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Martingale in sports betting: Profitable strategy or trap ?

Martingale is a strategy that often generates a lot of interest and debate among sports bettors. 

In the world of betting, it is frequently seen as a miraculous and highly profitable technique when used correctly. But is this the truth? 

The purpose of this article is to unveil all the secrets of this intriguing method, exploring its advantages, disadvantages, and its application in various sports.

martingale casino

Introduction to Martingale History and Definition 

Martingale has its origins in Casino games and has been in existence for over three centuries. 

In simple terms, its principle involves doubling your bet after each loss to recover all previous losses and make a profit equal to the initial bet. 

This technique is based on the idea that the probability of winning increases after each loss, making it more likely to win in the next round. 

Although there are other martingale systems (d'Alembert, Paroli, Hawks, Grande Martingale, etc.), the so-called "classic" method is the most commonly used today, whether in casino games or sports betting.

How Martingale Works ?

In the context of sports betting, the martingale is generally applied to single bets where you wager on the winner or loser of a match. 

The principle is similar to that in casinos: you double your bet after each losing wager until you win a bet that covers all previous losses and generates a profit equal to the original bet. 

Let's take an example to illustrate: 

A bettor, let's call him Thomas, decides to start a martingale with an initial bet of €10, an amount accessible to most players and one that shouldn't put him in difficulty at the end of the month. 

Step 1: Thomas bets his €10 on PSG winning against Marseille in Ligue 1 at odds of 2. 

The final score is 1-1, with Marseille equalizing in additional time, tough luck... 

Step 2: Thomas is forced to double his bet, wagering €20 this time, as per the martingale rule. 

This €20 goes on tennis, with Nadal winning against Monfils at odds of 2. Defeated in the third set, close but still missed... 

Step 3: This time, it's the right call; the sports betting sites won't get Thomas a third time. Arsenal will surely beat Liverpool, right? Go ahead, €40 on the Gunners winning. 

But it turns out to be a poor match for the Londoners, and Liverpool wins 1-0. 

Thomas is starting to have doubts…

We'll stop there for now, but put yourself in Thomas's shoes. 

His situation is far from unique. 

With only three consecutive losing bets (which has surely happened to you as well, or you must be a genius), he has already lost seven times his initial bet (€70 in losses for a €10 initial bet), and he will have to wager €80 in step 4 to hope for a profit. 

Yes, it's not all that easy with the martingale despite what some tipsters might want you to believe.

win money

Advantages of Using Martingale 

It's profitable: Yes, it's mathematical, but ONLY IF YOU HAVE AN UNLIMITED BANKROLL. 

Spoiler alert: NO, the martingale is not a good idea for your sports bets.

It’s simple: The strategy is easy to understand and apply, even for beginners. 

All you have to do is double your bet each time while playing odds of 2. Not complicated, right?

It’s adaptable : Martingale can be used in various sports and types of bets, such as football, tennis, or horse racing. 

Yes, charlatans must always come up with new foolproof systems for every sport...

losing money

Disadvantages and Risks of Using Martingale 

Let's get to the reality of the field now. 

Because it's great to sell a dream, but here's what you could face if you decide to try this "miraculous" technique from your favorite Snapchat tipster

  • High Risk: Martingale involves enormous financial risk due to the rapid increase in stakes after each loss.

  • Leverage Effect: This technique can quickly deplete your budget if you encounter a negative streak of losing bets.

  • Bookmakers' Betting Limits: Bookmakers impose betting limits that may prevent you from fully implementing the martingale until you win a bet. 

To put things in perspective a bit... 

You've surely had a series of 10 consecutive losing bets, right? Actually, it happens to everyone, even the best tipsters in the world (thank you variance). 

Well, with the martingale, if you lose 10 bets in a row and started with a budget of €5, your total loss after the 10th bet would be... €5,515. 

That stings a bit, doesn't it?


Calculating Bets Using Martingale 

To calculate bets using the martingale, the steps are simple:

  1. Determine your initial bet (e.g., €10).
  2. Multiply this bet by the multiplier (usually 2) after each loss.
  3. Continue doubling your bet until you win a bet.
  4. Return to the initial bet after winning a bet.

Limits of Martingale 

Although potentially profitable, martingale has certain limitations that make it unreliable in the long run:

  • It doesn't guarantee winnings: Losing streaks can extend indefinitely, making it impossible to recover previous losses.

  • It requires a significant bankroll: Martingale demands substantial financial resources to support the rapid increase in stakes.

  • Your bookmaker may limit you: Betting limits imposed by bookmakers can prevent the full implementation of this strategy.


In conclusion, martingale is a strategy that is mathematically profitable only if you are a billionaire and can afford to fail like 1,000 times before winning a bet. 

However, it is particularly dangerous for average bettors who think they've found their golden goose.

So, I know what you're thinking, "I've never lost 10 bets in a row, you have to be really bad to lose 10 consecutive bets".

Well, in that case, I hope you’ll never experience your first losing streak when you start your martingale, or else your banker might have you in their sights...

Thursday, September 21, 2023

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