I recently had a discussion in which someone tried to convince me that by using the right betting system, they could gain an advantage. I remain unconvinced. Why? Because the math and logic are on my side.
The odds are the odds. With games of chance like slots and roulette, the game has predetermined odds. The game is set up with those odds and a random number generator makes the game pay out at the rate determined by those odds. Changing the amount of money you get cannot change those odds.
To illustrate that, let’s look at a simple bet on the flip of a coin. The odds say that since there are two possible outcomes (head or tails), there is a 50% chance of either occurring on any true flip of the coin. If you bet $10 that it will come up heads and you are wrong, betting $20 on the next flip won’t improve your odds. There is still exactly a 50% chance that your bet will win.
The martingale system is popular because people think if you keep doubling your bet after each loss, when you win you will make your money back. There are two major problems with the martingale strategy. First, doubling your bet after each loss means that a losing streak will quickly deplete your bankroll. Many people using this betting system will simply run out of money during a losing streak. Another problem is betting limits. Casino games, including online slots, have a maximum limit to what you can bet. Those betting limits are specifically designed to combat betting systems like the martingale.
Betting systems continue to be popular because of the gambler’s fallacy. That fallacy says that if an event has not happened recently, it is overdue and more likely to occur. Just like with the flip of the coin, there is no truth to it in games of chance. Even if you flip heads five times in a row, there is still only a 50% chance that the next flip will be tails. A lot of scams use the gambler’s fallacy to encourage betting on something to happen when it is due. A wise gambler stays away from those scams and avoids any betting systems.