Blackjack strategy – Martingale System

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The Martingale system was invented in the 18th century in France. This is one of the oldest and most effective systems in the world. Many other systems are derivative of the Martingale, but all of them are not so effective.

The Martingale is a simple, very easy system to learn: the player makes a bet, and then he doubles the amount of the original bet after each loss, when a hand wins the player returns to the original bet. After losing one hand, the player doubles his bet on the next hand and if he wins, he recovers the previous loss and gets a profit. After losing two hands one after the other, the win on the third hand covers his losses of two hands, and gives him one betting unit ahead.

1 ⇒ lose ⇒ 2 ⇒ lose ⇒ 4 ⇒ lose ⇒ 8 ⇒ win ⇒ 1

However, there is a drawback in this system: the player’s bankroll should be large. If you lose six times in a row, you bet must increase 32 times, and so on. If a hand is doubled down or split, this will happen sooner. So, the bet size can be overwhelming, even if you have bet a small amount of $5. Therefore, to be effective over time, the player must have a big bankroll and play at a low-limit table. Let’s see an example. Imagine your first bet is $5 and the table has a limit of $500. So, you can see if you lose 7 consecutive hands you won’t be able to increase your bet any more.


However, this system is really effective that is why many casinos changed the rules of the game to defeat it. They introduced table limits, with a table limit of a thousand times the table minimum, a player who uses the Martingale won’t be able to recover his losses after losing ten times in a row.

But this doesn’t make this system invalid. There is less than a 0.01% possibility that a streak of ten losses may occur.

Several systems including Oscar’s Grind and Labouchere were derived from the Martingale system. These systems have less tough increases in bets, or the frequency of increases in them is decreased.

There are also some variations of Martingale.

A “Martingale-four” system offers players to double to twice (for a bet of 4 units) before they return to the initial bet, and playing a “half-Martingale” system the player’s bet increases by 150% and not 200%. Because losses aren’t fully recovered, these systems aren’t as effective as the original.

Grand Martingale

Grand or Great Martingale system makes the player bet even more.If the player loses a hand he has to double his bet and add one more unit to that amount. The sequence is:

1 ⇒ loss ⇒ 2+1 ⇒ loss ⇒ 6+1 ⇒ loss ⇒ 14+1 ⇒ loss ⇒ 30+1 ⇒ win ⇒ 1 ⇒

If you are on a bad streak you will reach the table limit quicker than when you are playing the classic Martingale system.

If you finally win, the net gain is the initial bet and one unit. You can use this system with little changes; for example, add 2,3 or more units instead of 1 to your doubled bet amount after a loss. But using such a strategy you can lose a lot of money.

Reverse Martingale System

There is also a Reverse Martingale System which tells you to double the next bet not after a loss but after each win and return to the initial bet when losing. The sequence is:

1 ⇒ win ⇒ 2 ⇒ win ⇒ 4 ⇒ win ⇒ 8 ⇒ loss ⇒ 1 ⇒

The Reverse Martingale is considered less risky than the classic Martingale. But, there is a risk to lose all wins if suddenly you lose. The best advice here is to stop increasing the bet after several consecutive wins.