How to correctly use the Martingale System for Roulette to boost your bankroll

Playing roulette can be a lot of fun, but it's even more enjoyable when you employ a bit of strategy to shake things up. While strategies like the Martingale can't guarantee you a win every time, and they can't predict where that roulette ball is going to land, when they're used with common sense they can help you capitalise on your winnings, and make games far more involving and exciting.

What is the Martingale System
The Martingale betting system dates back to the 18th century, and is one of the best known roulette betting systems in the world. Known as a progressive gambling system, it involves players increasing their bets after each loss, while reducing their bets after each win. This results in the winning bet always paying off enough to make a small profit on the session and covering previous losses.

Its simplicity is a major part of its longstanding success and popularity as a roulette strategy, but its history plays a part too. It's the system that was chosen by Charles Wells, one of the world's most famous gamblers, and one of the men who Ďbroke the bank at Monte Carlo' in 1891.

How it works
One of the simplest strategies to implement, it can only be applied to the even-money "outside" roulette bets (red/black, odd/even, high/low, etc.). All you need to do is ensure that you double your wager every time you lose and half your wager every time you win.

Here's how it works in a mathematical example:

1st spin:

Wager: £10 on Black
Result: Red
Win/Loss on 1st spin: -£10
Total Win/Loss: -£10

2nd spin

Wager: loss made on previous spin, so now double up to £20 on Black
Result: Red
Win/Loss on 2nd spin: -£20
Total Win/Loss: -£30

3rd spin

Wager: loss made on previous spin, so now double up to £40 on Black
Result: Black
Win/Loss on 3rd spin: +£40
Total Win/Loss: +£10

So you've covered all previous losses and made a small profit.

Martingale: the Pros
While no betting system can guarantee success every time, the Martingale does have some serious positives going for it. It's easy to implement, and while the profit is typically modest, it does help players who are on a long losing streak to replenish their bankrolls with only one win.

Martingale: the Cons
With a strategy that's been around for as long as this one, you can be sure that casinos, both bricks and mortar and online, have their own counter-strategies in place to stop any modern-day Charles Wells. The main obstacle to the Martingale is the table limit Ė if you hit a losing streak and have to continue doubling your wagers, you're going run into trouble if you don't win before you hit that table limit.

Hitting a losing streak that has to be funded by doubling up every time means you'll soon run through your bankroll too, so you need a healthy one to start with, as well as starting off with very small bets. Of course, you'll eventually recoup all losses using this system Ė the question is, do you have the bankroll required to fund it?

This guide to the Martingale roulette betting system was written by David St. Clair who writes for Roulette.co.uk, and a selection of online gaming blogs.