Roulette Strategy Guide


Roulette is a fairly simple game which is probably why it is so popular. Many players are willing to sacrifice a little statistics to the house edge in order to play a game that is simple and fun. If you are looking for something more convoluted and engaging, try Texas Hold’em.

The only thing that may seem confusing to a newcomer is the chip system. The chips in roulette don’t have different values like the chips in other games. When you buy in, you get a set of 300 chips of one color, and those are your chips. Other players will each have their own color. The chips value is based on your buy in. If you buy a set for $300 dollars, each chip is worth $1. If you buy for $3,000, each chip is worth $10. The dealer places a token on the chip stack in order to mark the real value.

The roulette wheel will typically have 38 slots: the numbers 1 through 36, 0, and 00. The table displays each number individually (including 0 and 00), and squares representing groups of numbers. There are 9 group squares: 1st 12, 2nd 12, and 3rd 12, 1-18, 19-36, odd, even, red, and black. Other groups sometimes available are a split (a pair of numbers), street (three numbers), a corner (consists of 4 numbers), the first five numbers, and a sixline (six numbers). The more specific your bet is the lower the chances are and the higher the payout will be if you win. For example, if you pick the number 29, and the roulette wheel lands on the number 29, you will get a very high payout. Alternatively, if you pick Black, since 18 out of the 38 slots count as black numbers (47.37%), the payout if you win will be significantly smaller.

The most important thing to take into consideration in roulette is the 0 and 00. The 0 and 00 are not considered red or black. This is very important. This is essentially what gives the house the edge. Therefore, doubling up bets in order to try to “beat the system” will statistically loose in the long run. The house has a clear edge in roulette (although it is small, relatively speaking). Therefore, your best bet is to rely on luck rather than trying to beat a system that you can’t beat.

A strategy to avoid is called the Martingale roulette strategy. The Martingale roulette strategy states that if you loose, you should double your bet and try again because you’ll never loose 8 times in a row. This is ridiculous for a number of reasons. First of all, if you double a $100 bet 7 times, you’ll be down $12,700 before you try not loosing the eighth time. Secondly, it is a common misconception to think that the probability changes over time. Each spin of the wheel has identical probability. For example, if you role a dice, there is a one in six chance to roll the number three. If you rolled the dice 999 times, and didn’t get a three even once, it doesn’t mean your bound to roll a three on the thousandth roll. The thousandth roll still has only a one in six chance of being three. The same is true for roulette. There is no connection between consecutive spins. Each spin is random and independent. In gambling you should never double back to make up losses – it’s a sure fire way to dig a deeper hole.

Roulette is not the same in every casino and therefore it is important to pay close attention to the rules in each individual place. Some roulette wheels only have one zero. Though this reduces the house edge, most places with a single zero wheel also payout less. In Atlantic City, on two zero wheels, if someone bets on half the board (even, odd, red, black, 1-18, or 19-36) and the wheel lands on 0 or 00, the player only looses half the bet. This also slightly reduces the house edge. In Europe that same rule exists with a twist. The half that is lost can be “imprisoned.” The “imprisoned” half will be kept aside, and if the player wins the next round, they get their “imprisoned” money back, though they do not get any winnings beyond that. If the second spin of the wheel also is zero, some casinos will allow “double imprisonment” while others just consider the money lost.

Good luck!

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