Will Martingale Betting System work for forex trading?

What is a Martingale Betting System?

The Martingale Betting System originated from France in the 18th century. It most probably started with coin flipping but remains popular till today. In the realm of forex trading, the Martingale System has been applied to design of EA or expert advisors. It is highly likely that individuals have improvised such a method for their own discretionary trading as well.


How does the Martingale Betting System work?

It works like this: an individual starts with a small bet in a game of odds. Each time he loses, he doubles the bet. Since a long string of consecutive losses is unthinkable, any person could theoretically win back all his losses plus a small profit on his last trade.

For a person with sufficient capital, the game must be sure-win since the odds of running into that consecutive losing string must be virtually zero.

I wonder then: How many consecutive losses will knock out an individual forex trader if he had a 10k trading capital and started with an initial bet -ahem – trade of $1?


So how many losses to lose his money?

Trading rules:

  1. $10k trading capital
  2. Initial bet -ahem – trade of $1
  3. After each loss, multiple the bet by 2
Bet ($) placedCumulative Bets (Losses)OutcomeConsecutive # of LossesCapital left ($)
Chart of cumulative losses vs trading capital remaining

Cumulative losses go parabolic

I was sort of hoping that the answer might be unlucky 13 but no, he losses all his trading capital on trade #14. And Number 14 is also bad because in Mandarin, 4 sounds like ‘死 die’ and is considered unlucky by some Chinese.

BUT BUT if he had more than $10k trading capital, he can continue betting right? And its impossible to encounter that high number of consecutive losses right? I don’t know the probability of losing more than 13 times in a row but my simple layman logic says – the odds no matter how small are greater than zero (>0) and on a long enough time line – oh well.


A Martingale Betting System will not work


  1. If you won every time conceivably you will never stop playing.
  2. Then no matter how small the odds of losing more than N times in a row might be, if you play infinitely, there will be ONE TIME IT WILL HAPPEN.


But I lie. Because since 13 IS an unlucky number, the trader using this set of trading rules will run out of trading capital to place bet #14. Epic fail.



Finally if you like games of chance, here is another one: Can I become millionaire in 1 month with $10k forex trading capital?

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One thought on “Will Martingale Betting System work for forex trading?”

  1. Soh Tiong Hum says:

    Friend on mine posted on Facebook all sorts of arguments about this article. Although he did not outright say it, I think that he did not believe or accept the point I was making. In my facebook I gave him a less than elegant explanation not suitable for reproducing here (I can be quite crude with my speech to familiar people). But thankfully I found a slightly suitable but somewhat different example on Internet to paste here.
    Question: Can a person get hit by lightning 7 times?
    Unthinkable. But it happened to Roy Sullivan, US Park Ranger.
    The point is as long as the odds are >0, then on a long enough timeline (large enough sample size (human population?) in this situation) it will happen.

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