Roulette is one of the most popular online casino games in the industry. The game is also one of the easiest to play at its most basic level, and allows people to win decent sums of money with very little thought or skill. This is appealing to newbies or those who rely on blind luck.
The fact of the matter is that you can’t really apply any strategy or formulas to the game itself; each spin is completely random. When people say you need to bet this amount or follow this guide they are on a fools errand. The game is set up to win the casino money over the long term.
If you compare this to the likes of blackjack, where you are able to apply a strategy of sorts and follow a process depending on the hand you are dealt compare to the dealers’, you can at least play a ‘perfect’ game in each scenario, even if you can’t win.
When you hear people say “the house always wins” this definitely applied to roulette. However, whilst you can’t apply strategy to your bets, you can at least maximise your returns by playing the right game.
Roulette House Edge
If you aren’t familiar with the term ‘house edge’ then it’s basically the frequency with which the casino is going to win from a certain type of bet. So, if the casino had a house edge of 10% for a certain bet type, then they would make 10p profit on every £1 placed on average.
It is key to understand that we are talking per bet here, not per game. You see, certain roulette bets will offer different returns. For example, in American Roulette, the house edge is 5.26% for all bets apart from the ‘first five’ bet which has an edge of 7.89%.
As a player, you ideally want to be playing games that have the lowest house edge, which then gives you a better chance of winning.
There are two main roulette games that you can play online; American and European.
The games are actually very similar, with the only difference being that the American game has an extra number in the form of ‘00’ (zero zero). The European game only has a single zero.
This additional zero has a huge effect on the house edge. As stated, the American format of roulette has a house edge of 5.26% for all but one bet type, but the European format has a house edge for all bets of 2.70%, which is almost half the edge.
Even though the names might suggest that they are exclusive to their location this is not the case, and you will find that pretty much all online casinos offer both European and American formats of the game.
There are other forms of roulette as well, each working slightly differently than the next and giving slightly different house edge’s:
- Atlantic City Roulette – Has the same table layout as the American game but if you have bet on an even money section of the board (black/red, odd/even etc.) and the ball lands in either 0 or 00, then you will be refunded half of your stake for even money bets. As a result, this reduces the house edge from 5.26% to just 2.63%, which is one of the lowest rates you can get with roulette.
- French Roulette – The French game is a little different to that of American or European and instead includes different bets that you can place, although the wheel is the same as the European wheel (single zero). As a result, bets that are made at even money can see a house edge as low as 1.35% whilst all other bets sit at 2.70%. This makes it one of the best games to play for all roulette folk, especially those looking to simply place even money bets.
- Sands Roulette – The Sands game came about in 2016 and basically just added an additional number to an American wheel (‘S’). This means that there are now 39 numbers in total, which pushes the house edge up to 7.69% making it the worst possible roulette game you can play.
What we are trying to get across is that there is no secret or ‘system’ to beating the game of roulette, but you can make sure that you are playing the game that gives you the lowest edge over the casino, which in turn gives you more of a chance of winning. In case you weren’t sure, the game you want to play is French Roulette.
Flawed Roulette Strategies
Over the years there have been several systems that have been set up by people who think they have cracked the game. What you are going to find in each of them is that they come with major flaws once you reach a certain point.
The Martingale System is a progressive betting system that has been about for a long time now. It’s pretty simplistic and in theory, works perfectly, but comes unstuck later down the line.
The system requires you to place a bet on red or black. If your bet wins, then happy days, you’ve doubled your money; but if that bet loses then the next bet needs to be for double the original stake. If it wins then you have recouped your previous losses and are in profit, but if it loses then you double the stake again. You keep doing this until you win and then start again at the original bet amount.
So, if you bet £5 and lose, the next bet is £10. If that loses then bet £20, then £40 and so on until you win.
The major problem with this is that most roulette tables have betting limits, which means eventually you will hit the cap for the table and you won’t be able to double your stake. You’re also going to need a massive bankroll for this as the wins are very small and the losses are catastrophically huge.
For example, if you start with just a £10 bet, this is where you get to after just 5 losing bets:
5 reds or blacks in a row can occur much more often than you think and even if there were 100 reds in a row, the likelihood of it landing on black next would still be exactly the same as it was last time.
The D’Alembert system is one that requires little skill, but lots of patience. You are looking to place small bets on outside parts of the board such as black or red and odd or even.
If you win, then you are looking to decrease your bet by £1, if you lose then you are looking to increase your bet by £1.
The idea is that it keeps losses and wins small to improve longevity in the game. The reality is that £1 increments aren’t going to make up for any loses that you incur.
It’s a terrible system.
Another popular betting system for roulette is that of Labouchere, who is trying to hit a target number of wins and then stop. So, when you start playing you choose how much you want to win and then try and win a percentage of that amount with each bet.
So, if you were looking to win £100, then you might break this down into bets of £10 – £10 – £10 – £20 – £20 – £10 – £10 – £10. Once you’ve come up with your formula, you then start betting. Your first bet should be the amount first and last in your list. In our example this is £10 and £10, so £20 in total. You place on an even money bet and if it wins, you mark them off your list. If you lose then you need to add this number onto your list as you need to win that back.
You then work through your list until all your numbers are ticked off or you’ve too many numbers to make a profit anymore. This doesn’t work as essentially, it’s nothing more than a list taking exercise and you could lose 5 bets in a row and be bankrupt before you’ve even get going.
There are actually quite a few more systems that have done the rounds over the years, but you can see from these three alone how flawed they all are, with the others following very similar paths.
There is no system that can be used to get an advantage with roulette, and if there was one, it would have been discovered by now and the casino’s would stop offering the game.
The best advice we can give is to target lower edge games such as French roulette and in particular the even money bets on that game as they are lowest of any roulette in the industry right now.
From there, set an amount you can afford to lose and an amount you are happy to walk away with if you win, and stick to both. You can win in the short term, but if you keep going you will lose eventually.