If you want to know about a Staking Plan for sports betting that will give you a roller coaster of a ride with the potential for bankrupting you, then you've found it with the "Martingale"!

In principle, the "Martingale Staking Plan" is a very rudimentary Negative Progression System. It requires you to start with a Base Stake and then to keep doubling the stakes when you LOSE until such time as you win, when you then revert to the Base Stake. The "losing" bit is why it's referred to as a "negative" progression system; not surprisingly perhaps, a Positive Progression System requires you to increase the stakes when you WIN.

The Martingale is more suited for betting on games where the chances of winning are near enough even, such as playing either the "reds" or the "blacks" on a roulette table, but it can also be utilised when participating in Asian Handicap soccer betting (where you must try to ensure that all your selected matches offer Odds of at least 2:1).

The following outlines the basic operating principles involved with the Martingale, as applied to roulette:

- If you are playing with a Base Stake of £1 and you lose on the first spin, your next bet must be for £2, with a further £4 being required after that if you lose again.
- If you then win, you pocket the £8. However, since you have already laid out £7 to win the £8 (£1 + £2 + £4), it means you are only £1 up from where you started. But don't worry, because you can then go back to the beginning of the cycle and wager the Base Stake of £1 again to win another £1!

There is one major problem with this Staking Plan, which is that it is highly possible that you could lose too many bets in a row and end up facing an unusually long "extended betting cycle". You have to remember that the stakes rise very quickly when you double them each time. We all know the story of the blacksmith who agreed to re-shoe the knight's horse, charging just 1 penny for the first nail but doubling the price on each subsequent nail, thus making a pauper of the knight within the hour!

Here is the reality of losing on 8 straight spins (or getting it wrong for 8 straight soccer predictions): even if you start with just £1 for the first bet, by the 9th bet you will have to lay out an additional £256 to continue. Of course, you will be getting back £512, but as you will have spent £511 in bets (1+2+4+8+16+32+64+128+256) it means that you will have made the grand sum of £1 and risked £511 to do so. Nobody in their right mind would see the potential for being faced with a scenario like that as representing a good money-making prospect.

You may still be asking yourself how, if you have a large enough Base Bank to cope with the situation, many losses in a row could ever become a problem. The answer is that most casinos have a house betting limit, and once you have reached that maximum you can no longer double your stake. If you did reach that limit, then your Martingale "betting strategy" would suddenly be faced with trouble you could not easily recover from.

The problem isn't solved if you are betting through a betting house on soccer matches, because they too have their upper limits for stakes and payouts - so beware!

There was an individual a while back who thought for one mad moment that using the Martingale for soccer betting where the Odds were 1.50 would solve the "extended betting cycle" problem, based on the reasoning that, with the Odds so low, the teams quite obviously stood a much greater chance of winning. The fundamental thing he forgot was to do the arithmetic before he had wiped out his Base Bank! If he had done the maths, he would have soon seen that, after the first loss, there was no way possible for him to get his money back by doubling the stake. This is because, starting with a £1 Base Stake, by the third bet (with 2 losses down), the next stake would be £4 (making £7 staked in total), but the win would bring him in only £6, so he would still be £1 down!

The reality was that the best chance of a good return for him was on the first bet only (50% increase on the stake), although even with the second bet he could have broken even. But at every bet after that he stood to lose more and more money! It would have made far more sense to have tried the Martingale on Long Odds, not Short Odds. However, in my opinion, even that approach does not make the strategy of using the Martingale a stroke of genius!

And then there is the Grand Martingale! This Staking Plan is simply an extension of the standard Martingale; you just add some extra to the doubled stake. If you do the arithmetic for yourself, you will see that all you would be doing is increasing the risk of running up against the "house limit" if the losses extend the betting cycle too far. It almost goes without saying therefore that this is even more risky than the standard Martingale, but just so that there is no misunderstanding we reiterate: We don't recommend the Martingale Staking Plan in any guise whatsoever! And we don't later want to have to say "we told you so."