I have heard a lot of talk lately about the age old “Martingale Betting System”, mostly used in roulette, but designed for any bet that is close to a 50/50 proposition.

This is the one that says if you lose double your bet, and keep doubling it until you win…in theory and on the surface this looks like something that makes perfectly good sense, because eventually you are going to win. However there are two factors that are never mentioned when this system is recommended.

One is you probably don’t have enough money to do this and second is the table limit. We will discuss both of these a little later.

The system is based on the theory that if you lose four or five times in a row you have to win the next one, the only problem with that is that in a game of random returns the next roll of the dice or spin of the wheel, or draw of the cards has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the last. The dice, the ball and the cards have no memory, they do not know what has happened in the past and while the odds of losing a 50/50 proposition seven or eight times in a row starting out is well over 100 to 1, each of those individual losses is still only even money to win or lose.

This is the gamblers fallacy…thinking that just because you have won several times in a row you are going to lose the next, or just because you have lost several times in a row you are going to win the next. In a game of random returns anything is possible including long winning streaks or long losing streaks.

Also recognize that if you are doubling your bet when you lose, the amount of money that might take is probably a lot more than the average gambler would like to risk. Especially when doubling a $5 bet can get up to $640 after 7 losses in a row, which means the total risk amount at that point ($5 + $10 + $20 + $40 + $80 + $160 + $320 + $640) is well over $1000 to win $5. And if the table limit is $500 you can’t even make the $640 bet, so even if you win the $500 bet you are still $135 in the hole…all of this for a $5 bet. I think NOT!