Here’s the big secret to winning at Roulette: just guess! Yes, it’s true, no matter how many so-called ‘experts’ offer to sell you a winning strategy, Roulette is simply a game of chance. Every straight bet on the table carries the same house edge, which is 2.7% on the single-zero wheel and 5.3% on the double-zero wheel. No strategy, betting system or lucky underwear will lower the house edge in the long run.
But what about all that advice on ‘Roulette strategy’ that flies around the gambling world? With titles like The Grand Martingale and Cancellation, these systems sound fairly legit to the novice Roulette player. The problem with these and all other betting systems is that they rely on a mistake in thinking called the gambler’s fallacy.
The gambler’s fallacy is the mistaken belief that because a number hasn’t appeared in a series of spins, that it must come up soon. The problem with this is that it makes sense in the long run: after thousands and thousands of spins, every number (including the 0 and 00 in Roulette) will come up roughly an even number of times.
But just because it happens in the long run doesn’t mean these odds are translated to the short run. After sitting at the Roulette table for an hour, the number 1 could come up three times, thirty times, or not at all.
Let’s use that last scenario as an example: there have been forty spins and the number 1 hasn’t come up at all. Does it have a higher chance of coming up on the forty-first spin?
The answer is no. The ball has just as much chance of landing on 1 as it did at the beginning of the hour. On a double-zero wheel, this chance is 1/38.
An easy way to understand this would be to say that the ball has no memory. Every ‘event’: that is, every spin of the wheel, is never influenced by the spins before it. The ball doesn’t know (or care) that it hasn’t landed on 1 in forty spins, because every spin is a brand new event.
Of course, if anybody had really found a strategy to beat the house edge in Roulette, either casinos would go out of business or (more likely) change the rules so that the table couldn’t be exploited anymore. Betting systems are simply neat ways to lose money very quickly, as they often risk big losses for small wins.
So when it comes to Roulette strategy, the best you can do is put on your lucky underwear and hope for the best. Good luck!