Roulette Strategy

Roulette has been around since the eighteenth century, and its popularity and longevity are the hallmarks of the lasting entertainment of this popular betting game. Many systems have been devised for ways to beat the house at Roulette. Here we’ll examine some of the more popular systems with a description and and analysis of each.

The Martingale System

The Martingale system refers to a betting strategy whereby the player bets on an even money proposition such as red or black and doubles his or her bet after each loss. The idea is that the first winning bet in the sequence will recoup not just the previous losses, but will also win the original bet, leaving the bettor in profit, at which time the process starts again.The most well-known roulette strategy, the Martingale system, will more often than not return a profit, however there are two significant drawbacks to the system:

  • The bettor requires a very large bankroll relevant to the initial bet in order to be able to withstand many doubles of the bet; and
  • In the unlikely event that the house wins many bets in a row, the player will be bankrupted, losing an amount far greater than he or she stood to gain from any of the previous bets

See this table outlining the odds and bets using the Martingale system

 Martingale Table

The Fibonacci System

A less aggressive system than the Martingale, the Fibonacci system is a strategy that uses the famous Fibonacci number sequence to decide on bet size. The naturally occurring Fibonacci sequence produces the next number in the sequence by adding together the previous two numbers:

0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144

The Fibonacci system of roulette betting involves using this sequence to decide on the next bet size. For each losing bet the bettor progresses forward one step in the sequence, while for each losing bet the bettor moves back two steps.

The idea is to increment bet sizes slowly, avoiding large losses and aiming to conservatively eke out profit.

The Labouchère system

The Labouchère system, also known as the cancellation system, or split Martingale, is a complicated system that involves setting a goal for the amount of money the bettor wants to win. The bettor writes down a list of positive numbers that add up to the target amount, and then wagers the sum of the first and last numbers on the list.

First bet is successful: the first and last numbers are crossed off the list and the process begins again.
First bet is unsuccessful: the amount lost is added to the end of the list and the process begins again.

This is similar to the Martingale system with the main difference being a less drastic increase in bet amounts. The system suffers from the same flaws as the Martingale system in requiring a large bankroll and carrying significant risk in the unlikely chance that a of losing a lot of bets in a row.

D’Alembert system

This system involves negative progression and depends on the notion that, over time, all the numbers on the wheel will come up an equal number of times. The D’Alembert system holds that if you have just had a win, it is more likely the next bet will be a loser, and vice versa. The system involves betting on the exact same thing (e.g. red) and adjusting one’s bets accordingly – betting less after a win and more after a loss.

The D’Alembert system suffers from the obvious flaw known as the “gamblers fallacy”. In actual fact, the result of the next spin is not affected by the outcome of the previous spin whatsoever. If you flip a coin 9 times and it has been heads every time, there is still a 50-50 chance that the next flip will be heads. For this reason, the D’Alembert system is a poor way to attempt to overcome the slight house advantage on outside bets.

Roulette money management

The most important consideration when playing roulette is to manage one’s bankroll conservatively. Have realistic goals about the amount of money that should be won or lost in a single session. Try not to let a bad session to affect your judgement by causing you to chase losses. The main thing with roulette is to have a good time while holding one’s own against the house. Betting systems can be fun to try, but in the long run there is no silver bullet when it comes to betting on roulette.

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