Martingale is the most popular betting strategy in 21, but as Mr Blackjack shows, it includes considerable risk to most players.
The Martingale system is the most popular and talked-about system by blackjack pros and casual players alike.
This system is designed to guarantee that you profit from your initial wager, whether it be after one hand or after 10 or even 20 hands. It’s based on the probability that you will eventually win a hand.
Here is how the Martingale system works. You start with your initial bet of $10. If you win, perfect. You succeeded the Martingale, which is to win your initial wager. It guarantees your initial wager, which is usually quite small. At this point, you can either go home with your wager or restart Martingale.
So, you place your initial wager of $10 again. However, this time you lose the hand, so you need to double your bet to $20 to win your initial wager back.
If you win this hand, you will have profited $10 after the initial two hands, and you have succeeded Martingale again. So you can start over with your $10 bet.
But should you lose that hand too, you need to double that wager again, making it $40. This is so you win your original $10 bet and your second $20 bet, which is $30 total in previous bets, and still make a $10 profit.
Should you lose this wager, your next wager is double your previous bet, which is $80. Every time you lose a hand, you need to double your previous bet.
So $160, $320, $640, $1280, $2560, $5120, $10,240 and so on. Martingale theory states you keep going until you have achieved a win. Then you start back at $10.
As I said, this system is based on you winning a hand eventually, but how much are you willing to risk to win that initial $10? This system is a little bit too close to chasing after losses and forcing the action, which is a big no-no in blackjack, especially when the shoe is bad.
When I was younger and on a cruise ship, I played this system without knowing what it was, and it worked for me and my limited bankroll. I would bet $10 and then $25 and then $100. I was lucky enough that my $100 bet would win every time, but it could have easily gone the other way.
Let's look at another talked-about system in our next video: the 1326 progressive system.
What this lesson covers
- How Martingale strategy works
- The bankroll required for Martingale to be profitable
- Whether you should use this betting strategy
Meet Mr Blackjack
With a career spanning two decades, Mathieu Blake knows his way around a blackjack table. He's taught and entertained over 100,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel NeverSplit10's . In this series he'll take you through basic strategy, card counting, and bankroll management. Take a seat with Mr Blackjack and become a winning player.
Want to learn more about Blackjack?
- Does the Martingale strategy work?
For most players, Martingale does not work because they do not have the bankroll required to make this system profitable.
- Is Martingale strategy profitable?
Martingale strategy is only profitable when you have a hefty bankroll to start with and do not mind risking extortionate amounts of money. For most players, this automatically makes Martingale a losing strategy for them.
- Is Martingale strategy safe?
Martingale requires players risk potentially huge sums of money on the basis they’re “due” to win a hand eventually. This can lead to chasing losses and tilting, so we would not recommend using Martingale to players.
- How often does Martingale fail?
Theoretically Martingale doesn’t fail because the odds of you losing every single hand are so low. However this doesn’t take into account bankroll sizes and bet limits at blackjack tables, which most players do not consider and result in Martingale strategy frequently failing them.
- What is reverse Martingale?
Reverse Martingale sees players increase their bet size when they win, and decrease them when they lose.
- What is better than Martingale strategy?
If players want a betting strategy, focus on systems that limit your downsides and maximize your winnings when you have the advantage in the game, like 1326 or 212. We always recommend players focus on perfecting their basic strategy and card counting skills over betting strategies though.
- How much money do you need to play Martingale?
You need at least $200 to play Martingale for the lowest stakes blackjack tables, and several thousand for games with higher bet limits. These amounts are based on short sessions with the expectation that you might lose the entire amount if you have a cold streak.