Martingale – Final Thoughts

After sharing my Martingale story over the last couple of posts I’ve got a few more things to say on this subject before putting it to rest.

James from the excellent blog dropped by. I’ve actually bought a couple of books on his recommendation. I’m probably not the only one so he should think about asking Amazon for some commission! Anyway he made a number of points that I agree during part 1:

The Martingale (or Fibonacci or whatever) always annoys me. It is still doing the rounds on YouTube as the “only way to win at roulette”.

And the worst thing is that it will only ever win back your first bet i.e. if you bet first with £1 and doubled up thereafter to £64, £128 or whatever then a winning Martingale will only see you up by £1. All downside with no upside.

Then there are the crackpots who use the Fibonacci series to tell them how much to bet. They may as well use rune stones or crystal balls.

There are so many lazy people in betting who think that a simple mechanical system will make them rich. Even a degree, knowledge of maths and stats, the ability to program a computer and knowledge of sports and markets is no guarantee of achieving millionaire status. Being a dummkopf is a serious handicap.

Oh well, at least in a zero sum game having dunces on the other side of your trade helps pay the bills. We can’t complain.

JayBee –

If you were betting either Red or Black on roulette, and doubling up after each loss, when you got a win you would indeed be only up your original stake.

Speaking of Red or Black, this reminds me of another story I heard. Another former work colleague mentioned how he was in a casino once, at a roulette table, and Black came up 12 times consecutively. Towards the end of this streak, he was telling how people at the table couldn’t believe it and were saying things like “Black can’t come up again!” and “it simply has to be Red this time”.

“Uh oh. These guys are on to me. I better come up with Red this time to keep things honest”

Apparently people were placing more than their normal staking amounts on Red. And each Black was greeted with louder and louder reactions, with disbelief being the primary emotion.

So here’s another example of gambler’s fallacy, or some may just call it stupidity. These are the sort of people you would want to pay poker with or meet on the betting exchange as James correctly points out. This is the dumb money that makes betting the under on the Lakers or Cowboys most years the right call.

Betting when done properly is probably quite boring to most people: usually only betting a very small percentage of your betting bank on each bet. That’s not going to get you rich quick. In a generally impatient society you can see the attraction of a system where every winning bet leads to an all-time new high for your betting bank.

Cassini over at Green All Over (another excellent blog) pointed out that the star-of-the-Martingale-story; David, was incorrect in stating that roulette has the “best” odds of the casino games. (Best being the odds that are closest to the true value). It’s a good idea to know which games cause you to lose the slowest should you find yourself there.

I myself have only ever been inside a casino twice, played a little bit of blackjack and roulette, and I’m unfamiliar with some of the other games on offer. I’ve never played craps or baccarat, and I’ve never even played a slot machine!

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