Martingale & Paroli roulette strategies explained

The Martingale strategy is one of the most widely used systems in roulette. Our run-through covers the pros and cons of the strategy, plus an insight into how the reverse Martingale (also known as Paroli) system works.

How to play Roulette - The Martingale strategy explained
Play

How to play Roulette - The Martingale strategy explained

What is the Martingale system in roulette?


The Martingale system is a betting strategy based on recovering your losses. The idea is that with every losing roulette spin, you double your wager. In theory, this means that if you eventually win again, you’ll recover any previous losses plus gain a small profit. Here’s an example of how the Martingale system works for roulette:

Spin Bet Stake Result Profit Running total
1
Red
$1
Lose
-$1
-$1
2
Red
$2
Lose
-$2
-$3
3
Red
$4
Lose
-$4
-$7
4
Red
$8
Win
+$8
+$1
5
Red
$1
Lose
-$1
$0

Using the Martingale system


For roulette, the most effective way of using the Martingale system is to focus on even-money outside bets. Wagers like red, black, odd, even, 1-18, and 19-36 all have odds of 1:1 and are the safest bet you can make in roulette. That said, there’s still risk involved.

The main issue with the Martingale is that if you hit a losing streak, your wager will quickly double. Even with even-money bets, there’s a chance you could deplete your bankroll before you’ve recovered your winnings. On top of that, you could end up betting big but only to gain a very small profit.

What are the pros and cons of the Martingale roulette system?

Pros

  • It’s easy to understand and simple to apply
  • There’s a chance you could recover your losses
  • It could bring small winnings in the short-term

Cons

  • If you hit a losing streak, you could quickly wipe out your bankroll
  • All roulette tables have betting limits, so the maximum amount you can wager will always be capped
  • You can end up betting big but for a potentially small win

How does the Paroli roulette system work?


The Paroli system is the reverse of the Martingale strategy. If you lose a round, you keep your stake the same. And if you win, you double your stake – this is known as ‘positive progression staking’. The overall aim of Paroli is to double your stake for three winning spins in a row. Once that happens, you go back to your starting stake. Here’s an example:

Spin Bet Stake Result Profit Running total
1
Red
$1
Lose
-$1
-$1
2
Red
$1
Lose
-$1
-$2
3
Red
$1
Win
+$1
-$1
4
Red
$2
Win
+$4
+$2
5
Red
$4
Win
+$8
+$10
How to play Roulette - The Paroli strategy explained
Play

How to play Roulette - The Paroli strategy explained

Martingale vs Paroli: Which is better?

Martingale and Paroli will suit two very different players. The Paroli system is often seen as more risk-averse as you’re increasing your bet with winnings rather than your own bankroll. It’s a much more conservative betting style. Martingale on the other hand can help to recover earlier losses, though is much riskier. To take full advantage of the Martingale system, you’ll also need a large bankroll and to find a roulette table with a high enough limit.

Neither the Martingale nor the Paroli strategy can guarantee a win in roulette. They both have their advantages and disadvantages, though ultimately can’t change the odds of winning. The best strategy to choose will ultimately depend on your betting style, preference, and size of your bankroll.

FAQs


Is the Martingale system allowed in casinos?

Yes, you can use the Martingale system at live casinos and when playing online. However, most roulette tables have maximum wager limits. This is to prevent players from being able to double up indefinitely.

Is the Martingale system profitable?

The Martingale system can produce a small profit if it’s a success. However, it’s a risky system that can quickly deplete a player’s bankroll. It’s not a betting strategy that is advised for the long term.

How big a bankroll do you need for Martingale?

This depends on the casino game’s table limits. If a table has a $5000 bet limit, then you could carry out the strategy for 14 losing spins in a row if the minimum wager was 50c. Your stake would increase like this: 50c, $1, $2, $4, $8, $16, $32, $64, $128, $256, $512, $1024, $2048, and $4096.

Can Martingale beat the house edge?

No, the Martingale system can’t beat the house edge. The casino has a mathematical advantage over the player which no betting strategy can overcome.

What are the risks of the Martingale system?

The biggest risk of the Martingale system is that it can quickly eat up a player’s bankroll. A losing streak means you’ll need to keep doubling your wager. If luck doesn’t strike, you could be in for a big loss.

Can Martingale help me win at roulette?

No roulette strategy can guarantee a win. The Martingale strategy doesn’t improve your odds or change the house edge. However, it can be a technique that can help recover back any previous losses alongside a small profit.