Fact or Fiction: Understanding Roulette Betting Strategies

Roulette Strategy

When it comes to devising a winning roulette strategy it's fair to say the jury is split. On one side of the gambling divide the key to roulette riches is through sensible betting and strict bankroll management. On the other side, professional spinners will assert that you can track the movement of the wheel and increase your EV through all manners of weird and wonderful betting techniques.

It's easy to understand why new players can get confused about a roulette strategy and luckily we've found an answer which lies gracefully between the two sides. Like a skilful trapeze artist dancing from one side to another, we've selected advice from both realms to complete this guide that will show you:

Understanding the Roulette Strategy

Knowing the initial conditions allows you to beat the odds.

Finding the perfect roulette strategy goes beyond gamblers hoping to win more money. This mathematically perfect game has actually led to chaos theorists (very smart guys) building different algorithms, software and models to determine the best way to beat the house.* One of the leading researchers, Michael Small, says "knowing the initial conditions allows you to beat the odds". As interesting, and perhaps promising, as this research may be, for now the strategy will have to be a little more basic.

First you need to understand that roulette favours the casino. European roulette has a house edge of around 2.7%, French roulettes' edge is at 1.35% and American roulette has a house edge of about 5.26%. To win at roulette, you essentially need to lower the house edge thereby putting the odds in your hand. There is no way to do exactly that, but there are a various moves you can take which can increase your bankroll over time.

Why Knowing the Board Layouts Matters

How to Calculate Roulette Odds

European Roulette - (35 - 36)/37 x 100 = -2.70%

American Roulette - (35 - 37)/38 x 100 = -5.26%

- The odds for French Roulette are the same as European, but the house edge is cut by 1.35% when the La Partage rule is enforced.

When you play at a roulette casino online you will notice three different variations: European, French and American. The European roulette style will have a single zero and a grand total of 37 numbers on the wheel. The French variation has the same wheel, but has a special ‘half back' or 'La Partage' rule, by which you lose only half your stake when the ball lands in the zero slot. American roulette has two zeros meaning there is a total of 38 numbers. This slight difference has a huge impact on success.

A single roulette board, European or French, will practically double your chances of winning. Take another look at the house edge. If you play C$10 on European roulette and lose, you will be out $2.70 per spin; whereas if you were playing American roulette and lose, you will be out $5.26. You're probably thinking "why would anyone play American roulette?" It's a valid point which leaves many of us gamblers flabbergasted. We wish we could give you a good reason, but there is actually no benefit apart from being enticed by low table limits; gravitating them there in hopes of maximising play time. Little do they know they're actually shortening it.

To help you understand how roulette odds are calculated, consider the following mathematical algorithms you can perform on your smartphone. Roulette games' odds can vary depending on the casino online site, software and variation.

The Most Popular Roulette Bets to Make

When you play roulette online, Canadians will have several different betting options. Knowing all of them can take quite a bit of time and practice. If you are keen on being a better roulette player, it will be worthwhile to learn every one. For now, you only need to know the primary roulette bets to improve your chances of winning.

Bet
Description
The Red/Black Bet
Every number on the wheel is coloured black or red. In this bet, you wager on a colour you think will win. As an even money bet, it pays 1:1.
The Odd/Even Bet
You bet on whether or not the next number spun will be an odd or even number. This bet pays out at even odds, or 1:1.
The High/Low Bet
You bet on the next number being low (1-18) or high (19-36). As an even money bet, you will get 1:1 for winning.
Column Bets
To make a column bet, you wager on any one of the 3 columns of 12. If the next number landed is within that column, you win with a 2:1 payout.
Dozens Bets
You will bet whether or not the next number will be in the first, second or third dozen. This payout is 2:1.
Straight Bet
The highest payout of all roulette bets, at 35:1, it is very difficult to get and requires you to choose one number you think the wheel will land on.
Split Bet
You choose two numbers adjacent to one another on the betting board. The payout is 17:1.
Street Bet
You bet on any of the 12 rows of three numbers like, 19-21, 22-24, 25-27. This bet pays out 11:1.
Corner Bet
Any four number that make a square on the primary grid. For example 7,8,10,11. This roulette bets has an 8:1 payout.
Five Number Bet
Available only on American roulette, this bet covers 5 specific numbers: 0,00,1,2 and 3. It has a 13.6% probability of winning and a 6:1 payout. It is the worst bet in roulette.
Call Bets
Only available in French or European roulette. Each of these bets varies and is not recommended for beginners. Select casinos online offer call bets.

There are many other types of roulette bets available. You can always refer to the betting table at the casino online site to confirm your wagering options.

Popular Roulette Strategies

If you look online, roulette strategies from around the globe can be found. Most of them don't work. The following are the most popular with players. Keep in mind they are not reducing the house edge, but rather increasing the probability of winning.

Martingale Strategy
The Martingale Strategy

This system requires you to double your bets until you win and return to your original bet. The idea is that when you win, your profit will have equalized. In practice: You bet $10 on red and lose. Now you bet $20 and lose again. You bet $40. On the fourth spin, you win $80. You risked $70 and won $80. Your profit is $10. At first glance, it looks okay. However, it fails in the short term as the amount of money bet becomes impractically high.

Double Dozen Strategy
Double Dozen Strategy

This betting system lets you cover a large section of the board without risking too much money. You're taking advantage of dozen bets and these offer a 2:1 payout. The logic behind the double dozen strategy is that you can make a profit of one bet when you bet on two – dozen bets concurrently. Consider this example: you wager $10 on the first & second dozens on the betting board. You win $30, and get a profit of $10, if 1-24 is landed. It's a promising strategy that can work if you also manage your bankroll.

Bet Management
Bet Management

One of the best roulette strategies is money management. Just because you have a bankroll of $500 CAD, does not mean your bets should be $50 CAD. Rather, take your roulette bankroll and divide it by a minimum of 20. This means every bet should be no more than $25. As you play and win, save half of every win. So, if you bet $25 on red, you win $25 and you put aside $12.50. This is your profit saved.

Putting Strategies to the Test

You now know the different roulette bets and understand the most popular strategies. It's a lot of information to take in, but well worth your time. One thing that is important to remember is that using a strategy doesn't necessarily guarantee you a win. Perhaps the chaos theorists will release some high-tech gadget that can predict the outcome of the wheel, and read your thoughts at the same time. For now, the best chances you have of winning at online roulette is to understand the game, know the betting options, use a strategy that suits you, and manage your bankroll.

The final strategy is finding a good casino online. They're not all created equal, and that includes the quality of their roulette software and payout percentages, so choose a strategy and stick to it.

* Reference to chaos theory research:
http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/journal/chaos/22/3/10.1063/1.4753920