Many players try to use the famous Martingale betting system to beat the game of blackjack. Recently, with the help of Blackjack Hall of Famer Don Schlesinger (author of Blackjack Attack: Playing the Pros Way), we analyzed the Martingale betting system and this is what we came up with.

The way the Martingale works is you double your bet after every loss until you finally win, at which point you will be ahead by one betting unit. For example, suppose you wager $10 and the results of the next three hands are loss, loss, and win (L-L-W). Using the Martingale system, you lost $10 on the first hand, $20 on the second hand, and won $40 on the third hand. You wind up with a net win of $10, which is the goal of the progression, to win an amount equal to your starting wager.


How can there be anything wrong with the logic of the Martingale? Just leave the table after a win and you always walk away with a profit. Right? Well, yes and no. Long streaks of consecutive losses will doom the Martingale player, but pundits will always counter with the chance that this will happen is slim. Really? Let’s take a look.


You have about a 52 percent chance of losing a hand in blackjack (excluding ties). The chance that you will lose, say, 10 consecutive (resolved) hands is 0.145 percent, meaning you will average one sequence of 10 losing hands (excluding ties) in about every 692 sequences of 10 hands. That means this losing streak will occur about once in every seven hours of play (assuming you play 100 resolved hands per hour).


And of course you don’t know when that string of 10 consecutive losses will occur within the seven hours or whether it will occur at all). The math says that you have roughly a six percent chance of losing 10 in a row in the first hour, a 12 percent in the first two hours; and a significant 29 percent chance after only five hours. Sadly for Martingale bettors, a streak of 10 consecutive losses is not such a rare event after all.

What about all those frequent winning sessions that Martingale players (and system sellers) always tout about this system? The fact is this: Although most players will walk away a small winner most of the time, the money you will lose in that one catastrophic losing session will more than completely wipe out all the money that you will win in your more frequent winning sessions.

In the long run, your wins and losses will add up to the casino’s edge, and the amount of money that you will lose using the Martingale betting system will be close to the casino’s theoretical edge in the game, times the total amount of money that you wagered, the same as it is for every other player who plays blackjack (except card counters). In other words, mathematically speaking, you can’t, and you won’t, gain the advantage over the casino using a Martingale betting system.

Unfortunately, the Martingale betting system won’t give you edge when you play blackjack. However, simple entry level card counting systems will. For details read Chapter 10.5 of my â??Ultimate Guide to Blackjack at

Author Bio: Henry Tamburin, Ph.D. is the author of the Ultimate Guide to Blackjack (, editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter (, lead instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course, and host of For a free three-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter, go to To receive his free Casino Gambling Catalog, call 1-888-353-3234 or visit