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Martingale Strategy

Trade Smarter with the Martingale Strategy in Forex Trading

Mark Fodor
Written by
Mark Fodor
Jul 2023

The Martingale system, a renowned betting strategy rooted in 18th-century France, is based on the principle of "doubling down." Paul Pierre Levy, inspired by a casino in Saint Petersburg, applied this method to financial markets including stocks and currency pairs.

Picture a straightforward coin-flip game to grasp the Martingale strategy's foundation. The game rules are simple: if the coin lands on heads, you win; if it's tails, you lose. The strategy encourages you to magnify your position size, or in other words, double your initial bet after a loss. Thus, when the price movement favors you, it will offset all prior losses and secure a profit equivalent to your initial stake.

Before using the strategy in live trading, testing it with a demo account can help understand its probability in various market scenarios.

Martingale Casino

In theory, this betting system seems foolproof. After all, the odds of eventually flipping a head approach certainty the more times the coin is flipped. But it's not that simple. The gambler would need to possess infinite wealth and the casino would have to lift any limits on the maximum bet. However, these conditions are unrealistic. The exponential growth of the bets can quickly drain the wealth of gamblers using the Martingale, leading to substantial losses.

This betting strategy is often employed in games of chance like roulette, where the likelihood of landing on either red or black is nearly 50%.

Utilizing the Martingale Trading Strategy in Forex Trading

Applied to Forex trading, the Martingale strategy works in a similar way: a trader doubles their trade size after each losing trade. For example, if a trader starts with a $1 bet and loses, the next bet will be $2. If that trade also loses, the next bet becomes $4, then $8, and so on. The process continues until the trader wins a trade. Once the trader has a successful trade, they return to the original trade size and start the process all over again.

On the surface, this strategy may seem attractive due to its potential for short-term gains. After all, the strategy is predicated on the idea that you will eventually win a trade, and when you do, you'll recoup all your losses and also make a profit equal to the initial trade size.

Drawbacks of the Martingale Strategy in Trading

While the Martingale strategy has been repurposed for use in various contexts, including forex trading, it's essential to note its limitations. The forex market's unpredictability makes it as much a game of chance as a roulette wheel spin. Hence, several constraints of the Martingale strategy in gambling apply to forex trading as well.

Unpredictable Market Conditions

The currency market is influenced by an array of geopolitical and economic factors that can't be accurately predicted or controlled. These variables can cause drastic fluctuations in currency values, resulting in a series of losses. Similar to a roulette game, previous trading results do not guarantee future profits.

Infinitely Growing Trades

As with casino games, the Martingale strategy in forex trading involves doubling the trade size after every loss. In theory, this could eventually lead to a profitable trade that would cover all previous losses. However, such a scenario presumes unlimited trading resources and unrestricted trade sizes - conditions not feasible for most traders.

Risk of Bankruptcy

Continuing to double the size of the trade after each loss can rapidly deplete a trader's account, especially during a prolonged losing streak. This risk is comparable to a gambler losing their entire stake while using the Martingale strategy.


Even if a trader has significant capital, the Martingale strategy can lead to severe drawdowns, which could make it harder to recover the account balance. A drawdown is a peak-to-trough decline during a specific recorded period of an investment.


The Martingale strategy can lead to overtrading, as traders may be tempted to open new positions to recover from losses quickly. Overtrading often leads to poor decision-making and further losses.

No Guarantee of Winning

While a Martingale trader may have many small winning trades, it only takes one losing streak to wipe out an account entirely. This factor goes back to the fallacy that a trader will always eventually place a winning trade, which is not guaranteed in forex trading.

Trader Experience: Martingale Strategy Work in Forex with EUR/USD

Let's see how the Martingale strategy could potentially work with selling EUR/USD, starting with 0.1 lots. We'll go through four positions to keep things simple and for the sake of this example, let's assume that each pip move equals $1.

First Trade

Sell 0.1 lots of EUR/USD at a price of 1.2000. Unfortunately, the market moves against you to 1.2010. This is a loss of 10 pips, which equals -$10.

Second Trade

Following the Martingale strategy, you double your trade size and sell 0.2 lots of EUR/USD at the new market price of 1.2010. Again, the market moves against you to 1.2020, incurring a loss of 10 pips. But now the loss is $20 because of the increased lot size.

Third Trade

Now, you double your trade size again to 0.4 lots and sell at the price of 1.2020. Unfortunately, the market continues to move upward to 1.2030. This leads to another loss of 10 pips, which now equals -$40 because of the larger trade size.

Fourth Trade

You double your trade size once more, selling 0.8 lots of EUR/USD at the market price of 1.2030. This time, let's assume the market goes in your favor, moving down to 1.2020. This results in a gain of 10 pips. But since you're trading 0.8 lots, the profit is $80.

Martingale Example

With the Martingale strategy, the idea is that the fourth winning trade recoups the previous losses and even yields a profit. In this case, you've lost $70 ($10 + $20 + $40) on the first three trades, but you've made $80 on the fourth trade, resulting in a net profit of $10.

However, it's crucial to remember the inherent risks of this strategy. If the market had continued moving against you, the losses would've kept increasing, and you'd need a significantly larger account balance to withstand the drawdown. This example also doesn't take into account the spread or any commissions, which can further erode profitability.

It's important to underscore the complex nature of this forex trading strategy. The logic behind the Martingale strategy, introduced by mathematician Paul Pierre Levy, is intriguing yet deceptively simple. The strategy relies on the principle of doubling the bet size after each loss, in the belief that a win will eventually occur, compensating for the loss and even yielding a profit.

The Martingale strategy can be used in various financial markets like Forex and stocks, and is available for trading on most forex brokers' platforms. However, it is widely known as one of the riskiest strategies a trader can use. The key reason being that the size of your position can quickly grow to a point where a single trade could wipe out your trading account. If a trader runs out of funds before the anticipated win occurs, they are unable to continue using this strategy, resulting in a significant loss.

Indeed, the allure of the Martingale strategy lies in its simplicity and the belief that every time there is a trade, it’s a 50-50 win or a loss situation. However, the harsh trading experience of many traders tells a different story. While the strategy may work under certain conditions, it's important to have well-defined trading plans and risk management measures such as profit and stop-loss orders.


What is the Martingale strategy in Forex trading?
The Martingale strategy is a Forex trading system where a trader doubles the size of the bet after every trade loss. It relies on the assumption that eventual win will recover the lost amount and yield a profit.

How is the Martingale strategy based?
The Martingale strategy is based on the principle of "doubling down" or increasing the size of the initial bet after each loss until a win is achieved. This trading system assumes that a win is inevitable and can cover previous losses.

What does the application of the Martingale strategy involve?
The application of the Martingale strategy involves doubling the investment after a trade loss. It requires a large trading account, as the trader might experience a series of losses before achieving a win.

What risk management considerations are there for the Martingale trading system?
The Martingale trading system carries high risk, as a series of losses can deplete a trading account rapidly. It's important to set a stop loss limit and consider the risk-to-reward ratio before using this strategy.

Can the Martingale strategy be used on any Forex trading platform?
Yes, the Martingale strategy can be applied on any Forex trading platform that allows you to customize your trade sizes. 

What happens when a trader using the Martingale strategy runs out of funds?
If a Forex trader using the Martingale strategy runs out of funds due to a series of losses, they won't be able to continue trading and sustain further losses.

What is the opposite of the Martingale strategy?
The opposite of the Martingale strategy is the anti-Martingale strategy. Instead of doubling the bet after a loss, traders using the anti-Martingale strategy double their bet size after a win, while reducing it after a loss.

How can I start trading using the Martingale strategy in the Forex market?
To start trading with the Martingale strategy in the Forex market, first, choose a reliable Forex trading platform. Next, set up a trading account with a significant balance as the strategy involves high risk. Then, start with a small initial bet and double it after each loss until you win.