Any talk of roulette strategy might seem a little ridiculous at first to some players. After all, you’re probably aware that roulette is a game of pure luck! You can’t manipulate where the ball will land (at least, not legally), and most wheels don’t have biases you can take advantage of. Therefore the results are random – or close enough that we can’t predict them.
If Albert Einstein, the developer of the theory of relativity, couldn’t find a way to win at roulette (without stealing) what makes you think that others can? The unfortunate truth is that there is no roulette strategy that will help you to consistently beat the house over time.
However, there are a few areas in roulette where strategy does come into play. Roulette strategy involves game selection, knowing what bets to avoid, and knowing how to bet in ways that help you reach your personal goals.
We can’t promise you that you’ll come out ahead, or get rich by playing roulette, but exercising some proper roulette strategy can help make it more likely that you’ll enjoy your time playing roulette and it might even help you win a little more often.
Roulette Game Selection
Perhaps the most important aspect of roulette strategy occurs before you ever place a bet. Game selection is the process in which you determine which roulette tables you want to play on. This choice can have a drastic impact on the results you see during play.
The most obvious choice you must make in roulette selection is whether to play European roulette or American roulette. While we’ll talk about special rules that can help or hurt your odds later on, there is one universal difference between these two games. American roulette wheels feature two zeroes, while European games feature just a single zero.
That extra zero is rather costly. You may have heard it said that the zeroes are where the casino gets its advantage, and this is basically true as casinos set the odds on roulette to players based on a fair amount to break even – if it weren’t for the zeroes on the wheel.
This means that with two zeroes American roulette has almost double the house edge when compared to European roulette. This means that when choosing a game it is virtually always correct to pick European roulette – if you have the chance to do so.
But even some European roulette tables are better for players than others. At many European roulette tables you’ll be able to take advantage of en prison or “la partage” rules that give players the chance to win back their money on losing even money bets when the ball lands on the single zero. Though the exact rules differ on how this works, this always reduces the house edge on even money bets significantly, making these games the most favorable for roulette players.
Roulette Bets to Avoid
Another important thing to consider when developing your roulette strategy is the fact that there are bets you shouldn’t make on the roulette table.
For instance, if you are playing American roulette you’ll want to stay far away from the top line or basket bet – the bet that covers the numbers 0-00-1-2-3. This bet is the only one on the table that has a higher house edge than the normal casino advantage.
Even in European roulette there are some bets that may be better than others. Remember again that some European roulette tables feature en prison rules that allow players to recover their bets on wagers like red/black or odd/even when the ball lands on zero.
However, these rules do not apply when dealing with other bets, such as betting on a single number. This means that the house edge on even money bets is about half of the edge found on other bets, making them a much better wager for players.
Choosing a Roulette System
If you’re planning a roulette strategy you may take a long look at a number of popular roulette systems. The first thing you must decide is whether you want to take a conservative approach or do you want to win big? (Or lose big!)
As you already know, these systems – no matter what claims they may make – cannot help you break the casino and become a millionaire. However, they do offer some interesting ways to manipulate the way your winning and losing streaks will affect your results. But to manipulate roulette into a situation where you can place +EV bets we have detailed a relatively unheard of system for live roulette known as Clocking Spins. Conditions for this are hard to orchestrate and are very sensitive, albeit rewarding when successful.
Before choosing any roulette system, you’ll need to know exactly what you’re looking for in terms of how your results will be structured. Many roulette systems are designed to “guarantee” wins. Though these systems can’t actually do this, they do make it very likely that you’ll eventually come out ahead – although at the risk of losing a lot of money should things happen to go wrong. Usually this is done by asking players to increasingly wager more money. For example, the Martingale system has players double their wager amount after every losing bet, meaning that an eventual win will always put the player slightly ahead.
On the other hand, you may be comfortable with losing a little bit on most nights as long as you have the opportunity to score a big win. This is often accomplished through a “Reverse Martingale” system, in which players double their wagers after wins rather than losses. The idea in a system like this is to keep doubling your money until you hit a predetermined winning amount, after which you cash in.
Something similar to this is the 6 Pence Roulette System, where wagers are increased after a win. One of my favourite systems (for entertainment reasons) is the Green-Black Attack Roulette System. This system takes advantage of the middle column on the table where there are 8 black numbers versus 4 red numbers. Similar to the 6 pence system, wagers are increased (by a small amount) after a win.
You don’t need to choose a pre-existing system but can come up with one on your own that utilizes the proper mix of risk and reward for you. This will allow you to have at least some control over your results, allowing you to feel much more confident that you’ll meet your goals.
One thing to remember when choosing a roulette system is that you are not guaranteed to win and you cannot lump your whole bankroll on one spin. Typically in any form of gambling a clear money management strategy is essential or you will inevitably go broke.
Beating Roulette with System Play
There are many successful gamblers who do very well with roulette systems. In fact, the game of roulette has spawned more interest and more systems than any other gambling game ever invented. Perhaps because the game itself has lasted so long – over 200 years in its present form – or perhaps it is because over the years, one player or another has managed to achieve great success while playing the game; sometimes with other people’s money.
Roulette was played for several decades in Europe before casinos were introduced in Monte Carlo to a well-heeled crowd of moneyed players who pushed it to new heights of popularity in the plush surroundings of the tiny municipality. They spent their vacation days visiting the beaches and their vacation nights playing roulette, sometimes winning great sums of money.
Unfortunately, even the “Man who broke the bank Monte Carlo,” Joseph Jaggers, who in 1873 won the entire bankroll from several roulette tables, did so because he charted the wheels and found anomalies in the results, not because he had a betting system. They weren’t rigged; they were biased, due to inadequate care and repair. He noted the wheels with patterns of numbers that appeared more often than usual (or more than statistical probability would suggest) and beat them repeatedly until the casino began repairing them, or moving the wheels from one table to another after closing hours so he couldn’t find them the next evening.
Tracking the wheel and writing down the numbers from each-spin for hours on end can still garner the occasional biased wheel, so that must be considered a system, but finding those wheels in this day and age is like finding diamonds – it’s rare. Less rare are the chances of beating the house by clocking spins. Wheels and dealers have patterns, and they can be exploited by practiced players.
These days, most players know they can’t actually turn the house edge around, but what good roulette systems do, is set specific bankroll requirements, limit loses, and exploit any winning streaks so the days when the numbers come up right, the player wins more, and the days when the numbers come up wrong, the loss is smaller. That’s a winning system.
Outside Wager Roulette Systems
You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to outside wager systems for online roulette. Read our brief summary of them all below, and make sure you click on your favourite choice if you want a complete breakdown of all the good and the bad of your preferred system.
Many roulette systems are centered on outside wagers, the even-money payoffs, and one of the first systems many players try is the Martingale, which is a betting system that requires the doubling of the previous stake each time a bet loses. Gamblers can win many bets, and even win several sessions at the table, but the eventual loss is always looming in the distance. The worst problem with the Martingale is that the player is forced to risk an exorbitant amount of money to win a single unit. That’s the rub. Again, a good system should be able to garner steady increases in units without risking an entire bankroll.
Many roulette systems are named after their inventor, such as the Martingale, but there are spin-offs and adjustments made by other players over the years that have led to improvements, such as the Reverse Martingale. In the case of the Grand Martingale, an even more aggressive approach is used to insure a larger win each time a streak of losses is snapped. That advantage is weighed against a string of bets that must be ended slightly more often than with the original system.
The d’Alembert roulette system is a modified Martingale that allows small wins and takes the sting out of a bad streak. A continuous run of seven losses with the Martingale results in the loss of 123 units, but with the d’Alembert system the loss is just 28 units, much easier to swallow, and much easier to recoup with a successful run of wins.
In the case of the Fibonacci, the inventor of the range of numbers used as a betting system did not gamble and play roulette, but the numbering progression works well as a system for recouping any previous loses. Unlike the Martingale, the Fibonacci relies on a much smaller increase in wagers while successfully ending with a modest win after more than one winning bet. This increases the odds that the betting progression will be successful.
The only other system that tries to win a single unit at a time is Oscar’s Grind, but the good side of that is there is only a small risk, and there can be many, many small wins before the inevitable bad streak takes a table-stake bankroll away. The trick is to enjoy the wins, keep the money in your gambling bankroll, and when the bad streak comes, loose just a single table-stake and quit. Then, return another time and start again – don’t chase your money continuing a bad streak.
For a change, players might consider the Labouchere cancellation system, where the player chooses an amount they want to win, instead of setting a small table-stakes bankroll. The obvious drawback is that the risk is greater.
After learning the Labouchere system, some flip it around and try a Reverse Labouchere. With this system, instead of setting an amount to win, the player sets a sensible table-stakes bankroll and embarks on a journey to win a substantial amount of money. The table-stakes are at a heavier risk, but the rewards are almost unlimited during a successful run of good numbers!
The Column King system works very well for column play where the payoff is 2 to 1. This popular roulette system involves following or betting against streaks, and provides large pay-off´s for even small runs of good numbers.
Another aptly-named system, the Wells Pendulum, takes advantage of the same type of back-and-forth win-loss seen at many roulette tables, but limits the potential loss. Instead of risking more to win the same amount, the Wells Roulette System employs a variable wagering line that begins with a set wager and a set bankroll. However, when successful, the return is significantly larger than many other systems. If that sounds like it fits your desire for a roulette wagering system, follow the rules of play and give it a try, it might be the best system you have ever tried!
Inside Wager Roulette Systems
Just like the outside wager systems, there’s also a plethora of systems for inside wager roulette bets. We’ve picked out the best systems below.
There are also some popular inside-number roulette systems you might consider. Again, the advantage is that each requires a set table-stake bankroll instead of a huge risk, and wagers can be progressed to large numbers to enjoy big wins on the occasions when the number roll right. The Six-Pence Plus offers just such a system, where players’ cover several numbers at once, so wins happen on a regular basis.
The Green Black Attack also covers a group of numbers of one color in certain columns. Again, the advantage is regular wins with a small risk.
For players looking for more bang for their buck, give the Guetting system a try. This system exploits simple repeat wins and offers huge payouts for increasing numbers of double wins.
Another system that exploits repeat numbers is the Pivot roulette system. It requires a 105 unit table-stake bankroll as well a few hours to play. Pivot players track numbers until a single number repeats and then begin a string of wagers. After repeated hits the wagers can be raised to provide large wins for lucky sessions.
On the opposite side of the spectrum is the Law of the Third, where a table-stakes bankroll of just 27 units is needed.
Following a roulette system is relatively easy, but players sometimes have trouble developing good money-management skills, and that’s a more common breakdown for players than the systems themselves.
Don’t chase your losses by raising your wagers during losing streaks or you will find your bankroll depleted quickly. Instead, set a specific table-stake bankroll for each session and follow each system correctly so you can win with them on a regular basis. By raising your bets as the systems suggest you can exploit just what the systems offer. Use good judgment and have patience, and you’ll be able to play roulette for hours – often with winning results!