One of the most important measures of a successful betting strategy is simplicity. Make the betting strategy easy to follow and airtight, limiting any points of ambiguity, so as a bettor, you never find yourself in the position of not knowing what to do next.
For playing roulette online, the Martingale betting system delivers this simplicity as well as the time tested seal of a system used for centuries. Martingale isn’t a betting system exclusive to any one game; it’s a system that can be employed against many games of luck, in particular, online roulette.
When using the Martingale betting system for online roulette, keep things simple: place bets only on red or black—stripping down the game to these two options protects the strategy so not to confuse or muddle it.
Martingale is notable for earning slow, incremental wins over a period of time; however, it also has the potential of causing quick, drastic losses. Like all gambling, it’s important to know when to cut your losses and leave.
The strategy behind Martingale is best described as a strategy against losing. This is worth explaining.
Let’s walk through a mock online roulette game as though we’re placing bets. For the sake of brevity and simplicity, we’ll wager small bets of $1, placing our first $1 chip on red. Once the betting round ends, the ball spins around the wheel, slowing, finally landing on our chosen color—success. A win gives us the option of placing our next $1 bet on either red or black. Red feels lucky, so we bet again.
This time, unfortunately, we’re not so lucky—the ball lands on black and we lose our $1 bet. Up until now we’ve needed to exercise very little strategy or discipline since winning is self-explanatory. Losing, however, is a different thing entirely. Losing requires that the bettor exercises self-restraint and adheres to the strategy’s guidelines. This is when the Martingale system takes effect.
We’ve bet red and lost, the ball landing on black. The next step, according to Martingale, is to double our bet on the same color, in this case, red. So we bet $2 on red but lose again, the ball landing on black.
Now it’s tempting to switch our bets over to black, wanting to ride a hot streak, but don’t. The trick with Martingale is to continue betting on the same color until you win. So we now bet $4 dollars on red, the ball spinning and landing on the colorless 0, gouging $4 from our bankroll. Until this point, we’ve won $1 from our first bet, but afterwards lost $1 + $2 + $4 for a total of $7. The next spin we remain steadfast and once again double our bet on red, the strategy dictating we follow this guideline until we recoup losses, making our current bet $8 on red.
This time the ball spins, spins, spins, and lands on red, earning us an $8 purse, and a $1 profit having recouped our loss of $7. We lost $7 but earned $8. The wins are incremental, always, in the amount of $1. Since we’re placing only $1 bets, we can never win more than this amount at any given roulette spin. Now if we were placing $3 dollar bets, our incremental gains would be $3 dollars for every win.
As you can see, it’s difficult to win rich playing this method, but you can expect modest gains over time. The downside is the doubling on losses can potentially bankrupt your bankroll quickly if you run into a bad streak. Placing bets at $3 and losing five in a row means losing $48—a large loss considering the wins are only reaping you $3 a win. The plus side is if you enter the game with a relatively large bankroll comparatively to the bets you’re placing, you can withstand a fairly substantial losing streak before recouping your losses.
For short term play, this can swing in your favor, but the house always ensures the odds favor them, even if it’s marginally so. The trick is to never play more money than you’ve decided to lose initially. So if you show up to the table with a bankroll of $100, never play more than that $100. Once the money is gone, you leave. The goal is to minimize losses while maximizing profits.
Now, say you’ve won an additional $100 to the original bankroll amount, bringing your total bankroll to $200. Decide on a percentage of the winnings, say twenty percent, meaning $20 of the $100 you won, and act resolutely that once your losses exceed the $20, giving you a remainder of $180, cash out. Leave the game. The idea is to try and guess the peaks and valleys of your gambler’s luck. This is not so far off from how day traders play the stock market.
Once you start hemorrhaging money, it’s always best to tighten the metaphorical tourniquet and walk away. Bad luck can be a streaky thing, so it’s best to remove yourself from its company.