Martingale Strategy for Blackjack: Why Doubling Down Your Bet Is A Mugs’ Game

4 min read
martingale betting strategy

What is the Martingale Betting Strategy?

If you’ve been searching around online roulette strategy, or any betting strategies for that matter, for any length of time, you’ve probably already come across at least one wise guy who has the foolproof plan. The theory goes that you start your game with small stakes. Take a spin. If you win, fantastic – well done, you’re in the money. If you lose, though, your next stake doubles, to take account of your first loss.

If you win on the doubled position, you’re still in profit, once you’ve covered the losses from your first spin. If you lose this position, you simply double again until you do win. The net result, so the theory goes, is that by the end of your session, you’ll be a guaranteed winner.

The logic sounds infallible to the uninitiated, and it’s a common tactic some beginners employ when they are trying to find a way of making money from their casino gaming on a more consistent basis. Unfortunately, the reality doesn’t reflect the fantasy, and there are a number of good reasons this strategy is a dud.

roulette loser

Reason Not To Double Down #1 – Probability

Let’s take this issue as a standalone point, firstly – assuming there are no other barriers to implementing this type of strategy.

The logic of the Martingale strategy, or doubling-down, is that eventually, you’ll come to a winner before you run out of money. If you keep doubling your stake, eventually you will land a winning number, because you’re playing a random game of chance. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stand up too well to scrutiny.

Consider playing this strategy at the roulette table. By the time you’ve run into 5 losing bets, that £10 stake you started with is already up to £320 on a single spin. And contrary to the myth, there’s absolutely nothing guaranteed about winning from one of these five spins – in fact, it’s perfectly possible, given the truly random nature of the outcomes, that you could hit runs of 10 or beyond before you actually hit on a winner – there’s no limit, because every outcome is random, with no reference to the numbers that have come before.


It’s this failure to appreciate what random means that leads many roulette players to look for patterns, for hot numbers, or to assume that the next number must be red, because the previous three were black. None of these are, in fact, the case, and this can quickly cause serious problems for anyone who attempts the doubling down strategy.

Random numbers sequences like in roulette only even out over the infinite long-term, and there’s literally no way of knowing what’s going to come up in the next spin, or indeed in the next 10. And when you’re doubling your exposure with each spin, you’re going to need incredibly deep pockets to put that theory to the test.

Reason Not To Double Down #2 – Max Bets

If you’re not content with reason #1 and you’re still keen to give this a try, reason #2 should be the final nail in the coffin. Most games have a maximum bet limit set, designed to restrict the total amount of money that can be wagered on, say, a single roulette spin. That may be greater or lesser, depending on the value and the betting levels of the specific game you’re playing, but it remains a fact that most online casinos have max bets in force that would prevent you running this type of strategy for long enough to see it actually deliver a positive return.

roulette chips

There’s no way round these max bets, and the strategy completely disintegrates when you can’t continue to double up on your bet sizing. That means, in the end, you run into the brick wall of maximum bets if you’re on a losing streak – with no way back, other than to just accept your losses and hope for better luck next time.

Don’t get the wrong idea – some players do get lucky from time to time with doubling down, and do see dividends over the short term. However, with the strategy severely limited on these two key points outlined above, it should be obvious that it isn’t exactly the best way to boost your casino winnings.

Far better to accept that you win some, and you lose some – and to accept your lucky streaks when the do happen – rather than to buckle down with an ill-informed strategy that will end up costing you big money over the long term.