How To Use the Martingale System in Roulette

The Martingale System is a popular strategy designed to chase down losses aggressively when playing roulette and other casino games.

This guide explains how the Martingale roulette strategy works and how it relates to roulette. We will also break down the key pros and cons of the Martingale System, so keep reading to learn more about it.

What is the Martingale Roulette System?

The Martingale betting system is a negative progression strategy for betting on roulette, blackjack, and other games. A negative progression strategy means you increase your bet size after a loss but not after a win.

This approach chases losses in a very aggressive fashion while also aiming to grind out small wins. It works for any type of roulette game, be it real money roulette online (virtual or live dealer roulette) or in-person.

As you’ll see, you can use the Martingale with any type of roulette game. The American roulette games are fine, but so are the European roulette and French roulette versions, too. Of course, if you’re new to playing we suggest you start of with learning the basics. Our guide can teach you how to play roulette before you dive into the Martingale system.

How does the Martingale System work?

The Martingale System simply requires you to double your bet size after each loss. Continue to do so until you eventually win at roulette.

In theory, you will wipe out all previous losses after securing a single win. You can then start again.

Martingale Example

First, you will need to decide on your base unit, which is a percentage of your bankroll. For example, let’s say you have $1,000 to play, and you decide to make 2% of it your base unit ($20).

You would then begin by placing a $20 bet. If your first bet wins, simply wager $20 again. If you lose, double your bet size to $40.

Continue to double your bet amount, from $40 to $80 and $160 and so on, until you finally win. When you win, go back to the start and wager $20 again.

This chart shows a hypothetical roulette session when following the Martingale System:

Bet AmountOutcomeProfit / Loss
$20Win$20
$20Win$40
$20Loss$20
$40Loss-$20
$80Loss-$100
$160Win$60
$20Loss$40
$40Win$80
$20Loss$60
$40Loss$20
$80Loss-$60
$160Loss-$220
$320Win$100

In this example, the player wins just five out of 13 spins but still ends up with a profit. This highlights the potential benefits of the Martingale System.

Advantages of the Martingale

  • Following the Martingale gives you greater control over your bankroll when playing roulette at an online casino.
  • In theory, you only need to win once to erase all previous losses sustained when pursuing this strategy.
  • It appeals to players who like to chase losses and grind out modest wins.
  • The strategy may also appeal to players who find alternative approaches, such as the D’Alembert, too conservative.
  • The Martingale System is easy to follow, as it does not require any complex equations or sequences.

Disadvantages of the Martingale

  • Players need a large bankroll to follow the Martingale System.
  • You will need to place very large wagers after embarking on a losing streak, which can make some players uneasy.
  • The strategy comes unstuck if you run up against table limits at an online casino or land-based casino.
  • It does not capitalize upon winning streaks.
  • The Martingale System will always work in theory, but in practice, it only works if you have unlimited funds, infinite time, and no table limits.

A Word of Caution about the Martingale System for roulette

Players can use the Martingale System on any bets that pay out at 1:1. You have three such options when playing roulette.

  • Red/Black
  • Odd/Even
  • High/Low

Do not try to use the Martingale on single-number bets, corners, columns, and other bets, as it is specifically designed for even money wagers.

Practice the Martingale for Free

If you need to practice the Martingale, you can also try free online roulette, too. If you’d prefer to explore a different betting system as part of your overall roulette strategy, consider one of these other ways to approach wagering on roulette:

Martingale Roulette Strategy FAQ

The Martingale System does not influence the outcome when you spin the roulette wheel. It simply gives you greater control over your bankroll, and it tells you how much to wager on each spin.

No. In theory, it will always cancel out all previous losses as soon as you win. However, in practice, it would only be guaranteed to work if you had unlimited funds, no time limits, and no table limits.

It is perfectly legal to use the Martingale System. However, you will need a large bankroll, and you will also need to find a roulette game with very high limits.

The system is reportedly named after an 18th-century London casino owner named John Henry Martindale, who encouraged players to double their bets after a loss.

In theory, using the Martingale for roulette is a good idea, as it allows you to wipe out losses in one fell swoop. However, it often falls apart in practice, as players do not have infinite wealth, and they also face table limits and time constraints.

The Reverse Martingale requires you to double your bet size after each win. You will need to be prepared to quit when you are ahead, as a single loss will erase all previous profits when following this approach, which is also known as the Anti-Martingale. It is simply the opposite of the Martingale System.

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