In casino gambling, almost everyone has a system to beat the house – and one of the most popular is the Martingale System. Many of the so-called gambling experts swear that by using the Martingale System, games like roulette can be crushed for fun and profit. The Martingale System is an easy system to employ and sounds good, but does it really work?

The Martingale System is a basic betting system for playing any casino game with essentially two evenly possible outcomes; for example betting on red or black in roulette. To start the betting, you bet the minimum table wager. If you win, then you start over. And if you lose, then you double your bet. The basic idea is that eventually you will have to win and when you do you will win one betting unit.

Here is an example for a roulette game where the minimum bet is $1 and you bet on red each time:

Action: Outcome

Bet $1: if it is black lose $1, if it is red win $1

Bet $2: if it is black lose $3, if it is red win $1

Bet $4: if it is black lose $7, if it is red win $1

Bet $8: if it is black lose $15, if it is red win $1

Bet $16: if it is black lose $31, if it is red win $1

As you can see, the most that you can ever win is $1; but the losses can really add up if you get an unlucky streak of spins. After just 5 losses in a row, you would be wagering $16 to win $1. Now this would be fine if you could do this forever because you would eventually win that $1, but the Martingale System fails precisely because there are limits involved.

Unfortunately, the idea that the Martingale System is relying on is that you have infinite time, infinite money and there is no limit to how much you can bet. And as we all know, in real life you have none of these advantages – the casino does.

The main problem with the Martingale System is that each result is independent, so you could easily have the wrong color come up many times in a row. There is no natural law that just because the ball landed in red 5 times in a row that it has to land in black on the next spin, it could just as easily land in red a limitless number of times. And since you are doubling your bet each time, you would eventually just run out of money to wager.

The next biggest problem with the Martingale System is that casinos have a maximum amount that you can bet on a single wager. For instance at a $1 table, the maximum amount that you could bet on an even money payout would be $25. From the example above, you can see that it would only take 5 consecutive losses before you hit that maximum and you would never recover you money.

To make matters even worse for a gambler trying to use the Martingale System is that the casinos rarely offer even money wagers anyway. For example, in roulette the 0 and 00 mean that you only have a ~47.5 of getting even money for your bet.

So in the end, The Martingale System sounds like a nice idea, but it is not possible to use it to consistently beat the house. Unfortunately, the casinos make the rules, have limitless resources and have infinite time - in short the house always has the advantage.