Martingale vs. D’Alembert – Which Casino Gambling System is Better?

Scale With Casino Chips

The D’Alembert and Martingale are two of the most popular betting systems ever. They also share many similarities to each other.

Both are used to win back losses. They can ensure that you usually walk out of the casino a winner.

However, each system also has some differences from one another. You can read about these differences below along with my recommendation on which betting strategy is more worthwhile when gambling for real money.

How Does the Martingale Work?

The Martingale is a simple system that relies on doubling bets after losses. The main objective is to win all of your losses back in a single wager.

You begin using this system by placing the table’s minimum bet. A lower minimum wager is better because it reduces the chances that you’ll hit the table’s maximum wager during a losing streak.

Casino Chips on a Roulette Table

You continue placing the minimum bet until losing. At this point, you’ll double the next wager. You keep doubling bets until winning, at which point you’ll go back to the minimum wager again.

Here’s an example of the Martingale in action:

  • Bet $5 and lose; losses at $5.
  • Bet $10 and lose; losses at $15.
  • Bet $20 and lose; losses at $35.
  • Bet $40 and win; winnings at $5.
  • Return to wagering $5.

Pros of the Martingale

This betting strategy is highly efficient with regard to chasing losses. As seen in the example, you’ll win everything back—plus a small profit—with a single bet.

The Martingale can deliver big wins in a short time span. It especially works well at online casinos, where you control the action and make the pace go faster.

Here’s an example on the quick profits you can often gain through the system:

  • You’re playing online European roulette.
  • Each spin takes around 10 seconds to complete (including changing bets when needed).
  • Bet $5 and win; winnings at $5.
  • Bet $5 and lose; even.
  • Bet $10 and lose; losses at $10.
  • Bet $20 and lose; losses at $30.
  • Bet $40 and win; winnings at $10.
  • You’ve won $10 in less than a minute.

Simplicity is another Martingale advantage. You can quickly learn the basics of this staking strategy in a couple of minutes or less regardless of your gambling experience.

Cons of the Martingale

All betting systems are risky to some degree. They either force you to put winnings on the line (positive progression) or bet more when you’re losing (negative progression).

The Martingale takes the cake for riskiness. The fact that it involves doubling wagers puts you in jeopardy as a losing streak continues. You may survive plenty of three- and four-round losing streaks. However, you’ll start to sweat during five- and six-round losing streaks.

After all, you can’t double wagers after hitting the maximum bet. At this point, you’ll be forced to eat losses.

Most casino table games feature a $500 maximum bet. You need to be conscious of the max wager when using the Martingale.

Here’s an example of what happens when you hit the betting limit:

  • Bet $5 and lose; losses at $5.
  • Bet $10 and lose; losses at $15.
  • Bet $20 and lose; losses at $35.
  • Bet $40 and win; winnings at $75.
  • Bet $80 and lose; losses at $155.
  • Bet $160 and lose; losses at $315.
  • Bet $320 and lose; losses at $635.
  • Bet $500 (max) and win; losses at $135.
  • Return to the $5 minimum wager.

Even when finding a table with no limits, you still run the risk of losing all of your funds—no matter how big your casino bankroll. The possibility for losing 10 wagers or more does exist.

That said, you might not even be guaranteed to win in every session with millions of dollars. Here’s a look at the probabilities of you hitting different losing streaks in European roulette:

  1. Bet $5 and lose; losses at $5 – 51.35% chance of losing
  2. Bet $10 and lose; losses at $15 – 26.37% chance of losing
  3. Bet $20 and lose; losses at $35 – 13.54% chance of losing
  4. Bet $40 and lose; losses at $75 – 6.95% chance of losing
  5. Bet $80 and lose; losses at $155 – 3.57% chance of losing
  6. Bet $160 and lose; losses at $315 – 1.83% chance of losing
  7. Bet $320 and lose; losses at $635 – 0.941% chance of losing
  8. Bet $640 and lose; losses at $1,275 – 0.483% chance of losing
  9. Bet $1,280 and lose; losses at $2,555 – 0.248% chance of losing
  10. Bet $2,560 and lose; losses at $5,115 – 0.127% chance of losing
  11. Bet $5,120 and lose; losses at $10,235 – 0.0655% chance of losing
  12. Bet $10,240 and lose; losses at $20,475 – 0.0336% chance of losing
  13. Bet $20,480 and lose; losses at $40,955 – 0.0173% chance of losing
  14. Bet $40,960 and lose; losses at $81,915 – 0.00886% chance of losing
  15. Bet $81,920 and lose; losses at $163,835 – 0.00455% chance of losing

How Does the D’Alembert Work?

The D’Alembert also involves increasing bets after losses. However, it does so in a more controlled manner than the Martingale.

You begin using this staking system by creating a unit size. The table’s minimum wager works well for a unit size.

Stacks of Red Casino Chips

Next, you risk one unit until losing. Afterward, you increase your next wager by one unit. You continue in this fashion every time that you lose.

After winning, you’ll decrease the next wager by one unit. The goal is to win enough bets to where you work your way back down to single-unit wagers.

Here’s an example of the D’Alembert in play:

  • Unit is $5.
  • Bet $5 and lose; losses at $5.
  • Bet $10 and lose; losses at $15.
  • Bet $15 and win; even.
  • Bet $10 and win; winnings at $10.
  • Bet $5 and win; winnings at $5.

Pros of the D’Alembert

This system is also good for winning back losses. The bonus is that it doesn’t force you to take on as much risk when doing so.

You’re only adding one unit to each wager following losses with the D’Alembert. This aspect greatly reduces the risk potential as losing streaks continue.

Here’s long it would take you to reach a $500 maximum bet with the D’Alembert:

  1. Bet $5 and lose; losses at $5.
  2. Bet $10 and lose; losses at $15.
  3. Bet $15 and lose; losses at $30.
  4. Bet $20 and lose; losses at $50.
  5. Bet $25 and lose; losses at $75.
  6. Bet $30 and lose; losses at $105.
  7. Bet $35 and lose; losses at $140.
  8. Bet $40 and lose; losses at $180.
  9. Bet $45 and lose; losses at $225.
  10. Bet $50 and lose; losses at $275.
  11. Bet $55 and lose; losses at $330.
  12. Bet $60 and lose; losses at $390.
  13. Bet $65 and lose; losses at $455.

This staking strategy also gives you more play out of your bankroll compared to the Martingale. You can lose a lot more with the D’Alembert and stay in the game.

You’ll also be able to use this system effectively when gambling with a small bankroll. If you play at an online casino, where minimum wagers are only $1, then you’ll last for an incredibly long time.

Cons of the D’Alembert

You might consider the D’Alembert a vanilla version of the Martingale. It sometimes leaves you suspended in a never-ending battle to win back losses.

Assuming you keep going back and forth between wins and losses, you may spend hours trying to get back to one unit.

Here’s an example to illustrate this point:

  • Bet $5 and lose; losses at $5.
  • Bet $10 and lose; losses at $15.
  • Bet $15 and win; even.
  • Bet $10 and lose; losses at $10.
  • Bet $15 and lose; losses at $25.
  • Bet $20 and win; losses at $5.
  • Bet $15 and lose; losses at $20.
  • Bet $20 and lose; losses at $40.
  • Bet $25 and win; losses at $15.
  • Next wager is $20—you’re still three units away from the original stake.

The D’Alembert also feels like a total grind. You won’t be able to wipe away all of your losses through a single bet as with the Martingale.

That said, you must follow a disciplined approach that can take forever to work. Rather than enjoying the game at hand, you must constantly think about when to add and subtract a unit.

Which System Should You Ultimately Use?

You can see that there are good and bad points to both of these gambling systems. That said, the best choice is a matter of opinion.

My personal preference is the D’Alembert because it provides the best of both worlds. It allows me to use a system without feeling like my bankroll is on the verge of collapsing many times over.

I can lose seven or eight bets in a row and still have enough money to make a comeback. Meanwhile, the D’Alembert provides a solid chance to recoup losses.

Of course, the Martingale has its merits too. This system offers the easiest way to win losses back and collect a small profit. You can lose several consecutive wagers and still end up in the black with a single win.

View of a Live Blackjack Hand

The problem, though, is that I don’t enjoy feeling like I’m headed for a catastrophic loss after losing for five straight rounds. At this point, it’s not long until hitting the betting limit.

You may disagree with this view and feel that the Martingale is best. However, I urge you to try the D’Alembert if you’re hesitant about systems to begin with. This way, your introduction to betting strategies won’t be facing maximum risk right away.

Use the Betting System That’s Right for You

The Martingale and D’Alembert are two of the most popular casino betting systems for a reason. Each does a good job at winning back losses time and time again. They also work fairly quickly to deliver small profits here and there.

I personally like the D’Alembert better, though, because it’s effective without being as risky. However, I won’t fault you for trying the Martingale too.

Of course, you’ll want to be careful when using either system. Both require increasing bets when you’re losing. You should use good bankroll management with either strategy.