Roulette has long captured the imagination of players all over the world. It is second only to blackjack in terms of popularity, with an average of 25% of table games in a casino being the wheeled classic. Players bet millions of dollars at the roulette table every single year.
The persisting interest in roulette is easy to explain. It is a simple game to learn, but simultaneously layered and complex. The odds are not as favorable as blackjack, but they’re still decent. Assuming you don’t bet erratically, you can make $50 last you several hours, if not walk away a winner; not a bad price for a night of entertainment.
Most players will walk away losing money. This is an irrefutable fact. But this is because the average betting man does not know the game inside out. They bet randomly, erratically, and without systematic thought. The best way to play? Use a strategy. This is how to choose one.
Understand the Intricacies of Roulette
The issue with most players joining the roulette table is that they have a barebones understanding of how the game actually works. Placing a simple bet is easy. Pick a color or your favorite number, and off you go.
There’s more to it than that.
Learn the Bet Types
But if you want to become more than just a beginner, you need to gain greater insights into the game and how best to play it. Go beyond just putting your chips on red or black. There are specialty bets, such as the Voisins du Zero, the so-called outside bets, inside bets like the Street Bet (or Steam Bet), and others.
The Difference Between European and American Roulette
You know that green zero that sits at the bottom of the roulette table? You can bet on it, sure, but what it does is set the house edge for the casino. It’s just one number, but ensures the house wins in the long run.
European roulette has one of these zeros, setting the house edge at 2.63%. On the American wheel, you have two of them. Doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it changes the landscape entirely. American roulette has a house advantage of 5.26%, meaning it’s far more difficult to win in the long run.
What’s the Table Minimum?
Depending on the strategy you use, having a low table minimum may be preferable. It means you have several ‘rounds’ available to implement your strategy without having to place a large bet.
What’s the Table Maximum?
Some betting strategies require you to be able to place a string of larger bets. This is why the table maximum has been created, in effect. It’s not to protect the player, but the casino. It prevents the player from increasing their bets infinitely to recoup any losses. A low table maximum is therefore not ideal.
There are a multitude of different strategies you can use to improve your chances at winning in roulette. Some require a big bankroll, while others are a little more complex. Here are the top 3 strategies you should familiarize yourself with, but there are many others. Pick your strategy based on your bankroll and betting style, what feels best to maximize enjoyment, rather than looking for a ‘guaranteed’ win…
The Martingale betting strategy is one of the most popular ones out there. Its premise is simple, the execution uncomplicated. It’s also applicable to basically every table game, further strengthening its popularity.
This is how it works. You place a bet, it wins. Keep going with the same amount. Lose? Double your bet. If you win that, you’ll win back your losses plus the value of the original stake.
The Paroli is a positive progression system, and it’s super easy to learn. Some people attribute the system to the legendary mathematician Blaise Pascal, but we’re not so sure.
The system is also known as the Reverse Martingale. This is because you double your wager on a win, rather than a loss. It’s a more ‘positive’ system in that regard, as it builds on your wins rather than chasing losses.
The James Bond
The James Bond strategy requires you to wear a tux, and to have a Martini in your hand. Shaken, not stirred, of course. It’s a non-progressive system that was popular with Ian Fleming, the creator of 007.
The system only ‘works’ on the European wheel, an important element to remember. You need to be able to bet a multiple of $200, which may limit some depending on the bankroll and the casino’s minimum bet. In each betting round, you use 20 units. The first bet calls for 14 units on 19-36. The second, 5 units on 13-18. The final one is the last roll of the dice, where you place a single unit on zero.
This strategy will work almost two-thirds of the time. Because it fights the house edge in this way, it’s best for people who want something simple and don’t plan on staying at the roulette table very long.
The House Always Wins (But Not Necessarily Against You)
There’s one universal truth when it comes to casinos: the house always wins. As an article in Science Focus magazine stresses, the mathematical odds are loaded in favor of the casino (and by definition, against the player). There’s no single ‘system’ that can beat the mathematical truth of probability.
But does that mean that you can’t beat the casino every once in a while? Of course not. Professional gamblers exist. People walk away from nights at the roulette table with thousands of dollars in profit. Most will use some sort of system to limit the house edge. The rest is up to Lady Luck.
Should you decide to approach roulette with a system in mind, remember that when it’s you vs. math, there’s only one clear winner. And as long as you fully accept this fact, you’ll give yourself the best chance to win big. But be prepared to walk away without chasing your losses.