Roulette is a veteran among games of chance. People have been playing it for over a hundred years now, with gamblers all over the world sharing in the thrill of watching if the ball would land on the right number.
The appeal of roulette, much like other games of chance, stems from the fact that winning or losing is based on pure chance. Namely, we’re superstitious by nature, but unlike with sports betting, for instance, there’s no way to “fix” the game and set up a specific outcome. At least not in land-based casinos, where the host spins the wheel right in front of you.
Even so, there have been plenty of sore losers blaming their lack of luck on magnets or some such nonsense. Anyhow, the point we’re trying to get across here is that roulette is a game of chance. This inherently means that, no matter what you do, there’s absolutely no way to guarantee that you’ll win every time. Still, there are certain strategies and betting methods you can employ, which may slightly increase your odds of winning.
But before we get to the individual strategies and tips to win, let’s first go through everything you need to do before you sit down at a roulette table.
Determine If There’s a Bias
In an ideal environment where the roulette wheel is perfectly balanced and the game host spins the wheel with varying force and drops the ball differently every time, the results will be truly random. However, that is clearly not the case in a brick-and-mortar casino.
A game host who has spun the roulette wheel countless times already will develop a habit of spinning it a certain way. This inevitably results in a bias. So it might do you good to observe the game for a few rounds before joining in. You might notice that the ball is more likely to land on Neighbours of Zero, for instance.
Again, this in no way guarantees a certain outcome will repeat itself 3 out of 4 times. But if you can skew the odds in your favour by even a single percent, you’re that much closer to winning.
Picking the Right Table
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when selecting a table you’ll be playing at:
First, there are two types of roulettes — American and European. One major difference between the two types is that the American Roulette wheel features an extra number — 00. Statistically, this lowers the chances of the ball landing on any other number by roughly 2,6 percent. So why should you opt for American roulette?
You shouldn’t; It’s as simple as that. It offers worse odds for the player. It would appear that the American game houses weren’t satisfied with the standard house edge, so they added another number to the wheel. So the logical conclusion is — always go for European roulette unless you absolutely have no other options.
Next, avoid toxic players. As superfluous as this advice might sound, you must admit it’s rather easy to “go with the flow” of the table. Before you realize it, you’re placing bets without giving it a second thought and are wagering more than you can afford to lose.
Don’t let other players influence your betting strategy. Choose your own bets and stick to what you believe is right instead of trusting the guy at the table who swears the roulette has to hit Orphans on the following spin. If that’s how the game worked, he’d be counting his money instead of giving advice to others on how to bet.
Finally, pick the table according to the limits. Keeping your bankroll in mind, check to see what the minimum and the maximum bets are. Some of the strategies we’ll share with you will require you to cover a wide range of bets, so you might want to pick a table with a low minimum.
Set a Gambling Bankroll
This is less of a roulette strategy and more of a general rule of thumb you should follow when playing any game of chance. Before you even step foot in a casino, have the exact amount you want to bet on roulette in your head. Never gamble with more money than you’re comfortable losing.
Distribute your bets according to the money you have available and the time you’re looking to spend at the casino. Likewise, determine a number you’ll be comfortable with winning. And after you hit it, withdraw the winnings and either walk away or play only with the money you initially intended to wager.
Practice Online First
If you’re a relatively new roulette player, it’s generally best to practice online first. There’s a myriad of online casinos which allow you to gamble virtual currency and play for fun, rather than wagering your own money. We strongly advise doing so if you’re looking to get a “feel” for this exciting game and see how consistent each of the strategies outlined below is.
And since you’re not playing with real money, online roulette is much more forgiving. In the event that you squander your entire balance, all you have to do is just reload the web page. And once you’re confident and know exactly which strategy you’ll be using, then you can move from playing online to wagering cold, hard cash in a local casino.
Every roulette player will claim that they’re an inventor of a foolproof strategy and that they’ve “cracked the code” and can reliably beat the game. If it were possible to come up with a surefire strategy that always nets players a profit, casinos would have long banned roulette.
We’re bold enough to claim that there is no such thing as strategies, only betting systems. Some are “safer” than others, but none are completely risk-free. You are playing a game of chance, after all. There is no way to predict where the ball will land. At best, you can argue which outcome is statistically more likely to take place.
It’s vital to make this distinction. There are no certainties in roulette. The popular roulette systems can slightly increase your chances, but it’s still up to Lady Luck to decide who wins and who loses. Here are the popular roulette strategies that might help you win her favour:
The Martingale Strategy
This method is based on a simple game of flipping a coin. You determine the initial bet and follow a simple strategy of doubling up after a loss. Regardless of how big of a losing streak you’re on, you will eventually win. And since you’re doubling your bet each time, the win will get you all your money back and net you a profit equivalent to your initial bet.
In theory, the Martingale strategy works. In practice, you might lose ten 50–50 coin flips in a row and simply run out of money before the win happens. And given how you’re supposed to double your bet each time you lose, you’ll quickly find yourself having to wager an upwards of $1,000.
Someone with infinite wealth would eventually profit from employing Martingale, but we would advise against this strategy.
A much better alternative is a strategy which incorporates the Fibonacci sequence into the betting system. Namely, your bets should follow the same principle behind the Fibonacci number sequence.
You start the first round with $1, then calculate your next bet by adding the previous two numbers together. You gradually increase the bets until the ball ends on a winning number. When you win, simply move back two numbers in the sequence and bet that amount again.
Although a much safer betting strategy than Martingale, Fibonacci in no way increases your odds. In fact, this method only tells you the amount of money you should put down. However, you must understand that the house edge isn’t altered. Consequently, you are still likely to lose some money across the play sessions. It all goes back to the randomness of the game and your level of luck at the given moment.
The Labouchere System
Named after a British politician, journalist, and an avid gambler — Henry Labouchere, this system was created to help increase your chances while betting on even odds. In other words, you can only utilize it when betting on (roughly) 50/50 odds, such as red/black and odd/even.
The Labouchere system appears convoluted at a glance but is rather easy to follow and execute once you’ve tried it a few times. The entire strategy revolves around the amount of money you’re looking to win. Then, you simply break it down into several smaller numbers and put them in a sequence, in whatever order you prefer. Here’s what this system would look like in practice if your goal was to win $15:
It might look confusing at first, but it’s actually quite easy to figure out how much you should bet. It literally comes down to adding the first and the last number in the sequence. Taking a look at the example above, your first bet should be $2. If you win, cross both numbers out, and you’ll end up with:
Now, the bet is $5. And if you keep winning, follow the same principle until you win the amount you’ve initially set as your goal. In case you lose, simply add the number equal to the lost bet to the end of the sequence and keep going.
The beauty of this strategy is that you will walk away with a considerable sum, provided that you win roughly 50% of the time, of course. However, it suffers from the same inherent issues as all other roulette strategies — if you lose multiple times in a row, your sequence can become quite long. Unless you hit an equally long winning streak, it might be impossible to cross out all the numbers.
The James Bond Strategy
As ridiculous as this strategy sounds, it’s probably the one that will most consistently be profitable. And for a good reason too. Utilizing this strategy involves covering most of the table with the bets. Consequently, you are effectively boosting your chances of winning up to ~70%.
The strategy is very simple and does not include any equations, counting, or anything of the sort. You simply take $200 and distribute your bets across the table in this manner:
- $140 on high numbers (19–36)
- $50 on numbers between 13–18 (including both 13 and 18)
- $10 on 0
This method can net you a decent profit, based on where the ball lands on the wheel. You’ll get $80 profit on high numbers, $100 on anything between 13 and 18, and $160 if the ball lands on 0.
However, if you’re really unlucky and the number ends up being between 1 and 12, you’ll lose your $200. The problem here is that, if you lose, you’ll have to win at least two times in a row to win back the money you’ve originally wagered. But as we’ve highlighted multiple times throughout this article, there is no way to remove luck from the equation.
Playing Roulette with the Right Mindset
Regardless of which game of chance we’re talking about, there is no surefire strategy for winning. The same goes for “proven” roulette tips. The two concepts are mutually exclusive. If the outcome is based on luck rather than the player’s skill, no strategy will be able to dramatically skew the odds in your favour.
At most, you can take all variables into consideration and utilize a betting system which will give you close to a 50% chance of winning. After that, the only thing you can do is pray to whomever it is you believe in.
Now, we know this isn’t exactly the answer you were hoping for. Still, we won’t sugarcoat the truth. There’s only one way to win at roulette — it’s to place your chips on the same number/colour the ball lands on. And unless you believe in fortune-telling, there’s nothing that can help you predict the outcome of this casino game.