Posts Tagged ‘odds’

photo by Ron Shelley CC BY-SA 3.0
Players have been trying to beat the roulette wheel for centuries

 

If you are on the radar of the roulette world, you will no doubt be inundated with emails promising you ways to break the bank at roulette. Unfortunately, these systems are all destined to fail in the long run. If there genuinely was a way to beat the casino, roulette would very quickly die out. Whether online or on the Las Vegas Strip, casinos are simply not in the business of giving away money, and they wouldn’t last very long if they were.

There are, however, a few ways to get the best odds at roulette. While these will never guarantee a win, they will often reduce your losses. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective strategies.
 

Choose the right wheel

The green zero slot is one of the biggest elements of roulette odds. With a zero on the wheel, even money chances are no longer even, and all other odds are reduced. Playing on a European wheel, having a single zero gives the house an edge of 2.7%. This means that even money bets, such as red or black, odd or even, don’t pay out 50% of the time, but 48.6%. Single numbers are also reduced from odds of 35-1 chance to a 36-1, although you will still only be paid out at 35-1.

 

photo by Ralf Roletschek / CC BY-SA 3.0
the zero gives the house a 2.7% edge

 

With an American wheel, there are two zeros, which cuts your odds even further. Here the house edge doubles to 5.26%, which means that on more than one in twenty spins, no one wins. Clearly, American wheels should be avoided and European wheels chosen wherever possible.
 

Choose the right game

You can increase your odds of winning, or at least decrease your odds of losing, by seeking out French roulette. This not only uses a European wheel, with just a single zero, but also has additional rules for even money bets. These rules include ‘en partage’, where you get half of an even money bet back if the ball lands in the zero, or ‘en prison’ where your even money bet rolls over to the next spin. This second bet will not pay any winnings, but if you ‘win’ on the second spin you will get your full stake back.
 

Analyse the wheel

Ever since Blaise Pascal stumbled on the roulette wheel as a by-product of his research into creating a perpetual motion machine, people have been trying to learn the quirks of individual wheels to swing the odds in their favour. Even with constant improvements in manufacturing, no roulette wheel is perfectly random, and any given wheel can be mathematically analysed to reveal its subtle biases.

Once again, there are endless companies offering gadgets and gismos that will analyse roulette wheels to tip the odds in your favour, from infrared lasers to mini computers. Unfortunately, not only are these devices notoriously unreliable and hard to use, they are also illegal in most casinos.

Even if such machines were user-friendly, reliable and legal, casinos are not stupid and they will always be one step ahead. Since such devices became common, casinos have got into the habit of switching around the wheels, spinners and slot components between tables, to even out any inaccuracies; meaning that all your hard work and research one day, will be useless by the next.
 

Limit your losses

 

image by Unknown / Public Domain
Even Fibonacci’s famous maths can’t predict the fall of the ball in roulette

 

Most roulette systems are not about improving the odds, as much as limiting your losses. Popular systems such as Martingale, Fibonacci and Paroli, where you increase your stake after each loss, can be very effective at evening out the odds, especially when playing outside bets at even money, but they will rarely do much more than keep you level on the night. At the end of the day, however, every spin of the roulette wheel is random and every outcome is as likely as any other, regardless of what has happened before. So cumulative betting systems such as these, which assume that the outcomes will even out over time, are in essence fundamentally flawed. Just like a coin toss, where ten consecutive heads does not alter the chances of a tail on the next flip, there is still a 50/50 chance of red or black with each spin (or more accurately 48.6/48.6/2.8).

We all dream of breaking the bank at Monte Carlo, just like Charles Wells. We all hope for the win of a lifetime, like Ashley Revell. But whatever system you believe in, there are guarantees with roulette – which is, after all, half the fun of playing!