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The Martingale System

The Martingale system is very popular with casino punters. Could you also use this for your sports betting?

What exactly is a Martingale?

The Martingale system was created for casino gamblers, which is easy to understand: if you lose your bet(s), you progressively increase your stakes with a view to covering all of your losses and making a profit on the first winning bet. Once you've made the expected profit, you repeat the strategy from the beginning and bet your initial stake.

The following formula is used to calculate the amount of money staked:

Stake = (L+P) / (O-1)

With: 

  • L = Accumulated total from your previous losses
  • P = Desired profit
  • O = Decimal odds

An example of Martingale betting

Organising a series of bets under the Martingale system

To simplify this example, we are assuming that all of the odds are equal to 2.

BetsStake (euros)ResultProfit / LossTotal
Bet 110Lost-10-10
Bet 220Lost-20-30
Bet 340Lost-40-70
Bet 480Won8010
Bet 510Won1020

Let's suppose that you'd like to make a profit of 10 euros. You stake 10 euros at odds of 2. As your first bets lose, you gradually increase your stakes. Your fourth bet wins, allowing you to cover your losses and make the profit that you originally hoped for. For the fith bet, you return to your initial strategy of staking 10 euros.

What are the risks associated with Martingale betting?

The major drawback to the Martingale system concerns its practicality. A bad run of results soon forces a punter into staking an enormous amount of money. In a traditional Martingale system, after a run of 5 losing bets at odds of 2, the stake for the 6th bet must be equal to 32 times the initial stake!

Furthermore, the Martingale system is not in itself a way to make long-term profits. The only way for a punter to do this is to calculate the probabilities more accurately than the bookmakers.