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The Worst Roulette Advice I’ve Ever Heard

| November 13, 2017 12:00 am PDT
puzzled-person-roulette

Roulette may look like a complicated game due to all of the different bets that are available. But it’s actually one of the easiest casino games in terms of strategy.

The main thing you need to do is find the best wheel. A European wheel has a 2.70% house edge, which is better than the American wheel’s 5.26% house edge.

What’s even better is when you find a European wheel with the la partage rule (a.k.a. French roulette). La partage pays half back on even money bets that lose on zero, thus lowering the house edge to 1.35%.

Any casino neophyte can follow the strategy above and use perfect roulette strategy. Perhaps this simplicity is why people make up their own betting systems and advice for the game.

Speaking of which, here’s the worst roulette advice that I’ve heard and seen on the internet.

1. Bet the Opposite of Numbers / Colors That Have Been Winning

The most common bad piece of roulette advice is to bet the opposite of an even money wager that’s on a winning streak. This means you bet the opposite of any streak that occurs with odd/even, high/low, or red/black.

Here’s an example:

  • You’re watching red and black.
  • Black has won the last four rounds.
  • You bet on red because it has to win at some point.

Even money bets have close to a 50% chance of winning in roulette. This is why players assume that a certain outcome is “due for a win” when it’s going through a losing streak.

In the example above, red has lost four straight times. Therefore, it has to win at some point based on the law of averages.

But the problem with thinking that bets are due for a win is that the odds don’t change. Let’s look at another example:

  • An even money bet has a 48.65% chance of winning in European roulette.
  • You see high win three times in a row, so you bet on low.
  • But low still has a 48.65% chance of winning despite what happened in the past.

Remember that streaks happen in roulette. But winning and losing streaks never change the odds on the next bet.

2. You Can Beat Roulette with Betting Systems

I’ve seen a number of people on forums come up with complicated mathematical systems that are designed to beat the roulette house edge. Some of these people have even sold their systems over the internet.

Luckily, I haven’t seen any con men hawking their systems lately. But you’ll still find complex roulette betting systems available online.

Most of these strategies amount to complicated ways of hedging bets, where you cover a variety of outcomes with different wagers. And you almost always need a bankroll worth over $1,000 to properly execute these systems.

These betting strategies can fool players by producing short-term results. But the problem is that no system can overcome the house edge.

This means that for all the short-term wins you accumulate, you’re eventually going to suffer steep losses. Let’s check out an example using the Martingale system, which calls on you to double bets after every loss:

  • You have a $1,500 bankroll.
  • You make a $10 bet and lose.
  • You make a $20 bet and lose ($30 total losses).
  • You make a $40 bet and lose ($70 total losses).
  • You make an $80 bet and lose ($150 total losses).
  • You make a $160 bet and lose ($310 total losses).
  • You make a $320 bet and lose ($630 total losses).
  • You make a $640 bet and lose ($1,270 total losses).

Following the last loss, you now have $230 left and can’t afford to double your wager again.

Of course, many of the complex betting systems you find online are different from the Martingale. But they’re usually variations of famous systems like the Fibonacci, Labouchère, and Paroli.

Betting strategies can be fun to try in roulette. But don’t get too carried away by putting your entire bankroll on the line.

3. You Should Hedge Bets to Win

As mentioned in the section above, some players hedge bets to cover a variety of outcomes. The idea is that you increase your chances of winning and minimize losses by hedging.

Here’s an example:

  • You place a low bet (1 to 18), which pays 1 to 1.
  • You place a 3rd dozen bet (25 to 36), which pays 2 to 1.
  • You have 30 out of 36 numbers covered.

This gives you an 83.3% chance of winning a payout of any kind with this wager. And what’s exciting is that you’ll win 2 to 1 on your bet when hitting the 3rd dozen wager.

But one of the downsides is that you lose both bets if 19-24 come up. Another problem is that you’ll often cancel out your win on the low wager.

Let’s look at an example:

  • You bet $10 on both low and the 3rd dozen.
  • The ball lands on 16.
  • You win $10 for your low bet and lose $10 for the 3rd dozen.

This strategy relies on the hope that you hit the higher paying dozen bet. And it highlights the problem with hedging bets in that you’re always facing a disadvantage somewhere.

Long story short, the house edge doesn’t go away just because you cover more numbers on the roulette table. And hedging wagers won’t help you overcome the house advantage.

But this strategy can be fun if you’re looking for more action on each spin.

4. Look for Dealer Signatures to Win

I’ve seen multiple articles over the years that claim you can gain an advantage by looking for dealer signatures.

A dealer signature refers to a dealer’s tendency to spin the ball the same way every time. And if you can spot this tendency, then you’ll be better able to predict where the ball lands before placing your bet.

Here’s how the general practice of spotting dealer signatures works:

  • Observe the same dealer for hours.
  • Watch to see if they release the ball with the same consistency.
  • Check if the wheel spins at a consistent speed.
  • Watch if the ball lands in a consistent spot based on where the dealer releases it (i.e. released at 3 o’clock, lands at 9 o’clock).

Again, I’ve seen proponents argue that you can successfully pull off this technique and win. But there are far more who argue that this is a B.S. method similar to craps dice control or… hunting for Big Foot.

Dice control makes for a favorable comparison here because this purports that you can bounce dice off a rubberized rubber wall with skill.

Likewise, dealer signature believers think that you can calculate multiple variables/speeds to figure out where a tiny metal ball will stop bouncing.

This is another strategy that you may have fun with in casinos. But I strongly believe that you’re wasting your time by trying to turn this into a full-fledged profit making technique.

5. Don’t Play Roulette Because Casinos Rig the Wheels

I had a non-gambler once tell me that they’d never play roulette because casinos rig the wheels.

This may have been true centuries ago when low key gambling houses could get away with cheating. It would especially be true in an unlicensed gambling spot that didn’t deal with gaming regulators.

But there’s too much at stake for a casino to risk ripping off players.

Brick and mortar casinos must have licensing in order to operate legally. Most online casinos have licenses too.

Any establishment caught cheating its roulette players would lose their license and/or receive a heavy fine.

Casinos already have the edge over players. It’s not worth it to try and cheat players on top of already having a house edge.

6. You Should Try Wheel Bias

A guy I know once told me that we should try to find a biased wheel among our local casinos. This sounds fun, but it’s also a waste of time in the modern gaming world.

Wheel bias refers to finding a roulette wheel that favors one or more numbers. You need to observe wheels for anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 spins to find bias with any confidence.

Once you find a biased number(s), you can start betting and reap the rewards.

Wheel bias is a legitimate advantage play technique that Gonzalo García Pelayo, Joseph Jagger, and Billy Walters used to make millions from casinos.

Pelayo is the last gambler I’ve heard of to have successfully used wheel bias. And he made his millions in the 1990s.

The problem is that each of these cases occurred on old wooden wheels that were more likely to break down and favor certain numbers. Many modern casinos have Saturn roulette wheels, which have metal frets and are much sturdier than the old wheels.

I had to decline my friend’s wheel bias invitation not because it’s a phony technique, but rather one that’s highly unlikely today. Furthermore, casinos don’t appreciate people standing off to the side of a game recording results and not making bets.

7. Roulette Doesn’t Have Strategy

Somebody once told me that you don’t need to overthink roulette because there’s no strategy at all.

Going back to the introduction, roulette has a very limited strategy. This game isn’t like blackjack, video poker, or Texas hold’em, where you have to study to win.

But again, roulette isn’t totally void of strategy either. Let’s rehash the earlier tips that can help you win:

  • Find a European wheel (2.70% house edge).
  • Find French roulette (1.35% house edge), which has a European wheel and the la partage rule.
  • Research the best rewards programs for land-based and/or online casinos.

The best place to find European and French roulette is at online casinos. Microgaming, Cryptologic, and Realtime Gaming casinos all offer French roulette.

You’ll have a lot of trouble finding the best roulette games in North American casinos. The reason is most of these casinos feature American roulette wheels.

But MGM Grand Las Vegas offers a decent French roulette table with $25 stakes.

The best place to live for land-based roulette players is Europe, where you can find European wheels and even French roulette with ease.

Conclusion

Some of the bad roulette advice that I’ve heard won’t affect your bankroll. This includes betting the opposite of winning numbers, wheel bias, and dealer signatures.

These things may not work to bring you profits. But they also won’t cause you to lose more money.

Other advice like using systems and hedging bets can accelerate your losses more quickly.

Betting systems and bet-hedging will never help you overcome the house edge. If you use either of these strategies, make sure that you’re doing it for fun and wagering low stakes.

Again, the top way to beat roulette is to look for the best games. If you can’t find French roulette (1.35% house edge), then look for European roulette (2.70%).

Both of these games give you a near 50 / 50 proposition with the casino. From here, you just have to hope for a little luck to beat the house.

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