What is the Martingale system?
The Martingale system is a very simple betting strategy in which you double or increase the bet size each time you lose.
It can be applied to most casino games, including blackjack, but typically it’s used on roulette.
For example, you could use the Martingale system on even chances, and place $20 on even numbers.
If you don’t win the bet, then you would bet on even numbers again, but this time you’d bet $40 (double the amount).
If you lose again, then you’d bet $80. And so on, until you (hopefully) win and profit.
Do casinos allow Martingale?
Casinos allow all Martingale systems as they do not alter the house edge in any way. By using the Martingale system, or any other progressive bet strategy, you are not cheating and you are not manipulating the odds of the game in any way.
That being said, all casino tables have minimum and maximums. This means there will always be a minimum bet as well as a maximum bet that can be placed on roulette (or baccarat, or blackjack, and so on).
So if the minimum bet on roulette even chances is, say, $10, then you can only start the Martingale system with no less than $10 per spin.
But wait, there is a max bet as well. If the maximum on even chances is, say, $500, then you can only use the progressive system six times in a row:
Do online casinos allow Martingale?
Yes, the answer is exactly the same as in this case there is no difference between a real casino and an online casino.
The game is the same, and so are the odds and chances.
By using a progressive system, you do not alter or lower the house edge in any way. You simply change the amount you bet, but this doesn’t give you any statistical advantage.
Therefore, the Martingale system is not cheating, and online casinos don’t need to prevent players from using it.
And yes, online casinos have minimums and maximums as well. They may be lower compared to those in real casinos, but that’s about it.
Online casinos do need to protect themselves from online hacks, theft, and other types of attacks which include cheating. But progressive systems are not a threat to online casinos in any way.
Never use the Martingale system
Seriously, don’t do it. Here’s the three main reasons why you should never use the Martingale or any other progressive betting systems:
- Previous spins do not affect the outcome of following ones. The gambler’s fallacy may make you think they do, but unless the roulette dealer tries to hit numbers, or unless the wheel is very old or damaged, then chances of winning will always be the same. If zero comes in four times in a row, chances of hitting zero on the next spin are still one in 37.
- Progressive systems are extremely risky. Although your first bet may be as low as $5 or less, what happens if you lose five, ten, twenty times in a row? Well, you’d be losing thousands. The Martingale system may sound attractive at first, but unfortunately it is one of those things that are simply “too good to be true”.
- You can’t win big with the Martingale. In the example mentioned above, where you start with $5 and double the bet each time you lose, if you win on the 8th spin then the bet is $640. And if you win, do you know how much your profit would be? Still a fiver! Crazy, right? Why would you ever risk hundreds or thousands to win (profit) such a small amount?
If you had an infinite bankroll, and if there was no maximum at the table, then theoretically you could win against the house — every single time.
But in reality, progressive systems simply cannot work in the long run. Just like any other roulette system that doesn’t involve cheating.
But whereas there are systems that are relatively safe and conservative, the Martingale is way too risky, and the potential winnings, which are always low, do not justify the risk.
Do casinos allow card counting?
Card counters also change their bet size, but not progressively.
For example, if a card counter knows that the end of the shoe (decks) is likely to have more aces and/or picture cards, then they may increase their bets at the end.
This is why one of the main countermeasures of casinos is to force the players to flat bet — always bet the same amount on each blackjack hand.
They don’t do that to all blackjack players, of course — just those who are likely to count cards, or track the shuffle. Although there is a maximum bet in blackjack as well.
Now, card counting is a very interesting example because although it is not cheating, it is now allowed. And casinos have the right to ask you to leave if they suspect you count cards.
Why? Because by counting cards, you may lower the house edge too much. And casinos don’t like that.
I know it sounds ridiculous, but that’s basically the reason why. Casinos are a business like any other, and they cannot afford to lose money, even if the players are technically not cheating.