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The Martingale Doubling Strategy

By: R. Kingsley, Thursday August 14th 2008
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The Martingale doubling strategy has been designed for bets that pay even money. That is the reason it is most associated with the "Red" or "Black" wager in roulette.

The strategy is simple in execution and appears attractive and that is the reason it is popular with novice gamblers.

The strategy is designed to eventually win an amount equal to the initial wager by doubling the wager at each loss. It is best explained through an example by taking the initial wager as $1. Suppose the player wagers $1 on Red in his first wager. He will get back $2 if he wins and thus will win $1 after deducting his investment in the wager. If he loses then he will double the wager and bet $2 on Red. His total investment stands at $3 and if he wins on this spin of the wheel then he gets $4 and again wins $1. Winning $1 on an investment of $3 looks good. But if he loses the second time he will have to wager $4 on Red making his total investment $7. If he wins he gets $8 and again wins $1. So no matter how many times he wagers he will win only $1 in the end. Let us cut to the eighth round. In seven rounds his cumulative investment would have been $127 and he would have to wager $128 in the eighth round making his investment $255. He stands to get $256 if he wins and as usual wins $1. Now to invest $257 to win $1 starts looking foolish and there is no limit to how high the player will have to go.

There exists a perception among novice gamblers that if the spin of the wheel has resulted in a string of black numbers then the chance that the next number will be red is higher. The Martingale doubling strategy is not based on this faulty perception but because of this faulty perception this strategy is given more importance than it deserves. The roulette wheel has no memory. It does not remember what the last number was let alone the last two numbers. At every spin of the wheel both Red and Black have 50% chance of being called. If the last three numbers were black the probability of the next number being red is 50%. If the last ten numbers were black the probability of the next number being red is still 50%.

The Martingale doubling strategy should be avoided for two very important reasons. The first is that it eats up the bankroll. In order to win $1 the player has invested $257 on the eighth round. If he wants to win $10 his investment would be $2,750 averaging almost $350 per wager. The second reason is more crucial. The Martingale doubling strategy assumes that the player can keep on increasing his bets endlessly. However most online casinos put upper limits on wagers and here this strategy comes unstuck.

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