The most alluring system in blackjack is the Martingale, which initially seems like a can’t-fail strategy. But once you learn more about the Martingale, you’ll find that it is also an extremely risky strategy which could cost you your entire bankroll. Seeing as how this is the case, let’s examine the finer points of the Martingale, and discuss if you should actually consider this system.
How the Martingale System Works
The Martingale is a negative progression system, meaning you increase bets when you’re losing. And this blackjack betting strategy is the king of all negative progressions because you double your bets following every loss. So if you wagered $25 and lost this bet, your next wager would be worth $50. Assuming you lost this bet too, you would wager $100 on the following bet. Whenever you win a bet again, you go back to the original $25 bets until losing again.
The main concept behind the Martingale is that you slowly make positive gains when you win, and battle to get back to even following a loss. Going further, the Martingale is really nice because it can wipe out any previous losses you suffered during a losing streak. In the aforementioned scenario where you lost two bets in a row and had to wager $100, you’d be back to even after winning this.
Is the Martingale System worth using?
The main reason why most blackjack strategy suggests that you avoid the Martingale is because it’s the riskiest system out there. After all, you are doubling bets following losses, which gets really dangerous when you go on a lengthy losing streak. Even making bets as small as $5 can put you in danger of losing a lot of money. To illustrate this, take a look at the following scenario:
$5 bet lost = $5 in total losses
$10 bet lost = $15 in total losses
$20 bet lost = $35 in total losses
$40 bet lost = $75 in total losses
$80 bet lost = $155 in total losses
$160 bet lost = $315 in total losses
$320 bet lost = $635 in total losses
$640 bet lost = $1,275 in total losses
This figure shows what would happen if you lost eight bets in a row, which is entirely possible in blackjack. And for a person who normally makes $5 bets, $1,280 is a lot to lay on the table for your ninth wager. Assuming you lose this, you’d now be $2,555 in the hole. Furthermore, there are also betting limits at most blackjack tables, which means you’re not going to be able to double bets eventually.
Taking all of this into account, most people strongly suggest that you avoid the Martingale system because of the risks involved.