Every betting system in roulette is flawed. Put another way, every betting system you can think of is guaranteed to fail eventually. When this happens often enough you run out of money and the casino thanks you for paying their bills.
The key to staying in the game is to control your impulse to “win back” your losses. The only way to do that is to use a conservative betting system. Even so, your expectation should be that you’ll eventually lose no matter how conservative your betting strategy.
1. There is a “Best” Even Money Bet
Many players favor the outside bets in roulette despite their low odds. The math is simple: the lower the odds the more likely you win.
While there is no mathematical advantage to choosing any one of the even money outside bets, you can improve your chances by making two 2-to-1 bets (covering 12 numbers each, called a “two dozen bet”) at a time. This way you’re covering 24 numbers instead of 18. You can still lose but you improve your chances of winning by 33%.
2. The Aggressive Minimum Bet
The Aggressive Minimum Bet really is a conservative system. This simple method entails slightly more risk than the simple “two dozen bet” described above.
Make three 2-to-1 bets. This way you cover all but the green slot(s). Note that three equal bets paying 2-to-1 odds always lose money. You must vary the bet amounts. Here is how you place your bets:
Three times the table minimum
Two times the table minimum
One times the table minimum
In European roulette, there is a 36 in 37 chance that the ball will land on one of your numbers. You are hoping it hits a number in the first or second set. You’ll make a profit on the spin and keep one of your two higher bets in play.
If your lowest bet comes in your net loss is only 3 times the table minimum. In the worst-case scenario, the wheel hits zero and you lose all three bets. As long as you stay close to the table minimum you should be okay. That’s $30 on a $5 table and $150 on a $25 table.
So, what is the catch? It’s a random game. There is no such thing as a “statistically even distribution of wins” in roulette. Don’t put too much faith in simulations and statistical models. This betting method may net you more money than the simple “two dozen bet” described above, but it’s riskier.
3. All Bets are Independent Only for You
The house edge seems low when you look at roulette math. So why do casinos love roulette? As more players join a game the casinos leverage their losses against their wins. Casinos want to only pay players’ wins from other players’ losses. Hence, calculating a “house edge” can mislead you.
This extreme example shows why “house edge” is not that important. Five players each bet the minimum on a different single number in European roulette. Their chances of winning are 37-to-1. If any of them win, he is paid 36-to-1. The casino leverages the other 4 players’ losses to reduce its own loss. So our five players keep placing single number bets. The casino is always guaranteed to take in at least four bets. It really doesn’t matter that the casino’s chances of winning all five bets on any spin are 32 out of 37. The casino only needs 7 wins to come out ahead on that first 36-to-1 payoff. The players are less likely to win again in that time frame.
The “house edge” on an individual bet plays less of a role in the casino’s accounting than it does in yours. Hence, making more bets helps the casino offset its losses against you. That is why you should only spread your bets on low risk choices.
4. Betting the Maximum is Just as Good as Betting the Minimum
There is no more aggressive betting strategy than putting the table limit down on a single spin. If that’s all the money you have you’re going home really soon if you lose. Some players just go for broke and bet the table limit every time. This takes courage, deep pockets, and a whole lot of faith in your random good fortune. Hopefully, you’re just playing the game for fun and not using the mortgage payment. Still, your chances of winning that spin are just as good as if you only bet the table minimum.
5. The “James Bond Strategy” is Nonsense
In the “James Bond Strategy” you place $140 on an even bet (Odd or Even, Black or White, 1 to 18 or 19 to 36), $50 on any 6 numbers (a line bet), and $10 on the zero.
6 number bets pay 5:1 but have only a 6 in 37 chance of hitting. You have better chances playing the “two dozen bet” above. And just don’t bet on zero.
6. The Martingale Strategy Is a Waste of Money
The idea behind this strategy is to double your bet on the next spin every time you lose. Everyone who does the math realizes that after 8 losses in a row you can no longer double your bet because you hit the table maximum. Increasing your bets increases your risk. The game is designed to leverage your risk against the casino’s risk. In other words, the more risk that players take the less risk the casino incurs.
7. The Best Strategy is Consistency
When you play roulette, pick an amount you will bet with every spin. It should be low enough to help you weather some losses and large enough to make you feel happy when you win. Then choose the bets that represent the amount of risk you’re willing to take.
As long as you stick to your chosen strategy you’ll always know when the worst-case scenario sends you home. Since you’re gambling you’re already hoping for something better than that.
8. There is More Bias in the Spinner than in the Wheel
You may have read somewhere that roulette wheels can develop “bias”. The idea is that as a wheel develops wear and tear in certain places. Also, some wheels may have inherent flaws due to the manufacturing process. A few mathematicians have proven that portable computers can be used to calculate where the ball will land on biased a wheel.
Casinos naturally forbid people from using devices to analyze games. But you may still be tempted to look for bias in the hope of “guestimating” the outcome of the spin. This is, frankly, the longest of long shots. But if you’re going to look for bias, watch the person spins the wheel. Although casinos should train their croupiers to vary their actions, you may discover someone who is consistent.
9. Don’t Play the “Announced Bets”
The “Announced Bets” (sometimes confused with “Called Bets”) are those special bets laid out on the European roulette table. They are sometimes called “French Bets”, too. These are complicated bets and you increase your risk by playing them. These are not the bets you’re looking for.
10. The Difference Between an Announced and Called Bet Is …
When you play an “Announced Bet” you tell the croupier you want to bet “Voisins du Zero” or “Tiers du Cylindre” or whichever bet you wish to play. You must pass over the correct number of chips for that bet and the croupier places them for you. When you play a “Call Bet” you tell the croupier which bet you want and you keep your chips until you lose. This is described as “playing on credit” in some sources and may be illegal in your jurisdiction.
11. Some People are Wired to Play Better than Others
Some people are naturally better at math and spatial analysis than others. We now think that gender bias in math is due mostly to social or cultural influences. But some people appear to be intuitively better at math and related skills. That is just how their brains developed.
It’s reasonable to say some people may be able to detect bias in roulette wheels. Like people who can remember long, complicated numbers better than others, these few players have a special ability that may give them an edge. But the truth is that most of us will never be able to reliably detect “bias”.
12. Online Roulette Games Work Differently from Physical Roulette Games
Online roulette games rely on random number generators to simulate all the conditions of a live table game. There is one thing the simulations do not include, however: the wear and tear on the wheel. You’re always playing with a perfect roulette wheel in a computer game. If you believe you can detect bias, and you see it in an online game, that is probably a sign that you cannot detect bias.
Roulette is a fun game to play, especially when you win. The takeaway here is that you should not put your hopes in a system. Instead, practice good money management. And set limits on your play. You can enjoy the game without going broke. And if you win, walk away with your extra money.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...
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