and it is commonly used on games that pay out the amount bet (bet a dollar and you win a dollar), such as blackjack and roulette. If you lose you just keep doubling your bet until you win. Any time you win you start again with your original bet. For example, if you start with a one dollar bet and lose, you bet two dollars. Lose that and you bet four dollars and so on. Once you finally win you go back to a dollar bet and start the next series.

For each of these "series" of bets you will be one dollar ahead, because your final winning wager is always a dollar more than the total of the sum of the previous losing bets. For example, if you lost bets of $1, $2, $4, $8, and $16, you would have lost a total of $31, and your next bet would be $32. Win that and you are a dollar ahead for that series.

With no limits to your bet and if you have unlimited money, you could always win using this system. But in practice an unlimited bankroll isn't likely, and this system is the reason most casino games have a "spread" between the minimum and maximum bets that only allows for six or seven doublings. You rarely go a day without losing that many times in a row, whether playing blackjack or betting on "red"on a roulette wheel. Flip a coin a thousand times and you'll see that it isn't that uncommon for seven heads (or tails) in a row to appear.

This means that you are likely to lose at some point - or several times - exactly when your bet is the largest it will be. For example, if you start at a two dollar blackjack table the limit might be $100. This allows you to bet $2, $4, $8, $16, $32, and $64. At that point you can't double again to recover your losses, and you have just lost a total of $126 on the series. Since you are only winning $2 per series, it takes you 64 series to win that much. As you can see, this system produces long stretches with small wins followed by big losses in a short time.

Note: Some people play the martingale system at online gambling sites, but these websites are also a good place to play poker, because by playing other platers rather than the "house" you can put the odds in your favor (assuming you know and play the game well).

The Roulette System

What is different about roulette is that many tables allow for as many as ten doublings if you know how to bet right. You can bet on red (or black) all day long and not see eleven times in a row when a red number doesn't come up. That means that you can often leave the casino hundreds of dollars ahead for the day.

Let's look at how this is done, using the table I used to run. At the time it had a fifty-cent minimum per bet, and a $25 maximum. These limits applied to any particular bet, though, so you could bet $25 on red, plus $25 on each red number (there are 18 of them). Now you'll probably have to look at a roulette wheel to understand the rest of this, but if you bet a dollar on each individual red number, it's the same as betting $18 on red. If one comes in, you lose 17 of your bets and win $35 (numbers pay 35-to-1), so you are $18 ahead - the same as if you just bet $18 on red.

What this means is that your effective spread for a bet on red was from fifty cents to $475. That allowed for ten doublings of your bet if you started at the minimum. ($0.50, $1, $2, $4, $8, $16, $32, $64, $128, $256). Of course, if the wheel went twelve times without a red number, you would lose $511.50, and you only won fifty-cents per series, or about $10 to $20 per hour depending on the speed of play. Still, many people used a system like this to win regularly, with the occasional big loss.

To bet this way, you start with your first several wagers in the series on the "red" space ($0.50, $1, $2, $4, $8, $16). Once the $25 limit prevents going further there, you put an even amount on each red number and then the rest on red. For example, for a $32 bet, you put a dollar on each of the 18 red numbers and place the other $14 on the red space. For a $256 bet you put $14 on each red number and $4 on the red space. You might need to practice this or have notes with you.

You can increase the the win-per-series by modifying this roulette system slightly. For example, you might bet like this: $0.50, $2, $4, $8, $16, $32, $64, $128, $256. That still gets you nine doublings, but you win about twice as much per series ($0.50 on some, $1.50 on others), effectively doubling your hourly return.

Of course in the end you will lose for one of three reasons. You will either get bored and start ignoring the rules of the system, or you will have too small of a bankroll, or you'll finally hit that ten or eleven in a row that go against you, possibly wiping out several day's profits.

There is one system that has nothing to do with doubling or even changing your bets. It is the only one I saw that worked consistently for the one man I witnessed using it (and he used it for many months). But that is another story.

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