Can Live Dealer Roulette Make You a Pro Gambler?

| June 11, 2019 12:00 am PDT

Roulette is in a special class of casino games that can be beaten through skill. Some gamblers have even made millions of dollars playing roulette.

Joseph Jagger was the first recorded gambler to make a fortune with this game. The English engineer had a theory that not all roulette wheels produce perfectly random results.

He sent six clerks to Monte Carlo’s Beaux-Arts Casino in the 1870s to record roulette spins. He then used the data that they provided him to find a wheel that favored specific pockets.

Jagger made £65,000 with this strategy, which amounts to £7 million when adjusted for inflation. Since Jagger, other professional gamblers have followed suit and become rich through roulette.

Becoming a professional roulette player sounds like a dream to many players. Of course, the deterrent is that the casino will find out that you’re an advantage player and ban you from their property.

This unpleasant thought keeps many gamblers from trying roulette advantage play. But what if there were a way to execute a winning strategy from the comforts of your own home?

Live dealer roulette theoretically offers this opportunity because it’s available through a smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer. The only question is if live dealer casinos give you a true chance to beat roulette.

I’m going to discuss this matter by covering the basics of live roulette, different methods for beating the game, and if you can execute any of these strategies at a live casino.

What Is Live Dealer Roulette?

Many roulette players are familiar with land-based and online casinos. A land-based casino features a real dealer, physical wheel, and chips that you can hold.

You can’t beat the brick-and-mortar roulette experience because nothing replicates the social aspect or experience of standing at a roulette table. But the main drawback to brick-and-mortar casinos is that you must travel to them.

Online roulette offers all the convenience advantages that the land-based version doesn’t because you can play on a mobile device or PC/Mac.

The catch, though, is that traditional internet roulette doesn’t have anywhere near the atmosphere. Despite featuring lifelike graphics, the online variation is software-generated and doesn’t compare to a real experience.

Live roulette offers a happy medium by featuring elements of both land-based and online roulette. The action is streamed from a land-based studio or casino.

Here are the key features of a live dealer game.

  • A human croupier deals the game
  • You can communicate with the dealer or other players through a chat box
  • Virtual betting options and chips are featured onscreen
  • An electronic roulette board keeps track of recent results

The only thing missing from live roulette is you actually being seated at the table, but this aspect can be overlooked when considering that you’re getting a realistic gaming experience through an internet device.

Different Methods for Beating Roulette

Roulette is one of the few casino games that can be beaten through multiple methods. Therefore, players have options when planning their course of attack.

Some roulette advantage play methods are more viable than others, but all of these techniques can beat the game under the right conditions.

Wheel Bias

Joseph Jagger used wheel bias to make what amounts to millions of pounds today. This technique involves observing a roulette wheel for hundreds or even thousands of spins to find one that favors certain pockets or sections.

Normal wear and tear can cause a wheel to produce predictable results. Everything from the frets (pocket dividers) to wheel shaft can become compromised and cause the wheel to favor specific numbers.

Wheel bias breaks down into two classes: number bias or section bias.

Number bias involves looking for a wheel that favors specific pockets. Doing so can be very profitable because you can make lucrative single-number bets (35:1 payouts) and net huge wins.

The main problem with number bias, though, is that you must observe the wheel for thousands of spins to determine this with confidence. Common estimates include observing a specific wheel for 5,000 spins to determine whether or not it favors certain pockets.

Section bias refers to looking for when the wheel favors a certain part of the wheel rather than specific pockets. For example, a wheel might be biased towards a section of 10 pockets, located between numbers 9 and 26.

Section bias doesn’t set you up for the high payouts that pocket bias does. Instead, you’ll be making wagers that cover more numbers and offer lower payouts (e.g., six-line bet offering a 5:1 payout).

But section bias can be determined after watching a wheel for 400-500 spins. This amount of spins is about 10 times what it would take to confirm number bias.

Dealer Signatures

Roulette dealers perform hundreds of spins during every shift. This process leads some dealers to monotonously spin the wheel and ball to the point where they offer predictable results (a.k.a. dealer signature).

You can measure from the dealer’s release point to where the ball lands to see if there’s a consistent pattern. Here’s an example.

  • The dealer releases the ball around the 3 o’clock position
  • The ball usually lands around the 9 o’clock position
  • You bet on five single numbers around the 9 o’clock position every time the ball is released at 3 o’clock

The key thing to understand here is that you don’t have to know exactly where the ball lands. Instead, you just need to be right enough times to earn profits.

Here’s another example.

  • You bet $5 on seven numbers in the 9 o’clock position ($35 total)
  • A single-number wager pays at 35:1
  • This means that you’d receive a $175 payout (5 x 35) for a successful bet
  • You win once every four rounds ($140 in total bets)
  • $175 – $140 = $35 profit
  • The wheel spins 40 times per hour
  • 40 / 4 = 10 wins per hour
  • $35 x 10 = $350 profit per hour

You can see that roulette dealer signatures are very profitable. Of course, it takes more work than simply documenting where the dealer releases the ball and where it stops.

Pros also count the number of wheel and ball revolutions during each spin. Doing so helps you figure out if the dealer is spinning the ball and wheel with the same speed every time.

Assuming the speeds are consistent, you can better verify that consistent release and landing points are also accurate.

It helps to thoroughly understand the roulette wheel and where all of the numbers are located. This practice ensures that you’re not learning the roulette wheel on the fly while also trying to spot dealer signatures.

Using Computerized Devices

One more way that players can beat roulette is with computerized devices. Electronics can measure the ball and wheel velocity to give you a strong indication of the results.

Computers have a more accurate sense of measuring velocity than the human eye. Therefore, electronic gadgets give you a stronger chance to beat roulette than simply looking for dealer signatures.

The only problem is that it’s illegal to use electronic devices in most gambling jurisdictions. Being caught with computerized aid at the roulette table can land you in jail.

Those who do employ this method conceal the electronic device that they use at the table. A common strategy involves one player standing next to the wheel with a concealed device, then giving signals to a gambler via Bluetooth.

The accomplice who receives the signals must then be quick enough to wager on the proposed winning numbers before the dealer calls “no more bets.”

The use of gadgets at the roulette table has died down due to stricter laws, but some players are still willing to risk legal consequences in order to win with computers.

Do Roulette Advantage Play Methods Work in Live Dealer Roulette?

Considering that you have multiple options at your disposal, it seems possible that you could beat live dealer roulette. After all, this game has many characteristics of the land-based version.

Unfortunately, live dealer casinos know the ways that the game can be beaten and have closed these loopholes. Below, you can read why each of the previously discussed advantage play methods won’t help you beat live roulette.

Why Wheel Bias Doesn’t Work

Wheel bias is an advantage gambling method that rarely works in brick-and-mortar casinos these days — let alone at live dealer sites.

The first problem is that casinos have upgraded the type of wheels that they use over the past few decades.

Gambling establishments used to feature older wheels that were more susceptible to breakdown. Wheels with wooden frets are more likely to wear down and favor certain numbers.

Casinos began commissioning English manufacturer John Huxley to produce Starburst wheels in the 1980s. These products feature metal frets, which are far less likely to wear down and lead to number/section bias.

Another roadblock to live roulette wheel bias is that you can’t tell when you’re on the same wheel from session to session.

As covered before, wheel bias entails recording hundreds or thousands of spins on the same wheel. The problem with live dealer casinos, though, is that you have no way of knowing if you’re on the same wheel.

You can select roulette tables based on an individual dealer, but these dealers aren’t always going to be on the same wheel every time.

Live dealer sites aren’t like land-based casinos, where you can locate the same wheel again and again by using the surroundings. Instead, you choose a croupier and end up at whatever table they’re dealing.

Why Dealer Signatures Don’t Work

Dealer signatures seem like they could theoretically work in a live casino. After all, you can watch the same dealer over and over to monitor their release point, the ball’s landing point, and the wheel’s and ball’s velocity.

Of course, dealer signatures are hard enough to spot when you’re standing right in front of a land-based roulette wheel. This technique becomes nearly impossible when you consider the conditions at live dealer gaming sites.

The biggest problem is that it’s extremely difficult to see the wheel and numbers from the regular screen view. The only time that you see a wheel closeup is when the ball settles into a pocket.

Therefore, it’s hard to track the dealer’s release point and the ball’s landing point since you can’t see the numbers very well.

Even if you can faintly make out the numbered pockets, you’ll be straining your eyes to do so over any considerable sample size.

Why Computerized Devices Don’t Work

The dilemma with using computers at land-based roulette tables is that it’s normally illegal. This is where live roulette seemingly has an advantage because gaming sites have no way of determining if you’re clocking the wheel with an electronic device.

The problem, though, is that computers must be physically present at the table to measure roulette wheel and ball velocity.

You can’t determine the physics of a roulette ball and wheel from a remote location. Therefore, live casinos don’t have to worry about you beating them with electronic devices.

How Can Regular Players Beat Live Roulette?

You might be disappointed to learn that land-based advantage play techniques don’t pay at live dealer sites.

But this isn’t to say that you have no chance to beat live roulette. You can greatly improve your odds just by finding the right game.

French roulette is the ideal variation to play at live casinos. The French version has the following characteristics.

  • Wheel with 37 numbers, including a single-zero pocket
  • The la partage rule
  • 1.35% house edge (on even-money bets)

French roulette is very similar to European roulette because they’re both played on the same wheel. But the key difference is the la partage rule, where you earn half back on losing even-money bets when the ball lands on zero.

As long as you stick to even-money wagers, then you’ll only be dealing with a 1.35% house edge in French roulette. The European version doesn’t have la partage, which pushes its house edge up to 2.70%.

American roulette is played on a wheel with 38 numbers, including a single-zero and double-zero pocket. Both of these zero pockets favor the house on even-money bets.

The inclusion of the double zero — which isn’t present in either French or European roulette — increases the American version’s house edge to 5.26%.

Obviously, French roulette gives you the best chance to win with its 1.35% house advantage. But what live dealer casinos offer this game?

Three gaming providers with French roulette include Evolution Gaming, NetEnt, and Playtech. Just choose any casino with one of these software developers and look for the French tables.

You might find this game available through other live casino providers, too. But these three companies are a great place to start your search.

Conclusion

Casinos are thoroughly aware of the different ways that gamblers can beat them. This is why they work hard to minimize the number of ways that professional players can win.

Live dealer casinos have made sure that you can’t use any of the normal roulette advantage techniques to earn profits. Perhaps you can invent some method of beating live roulette, but the regular advantage opportunities just aren’t there.

You should visit land-based casinos to truly gain an edge on this game. Wheel bias, dealer signatures, and computerized devices are all legitimate ways to win roulette profits.

I use the word “legitimate” lightly here, though, because each of these strategies has drawbacks.

Wheel bias is hard to pull off these days due to the influx of Starburst wheels. Chances are that you’re going to record spins on a bunch of wheels and never find any bias.

Dealer signatures are so hard to spot to the point where some gamblers wonder if this is even a valid strategy.

Most of the evidence I’ve seen suggests that dealer signatures can help you win money. But you’re less likely to be successful with this technique versus something more common like blackjack card counting.

The obvious problem with using computerized devices is that you’ll be arrested in most gambling jurisdictions if caught. I certainly don’t advise you to take up any strategy that can land you behind bars.

Of course, you can forget about all the difficulty involved with trying to become a roulette pro and just enjoy the game.

You’ll especially enjoy roulette if you can find the French variation either at land-based or live dealer casinos. The latter presents an easier opportunity to find French roulette because you don’t have to travel anywhere to play.

Many players appreciate dealing with a 1.35% house edge, which is one of the best in gaming. Even if you can’t find French roulette, the European variation’s 2.70% house advantage isn’t bad either.

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