Martingale Strategy: Revised Variations and an Online Calculator

The revised variations of Martingale strategy: limited Martingale, Martingale on totals, which of the variations are profitable, and an online calculator to calculate stake amounts when betting on sport events with Martingale strategy.

The Basics of Martingale Strategy

Initially used in casinos, Martingale betting strategy has proved to be very useful in sports betting, too. The essence of the system is quite easy to understand. While in casinos it was mainly used for red or black roulette bets, in sports betting it is applied to a wide variety of events.

To successfully use the strategy, a player should have:

  1. A decent bankroll.
  2. An iron self-control.

Even if one of the items is missing, you would probably be better off using arbitrage betting.

The Rules of Martingale Strategy

How should you bet with Martingale method?

  • Place bets on events with odds greater than 2.0
  • Double the amount of your bet each time when you lose

Let us see how it works on an example.

Basic Data: Deposit — $10,000. First Bet — $100. Odds — 2.

OddsBetResultProfit
2.0100Loss-100
2.0200Loss-300
2.0400Loss-700
2.0800Loss-1500
2.01600Loss-3100
2.03200Win+100

As you can see from the table, only the sixth bet won. We began with 100 dollars and, by the end of the cycle, had to raise the bet amount to 3,200 dollars, while the total turnover equaled 6,100 dollars.

However, the bankroll would be enough for seven bets only. In case of seven losses in a row, the balance would be 10,000-6,300=$3,700, which would not be enough to place the eighth bet, as, according to the strategy rules, the eighth bet amount must be $6,400.

Players who have been in the betting business for a while, often choose to bet on one of the teams and chase the draw. Why do they bet on a draw? Because the odds for draws often exceed 3.0 and even 4.0, which allows to earn excess profit.

Keep in mind that with Martingale betting system, you will most likely have to go a long way and make serious financial investments. Of course, there is a chance to get profit already after the first or second bets, but oftentimes, it does not happen.

Martingale System Calculator

To easily calculate the amounts of your Martingale bets, you can use the calculator given below.

“Desired overall net profit” — enter the amount you want to win

“Already money lost” — the amount you have already lost in the course of the cycle (after the first iteration, this is calculated automatically)

“Odds” — the odds for the events you are planning to bet on

Tap on “Calculate” at the bottom of the table to see what amount you need to bet to win back your previous losses and get the desired positive ROI.

Split Martingale or Labouchére

With this strategy, bettors are supposed to split the desired win amount into several parts, write the numbers down in a row, and make changes to the row in accordance with the results. Read more: Labouchére and Reverse Labouchére.

In my opinion, the strategy has some advantages over Martingale and, when used properly, can bring good results.

Anti-Martingale or Reversed Martingale

You have probably come across the notion of Anti-Martingale (or Reversed Martingale) strategy on the internet. The idea behind this strategy is to do everything in reverse compared to regular Martingale, that is:

  1. Increase the bet amount after a win
  2. And bet the minimum amount after a loss.

Here is an example of how it works.

Initial deposit: $100
Initial Bet: $10
Odds: 2

BetResultBank
$10Win100+10 = 110
$20Win110+20 = 140
$40Loss140-40 = 100
$10Loss100-10 = 90
$10Win90+10 = 100

What nonsense, I thought, trying to grasp the concept of the strategy. According to it, it appears that we can only have profit right until the moment we lose a bet.

Besides, the profit we have earned by that moment will be absorbed by the loss (and, considering our first bet, we will end up in the negative territory).

So, we will be going in circles, first winning and then losing everything with our first loss. The only upside to the strategy is that it allows to quickly climb out of the negative territory even after a long losing streak.

As it turned out, the logic of the strategy is built upon the authors’ assumption that our wins and losses always go in streaks (What? Where did they get the idea?), so the goal of the strategy is to “catch” a winning streak, make the most of it and then stop before our luck changes. In case of a losing streak, we are supposed to wait for a winning one, while experiencing minimal losses.

Well, I should say the idea of winning and losing bets always going in streaks is rather dubious.

In my opinion, this is nothing more than the authors’ personal assumptions that are not based on any sufficient ground. The Wikipedia agrees with me here:

(quote refers to Oscar Grind’s strategy which, like Anti-Martingale, is based on the idea of winning and losing streaks)

«Oscar’s Grind is based on losing streaks being “compensated” by winning streaks in the short run… The base of the system originates in a hot-hand bias, but winning and losing streaks in gambling have no mathematical ground or proof.»

The are other variations of the strategy, too.

Step Anti-Martingale

This Anti-Martingale variation suggests that you stop betting after a streak of a predefined number of wins, and then start a new cycle with a minimum bet amount.

Example: Three-Step Anti-Martingale

Initial Deposit: $100
Initial Bet: $10
Odds: 2.0

BetResultBank
$10Loss100-10 = 90
$10First Win90+10 = 100
$20Second Win100+20 = 120
$40Third Win120+40 = 160
$10New cycle. First win160+10 = 170
$20Loss170-20 = 150
$10Loss150-10 = 140
$10Loss140-10 = 130
$10Loss130-10 = 120
$10Loss120-10 = 110

So, with the result of 40% of wins and 60% of losses, we still have a positive ROI.

According to the article about value betting, with our 2.0 odds, we can earn good profit here, since we do not have to stick to the 50% winning rate 😎

(in fact, with the bookmakers’ margin, it is more than 50%, — we discussed this in the article Learning how to bet money).

According to the information on some other websites, “the strategy allows to get positive ROI with a smaller percentage of wins from the total number of bets”.

Luckily, we are not a website who will promote this kind of bullshit, so the table below will serve as a fly in the ointment:

$10Win110+10 = 120
$20Loss120-20 = 100
$10Win100+10 = 110
$20Loss110-20 = 90

As you can see, here we already have 57% of wins and 43% of losses. And, although our profit was supposed to grow (since the winning percentage increased from 40 to 43%), we ended up in the negative territory instead.

Resume: the strategy works only for long winning streaks, but whether you will have them or not depends on your luck.

Grand Martingale

The major difference between regular Martingale and Grand Martingale is that in the latter, apart from doubling your bet after each win, you also add your initial bet amount to the sum.

Example:

Bankroll: $100
Initial Bet: $10
Odds: 2.0.

BetEventBankWhat if there were a regular martingale
$10Loss100-10 = 90100-10 = 90
$20+$10Win90+30 = 12090+20 = 110

According to betting websites, the strategy allows to increase your potential profit. The idea seems logical: obviously, 120 is more than 110. But then, the bet was bigger, too.

Let us continue with our experiment and see what happens, if we assume that the losing streak was longer:

2 losses in a row

$10Loss100-10 = 90100-10 = 90
$20+$10Loss90-30 = 6090-20 = 70
$40+$10Win60+50 = 11070+40 = 110

Risking bigger money, we received the same profit as with regular Martingale.

3 losses in a row

$10Loss100-10 = 90100-10 = 90
$20+$10Loss90-30 = 6090-20 = 70
$40+$10Loss60-50 = 1070-40 = 30
$80+$10Win10+90 = 10030+80 = 110

4 losses in a row

$10Loss100-10 = 90100-10 = 90
$20+$10Loss90-30 = 6090-20 = 70
$40+$10Loss60-50 = 1070-40 = 30
$80+$10Loss10-90 = -8030-80 = -50
$160+$10Win-80+170 = 90-50+160 = 110

Everything is pretty bad here: we risked a big amount and ended up having negative ROI, which is a worse result than we would have with regular Martingale.

Well, in my opinion, the strategy is absurd. If you think I misunderstood something, please let me know in the comments below.

Martingale Variations

Martingale system is not only about betting on a team’s draw or win. Below, I will give you examples of betting with some of the best Martingale variations.

Martingale Betting on Specified Time Periods in Football

For this system to work, you should bet on one or several highest goal scoring teams.

In our example, we will look at the match Euro-2016: Italy – Ireland.

Martingale football

As you can see from the screenshot, if you bet on the period of time when a goal is scored, you may triple or quadruple your profit.

Let us see how we could bet with this Martingale variation in practice:

Suppose your initial bankroll is 10,000 dollars.

  1. Bet on goals in the 1-15 minute time range 100 dollars, odds 4.3. The bet is lost.
  2. Bet on goals in the 16-30 minute time range 200 dollars, odds 3.38.  The score is still 0-0.
  3. Bet on goals in the 31-45 minute time range 400 dollars, odds 3.14. You lose again.
  4. Bet on goals in the 46-60 minute time range 800 dollars, odds 3.05. A loss.
  5. Bet on goals in the 61-75 minute time range 1600 dollars, odds 3.0. You lose again. The current balance is: 10,000-(100-200-400-800-1,600) = $6,900
  6. You continue to stick to the strategy and double the bet amount. Note that the odds have considerably decreased, but they are still enough to win our losses back and get a significant positive ROI. You bet 3,200 dollars, odds 2.45.

You are in luck: in the 85th minute of the game, a player of the Republic of Ireland scores a goal.

The net win is: 3,200 * 2.45 = 7,840 dollars. 7,840 – 3,200 (our bet amount) = 4,640 + 6,900 = 11,540 dollars. The net profit is 1,540 dollars.

Martingale betting system

As you might notice, the match was between low-scoring teams, so your bet won in the final 15 minutes.

Consequently, it makes sense to stay away from teams that play defense. Otherwise, you will have to “chase” them in the second, or maybe even third game. The best approach here is to focus on the teams that like to attack and know how to do score many goals, such as Barcelona or Real.

Odd/Even Martingale Strategy in Football

In this scenario, you bet on the outcome when the total number of goals scored in the match is either even (e.g., 1-1, 2-2 or 3-1) or odd (1-2, 0-1, 4-1). Typically, bookmakers offer the same odds for either outcome, and those vary between 1.9 and 2.0.

If you use Martingale strategy, your chances to win will increase dramatically. All you need to do is find a football club that have had a series of matches resulting in an odd number of goals, and bet on an even score, doubling your bet after each loss.

The strategy may seem foolproof at first. However, no one knows how long an “odd” series of a team may last. Theoretically, your bet will win someday, unless you run out of money or the bookmaker limits your account.

Besides, there is always a chance that things will go wrong. I personally witnessed a situation when a team had a series of seventeen (!!!) “even” matches in a row. So, before you start betting, it makes sense to thoroughly weigh all the pros and cons.

Martingale on totals strategy

Unlike in regular Martingale, in Martingale on totals (also called double Martingale), you alternately bet on opposite outcomes of the same event. Let us look at it more closely.

  1. Suppose you noticed that one team has played a series of matches with the result of “total over” (TO, TO, TO, TO, TO). So, you bet on “total under” (TU).
  2. You are in luck, and your first bet brings you profit (TO, TO, TO, TO, TO, TU). If your bet lost, you would have to double it until you get the desired result.
  3. Now the second part of the strategy comes into play. You bet on “total over” (TO, TO, TO, TO, TO, TU, TO) and double your bet amount in the same way until you win.

So, what’s the catch, you may ask? Everything is quite simple. The author of “Martingale on totals” strategy noticed that we rarely see TO, TU, TO, TU series, whereas series TU, TU, TU, TO, TO, TO are very common.

It should be noted that, to successfully use the strategy, you should have a will of iron and not be afraid to bet big money. Because, ridiculous as it may sound, most bettors simply do not have the patience to wait for their chance. Besides, not everyone has a bankroll big enough to cover 12-15 bets, and “Martingale on totals”, unlike regular one, has a much higher risk of a losing streak.

Limited Martingale

Limited Martingale is considered to be a more reliable strategy than classic one. Its major highlight is that you can “chase” the event with odds less than 2. However, your bet amount will have to be considerably higher, too.

In limited Martingale, calculations are made by the following formula:

S = (W+Sn) / (K-1), where
K – the odds for your event
Sn – the amount you have lost since you started chasing
W – the amount you want to win

Example: You want to place a bet with the odds 1.65. Previously, you have already lost a number of bets and the total amount of your loss is 450 dollars, while the amount you plan to win is 600 dollars. Now let us calculate the amount you need to bet using the above formula:

S = (600+450) / (1.65-1) = 1,610 dollars.

(To calculate the bet amount automatically, use my calculator given above)

If you bet this amount and the bet wins, your net winnings will be 600 dollars. If you are unlucky again, you will be able to easily calculate the amount of your next bet.

With limited Martingale strategy, you can bet with any odds which significantly raises your chances to win.

In this article, I described its flat-based variation which allows to avoid the basic problem of limited Martingale — the fast increase of bet amounts.

Quarter Martingale Strategy in Basketball

According to statistics, one in four quarters of a game between a favorite and an underdog results in a win of the latter. That is why, by increasing the bet amount you may easily reach the desired outcome. If, however, the favorite wins all the four parts of the match, you need to “chase” them in the next game until you finally win.

Typically, the odds for outsiders are rather high, often higher than 2.0. If they are lower, you need to calculate the bet amount using the formula from the previous paragraph.

Remember that a losing series can leave you completely bankrupt, so your main allies should be good judgement and thorough analysis.

Martingale Strategy in Tennis

As is well known, a tennis match consists of sets which, in their turn, consist of games. For every score, players are awarded 15, then 30, and finally 40 points. After that, no more points are given, and the player that scores wins the set.

With this strategy, bets are made in a live mode. Suppose, you bet on the 15-15 score.

Why this score? Because statistically, it is the most common score in tennis. The odds for this event are usually around 2.0.

If you follow this sport and are well informed about the current tennis players, you will have no difficulty predicting the results. This strategy is especially useful in matches where equally strong players are involved.

According to my observations, the 15-15 score in women’s tennis is much more common than that in men’s.

Martingale Strategy in Hockey

Let us look at the Martingale strategy in the example when a period ends with a draw.

As you know, a hockey game consists of three periods each of which may end with a draw. Typically, bookmakers offer rather high odds for this outcome, which allows to not only cover the losses arising during the cycle, but also receive good profit.

When betting on a draw, you need to choose low-scoring teams. If none of the periods ends with a draw, you should continue “chasing” the team in the next match.

Resume. Can You Win with Martingale System?

It may seem that using this strategy is a piece of cake. Just double the stake and wait for your bet to win. However, it is not at all that easy.

As you can see from the examples given in the beginning of the article, when you start with 100 dollars, your fifth bet is 1,600 dollars, and the seventh is 6,400 dollars. At this point, the total turnover is already 12,700 dollars. So, having a bankroll of 10,000 dollars is certainly not enough, even if the first bet is only 100 dollars.

Another major downside of the strategy is that you have to raise your stake all the time. If you quickly reach the maximum bet amount, your bookmaker will simply cut your limit and not let you finish the cycle.

Reviews

According to internet forum posts on Martingale strategy, there are people who made profit with it and those who had a negative experience. If you examine the negative feedback, you will see that the most common complaints include:

  • running out of money after a losing streak,
  • having limits “cut” by bookies,
  • not having enough patience to finish the cycle.

In my opinion, Martingale system is both one of the best and most dangerous strategies today. If you calculate everything right, it may bring you good income. But you can also lose all your money. So, it makes sense to only bet the money that you have already mentally let go of.

Tips on Betting with Martingale System

Betting on sport events requires a lot of analyzing. If you use Martingale system, do not bet right after the tournament started.

Ideally, you should wait till a series have been played and only then start the cycle.

If you chase a draw, wait for at least five matches to end with a non-draw result, and place your first bet on the sixth match. The same rules apply to other types of betting.

Do not be as greedy as to bet half or, say, one third of your bank right from the start — you risk to quickly lose all your money. The amount of your first bet should not exceed 0.5% of your bankroll.

Personal Experience

I have repeatedly used Martingale strategy (currently, I am more into arbitrage betting, but this will be covered later). If you choose the series and the initial bet amount wisely, in the end, you will always receive profit.

In one of Serie A seasons, the Italian Roma started with winning seven matches in a row. It seemed mind-blowing. Everyone wondered when the Roman club will finally lose its points. What I did was bet on the win of their opponent in the eighth game (the odds being 2.1). However, the “Roman wolves” won the eighth game, too, and I had nothing to do but double the bet. In fact, I even slightly deviated from my rule and tripled the bet amount (the odds being 2.15). And, finally, the game with Torino ended with a draw (2-2) which allowed me to receive considerable profit. It was my first successful experience with the system.

However, before I earned my first money with the strategy, I had experienced repeated losses. Sometimes, I just ran out of money, and other times the amount grew to an extent where I was simply afraid to continue. That is why it is important to have good self-control and start betting only after a considerable series have been played.

Do not be upset if you resisted betting, on, say, the fourth game, and that one won. Remember that it is better to get minimum profit than go totally bankrupt.

Analysis, consistency, and good judgement — these are your main allies.

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