# Martingale Strategy for Blackjack

The Martingale betting strategy is used most often with roulette betting.  However, because it is a betting system, it can be employed with any game of chance.

The Martingale betting system was developed to bet on outcomes that have a 50/50 chance of occurrence, like the flip of a coin.  However it has been adapted for use in the gambling games of blackjack and roulette.  In roulette, you’d use it on bets like black/red, or odd/even.

The basics of the system is that you stay with your original bet as long as you win but you double your bet size when you lose and then you go back to your original bet once you win again. As you might imagine, your success with this system would depend on the way the cards are running.  If the cards are running hot for you (a winning streak) you can make a modest profit.  However, if the cards are producing a losing streak for you, it could get costly very quickly.

Let’s look at some examples.  The tables below look at if you’re playing at a \$5 minimum table, and you run into short or longer winning streaks or losing streaks:

WINNING STREAKS

LOSING STREAKS

As you look at these tables (very simple examples for demonstration purposes), the system will provide a small profit with not a large total amount bet, if you can run into a winning streak of hands.

The problem with the system is if the cards are running bad and you fall into a losing streak.  You can quickly spend a lot of money and still end up losing a decent amount of money.  Basically, it takes only losing 2 hands in a row to start to get in trouble with this betting system.

## Reality of Use

Because it’s more likely than not that you’ll run into a losing streak, (after all, the odds in winning are against you from the start) you’ll need a large initial bankroll to use the Martingale system properly.

At the minimum \$5 bet, if you lose just 5 bets in a row, your sixth bet would have to be \$160. As a casual gambler, you probably came to the casino with \$300-\$500 for the night. So, after 5 hands, you’re going to be betting half your bankroll.  Also, table limits will stop your ability to double your previous bet as a losing streak continues, so you won’t make the expected return when you finally win.

It can quickly become a costly system if the cards are unfavorable.  If the cards are favorable, it doesn’t really account for that favorable advantage because you never increase your minimal bet win things are good.  At best, you make a modest profit when the cards are running good.

### Final Thoughts

I think you only hear people talk about the Martingale betting system and don’t see them using it is because in reality, it can’t be used.  It can get very expensive and even if money were no limit to you as a player, the limits a casino places on their games, will limit your ability to continually double losing bets.  It is best used in short runs of hands, to limit your losses. Remember, you will probably have more losing hands because the odds are against you anyway.