Roulette is one of the oldest casino games known to man. While it certainly doesn’t predate checkers or chess, the roulette wheel is synonymous with gambling and casinos in general.
Roulette translates to “small wheel” in French, which is where the game originated in the 18th century.
On the topic of its origins, according to the legend of its creation, a man named Francois Blanc had struck a deal with the devil in exchange for the secrets of the game, as the numbers of Roulette – 0 through 36 – when added together equal 666, which is the devil’s number.
In this day and age that can be easily dismissed as a wife’s tale, but back in the 18th century it caused great curiosity among people, which led to a massive increase in Roulette’s popularity. Whether this was a spooky story just for the sake of it or a devilish marketing ploy remains unknown to this day.
Centuries have passed, and Roulette has mostly stayed the same. Today, there are two prevalent variants of the game – European and American. The only difference between the two is an extra zero in the American version, leading to an increased house edge (5.4% as opposed to European’s 2.7%).
Roulette is not only one of the oldest casino games, but it is also one of the most played casino games due to its simplicity and action-packed gameplay. You pick a number or a color, the wheel spins as your anticipation rises, and within seconds you know if you’ve won or not.
Types of Bets, Odds and Payout
Roulette is intuitive to pick up for new players because of the simplicity of its bets, here are the most common bet types and their corresponding house edge. For reference, the 2.7% house edge in European Roulette means you should theoretically make back 96.3% of the money you bet in the long run. Of course, this is purely theoretical and it requires a massive sample size of millions of bets, meaning it only serves a rough indicator of your chances.
|Type of Bet||Odds of Winning||Payout|
|Red or Black, 0-18, 19-36, Odd or Even||48.6%||1:1|
|1-12, 13-24, 25-36||32.4%||2:1|
|Single Number Bet||2.7%||35:1|
|Two Number Bet||5.4%||17:1|
|Three Number Bet||8.1%||11:1|
|Four Number Bet||10.8%||8:1|
|Six Number Bet||16.2%||5:1|
Tactics to Win at Roulette
The only applicable tactics when playing Roulette are betting systems which rely on bankroll management in one form or another. I’ll go through the most common roulette betting systems while giving a brief explanation of each.
The Martingale System
The Martingale is the most common of the betting system, and it is applicable in many casino games in addition to Roulette. The basic philosophy behind the Martingale system is to double your stake following a loss until you’ve won a hand.
You should start out with your minimum bet amount, for example $5. If you win, you bet $5 again and keep doing so until you lose. When you lose, you bet $5 again to try and recoup your losses. Lose twice, however, and you must increase your stake to $10 to try and win back the $10 you previously lost. If you lose again, you should bet $20, and so forth.
The Grand Martingale is a more ambitious take on the original Martingale. It uses the same principles, but instead of doubling your bet after a loss, you should double it while adding an additional $5 on top. This way, you would be breaking even on your previous losses but while adding a small profit on top. Needless to say, this system is much riskier than the ordinary Martingale.
D’Alembert is an old system based on the gambler’s fallacy that previous bet outcomes have an effect on future bet results. In essence, it is based on the belief that if the ball landed on black 3 times in a row, there are greater odds that it will land on red next time around.
The system works by selecting a starting stake, and then increasing it by one after a loss, or decreasing it by one after a win. The theory behind the system is that if your number of wins and losses is equal, your profit will be equal to the number of placed bets.
An example of the D’Alembert system in action with a starting stake of $10:
- Bet $10 and lose
- Bet $11 and lose
- Bet $12 and win
- Bet $11 and win
- Bet $10 and win
- Bet $9 and lose
- Bet$10 and lose
- Bet $11 and win
In this hypothetical scenario, we’ve had 8 bets, 4 of which were won and 4 lost, but the outcome is a profit of $4.
You can see why the D’Alembert is still popular to this day. It is a very low risk system which can be played with low stakes, especially in comparison to the Martingales, but with the caveat of only being able to generate small profits in the long run.
Keep in mind that the theory behind D’Alembert make it a suitable system to be used exclusively on even bets (red or black, odd or even, 1-18 and 19-36).
There are many other betting systems out there, and in theory some of them seem bulletproof and flawless, but they are all inherently flawed because of losing streaks and table limits. For example, if we’re using the Martingale system with a starting stake of $5, it would take only seven losses for your stake to reach $640 – that is an absurd amount. You may think that a 5, 7 or 10 loss streaks may never happen to you, but you would only be setting yourself up for failure.
Even if you do command a nigh limitless bankroll and are able to bear the burden of massive losing streaks, every casino has table limits, which is yet another limiting factor. If you are keen on using a betting system, I’d recommend the D’Alembert due to its low-risk nature.
To sum it up, the more you learn about betting systems and various casino strategies the more you will realize that there is in fact no feasible strategy that will tip the scales in your favor. If there were, that game simply wouldn’t exist. Casinos exist purely for profit, which is why you should only go in there with the intention of having a good time with some disposable income.