Top 20 Tips For Winning at Roulette

Cutting the House Edge

1. Unlike a highly skilled game like blackjack, there’s not that much you can really do to change the odds in roulette. By far the biggest advantage you can give yourself is to opt for a European- or French-style table. These will have one green zero square alongside the 36 red/black squares. It’s the presence of the green square that gives the casino its in-built advantage – in this case, 2.7%. However, American-style tables add a second green square (the double zero), and that bumps the house edge up to 5.26%. That’s a very significant gap, so if you don’t want to lose your money more quickly, stick to European/French tables with a single green square.

2. There are a variety of bets available in roulette, but most of these offer very similar payouts. In terms of overall success, there’s no mathematical reason to do anything other than play the simple ’50/50′ bets like red/black, odd/even etc. The only exception is the American bet known as the ‘basket’ – letting you bet on both zeros, plus squares 1 to 3. Avoid this at all costs, as it’ll give a 7.89% edge to the house.

3. French-style tables offer the best methods of cutting the house edge. The La Partage rule is very useful. If you’re playing an outside bet (red/black, odd/even etc.), and the ball lands on the green zero, La Partage lets you get half of your stake back.

4. Another great little feature of French tables is the En Prison rule, which follows on from the above, and lets you leave your stake on the board for another spin. If you have both La Partage and En Prison, the 2.7% edge becomes a mere 1.35%. That’s the lowest edge you’ll find in roulette, so look for French-style tables when you can.

Betting Systems

5. Roulette’s simple style of play and significant number of ’50/50′ bets has made it fertile territory for betting systems. These tend to be ‘progressive’, with the players varying the bet size rather than playing the same amount spin after spin. The problem is that many of these tend to be okay until the player hits a ‘bad run’. Unfortunately, these runs aren’t as unlikely as they may seem. Even on a genuine 50/50 system, you’re going to see a run of seven losses once in 128, and a run of 10 losses once in 1024. So if you play for over 1,000 spins, you’re likely to see some very bad ‘luck’. Progressive systems generally can’t cope with these runs, which is why the majority of them have a tendency to blow up eventually.

6. The Martingale system, whereby you double your bet after each loss until you have won, is the most popular system of all. Avoid this, though, as it’ll only work in the long-term if you have unlimited betting capital, plus the ability to circumvent the table limits. Otherwise, you will hit a bad run where you end up having to bet more than your entire bank. If you implement a ‘reset’ (so that you drop back to betting one unit after hitting a certain numbers of successive losses), you’ll simply find that you’re not making enough on your winning runs to compensate you for the losses you’ll be sucking up when you press the reset button. Don’t pay any attention to those who claim the Martingale system works. It doesn’t, and you’ll only lose money on it if you use it for an extended period.

7. Are there any systems that do work? Labouchere has you writing out sequences of numbers, and calculating bet sizes by adding together the first and last numbers on the list – if the bet wins, you cross off those two numbers, and carry on playing until all of the numbers have been crossed off. This system is fun to play (it was favoured by Ian Fleming, amongst others), but can still see you getting into loops where the bet sizes get too large. It isn’t as extreme as the Martingale system, but it still doesn’t work. Other systems, like Oscar’s Grind and Fibonacci, also fail to work. The D’Alembert system has some validity, but even this can’t negate the house advantage.

8. It’s harsh to say, but the best way to play seems to be with a flat betting system. That means you play the same amount time after time. That way, your only foe will be the house edge. Essentially, the ‘edge’ is the entrance fee you pay the casino for the enjoyment of playing their game. Using flat betting, though, you’ll never find yourself sweating because the bet size is too large for you. And you’ll never have to risk your entire bank on one spin.

Online Options

rouletteatgala19. If you’re playing online, you might want to opt for the Live Dealer games rather than RNG (Random Number Generator) versions. Live Dealer makes the experience more spectacular, by letting you see live video of the dealer and the wheel. You can sometimes interact with other players at the table, too. More importantly, Live Dealer games are more reliable and harder for companies to cheat on, particularly if multiple players or casino sites are involved – these games are often implemented by third parties, so you may find the same feed being used for several different casino sites at once. You may also be able to detect problems or inconsistencies affecting the table, as the Live Dealer will be using genuine equipment.

10. RNGs do allow you to play games more quickly, though, as you can turn off the animations and sounds. If you want to get through a large number of spins in a short space of time, the RNG should be your choice. You may also be offered more options and varieties of game with RNGs.

11. Try multiplayer roulette for a more interactive and enjoyable session. You may also be able to watch the other players and pick up some hints and tips from them.

Table Bias

12. You may not be able to beat the maths, but you might be able to beat the craftmanship of a roulette wheel. Some wheels will start to develop a bias towards specific numbers or a certain section of the wheel – resulting in some numbers coming up more frequently than they should. Joseph Jagger famously ‘broke the bank at Monte Carlo’ by hiring a number of clerks to record the numbers on various tables, and then using the information to tell which tables had a bias. Such a bias will usually be attributable to wear and tear, or perhaps to loose frets (frets being the walls that separate the compartments on a wheel). The ball should bounce randomly off the frets, but if the frets are loose, they may instead deflect the ball into a particular number on a very regular basis.

13. Also look out for wheels that haven’t been seated properly. This will result in a wobbly rotor, causing the wheel to display a bias towards a section of numbers. This poor reseating can occur after something as routine as cleaning. It can often be detected by looking at how the light reflects off the wheel – the light will show certain impurities and defects when the wheel isn’t properly seated.

14. Dealer bias (or Dealer Signature or DS) is another way of predicting which balls will come up. Select dealers will have a remarkably consistent spinning action, creating very similar results every time they spin the wheel. In these cases, the ball will end up a reasonably fixed distance away from where it started. The dealers must have an extremely consistent action for this method of prediction to be successful. Nonetheless, there is something in it if the dealer is chosen carefully. A consistent action is particularly common when a dealer is exhausted.

15. The final prediction method uses Visual Ballistics (VB). This works on the basis that where the ball lands isn’t really that random at all. They key is noting where the ball is at the point that it drops down, and then noting where it ends up afterwards. Many wheels will, theoretically, show some sort of consistency. Oxford don Doyne Farmer has claimed to have used an early computer to predict the winning numbers with decent rates of accuracy, and, more recently, smartphones have been used to perform similar feats. Nobody argues that this method can turn up 100% success rates, but since there’s only a 2.7% edge to defeat on a European table, you do only need a small tilt of the odds in your favour in order to have an advantage.


poundsuk16. Money management is the key to minimising losses in roulette. Make sure you’re never under too much pressure by never betting more than 5% of your bank on one spin. Indeed, 2% gives you even more security, and ensures you won’t be throwing away chips blindly in order to chase a loss you couldn’t afford to make.

17. Keep only a portion of your money on the table at any one time. That way, if you need to replenish your funds, you’ll have a minute or two in which to think and clear your head before carrying on. In those situations, it’s often a good idea to pause for a bit and take a rest.

18. If you’re having a good night, don’t be afraid to take half of your money off the table. If you can get yourself into the position where the worst that can happen is that you end the night breaking even, then you’re doing well.

19. Take rests frequently, even if you’re winning. Keeping your mindset right is crucial to controlling your emotions. The second you’re feeling slightly bored or frustrated, take a break.

20. Don’t play when you’re ill or stressed about something outside the casino. The roulette table is not the place to be when you have difficult decisions to make.

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