If you have ready any of my blogs about betting systems, you know that I’m not a fan. None of them are able to overcome the house edge and in the long run, simply cause you to lose money faster. Betting systems all seem to be invented by one of two people: a scam artist who wants to sell his system or a dreamer who thinks he just figured out a way to beat the system. You shouldn’t listen to either of them.
The Martingale system is the most popular betting system in casinos and is most often used for games of chance, such as roulette and craps, but it is also used for blackjack. The popularity of the Martingale system is easy to explain. Everyone thinks they’re the one who invented it.
If you have ever gone to a casino, there’s a good chance that it occurred to you to use the Martingale system and there’s a good chance that you have never heard of the term “Martingale.” The Martingale has been “invented” by millions of people over hundreds of years and will continue to be invented by new gamblers.
The reason so many people come up with the idea for the Martingale system without ever reading about betting strategy is that it seems like common sense. Double your bet when you lose. That way, when you win, you will make all of your money back and then some.
It’s common sense, right? If you bet $5 and lose and then bet $10 and win, you won your money back. The problem, as I’ve discussed before, is that a losing streak will very quickly deplete your bankroll if you use the Martingale system. If you have a limited amount of money with which to gamble, it is a terrible idea, because you could lose all of your money in just a few hands.
But what if you have a higher bankroll? What if you’re rich? The Martingale system would work for you then, right? Well, it would if not for a little rule called “betting limits.” You see, the casinos have heard of the Martingale strategy and in order to combat it, they place a limit on how much money you can bet on a hand. So if you’re starting with $5 and are on a losing streak, six hands later your bet would be $320. That’s way too rich for my blood, but some people don’t mind betting that much. So you bet that and lose again. Doubling your bet, you then wager $640, losing again. Now your bet would have to be $1280 in order to stick with your betting system. There is no way I would ever bet that much on a hand, but even if you would, most casinos won’t let you.
It is common for blackjack tables to have a $1000 upper limit for betting and sometimes it’s even lower. If a losing streak long enough to take you to that amount seems unrealistic, then you probably haven’t played much blackjack. Playing using basic strategy lowers the house edge to 0.5% over the long run, but hot and cold streaks are part of the game. Also, the above example is starting with a bet of only $5, the lowest you’ll be able to find at a casino. Many casinos don’t go that low and the minimum bet would be $10. If you start a bet with $10, it only takes four losses to bring you to a bet of $160. I don’t know about you, but if I’ve lost four hands in a row, I want to only be betting $5 (or $10).
So whether you play blackjack at an online casino or at the brick and mortar variety, my advice is to use flat betting and if you want your money to last longer, bet the table minimum. That’s a brand new strategy I invented called “saving money.” Feel free to use it.