How to Win at Roulette
Roulette is a classic casino game, right up there with blackjack and craps. Full service casinos from Vegas to Atlantic City offer at least one roulette game, and roulette is incredibly popular in European casinos. This has to do with the origins of the game--roulette has a three-hundred year history in Europe. Roulette games are growing in popularity in online formats the world around.
The modern game of roulette is essentially the same as at the time of the game’s invention. Roulette has existed in some form since 1796—the red and black slots on roulette wheels, a number line from 00 through 36, and other features were already present. One big difference between American roulette and the game as it is played in Europe today is the presence of the 00 slot. American roulette wheels left the 00 slot on the wheel, while in Europe this slot was removed over time.
Best Odds for Roulette
The difference between the 37 slots of a European-style roulette wheel and the 36 slot setup of an American roulette wheel is huge, especially if you're playing roulette for real money. That one slot is a big part of the reason why roulette is not as popular in America as it is in Europe.
When you play on a European-style wheel, you’re playing a game of roulette that is more gambler-friendly. Because of the slight difference in rules of the game (the presence of a 00 slot on American style roulette wheels) European roulette has a house edge of just about half of what American roulette offers.
How to Succeed at Roulette
To get the best odds for roulette, you simply have to play on a European-style roulette wheel. That doesn’t mean you have to fly across the pond to get the best roulette odds—many American casinos offer both American and European-style roulette wheels. There may be one European-style roulette wheel for every nine or ten American-style, but they’re out there.
How to Play Roulette
The first thing to do when you walk into an American casino looking to win at roulette is find the European-style roulette wheel. You do this by looking for a roulette betting surface that doesn’t offer bets on 00. If the casino you’re in doesn’t offer European roulette, walk right out the door and find the nearest casino that does.
There is absolutely no reason to play on an American-style roulette wheel if there is a European-style wheel within cab distance. You may win a little at American-style roulette, but you’re playing against vastly steeper odds. Play European-style roulette wheels. So you found a European-style roulette wheel and you’re ready to get started.
You can learn more about how to play roulette at a site like PlayRouletteOnline.org.
Roulette is a wheel-based game. The wheel in question sits on the betting surface and spins on its axis. On European-style roulette wheels—the only wheels worth playing—there are 37 slotted numbers on the wheel. The numbers 1-36 are either red or black, while the 0 is green.
The roulette wheel “dealer” is called a croupier. The croupier spins the wheel in a given direction then rolls the ball around the edge of the wheel in the opposite direction. As the ball’s orbit decays, all bets are off, and the ball will at some point bounce into one of the roulette slots.
Simply determine if the ball has fallen into a slot that matches your bet. Your bet may be on a number, a group of numbers, a color, or a few other special types of bets. Almost all of these bets offer the same odds, so how do you know what to bet on?
How to Win at Roulette Free
Never pay for roulette advice, roulette “strategies” or “tactics” or whatever else the marketing geniuses that release roulette strategy eBooks decide to call them. There’s a virtual Gutenberg Bible of pay-to-read roulette advice, ranging in price from a few cents to hundreds of dollars. People who pay for roulette advice always get the same thing: a lighter wallet and some version of a roulette tactic that simply won’t work.
Want to know how to win at roulette for free? The guidelines provided here cost you nothing at all, and can actually help you save money by teaching you the right and wrong bets to make. If all we do is convince you not to buy bad roulette strategy advice, you’ve already saved yourself a little bit of cash.
Winning at roulette is never a sure-thing, and anyone who tells you that they know the secret is after your Benjamins and nothing else.
A Roulette Strategy
Here’s one of these kooky roulette strategies on sale at various low-budget gambling websites:
The so called “James Bond Roulette Strategy” makes the seemingly innocent and simple suggestion that you increase your stakes with wins. It is one of thousands of variations on what is sometimes called the Labouchere System.
To follow the James Bond System, you’ll need as many chips of the minimum bet as possible. Ideally, you start with a hundred minimum bet chips.
You then write the numbers 1 to 5 down on a page. Your first bet amount should be the sum of the top and bottom numbers on your card – 5 plus 1 equals six minimum bet chips. If you win, you cross out the top and bottom numbers (in our example, cross out the 5 and the 1 on the card) and then bet the sum of the next two top and bottom numbers. In this case, you’d bet 4 plus 2, or six more units.
When you lose a bet, you write the amount of your loss at the bottom of the column. Your next bet should be the sum of the top and bottom numbers, or 7 in our example. That’s right; you increase your bet on a loss.
More Roulette Strategies
We will cover even more ludicrous roulette tactics and tricks as we go along. The important thing to remember about roulette tricks is that they don’t work. The only way to “beat” the roulette wheel would be to cheat, or to win big on a single bet and walk away.
A Roulette Secret
If there’s one roulette secret I want everyone to know, it is that out of all the roulette bets it is possible to make, all except for one offer essentially the same house edge. If you’re already playing a European-style roulette wheel, you don’t need to worry about this bet as it is only available on American-style roulette wheels. But that’s okay, because as it turns out, the only way to affect the house edge is actually to make it worse for yourself.
That’s because the only bet that truly affects house edge is to bet the infamous “5 numbers” bet. This is a bet placed on 00, 0, 1, 2, and 3 all at once, and the house edge is up above 7%.
How to Win at Roulette in a Casino
When you first sit down at the roulette table you’ve chosen, hopefully one without a 00 betting slot, your first task is to buy chips from the croupier. In every casino in the world, roulette chips are different from the casino’s other chips. Traditionally, each roulette player is assigned a specific color of chips so that the croupier can keep track of betting and make the game run faster. Payoff happens at the end of each spin.
Because roulette chips operate differently, they cannot be cashed in at the cage like every other chip. If you don’t cash out your roulette chips before you leave the table, you could be getting a worse payout rate than what you bought in. Keep life for the croupier simple and earn all the money you win by cashing out before you leave.
You can place all the bets you want until you hear the croupier say "No more bets." Bets placed after the croupier says this can void the result, and is considered cheating. That can get you tossed out of the casino or taken out back by two sweaty guys named Rocco. Don’t place late bets.
Once the winning slot is established, the croupier places a marker on the winning number on the betting table. If there are any bets on that number, the croupier’s marker is placed on top of the bet chips. Losing bets are swept off the table, and only then are winning bets paid off. Payout goes from outside to inside—so outside bets are paid off first, then inside bets. As a matter of courtesy, don’t place your next bet until the dealer has finished paying off all of the previous bets.
Learning all the different roulette bets is a matter of spending time playing the game. Remember that on a European-style roulette wheel, the house edge is the same for every bet. The only thing different is the payout.
These are bets literally placed “outside” the single-number betting field on the roulette betting surface. Your bet will be placed in the box reserved for that style of bet on the outside of the roulette betting table.
Red or Black
This is a bet that pays out 1:1. Your bet is that the ball will land in either a red or a black slot.
Odd or Even
Another 1:1 payout bet, this is a bet that the numbered slot the ball lands in will be either odd or even. Bets on Odd or Even when the ball lands in a 0 or 00 are losing bets.
High or Low
A “high” bet is a bet that the ball will land anywhere in slots 17-36, and a “low” bet is a bet that the ball is slotted somewhere between numbers 1-18. In some casinos, these are called “first eighteen” and “last eighteen” bets. This bet pays out at 1:1.
The first outside bet offering a higher payout, “dozens” bets are bets on sets of 12 slots at a time. If you win this bet, you’ll earn 2:1 on your bet.
These bets are placed “inside” the betting surface, placed on specific numbers or sets of numbers.
A “single number” pays off at a steep 35:1.
In roulette, a bet of “split” is a bet on two specific numbered slots. These bets pay off at 17:1.
A "street bet” is a bet placed on any row of 3 numbers, paying off at 11:1.
A bet of "corner" is a bet placed on 4 slotted numbers in a group. This bet is named after the position of the actual bet, sitting on the intersection of four numbers on the betting surface. A “corner” bet pays off at 8:1.
In European-style roulette, another bet exists that American-style boards don’t offer. It pays off the same as a corner bet, but is a bet placed on the first four numbers in the number slot sequence: 0, 1, 2, and 3. In French, this bet is known as "quatre premiere,” and is only offered in Atlantic City, New Jersey and European casinos.
5 Number Bet
This is the worst possible bet in roulette, and it is only available to American-style roulette players. This is like the French “quatre premiere” bet, only it is a bet on the first five numbers in the American-style betting sequence: 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3. The vastly higher house edge on this bet (7.89% compared to 5.26%) and the low payout (6:1) makes this a true sucker bet.
When a street bet is placed on six numbers, it is called a “double street” bet. This is a bet on two rows of three numbers each, for a total of six numbers. This is a much safer bet than the 5 numbers American-style bet, paying off at about the same rate (5:1) with a much more advantageous house edge.
More Roulette Secrets
Here’s a dark secret about roulette—the only way to “win at roulette” is to play the right roulette wheel and get lucky. That’s the best roulette secret of all—that there’s truly no way to work an advantage in roulette.
Roulette is what is known as a “negative expectation” game, meaning the longer you play, the more likely it is that you will lose money. Don’t believe me; do the math--a house edge of even 1.5% means that given enough time, the casino will drain your entire bankroll. Think about it, have you ever seen a broke casino?
Another secret for roulette strategy—sometimes players get lucky. As with any wager, some people are going to win and some are going to lose. If you really want to double your money as quickly as possible, roulette is a good way to do it. How?
Simply bet your entire bankroll all at once on either red or black, or even or odd, and pray to your God of choice. The math is tricky, but you’ll have somewhere between a 45 and a 47% chance of doubling your money on a single bet. If there’s a secret to roulette besides playing European-style wheels and just plain being lucky, it’s that every now and then a sucker bet comes through.
A Roulette System
There are plenty of “roulette systems” out there that promise to make you rich making simple roulette bets. These systems have all kinds of crazy names and schemes to earn players cash, but trust me, these systems do not work.
How to Win at Roulette Every Time
Do a quick Google search for “win at roulette” and take a peek at the number of roulette “systems” and “can’t miss” schemes there are. Most of these are for paying customers only. Instead of wasting your $9.99 buying a roulette eBook, let’s examine these different roulette systems and why they’re all frauds.
How to Beat Roulette
The most common “beat roulette” system involves doubling your bet on multiple small bets. One popular version of this double up betting system is called the Martingale System. There are countless variations of the Martingale system for sale and even for free online. The idea behind the Martingale system is to pocket the bets you win and double the bets you lose.
Just thinking about it casually, this kind of makes sense. There’s something about the simplicity of the Martingale System that appeals to our reptilian brain stem. The idea is this--by doubling the size of your losing bet, you’ll win back your losses from the first bet plus a little extra each time. Even if you lose two or more bets in a row, when you redouble your bet, you’ll always replace the losing bet plus a little cash over at that.
The Martingale System is perfect in a perfect world. If you have an infinite bankroll (you don’t) and if there were no betting limits (there are) then the Martingale System would work perfectly.
Let’s say a roulette table has a $5 minimum and a $500 maximum bet. Under the Martingale System, you would bet first $5, then $10, then $20, $40, $80, $160, $320 and on and on ad infinitum.
Unfortunately, you can’t. The maximum bet is $500, and you’d have suffered some pretty serious losses already without even getting the system going.
Other Roulette Systems
Another popular roulette system is called the d'Alembert System, and people tend to think it is real because it has a French name.
The d’Alembert System makes a basic incorrect assumption that most gambling systems fall victim to—the theory that after a winning bet, you are less likely to win again. Using this flawed thinking, the d’Alembert System requires you to subtract a chip from your bet after each win. Since the basic assumption about winning is to subtract a chip, the assumption about losing is to add a chip to the bet each loss.
You can get out from under the dark cloud of most roulette systems by understanding some basic math. A roulette wheel has no memory. Each turn of the roulette wheel is a new spin, independent of all others, offering the same odds of a winning or losing bet as the spin before it. For each number on the roulette wheel, there are two possible outcomes—either your bet wins or it doesn’t win. The roulette wheel has no tendencies, does not know if you won or lost on the last bet, and therefore can’t be manipulated by systems based on changing your bet if you win or lose.
Roulette Cancellation Systems
The last popular roulette system we’ll cover is the “cancellation system” making the chain email rounds lately. In the cancellation system, you write down a series of numbers that sets your “winning goal” for a single betting session.
Let’s set a very basic win goal and take a look at cancellation systems. If you were to write down a number series “1, 1, 1”, you’d have a total of 3. At your basic $5 minimum table, your win goal with “1, 1, 1” would be $15. You place bets by adding the two numbers on each end of your number series. Your first bet in a “1, 1, 1” system would be the sum of 1 and 1, or 2. If your bet wins, you cross off the number on each end, and then bet the total of the two remaining numbers. A winning bet on the first round of a “1, 1, 1” session would lead to a next bet of just 1.
Losing bets in cancellation systems write the number of units that were just lost at the end of the sequence. A losing bet in our example would change the number series to “1, 1, 1, 2”, which leads to a second round bet of 3 units.
This doesn’t work for the same reason that the Martingale system doesn’t work. This system doesn’t take many losses before you’re taking huge hits and have hit your maximum betting limit.
How to Be Successful at Roulette
If you use a roulette system or betting trick, you will not be successful at the game of roulette. Betting systems don’t change the game odds, and they can’t turn a losing bet streak into a winner. In an ideal world, where you have unlimited money and unlimited betting maximums, a betting system could increase your win total, but even in that case they wouldn’t alter the game’s odds.
All this talk about betting systems and roulette odds makes you think—why don’t people with a basic understanding of math realize that betting systems are worthless?
Because people don’t stop to think about the basic math of roulette. You might think it is very unlikely to lose your bet seven times in a row, but the truth is, the likelihood of hitting a seven bet losing skid is about 1 in 90. That means at least once in every 90 spins, you’ll hit a really bad losing streak. There’s no way to alter this math.
Another fun math trick involving roulette bets—the more you break your wagers up into smaller bets (in an attempt to “hedge” your losses) the more likely you are to lose your bankroll. The game of roulette actually punishes this type of betting, because the unbeatable house edge applies constantly over time. That means every spin of the wheel, and every bet, sees a reduction in your chances of increasing your bet.
Why Do Roulette Games Have Bet Maximums?
The strategy for playing casino games in which you have an advantage (there are very few of these betting situations on a casino floor, of course) is just the opposite.
In games where you have an advantage, such as a perfectly-played game of Blackjack, you have the edge on the house, and large bets are more advantageous for the casino. In a game where the player has the advantage, the casino’s best shot is to force you to make larger single bets, rather than to spread your bets out across the board. The best way to win in casino games with the advantage is to bet minimums.
Since most casino games give the house the great advantage, these games are vulnerable to enormous single bets. That’s where betting maximums come in, to protect the house where it is most vulnerable—against one-time bets for big money amounts.
How to Win at Roulette in Vegas
Roulette in Vegas is a different animal from roulette in Atlantic City or in Europe. For starters, it can be difficult to find a European-style roulette wheel in Vegas. The only Vegas casino offering a single-zero roulette game with rules advantageous to the gambler is at the Mirage.
There are modified European-style rules at the Caesars Palace, Las Vegas Hilton, Monte Carlo, Nevada Palace, Paris, Stratosphere, and the Venetian. They off single-zero European roulette games that strip away some of the minor European-style rules (such as “en prison”) so that the games offer a house edge of 2.7%. Compared to the standard Vegas roulette wheel (operating at a house edge of 5.26%) this is a great bet, compared to American-style roulette, but it is still not quite the same as true European-style roulette.
Honestly, winning at roulette in Vegas is much tougher than winning in Atlantic City or any other casino offering European-style betting.
The best tactic for winning at roulette in Las Vegas is to find a wheel with a single 0, “en prison” betting rules, and a bit of luck left over from the last winner.
A Roulette Method
The most basic roulette methods are built on flawed logic. To test your understanding of roulette and roulette betting methods, answer the following question:
You’re playing roulette at a casino in Atlantic City. The croupier has tossed the ball seven times, each time coming up Black. Which of the following is more likely to come up next: black or red?
If you said Red, you fell for the oldest trick in the book. For each spin of the wheel, there is a 50% chance of it coming up black, and a 50% chance of it coming up red, regardless of any spins prior.
More Roulette Methods
If you’re looking for a roulette method that actually works, consider simply controlling the amount of time you bet.
We’ve already established that the best way to double your money is to place a single bet on either red or black. This is sometimes called the “maximum boldness” method. Why does it work?
Since it’s obvious that large, single bets on roulette are the most likely to pay off in the long run (remember that the house has the advantage, even on the most wager-friendly roulette wheels you can find) the most effective way to bet on roulette to double your money is to place as few bets as possible. If you drop $10 on a bet at the roulette wheel and earn $10 back, it may be time to walk away, especially if you’re looking for a surefire “winning” roulette strategy.
How to Win at the Roulette Table
If you want a perfect method for winning at the roulette table, you’re out of luck. However, you can learn to place bets in a manner ideal to each version of roulette you may find in a casino. Knowing the best way to be for each variation of roulette is the best way to win at the roulette table.
For American-style roulette wheels, the best way to win is to place a single large-dollar amount bet on either red or black, or on either odd or even. The worst bet you can make on a traditional American-style roulette wheel is to be the “5 numbers”—that’s 00, 0, 1, 2, and 3. The house edge on 5 numbers bets is an obscene 7+%. Avoid 5 numbers bets specifically, and avoid American-style roulette wheels in general.
When you find a European-style roulette wheel, your strategy is only slightly different. If you’re just looking to double your bet, your strategy is the same as with American-style wheels. The main difference is that your odds of winning are slightly better, at about 47% for a single odd or even or black or red bet. Betting “en prison” rules, where allowed, doesn’t really affect your potential outcome, though it can impact your bankroll.
The other major version of roulette worth mentioning is called Diamond Roulette, and it is specific to a few casinos operating in Atlantic City. Diamond Roulette is little more than a variant of American-style roulette—played on a 00 board. Gameplay is the same, except that there are six different colors rather than just the red and black, meaning each color has six numbers 1 through 36. The colors are red, blue, green, yellow, purple, and black. Bets on Diamond Roulette on individual colors pay 5:1, with a house edge of 5.26%. Bets on Diamond Roulette should follow the same principles as any roulette betting—large one-time bets on single colors are best, though in Diamond Roulette, even this edge is taken away.
More on Diamond Roulette
Other bets available in Diamond Roulette--six bets on any combination of
one color and the two zeros. These bets payout just 3:1 and come with a
steep house edge of nearly 16%.
The versions of Diamond Roulette you find in Atlantic City do offer half-losses on balls in either 0 or 00, but because there’s a negligible difference between the odds of Diamond Roulette and American-style, this game should be avoided except just for fun.
How to Win at Roulette – Tips
The best tip I have for people looking to win at roulette is to plunk yourself down at a roulette wheel on a lucky night. If you could turn luck on and off like a light switch you’d be the world’s greatest roulette player.
The most important part of any betting session at roulette is limiting your number of bets. This is only true if you’re just concerned with winning—roulette is considered a gentleman’s game, a slow-paced way to bet small minimums and have fun.
Most people who play roulette fall into one of three categories: Looking to Win, Looking to Play, and Playing to Win. Those people Looking to Win are doing it all wrong, following ridiculous betting tactics and superstitions. The casino will take their money every time.
People who are just Looking to Play can’t lose, because the point of their gambling is to have fun. They place as few bets as possible to reserve their seat at the wheel, drink lots of fruity drinks, and walk out of the casino smiling.
The final category of roulette players is the people Playing to Win. These gamblers walk up to a European-style roulette wheel and place large bets (usually maximums) on even odds bets like Red or Odd. Their chance of doubling their cash is a decent 47%, a little less (45%) on American-style roulette wheels.
How to Win at Roulette YouTube
As with everything, there is roulette “how to win” advice available on YouTube.
No matter the source of the various “how to win at roulette” scams, the logical fallacies behind them are the same. Take a look at this guy’s “system”, for example.
You’ll recognize the trick here—doubling or tripling after losses combined with a little superstition and you’ve got a roulette betting system that “sounds” like it should work every time. Watch what he does—when he loses a bet, he plays the other two “rows” of numbers from the one containing the number that he lost against. This is simple superstition, implying that the likelihood of a number appearing has something to do with the numbers that have appeared before.
There are even “win big at roulette” YouTube videos that appear to be exposees of roulette winning methods. They lure you in by suggesting the very thing I’m telling you (that there’s no system to beat the roulette wheel) then suddenly at the end they advertise a system that (miracle of miracles!) really does work. Here’s an example of these misleading anti-advertisements for roulette systems.
A final YouTube clip shows the seedier side of roulette-defeating methods. There’s one great way to beat any casino game and that is to physically cheat the casino out of money. This video shows various cheating tactics used at casinos, including cheating methods used in the past at roulette tables.
Unfortunately for the modern roulette cheater wannabe, these methods will get you quickly tossed out of most casinos, and could lead to jail time or even more serious consequences.
How to Win at Roulette Blog
One way to make some cash from roulette is to make your roulette gaming sessions public in the form of a blog.
Let’s say you come across a lucky streak and you want to tell the world about it. Starting a gambling blog, detailing your exploits at the hard-luck tables in Atlantic City, or showing off a particularly lucky streak you hit, could be one way to make a little scratch between gaming sessions. Advertising can provide revenue to even the humblest of blogs, and gambling is a very popular search term on the Internet.
Share your own roulette betting tactics, talk about new roulette strategies, and tell your readers about the various roulette tables at different casinos around the world. A how to win at roulette blog could be the best way to consistently make money off roulette.
How to Win at Roulette Online
Online roulette is the latest wrinkle in roulette’s lengthy history. The popularity of online gaming of all forms has gone through the roof as the Internet becomes faster, more accessible, and more trustworthy.
Online roulette games tend to be either European-style or American-style, though why you’d choose American-style over European is a mystery to me. The games are a combination of lots of bright lights and sound effects, so roulette online is more like a video game than a casino game.
But just like online slot machines, there will always be people drawn to online roulette. The strategy for how to win at roulette online is the same as the strategy for casino-based roulette play:
1. Get lucky.
2. Make a small number of large-amount bets (maximum boldness)
3. Quit when you’re ahead
If you can follow these three pieces of advice, your time spent learning how to win at roulette online will not have been in vain.
If English isn't your first language, but French is, you can read about roulette here. Thanks for visiting.