# What is the Martingale strategy?

The Martingale set of gambling strategies were first used in France in the 18th century. Broadly speaking, any Martingale strategy is designed to cancel out any losses that the gambler sustains with big wins. In theory, the strategy covers all losses, and means that the gambler should walk away from the table at least having lost nothing. In practice, it is a little different to that.

## All the way back to the 1700s

The strategy dates from the late 18th century, when it was formulated by an English casino owner called John Henry Martindale. It is from his name that we derive the strategy’s name, though time has contorted the spelling a little.

Martindale formulated the strategy as a way of encouraging gamblers to use his casino, which was in some financial distress at the time. As he felt that the house would always win in the end, he encouraged players to keep on doubling their bets.

The concept took another century or so to become well known, however. A gambler called John Wells used it to great effect in Monte Carlo, in 1891. Beginning his spree with 4,000 francs, he ended up, three days or so later, a millionaire. In the process, he broke the bank three times, and became the subject of a popular song of the time.

The strategy has mutated over the years, and there are now a number of different varieties of it in existence, including the ‘Shattered Martingale’, the ‘Anti
Martingale’ and the ‘Great Martingale’. All of these follow the same broad principles as the original, though.

## How the Martingale strategy works

The principle of the strategy is that each losing bet should immediately be followed by a bet double the size of the previous bet. It was originally applied to games involving the toss of coin, but can also be applied to roulette, where the player is betting on red or black. It can also be applied if the player wants to bet on low or high numbers, or even or odd numbers.

So, if a player loses on their first spin, having bet £1, they should bet £2 on their next spin. If that loses, then they need to bet £4, and so on. Once a bet wins, the sequence starts over again. In the end, so the thinking goes, you will always eventually end up in profit.

The supposed advantage to using this strategy in roulette is that it is should to cover all losses, and ensure that the player always walks away from the table with at least a small profit, or no net losses at all. In theory, every win cancels out all previous losses in a sequence, and sees a player profit by at least the size of their original stake.