Martingale: Betting secret or a recipe for disaster ?

February 15th, 2007

Betting Systems - Part 1 At we get a lot of questions from punters about Betting Systems.

Please note that our general stance on betting systems is that “Nearly all betting systems are equally worthless“.

So what’s a Betting System?
It’s just a method of betting, usually mathematically based, used by a punter to try for an advantage.

There are lots of betting systems, all involving a staking pattern that ranges from common sense through to ridculously complex or just ultra-high risk. Many systems are almost ‘betting folklore’ rather than sane methods to improve your returns. 

Betting System Basics Part 1: Today’s article is going to cover a couple of related systems: Martingale, Grand Martingale and Anti Martingale or Paroli.

We’ll look at Kelly’s Criteria, Flat Betting, Plateau, Fibonacci, Cancellation or Labouchere Betting and other systems another day.

The Martingale system is probably the best known betting system and is fairly simple. It focuses on losing streaks and is usually applied to ‘even money’ bets.

To apply the Martingale system, you double your previous bet each time you lose, and continue to do so until you win. The theory behind this is that when you do eventually win you will have covered all of your previous bets and have made one betting unit as profit.

So… if you start with one bet and win, you start again with one bet. If you lose, however, you double your bet. Each time you lose, you double your last lost bet. The theory goes that eventually you are bound to win. When you win you will recover all your lost bets plus one unit profit against your initial wager.

Although this system sounds good in theory, it can require a large bankroll and have a very low return. It can also be high risk due to the maximum bet limits imposed by the sportsbook or bookie. If you run out of money or reach the bookie’s limit, you can lose a lot with no chance whatsoever to recover your losses.

Obviously a derivative of the Martingale Betting System, the only thing grand about this system in our view is the way in which you’ll lose your money! This system is a more aggressive form of Martingale where you double your last bet and add one more unit.

This system is all about winning streaks rather than losing streaks. In the Paroli system you start with one bet and you double-up your bet when you win rather than when you lose.

You need to decide in advance how far you’ll let the bet build before you take it down to the initial starting bet. As a variation some punters rather than doubling the bet, will add half again to the previously winning bet stake, after each win.

The advantage of this system over Martingale is that you don’t need such a large bankroll. It in theory lets the profit run and cuts short the losses. In theory ….


All three of these systems are plainly flawed as they suggest increasing stakes simply based on your previous wins and/or losses and pay no attention to the likelihood of winning this time.

If you follow any of these three systems you’ll simply end up staking and risking more than you are comfortable doing … none of them are recommended.

More on other Betting Systems to come soon…


Entry Filed under: Betting Tutorial,Sports Betting

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