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.