Have you ever seen those adverts promising you a guaranteed way to beat the casino’s roulette tables? Or maybe you just have a friend who claims he’s discovered a way to win? There are plenty of people who think they have found a way to win at roulette, but the casinos continue to do business – why is that?
Let’s get this one out of the way early: Roulette Systems Only Work Under Certain Conditions and can never guarantee that you’ll win more than you lose in the long run.
Albert Einstein is credited with the following saying: “No one can possibly win at roulette unless he steals money from the table while the croupier isn’t looking.” And he’s completely right.
The mathematics behind the roulette wheel ensures that the casino will always make a profit in the long term. Of course people can win in any given session, or maybe even enjoy a long run of winning sessions – if you lost every time you placed a bet at roulette, then nobody would ever play. But in the long run, that is over an infinite time period, it is impossible to guarantee a profit from playing roulette.
The most commonly devised roulette systems are built around the “gambler’s fallacy”. This is the belief that previous outcomes or trends must have some kind of connection with future outcomes. For example, imagine that the last 12 numbers on a particular roulette wheel had come up black; the argument could go that a red number is now long overdue, as the chances of a number being red or black are roughly fifty fifty and so betting on red is the correct strategy.
But this is truly a fallacy. The odds remain unchanged; the wheel and the ball have no memory. The argument after 8 straight black numbers would have been the same, but the next four numbers still came up black. The chances of the ball landing on a red number or a black number are still roughly fifty fifty. Gambler’s fallacy has led to the financial ruin of many a gambler and yet it is still a widely held belief.
The Martingale System
The Martingale System is probably the best known of all roulette betting systems but like all other roulette systems, it is destined to end in tears. When using Martingale, the idea is to simply double the stake after each losing bet, so that you always recover your losses plus a small profit when you inevitably hit a winner.
So for example, you have a £1 bet on red and you win. Great, you now have £2 and can leave the roulette wheel with a profit of £1. But if you lose, you bet £2. If that bet wins, you collect £4, having bet a total of £3, for overall profit of £1.
A run of four losses followed by a win would see you lose bets of £1, £2, £4 and £8 (for a total of £15) before eventually winning a bet of £16, returning £32 (£16 of which is profit) and therefore giving an overall profit of £1.
It is correct in theory, that by employing the Martingale system at the roulette wheel, you can’t lose. But the problem comes in practice and is two-fold: first of all, nobody has an infinite bankroll – the time will come when you can no longer afford to keep doubling the wager and secondly, most casinos have a table limit, meaning that after a losing run, you wouldn’t be allowed to place a bet of sufficient size to recover all of your losses.
By following the Martingale system and starting off with a £1 bet, a string of just ten losses would require a bet of £1,024. By fifteen losses, we’re looking at £32,768 – all that just to win £1? These runs can and will happen and anyone playing Martingale will eventually experience it – it’s a matter of “when”, not “if”.
Other Roulette Systems
Most modern roulette systems are a variation of the Martingale. Unscrupulous sales people are constantly rehashing old, failed systems and promising untold riches. The truth is that if a system worked, nobody would be selling it as they would be utilising it for their own gain and wouldn’t be stupid enough to alert other people as to its effectiveness, for fear of anybody finding out and cutting off their source of guaranteed casino cash.
Should you encounter one of these roulette systems, forget about it. It might not be what we want to hear, but it is impossible to beat an unbiased roulette wheel. Don’t pay for a system, because you’ll not only lose the initial cost of the system, but you will lose your whole bankroll in time.
Systems Or Strategies?
It is worth clarifying that, if you have a preferred way of playing roulette, that’s entirely your decision. Having a “strategy” for trying to win at roulette is just as much fun as randomly spreading the chips around the layout and hoping for the best.
Perhaps you like to choose numbers based on family birthdays and anniversaries, or maybe you like to bet on certain areas of the layout to form patterns. That’s all a legitimate part of roulette, but that is a “strategy”, rather than a “system”. It only becomes a problem when it is dressed up as a guaranteed way to make a long term profit from roulette – a system.
Whatever your preferred roulette playing strategy, we wish you the very best of luck!