His promise is dangerously dishonest
I was scrolling through my Facebook feed the other day and among the recommended posts was one that caught my eye, as the attached video had the banner “How to ALWAYS WIN playing roulette!” plastered on it for its nearly ten-minute duration. It immediately sounded alarms in my head and sure enough, the video from a Las Vegas-based “travel vlogger and filmmaker” was completely irresponsible.
The vlogger, “Pompsie,” filmed himself using the Martingale method to double his $1,000 stake playing roulette at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. The Martingale system, which has been around for ages, is very simple: you start by betting one unit (in his case, one unit was $15) and if you win, you just repeat your bet. If you lose, you double your bet and keep doubling until you win. Winning the doubled bet after a loss will recoup your previous losses plus one unit.
clickbaity at best and harmful to viewers at worst
The idea behind the strategy is that the odds are low that you suffer a long string of consecutive losses, so you will be able to make back your money most of the time. Makes sense, sure, but the bogus claim that you will “ALWAYS WIN” with the Martingale strategy is clickbaity at best and harmful to viewers at worst.
When it goes badly, it goes really badly
As with any gambling game, it is always possible to win in the short term. Pompsie, for example, went from $1,000 to $2,000 in just over two hours, even though the house edge on the double-zero wheel was 5.26%. But in the long run, the house is going to win, and to say Martingale is some guaranteed strategy is ludicrous. Casinos would never run games with guaranteed winning strategies.
The biggest problem is the “risk of ruin,” meaning the chances of losing everything. With the Martingale method, it’s fairly small, but it most definitely exists. In Pompsie’s case, six losing spins in a row would cost him almost his entire $1,000 stake. Losing six $15 bets in a row would cost him just $90. It doesn’t take many losses for things to get completely out of hand using the Martingale system.
At the same time, the potential return is very small compared to the risk. If you win that sixth, seventh, eighth doubled bet, you only get back to where you were before the winning streak plus a single betting unit. None of the oversized bets that you will inevitably have to make will really win you a lot of money – they will only get you back to just above even from before the losing streak started.
At least get the math right
In addition to the “ALWAYS WIN” message splashed across Pompsie’s video (though, in his defense, the same video on his YouTube page did not say that and even had “DO NOT TRY THIS” in the title), he also provided incorrect information.
In explaining the odds of hitting red seven times in row (he was betting black), he looked at the wrong thing. He should have used the probability of hitting “not black,” not just “red,” as you must account for the green 0 and 00 (he also used a probability table that only factored in one green space).
that “almost impossible” thing actually happened during his gambling session
And yes, the odds of hitting “not black” seven times in a row are extremely low, but he said it was “almost impossible.” In the meantime, that “almost impossible” thing actually happened during his gambling session. Fortunately for him, it was in his favor, as he hit black eight consecutive times.
Pompsie’s math was also wrong when it came to managing his bankroll. To his credit, he did say that he was limiting himself to $1,000 in losses, but he erred in calculating how many times he could lose in a row, as he didn’t account for the fact that the previous bets would have shrunk his bankroll.
The bottom line is that it is dishonest to say that you will “always win” with any roulette system. It is fine if you want to try Martingale, just figure out your loss limit and stick to it.