Betting strategy doubles up to win

11 February 2015 17:13 PM

One of the most easy to understand betting staking strategies that punters use is what I call the Double-up approach, otherwise known as the Martingale Betting Strategy. Originating from France, a punter simply bets a stake to win an amount of money. If they fail to win with the first bet they increase their stake to recover their losses plus win the initial targeted win amount on the second bet and so on.

betting strategy


To simplify this betting strategy lets take a simple coin toss where the outcome is even money each time. I bet $1 on Heads for the first toss to win $1. If the bet losses, I will bet $2 on the second toss. If I win on the second toss I have recovered my earlier loss of $1 plus my target winning amount of $1, otherwise if I lose I will have to bet $4 on the third toss to recover the $3 lost and still win my targeted win amount. If I continued to experience successive losses I double the stake of the previous wager until a win occurs.

The Martingale staking approach is alluring to punters because of its seemingly guaranteed approach to make a buck. I mean how many losers can you back in a row after all? We took a closer look at the odds associated with this well tried approach to betting to identify the real likelihood of getting to hair raising wagers to recover lost fortunes.





betting strategy

Hard to lose?

For the sake of simplicity we will stay with our coin toss example. After six losing tosses in-a-row the punter will find himself behind by 63 betting units. To put that in perspective, if you were trying to win $50 from the first toss you would be $3,150 behind and therefore need to bet $3,200 on your next bet to recover that loss and win your targeted $50. In this two horse race were odds are true there is a 2.13% chance of losing 63 betting units after six spins and therefore a 97.87% chance of winning. Sounds tempting - at least in the two-up ring.

Martingale for Horse Racing

Before you run off to your betting accounts to load them up ready for your first Martingale betting scheme, consider the reality of applying this betting approach to horse racing. For starters the odds of a horse are unlikely to always be a true indication its probability of winning. For example an overbacked favourite is often paying a lot less than it's true chances are of winning the race. The other factor to consider is the increase in possible outcomes for a race compared to a coin toss which can lead to longer runs of losses, requiring the punter to have much deeper pockets. In the "two horse-even money" scenario, ten losses in-a-row amounts to 1,023 times your initial stake. If you started with a $100 bet, you better have a six figure bankroll to play with to get another chance. With a larger field of horses there is obviously less of a need to take such short priced bets, reducing the bet size that punters have to outlay.

Big bankrolls required

The attractiveness of this approach is certainly strong however the downside, although rare in the example given, is very significant. If successive losses continue, the amount that needs to be wagered increases significantly. After ten losses the wager is $25,600 for a $50 target and after 15 losses it is $819,200. The other thing to remember is that each time you lose, the probability of winning the next bet in the example given is still even money. The odds don't change because you have already incurred such significant losses. I spoke with an ex on-line betting executive recently and asked if the Martingale betting approach was common amongst punters and he indicated that it was noted frequently. He mentioned a time when a punter endured 16 consecutive losses in-a-row with the last $69,000 bet failing before it appeared as though his bankroll had run out. "That's the problem with this approach that most punters do not realise" he said. "It only guarantess success if you have an infinite amount of cash".

Mike Steward