Which roulette strategies really work, which eventually lose, and why? Here are the facts casinos don’t want you to know.
A roulette strategy is basically any method to win at roulette. In most cases it’s a set of mechanical rules that tell the player when and where to bet. There are more strategies to win roulette than any other casino game, but the vast majority of roulette players consistently lose. This page gives a simple explanation of which roulette strategies work, which fail, and why. There is an emphasis on “why”, so you understand and stop wasting time on losing strategies.
Why Most Roulette Strategies Lose
Most roulette strategies do not even consider where the ball will land. It may seem absurd, considering that roulette is all about a wheel and ball.
An example of such a system is consider betting on RED. If you lose, you double your bet on RED for the next spin. If you lose again, you increase your bet again and so on until you profit or lose everything. Let’s have a look at what happens after a few spins:
Bet 1 unit on Red > LOSE
Bet 2 units on Red > LOSE
Bet 4 units on Red > LOSE
Bet 8 units on Red > LOSE
Very quickly the bet size increases. Is there any scientific and viable reason why red would spin next? No. And even if there was, this strategy certainly doesn’t consider it. Simply the odds of red and black spinning are always the same. It doesn’t matter even if you had 100 blacks in a row. The odds of red or black spinning next don’t change. Intermediate players may understand this, but they are stuck thinking that eventually they are due to win. The fact is eventually you will win, but this doesn’t mean you will profit. Why is explained below.
The problems with progression strategies are:
1. Eventually you will reach the table maximum bet. When you do, you won’t be able to increase bets large enough to cover losses.
2. Even when you win, the payout is still unfair. For example consider the European wheel has 37 pockets, but the payout is 35 to 1. If the payouts were fair, they would be 36 to 1 so that one win in 37 spins leaves you with no change in bankroll.
Even if you eventually win, the above two points guarantee you will lose. Of course you might get lucky, but eventually your luck will run out.
Facts vs Fiction: Common False Beliefs Explained
It makes sense that knowing basic facts will help. But most players are still stuck believing nonsense. So this section lists the most common false beliefs, backed up by plain fact.
FACT: Previous spins do not affect future spins
If we had 100 reds in a row, the chances of red or black spinning next don’t change. To test this principle for yourself, check spin history and find streaks of red or black. Then check how many times red or black spins next. Test enough spins and you’ll find the odds haven’t changed. In this sense, previous spins have no connection to future spins. However, there is still some connection, which is the physical variables. But most players don’t even attempt to utilize the connections.
FACT: You cannot use a “long term balance”
If you tested 10,000 spins, usually you’ll have approximately an even amount of red and blacks. So it may seem reasonable to assume you could check the previous spins and bet on whichever color spun least. Let’s assume there was no green zero for now. For example, say you checked 1000 previous spins and saw there were 600 reds and 400 blacks. So you then bet on black expecting more blacks to spin because of an “evening out effect”.
It doesn’t work that way because:
- If there were more reds than black, it could be because of wheel defects making red spin more. So betting on black would be worse than random bets.
- You only tested 1,000 spins. How do you know the past 100,000 spins didn’t include an opposite trend like 60,000 blacks and 40,000 reds?
The first point is more relevant. The second point is assuming the roulette wheel is conscious and wants to try and “even the outcomes” somehow. As far as I know, the roulette wheel isn’t conscious and doesn’t make decisions.
FICTION: Betting Progression Helps You Win (Changing Bet Size)
Changing bet size is called “progression”. Positive progression is increasing bet size after losses, and negative progression is decreasing bet size after losses. They just don’t work. Ask yourself this: Does changing your bet size influence the winning number? No, of course not. The wheel and ball have nothing to do with your bets.
If you’re like most players, your strategy would be to use a trigger, then betting progression. A trigger is simply an event you wait to occur before betting. For example, the trigger may be wait for 3 REDS to spin in a row. Your bet would then be doubling bet size until you win. But again this wont work because the odds haven’t changed, the payouts are the same, and all you’re doing is making difference size bets on independent spins.
Because progression is popular, it needs special attention. Here’s a typical betting progression:
Bet 1 unit on red: LOSS
Bet 2 units in red: LOSS
Bet 4 units on red: LOSS
Bet 8 units on red: WIN
In this example, the player doubles bet size after losses. The player thinks they’ll “eventually win” and profit. They think their “chain of betting” helps them win. But in reality they’re making a series of independent bets with these odds:
1 unit bet, odds 18/37, payout 1:1
2 unit bet, odds 18/37, payout 1:1
4 unit bet, odds 18/37, payout 1:1
8 unit bet, odds 18/37, payout 1:1
Most players don’t understand is this is no different to 4 different players making 4 different bets. And the odds of winning and payout are the same regardless. So what has the player changed with progression? Absolutely nothing except the amount they bet. The chances of winning or losing are the same on each spin. So if your system doesn’t win with flat betting (no progression), then it will fail with progression.
So does a progression help you win? It’s like asking whether or not changing bet size help you win or lose. You could get lucky and win big, OR you could be unlucky and LOSE EVEN MORE. Progression is a double-edged sword, and the casino still has the advantage.
FICTION: You can build a system around a “rare event” that you’ll never see in your lifetime
Another common mistake is believing you can use progression to win before a “rare event” happens. It’s incorrect because the odds still haven’t changed. Your perception of a “rare” event is actually something that will eventually happen in enough spins.
For example, you may have never seen these winning numbers in a row: 1,2,3,4,5. But chances are you’ve never seen this sequence either: 32,4,18,9,1. If you see enough spins, they will happen exactly the same amount of times. Each sequence is just as rare as the other.
Another example is expecting you’ll never see 37 different numbers appear in 37 spins. Firstly, it will happen just as often as any other sequence of 37 spins. So why would you favor one group of 37 numbers over another 37 numbers? There is no difference at all. Each spin is independent and with the same odds. It’s exactly the same as expecting to never see four reds in a row (RRRR). It may occur less often than a mixed sequence like BRRB or RBRB, but the odds of any specific sequence happening are exactly the same. So thinking one sequence is more rare than another is delusion.
Put another way, imagine waiting many years to see the spin sequence 1,2,3,4,5. It seems really rare, and you bet that #6 wont spin next. But actually the odds of #6 spinning next are the same as any other number. Run some proper simulations and you’ll see no matter how you play it, you cannot change your odds by betting that rare events wont happen.
FICTION: An eventual win helps you profit
Yes a win will eventually happen, but how much have you lost while waiting for the win? The amount you lost is because of the house edge, which I’ll explain later.
FICTION: Bankroll Management Helps You Win
Unless your roulette strategy changes the odds of you winning, bankroll management will only make you lose at a faster or slower rate. Specifically positive progression will make you lose faster, and negative progression makes your bankroll last longer (because your bets get smaller).
Why doesn’t bankroll management help? Because it just controls the amount you bet. The wheel doesn’t care what you are betting. Your bet size doesn’t influence it. Your bets are not changing the odds or payouts.
FICTION: You Only Need a Short-Term Winning Strategy
There are many strategies that aim to win perhaps +1 unit each day. It will hardly cover the cost of car parking. But still let’s use this as an example and say your goal was to win just +1 unit. It seems simple enough, right? Many players have claimed they have a holy grail that will win a set amount per day, but the strategy’s rules require you to leave after winning the target amount.
- If the strategy worked, wouldn’t playing more mean winning more?
- What if 10,000 players all used the same system? Would they all win +1 unit?
- What if 1 player used the same system 10,000 times?
A roulette strategy either wins in the long-term, or loses in the long-term. Whether you bet on just 1 spin, or 1,000 spins, the casino will have the same edge over you. That is unless you are able to change the odds of winning.
FICTION: Roulette has streaks you can use for advantage
Even with numbers from a random number generator, there will inevitably be times where the same number spins several times in a row. This is simple statistics, and such “freaky streaks” are bound to happen eventually. The odds of 0 spinning three times in a row are 1 in 50653. But what are the odds of 0,0 then 2 spinning? . . . Also 1 in 50653. So ask yourself, why would you bet 0 after it had spun twice consecutively?
The same concept applies to any other bet. For example, you may wait for the first dozen to spin three times consecutively, then bet on the second and third dozens. But the odds of each dozens spinning next haven’t changed at all.
FICTION: A strategy that “lasts” for 20,000 spins is better than most systems
A strategy will either lose or win in the long term. If you use a negative progression where you decrease bet size after losses, you can make your bankroll last longer. But the end result will still be a loss.
Alternatively, you could wait for rare “triggers” that mean you skip many spins before betting. Then you apply an aggressive betting progression and may get lucky with a big win. The result of this is a lot of spins will occur, but you rarely bet. So you can last many thousands of spins without blowing your bankroll. This doesn’t make the system good. It just makes a losing strategy more boring to use. A strategy like this on a bankroll trend chart will show a lot of dramatic up and down bankroll spikes.
If you have a good roulette system tester, try creating a system with random bets. You’ll find that even occasionally it will be profitable testing over 20,000 spins. It doesn’t mean the system “works”. It just means you got lucky. Try repeating the test a few times. Certainly there would be many players around using totally ineffective strategies, who have still profited purely from luck. Most players will never play 10,000 spins in their life, and it is still easily possible to profit after 10,000 spins with a losing system from luck. Reality may catch up with them eventually, or they may end their roulette career with a profit despite an ineffective strategy.
FICTION: A Strategy That Mostly Wins Is All You Need
Let’s say you had a simple system and you are mostly winning with it. Let’s say you profit 80% of the time. So out of 5 days of play, you profit 4 of the days, and lose 1 of the days. The results may be:
Day 1: +100 units
Day 2: +50 units
Day 3: +20 units
Day 4: +100 units
Day 5: -300 units
So you were doing quite well, until that rare occurrence eventually happened. And only if that rare occurrence didn’t happen, right? Maybe next time you won’t be so unlucky.
The casinos don’t profit by being lucky. They profit because of a long-term advantage called the “house edge”. The roulette strategies that work don’t rely on luck either.
FICTION: Waiting for a trigger to bet increases your chances of winning
You will either have a positive or negative edge, and waiting for something to happen like a sequence of numbers will not improve your chances of winning. The exception is if the “trigger” is directly related to a sequence of spins caused by physical variables of the wheel and ball. For example, if the trigger was “bet on whatever number that won most in 10,000 spins”, then this is bias analysis. But the “triggers” that have no effect are like “wait for 5 reds in a row then bet black”.
FICTION: Winning after you reach your target profit for the day helps ensure daily profits
It makes no difference if you play 1 spin a day for 100 days, or 100 spins in 1 day. It’s still 100 spins. The odds of you winning or losing are the same in either case.
FICTION: Skipping spins you bet on can help you profit in the long term
If you tested a system over 1,000 spins, your “trigger” may require you to bet on only 200 spins (20% of spins). If you profited, it doesn’t mean you’ve won over 1,000 spins. It means you’ve won over just 200 spins.
The Illusion of a Winning System
The casino thrives on delusions and illusions. They wouldn’t be able to profit if people knew the truth about what did and didn’t work. Here’s an example of the delusions from players that keep casinos in business.
Say there were 1,000 players all applying the same system in different casinos, each of them unaware of each other. Now after a week of play, the collective results are:
48% of players win a total of $480,000. These players are convinced they have a winning system.
52% of players lose a total of $500,000. These players are back to the drawing board and start working on a new system.
The casino takes the profit of $20,000 and doesn’t care who won or lost. They only need more losers than winners. But the casino need winners to keep hope alive, so gamblers keep coming back. The winnings paid are like an investment for the casino.
Keep in mind that I was once one of the deluded losers too. I won most of the time and thought I had beaten roulette. I thought I had a winning strategy and that I could effortlessly milk the casinos. But the delusion was revealed with further play.
The House Edge Explained
The “house edge” is what enables the casino to profit. An example is the European wheel has 37 pockets, but a 35-1 payout on single numbers. So if you win 1 in 37 as you’d expect with random bet selection, you’d be paid 35 units plus your original bet, leaving you with 36 units. But if roulette’s payouts were fair, you’d be left with 37 units after the 37 spins. Simply the house edge is unfair payouts. And it affects every bet and every roulette strategy. Even when you win, you are still getting paid unfairly.
The only way to overcome the house edge is to improve your odds of winning.
Some Players Win, Most Players Lose
Currently there’s over 1,000 players. You can see how much they’ve won, how much they’ve lost, how many spins they’ve played, and the “win rate” (wins vs losses). A win rate of 1.0 means the player has broken even. The expected win rate is about 0.97 because of the house edge.
Here’s the top of the leaderboard:
For a player to rank higher, they need to have won more than they’ve lost, and done it over a more statistically significant amount of spins. So rankings are based on wins, losses, and amount of spins played. It isn’t based on wins vs losses alone because then anyone could get lucky on 5 spins and rank high.
You’ll notice that generally the more spins a player played, the lower their win rate. There are still some lucky players that have profited after a few thousand spins. The key question is does their system beat roulette, or are they just lucky? Well if you test virtually any system over 5,000 spins, sometimes it will profit. But most of the times it will have lost. So even with a random system, sometimes you will profit. But most of the time you’ll lose.
This is exactly how a real casino works. Most players lose. A few players win, and these players (and perhaps their friends) think the system truly works. The reality is their profits are just luck. Remember that even with random bets, it’s inevitable that some players will profit. Sometimes a losing system can get lucky and profit after 100,00 spins.
If you say you only need a system to win in “your lifetime of spins”, you aren’t paying attention. Remember there could be 100 players all playing 1,000 spins, which is 100,000 spins in total. From those 100 players, perhaps 47 will be winners, and 53 will be losers. Again most are losers. You have no way of controlling if you are one of the winners or losers. You are all using the same system, and the results depend entirely on whether you get “suitable spins” or not.
How To “Improve Your Odds” of Winning
Roulette odds are basically how often you expect to win. So if you bet on a single number on an American double zero wheel, you can expect to win 1 in 38 spins because there’s 38 numbers on the wheel. Therefore your odds of winning would be 1 in 38.
If you understand what I’ve written to this point, you’d understand the only way to win roulette consistently is by improving your odds. So how can you do this?
Well, think logically. What determines the winning number? The wheel and ball of course, and a variety of physical variables like wheel and ball speeds. So it makes sense that if you want to predict the winning number, you need to consider what is making the ball land where it does. In one word, “physics”.
It may sound complicated, but we’re not talking rocket science here. The physics of roulette is actually quite mundane and simple.
The Only Roulette Strategies That Concern Casinos
Casinos know their business better than average players. And casinos share information between other casinos. And the only strategies that concern casinos involve the application of physics. Casino staff call these strategies “advantage play”, simply because they increase the player’s odds of winning and give a legitimate advantage.
Strategies that Lose
If you’ve understood my explanations, you’ll know a losing strategy just by considering these things about it:
- Does it attempt to predict the winning number?
- Are it’s “betting triggers” based on legitimate physical variables that influence the winning number?
- Does it rely on betting progression, or same-sized bets (flat bets)?
- Does it use triggers that assume there some sort of balance will occur?
- If losing streaks are rare, will they wipe out the bankroll?
See the page about how to test your roulette system. It teaches you how to properly test, without risking any money.
Well-known Strategies and Why They Lose
Perhaps applying the above knowledge to actual systems will help you understand why a system loses. Below are some well-known losing systems, and why they lose:
This is not a system for bet selection. It is just a betting progression where you double bet size after losses. Remember the wheel doesn’t care about your bet size. The odds don’t change. All you do with the Martingale is change bet size on different spins. Even when you win, you’ll still be paid an unfair amount. You can do well for a while, but eventually you’ll reach the maximum table bet and losses will rapidly compound.
The Kavouras Bet
There are two parts to this strategy. First is the bet selection, which is: 1 unit on 0,1,2,3 (corner bet), AND 2 units on 31,32,33,34,35,36 (double street bet), AND 1 unit on the splits 8-11, 13-14, 15-18, 17-20, 27-30. The system seller (Kavouras) claims the bets are as “ingeniously chaotic” and evenly spread around the wheel to prevent the dealer avoiding your bets. A better idea is just bet red or black.
This strategy loses because it doesn’t even consider the winning number. It is just a variety of independent bets, each with their own odds and payouts. The bet selection changes nothing. The strategy seller claims the “money management” part is what makes it profitable. But this is impossible because money management only changes the amount you bet. This strategy doesn’t at all change the odds.
Tier et Tout
This is a betting progression and money management strategy. Again it doesn’t consider the winning number at all. It doesn’t change the odds, and the player simply makes a variety of bets of a different size. It can be fun to play with, but is no different to random bets with random bet size.
John Solitude Raindrop Strategy
This strategy is based on the principle of “balance”. So it expects that “eventually” you will win. It doesn’t work because knowing you will eventually win doesn’t allow you to select where to bet, at least in a way that improves your odds.
There are countless other losing strategies but you’ll find they are much the same, just repackaged a different way. I don’t mean any disrespect to the creators of these and other losing systems. It’s only my intention to help people understand how to develop a winning strategy. In fact it took me around 10 years of developing roulette systems before I had anything that worked, or even understood the basics of why my systems failed. So I understand the mind of the typical roulette player.
In the Simplest Terms Possible
1. The winning number is determined by real physical variables, like wheel and ball properties, spin spins etc.
2. If spins are random, the odds of winning are fixed. For example, if you bet on 0, you expect to win about 1 in 37 spins (on a single zero wheel)
3. The payouts never change. They are casino rules. For example, a win on a single number pays 35 -1.
4. The house edge is the casino’s advantage over you. It is simply unfair payouts when you do win.
5. Almost every system is based around junk like the law of a third, waiting for numbers to hit then betting, martingale progression etc. They lose because they dont change the odds of winning. So the odds are unchanged, and the payouts are unchanged. The result is guaranteed long term loss. No betting progression changes it.
6. The average player has no idea of these simple fundamental facts, which is why they keep coming up with losing systems, again and again.
7. Everything in roulette is long term, unless you have detailed data that accounts for why the ball lands where it does (like dominant diamond, rotor speed, ball bounce). You cannot possibly test a system properly from a few minutes or even weeks of play. Proper testing requires months, otherwise a loss or win can be plain good or bad luck. So for proper testing to be practical, you need at least 50,000 recorded spins from a real wheel. The only exception is if you have supporting information to back up results, like dominant diamond, rotor speed, ball bounce (so you can plainly see all factors contributing to where the ball lands).
8. The ONLY way to beat roulette consistently is to increase the accuracy of predictions, AKA increase the odds of winning.
9. Most players will either flat ignore the above, or not have proper understanding of it. Professional players, players who aren’t new to roulette, or players who are reasonably intelligent, will understand the facts and wonder what other players are thinking.
Anyone can take or leave these simple facts.
Changing the old way old thinking
It is difficult to change old ways of thinking. Here I’ll explain everything in other terms, so you can see another perspective.
Let’s say you bet on a coin toss. If you win, I pay you $1. If you lose, you pay me $1. But now imagine if I only paid you $0.50 for wins. The odds of you winning haven’t changed, but the payout for you has changed. That’s what the “house edge” is.
So in this case, how can you profit?
The odds of you winning will always be 50/50. So you have a 50% chance of LOSING $1, and a 50% chance of WINNING $0.50. You can’t just double bet size after losses, because then all you do is increase the amount you risk. Sure you may get lucky and win, but what happens if you lose? You’ll lose big. So there is no escaping the unfair payouts UNLESS you know which side of the coin is more likely to appear. Then you would be changing the odds of winning. And if you won much more often than 50% of the time, then the unfair payout wont matter as much.
The Best Winning Roulette Strategies
Unfortunately the average website about winning roulette is full of rubbish. But at least now you may be better able to identify systems and strategies that are guaranteed to lose, without needing to test or even buy systems.
See the www.roulettephysics.com home page for a list of the best proven winning strategies. They all apply physics to predict the winning number and improve player odds.
The Two Best Strategies:
Roulette Computers (www.roulette-computers.com): Electronic devices that measure the speed or the wheel and ball to predict the winning number.
Cross-reference roulette system: Cross referencing is a type of analysis where all available data is considered, and used to detect usable patterns. What makes it special is the data cross-referenced to ensure accuracy. This enables the player to better find hidden patterns in spins, and in less time. Also it enables players to quickly adjust when conditions at the wheel change. The method of cross referencing is not exclusive to roulette, and can be applied to other casino games. But this particular roulette system is combined with other predictive methods that are exclusive to roulette.