The Martingale Roulette System

One of the most famous Roulette strategies is the so called Martingale Roulette System. Especially beginners value this strategy due to its simplicity. It has been invented by the French Maths professor Paul Pierre Lévy and since then featured in countless articles and books.

To make it clear from the beginning, the Martingale strategy is a very risky strategy and unlucky players can lose a fortune. However, many players do still like this roulette strategy as it is easy to learn and to remember.

How does the classic Martingale Roulette System work?

The Martingale System is bsimple and based on doubling the wagers. If for example the player bets on the colour red but the ball is rolling on black, the wagers on the colour red are doubled every time until this colour is winning. Of course this sounds easy and in theory a player will never lose, as the colour red will be winning at some point, but there are a couple of risks which can make this strategy fail.

How to bet with the Martingale System?

Palying the classic Martingale Strategy the player will only bet on simple chances such as colours (black or red), numbers (even or uneven) and high or low (1-18 or 19-36). These simple chances give players nearly a 50% chance to win and a return of 1:1, e.g. betting £10 and winning £10. Losing a game will result in doubling the bet every time until he game is won. This way the losses of the previous bets will be cancelled out. After winning the game the bets will be lowered again to the starting bet.

An Example

Let’s say you are betting £5 on red and are losing this bet because the winning colour is black, according to the Martingale System you will need to double your next bet to £10. If the next game will result in red you will win £10 and would have won back your previous loss of £5 an addition you made a profit of £5.

But if you would have lost the second bet as well, then for the next game you would need to have raised the bet to £20, and if lost again the next bet would be doubled to £40. You see where this is going, and if unlucky the stakes are getting higher and higher. Let’s assume you are finally lucky and would win the fourth game of £40, this would result again in a net profit of $5 ($40 minus your three losses of £5 + £10 + £20). For the next game you will then start the system again from the beginning with a bet of £5.

Why the Martingale System fails in real life

Experienced players will know about the risks of the Martingale Strategy as due to doubling, the bets can rise very high after losing a few times in a row. And there are further problems which might cause a total loss, this is for example if the player runs out of money and is not able anymore to double his bets. In the following table you can see how high the stakes can rise with a starting bet of £5 you are already facing a stake of more than a thousand in round 9:

ROUND 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
BET £5 £10 £20 £40 £80 £160 £320 £ £1280


As most Casinos have a table limit of £500 you will reach that limit after 7 lost rounds and therefore cannot double your bet again. The Martingale Strategy can therefore result in a financial ruin for the player as series of 12 to 15x red or black are possible and have happened before. This means this strategy will only work if the player would have unlimited funds without table limits at the casinos.

But not only the table limits and not ending series of the same colour can cause the strategy to fail, also the bank’s green zero – the horror of all players – is dooming and can result in a total loss.