An Introduction to the Martingale System

September 30th, 2011 12:41 pm EST


Martingale System - IllustrationWhat is the Martingale System?

If you have researched the game of blackjack, then there is almost no doubt that you have heard of the "Martingale System".

The Martingale System is quite simple - if you lose a hand, you simply keep doubling the size of your bet until you eventually win.

Once you win, you return to your original bet size and start over.

The idea is that even if you keep losing, eventually you will win a hand and you will come out ahead. Let's look at how this would work:

You decide that you are going to start with an initial bet of $5. You lose.

On the next hand, you decide to raise the size of your bet to $10. You lose again.

On the next hand, you decide to raise the size of your bet to $20. You lose.

On the next hand, you decide to raise the size of your bet to $40. You win.

Over the course of four hands, you lost three and won one. However, the winning bet was the biggest, so you walk away with a profit.

The basic gist of the system - you just keep betting bigger and bigger amounts until you actually win, because nobody can keep losing hand after hand, correct?

This is the fallacy of the pro-Martingale System argument - mathematically speaking, you could continuously lose until you were 100% busted. Let's say that you started out with a $5 bet and kept doubling if you continued to lose. Eventually you would bust, as nobody has an infinite amount of money to bet. It is conceivable (and very possible) that you could lose 5, 10 or even 20 hands in a row. Could your bankroll withstand 20 straight losses if you were doubling your bet every single time?

In short, the math just doesn't work, and you don't have an edge utilizing the Martingale system.