Chasing is one of the most controversial betting strategies in existence. One group of people absolutely despises it and will treat you as though you sacrifice kittens to Satan in your spare time. The other group swears by it. I have found it next to impossible to have an objective conversation about it because both camps are so polarized.
I first came across chasing from John Morrison's baseball betting system. I never actually purchased it; some angry customer posted the whole thing for free online.
After seeing the main workings of the system I became intrigued with the idea of chasing. I did some research and came to understand that the origins of chasing came from something called the Martingale System. This system was designed to play roulette but can be applied to many things. People are constantly tweaking it and making claims of 97% success rates (John Morrison).
There are a gazillion variations. What I have done is pulled some of the most common variations into one system.
Each system has its own advantages and weaknesses. I have found by combining different strategies at different stages that a far more powerful strategy emerged.
I have heard many times from the math experts that no system can beat a house edge in the long run. My own research confirms this to be true. What they are not telling you is that in the short term these systems will put you head and shoulders above straight betting with no system.
Systems are a short term strategy with a bell curve. When you get a system to start turning a profit you must exit with that profit before the curve turns against you. You accomplish this by knowing how much you are planning to make before you start. When you hit this mark you take your profits and leave.
I will say that the people hawking their systems and claiming 97% success rates are blowing smoke up your butt. However, there is a tangible advantage to using such systems that I believe makes them worth taking a good look at.
Since the Martingale System was invented for roulette I will explain the basics in terms of playing roulette. You can then apply it to other games.
The Gambler's Fallacy is the belief that previous spins will somehow have an effect on what will come up on the current spin. For example, if black came up 10 times in a row than the odds of black coming up again are less likely. The truth is that black has an equal chance of coming up on any given spin regardless of how many times it has come up previously. Despite this known fact many choose to believe the fallacy. Nature seeks balance thus an equal amount of red and black spins should occur in the long run... ...or at least that is the idea.
According to the math guys your choice on what to bet on is completely arbitrary for each has an equal chance of coming up.
This is based on the idea of nature seeking balance. You bet the opposite of whatever comes up. If it is odd you bet even. If it is high you bet low.
The Gland Martingale System is based solely on this premise. It may be a fool's observation, but I have seen this system be very effective.
Chasing the opposites around the board can be disastrous though. This leads us right into our next theory.
Streaks can and do happen. In fact they are common. Excuse me for stating the obvious, but winning streaks are good and losing streaks are killers. I know this sounds so stupid that I should not even have to say it, but when you use the Martingale System and its variations this rudimentary fact becomes amplified exponentially. On a roulette wheel with a minimum of $1 and a maximum of $100 you can only survive a streak 7 deep. Streaks of 10 or more are common. If you are on the wrong side of such a streak you're dead.
I play in search of streaks. If I hit on black I will bet black again hoping that I can ride it of 5 or 6 bets, possibly more.
Both the Contrarian Theory and the Streak Theory are based on the Gambler's Fallacy. They both expect results based on prior spins. Prior spins have absolutely nothing to do with what will come up next.
I understand this and still use both theories when choosing where to bet. Now that you know the theories and the truth you can take any such advice with a grain of salt.
The Martingale System is a betting system that was originally designed for a roulette wheel. You essentially want to bet on something that has an even pay out. (You bet $1 you win $1.) The system has also been called chasing or the progressive system.
The system is very simple. We will use a $1 example. If you bet $1 and lose you double your bet. If you lose again you double your bet again. You repeat this process until you eventually win. The main idea is that when you finally win it erases your losses and gives you a one unit profit. You then start over.
Here is a seven tier Martingale system:
- $1 loss down $1
- $2 loss down $3
- $4 loss down $7
- $8 loss down $15
- $16 loss down $31
- $32 loss down $63
- $64 win up $1
See how when you win on the 7th round you erase the previous 6 losses totaling $63 and gain $1. This is the main appeal of the Martingale System. Theoretically speaking, if you had an infinite amount of money and no betting limits you would never lose. We, of course do not have an infinite amount of money, and there are betting limits in most scenarios, thus there are limits to the Martingale System's capabilities.
On the small stakes roulette wheel at BETUS the minimum bet is $1 and the maximum is $100. As you can see, you cannot go to an 8th level because you would exceed the $100 limit. High stakes is even worse for the Martingale system. The minimum bet is $25 and the maximum is $500. This only allows you to go 5 levels deep.
There are many people out there who sell variations of this system and use the corrective quality to claim that their system works 97% of the time or some ridiculousness. While their claims are not totally inaccurate, they are ignoring a very important factor that makes the system far less appealing when you understand it.
The Martingale system adds up very quickly, putting your entire bankroll at risk. If your entire bankroll is at risk to win a single unit than it is very misleading to claim a one unit win as a success. A truer test of the system would be to double your money. When put to this new standard for success the effectiveness of the system drops dramatically.
That said the million dollar question is “is the system worth using?” This is the subject of fierce debate. I have found virtually nobody that will discuss this objectively, they either hate it or they love it.
The mathematicians argue that long term all systems fail against a house edge and thus systems are not worth using. The people who use the systems and walk away with money in their pockets would argue the contrary.
Here is the unbiased truth. All systems are a compromise. There are two forces at work; longevity, and profitability. Generally speaking, the longer a system allows you to hang in and play, the less money you will make. If the system is more aggressive you stand a better chance at doubling your money but also increase the risk that you will crash and burn.
The best shot you have at doubling your money against house odds is to bet everything you have the first time. You'll have roughly a 45% chance of winning. This will result in a quick win or a quick death.
The best chance you have of staying in the game is to bet 2% or less of your bankroll. You can stick around and play but you are unlikely to see even a 10% gain. It is a slow and painful death.
Systems are compromises between these two extremes. In the long term all systems fail against the house edge, but in the short term they outperform the flat 2% approach.
This is a short term strategy that does give you an edge. There is a bell curve. The secret to success is to leave with your profits before you give everything back to the casino.
It is a gambler's strategy which means you had better be prepared to lose your bankroll. If you are betting your rent money you need to seriously rethink what the hell you are doing.
The reason the haters of this system are so rabid is because they are not actually gamblers. Believe it or not they are actually investors. There is only one way to win for the long term. You must have a win ratio that exceeds the house edge. This is not possible on a roulette wheel unless you can telekinetically plant the ball where you want it. This is possible in sports betting. We will discuss this more in another section.
In a nutshell, systems are worth using if you want to go into a casino for fun. They give you a better chance at making a profit by allocating risk in a profitable manner instead of flat-betting and watching your bankroll slowly deteriorate. Don't quit your day job though. You cannot beat the house edge in the long run. Systems reallocate risk, but the win to loss ratio will remain the same, which ultimately results in a depleted bankroll. Get in, make a profit, and run with it.
The Grand Martingale
The Martingale System attempts to win one unit by doubling your bet each time you lose until you get a winner and then you start the process over again. The Grand Martingale attempts to win one unit for each bet placed. It does this by doubling your bet plus one unit. Here is an example using $1 as one unit.
- $1 loss down $1
- $3 loss down $4
- $7 loss down $11
- $15 loss down $26
- $31 loss down $57
- $63 win up $6
As you can see, this adds up even quicker than the standard Martingale. You max out the $100 limit in only 6 levels.
The advantage of this system is obvious. As long as the system is working you are scoring a unit for every bet you place. You sacrifice one level for steady progress.
The Progressive System
This system is a compromise for longevity. It allows you to survive longer than the Martingale System but as we discussed earlier, the longer you survive, the less money you make. This system is no exception.
Instead of doubling your bet you increase your bet by one unit for each bet that you are down. The goal is to gain one unit. When the amount you are down is less than the last bet you bet how much you are down plus 1 unit. If you win you start the process over. If you lose you start adding one unit for each loss again.
Here is an example.
- $1 loss down $1
- $2 loss down $3
- $3 loss down $6
- $4 loss down $10
- $5 loss down $15
- $6 win down $9
- $7 win down $2
- $3 win up $1
What I have found with this system is that it usually leads to a slow painful demise. If you are more than 2 bets from positive territory you are pretty much toast. It's not likely you will see profitable territory again unless you take a shot; one leap of faith that puts you back in the black.
This system is the opposite of the Martingale System, as the name implies. Instead of doubling your bets every time you lose you double your bet every time you win. If you hit a streak with the Anti-Martingale
you can make a lot of money quickly. You had better have an exit strategy or you will lose it all in one shot.
- $1 loss down $1
- $1 loss down $2
- $1 loss down $3
- $1 win down $2
- $2 win even
- $4 win up $4
- $8 win up $8
- $16 win up $16
- $32 win up $32
- $64 win up $64
Without betting limits a series of 10 wins could turn a single dollar into $512. Expecting to win 10 times in a row is both ballsy and illogical. When I use this system I use much larger units, say $25, and exit after 3 wins.
This reduces the power of the Anti-Martingale but allows you to hang on to some of the profits if you lose. When I use this system I will often use $5 as a single unit. If I win the first time I will flat bet $5 again. If I win the second time I will start adding $5 each time until I hit a loss.
- $5 win up $5
- $5 win up $10
- $10 win up $20
- $15 win up $35
- $20 lose up $15
I actually like the Progressive Anti-Martingale for getting me to $25. Once I hit $25 I will switch to the Anti-Martingale. I'll explain this more in another section.
The Gland Martingale
This system is based on contrarian theory. When you see something has hit 5 times in a row or more bet the opposite using the Martingale system. You have to wait for conditions to be right so I find this works better with a live roulette wheel than online. You let others play until a streak hits. Say black hits 6 times in a row. Bet one unit on red and start the Martingale System. I understand that this is based on the Gambler's Fallacy, but I have found it to be quite effective.
The downside is that you will be betting far less often if you use this strategy exclusively.
After researching different variations of the Martingale system I experimented by combining them. Ultimately what I came up with is a Yin Yang scenario. The Martingale system is good for keeping your head above water while the Anti-Martingale system is good for making big gains. They both have weaknesses as we discussed earlier. This system is far from infallible, but gives you your best chance of doubling your money (short of going all in on one bet) than any other system I have seen.
The system was designed with roulette in mind but can be adapted to other games as well.
The numbers are based on a bankroll of $200. The goal is to double your money. This point is of the utmost importance. All systems give you short term advantages but fail in the long run. Know how much you plan to make going in. If you have the good fortune to hit that mark walk!!! If you continue to play indefinitely the casino will eventually get your money.
There are three phases to this system. In the first phase you are attempting build $10.
- $1 chase
- $2 chase
- $3 chase
- $4 (do not chase)
If you win the 4th round you will have $10. If you lose do a bunch of $2 chases until you reach $10.
Use the Progressive Anti-Martingale System with $5 as one unit.
You are up $10
- $5 win up $15
- $10 win up $25 (switch to phase 3)
If you should lose continue with the Progressive Anti-Martingale until you either break $25 or you lose your winnings and have to go back to phase 1.
- $5 win up $15
- $5 lose up $10
- $5 lose up $5
- $5 win up $10
- $10 win up $20
- $5 win up $25 switch to phase 3
- $5 win up $15
- $5 loss up $10
- $5 loss up $5
- $5 loss even switch to phase 1
Switch to the Anti Martingale. Start with $25. If you lose you go back to the beginning. When you hit a winning streak you will need 3 wins to double your money:
$25 x 2 = $50 bet $50
$50 x 2 = $100 bet $100
$100 x 2 = $200 take your profit
Choosing where to bet.
You want to stick with high/low, odd/even, or red/black. Mathematicians claim that one spin has no bearing on what the next spin will turn up, thus making your choice arbitrary. You could choose to stay on high (19 through 36) for the entire game, thus making the decision process easy.
I do not completely buy the mathematician's theories. Perhaps that makes me foolish, but I believe that nature seeks balance. (See discussion on the “Gambler's Fallacy”.) I also have seen many streaks occur that are 10 long or longer. If you find yourself on the wrong side of such a streak you’re finished.
My approach is to roam across the felt searching for a hit. When I hit I will stay with that square in hopes that a streak develops. If it does I ride it. If not I move on.
Depending on where I am at in a betting cycle I may also use the Gland Martingale. This is contrarian theory. If a square has had 5 hits or more you bet the opposite of it hoping the trend will break.
As if the subject of chasing was not controversial enough, when this system catches the attention of the chase haters they will be seething. I'll have to be on the lookout for lynch mobs.
This system will be extremely controversial because it totally flies in the face of conventional wisdom and is ultra expensive to pull off.
The Dual Martingale is a system I devised that is made for sports betting. It would work well for baseball, basketball, or hockey. It might not work so well for Football because the games are not as frequent and the minimum bets can be higher.
Okay, on with the controversy. The Dual Martingale System is not one, but two Grand Martingale systems to be played in multiple separate sports books. The system is 10 levels deep so it is unbelievably expensive. There are 2 of them so it's twice as expensive.
The key to this system is that you will bet both sides of the same game. You will depend on the corrective nature of the Martingale System to turn a profit. Over/under bets work really well for they are the closest to even money.
For ease of explanation I will use even money, but in sports betting you pay a price called “juice” for your bets. (The juice is how the bookies make their money.) A typical bet would be $110 to win $100. If you bet $10 you would win $9.10. Keep this in mind when considering this system.
Here is what a 10 level Grand Martingale system looks like starting with $5.
Total cost: $10,180... ...but there are two of them
The first issue is getting around betting limits. This can be done easily by having multiple books. For the most part this is a two book system, but if you hit the limit on one book you can bet the difference in another.
Say you are betting over/under. We will say that Book A is over and Book B is under. Here is a theoretical scenario.
Book A “Over” Book B “Under”
- $5 loss down $5 $5 win up $5
- $15 loss down $20 $5 win up $10
- $35 loss down $55 $5 win up $15
- $75 loss down $110 $5 win up $20
- $155 win up $25 $5 loss up $15
- $5 win up $30 $15 loss even
- $5 loss up $25 $35 win up $35
- $15 win up $40 $5 loss up $30
- $5 loss up $35 $15 win up $45
- $15 loss up $20 $5 win up $50
By betting both sides of the same game you are guaranteed to have a winner. The Martingale System corrects any previous losses. 10 straight losses are difficult to come by (but not impossible).
I would recommend tracking this system for several hundred trials before implementing. I would also look for partners to help bare the huge cost of the system if I were to actually implement it.
This is a theoretical model for me. I have not done this with real money. I feel it is the ultimate display of the true power of the Martingale System.
I would try and use handicapping to ensure that each book gets enough wins to keep the system working. A streak of 10 or more losses results in system failure. The one nice thing about this system is that you cannot lose more than half your money. The bad side is that it is a whole lot of money to lose, regardless. You can do this system with fewer tiers, but having 10 tiers is what keeps this system going. The more tiers you have the longer you can stay in the game.
I would eventually consider using the Hybrid Martingale. A streak of 10 can happen so you want to maximize your profits