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Roulette appeals to casino newcomers because it is so simple to play. The rules are easy to pick up and a game can take less than a minute to play.
Despite that simplicity, a number of strategies have been devised to make money, and while some methods are more effective than others, knowing about all these strategies can only help you at the roulette table.
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The Labouchere system is perfect for risk-averse players.
- Before the game begins, pick a stop-win:
- This is the amount of money (within reason) that you would like to win
- Let’s say that the stop-win is $50
Next, make a list that works up to your stop-win in a Labouchere system of even units. For example:
- Start with a list: 1, 2, 3
- Bet the sum of your first and last numbers: 1 + 3 = 4 units
- Cross out the highest number: 1, 2
- Bet your first and your last numbers: 1 + 2 = 3 units
- Add your loss to the list: 1, 2, 3
- Bet your first and your last numbers
Note: If you lose at step 2. above, you would add the number 4 to your list, so your list would be 1, 2, 3, 4, and you would bet 1 + 4 = 5 at step 4. above.
The Labouchere system works because the stop-win number allows the player to stay focused and aware of his or her strategy.
If the stop-win is $50, the player knows to cross out all the numbers, collect the $50 in winnings, and leave with a win.
The D’Alembert system is one of the simplest.
- To begin, choose a starting bet:
- After each loss, increase your bet by one unit
- After each win, decrease your bet by one unit
A word of warning
The D’Alembert system relies on the gambler’s fallacy—that is, that wins are more likely after a streak of losses and losses more likely after a streak of wins.
This basis is completely false,as the odds reset with every new spin of the roulette wheel.
There are many other betting systems for roulette, but most others rely on the gambler’s fallacy mentioned above.
Other systems aim to follow “streaks” and search for patterns in randomness, but players must understand that roulette is a game of luck, and no spin is connected to any other spin of the wheel. It is wise to follow systems that offer counsel on careful betting, or systems such as the Labouchere, which have a stop-win built in to protect your pot against your ambition.
There are many betting systems sold online that promise guaranteed win. These are not genuine roulette systems and should not be trusted.
General Betting Tips
European VS US Roulette
A European roulette table has a green ‘0’ at the top, and an American roulette table has an additional ‘00’ alongside its ‘0’. This means that there is one more potential place for the ball to land on the American table, and the odds of winning are a little bit better on a European table!
Outside and Inside Betting
It is important to know the difference between outside and inside bets at the roulette table.
- Outside bets are a shortcut to betting on multiple numbers with a single bet, following a given pattern, found on the outside of the individual number squares (see image below)
- Outside bets include:
- Manque: All numbers 1-to-18
- Passe: All numbers 19-to-36
- Red or black
- Even or odd
- Dozen bets: Players can bet on the first dozen (1-12), second dozen (13-24) or third dozen (25-36)
- Column bets: The numbers are placed in three columns on the roulette table, and players can wager on entire columns at a time
- Snake bets: Players can place individual bets on adjacent numbers to form an M-shaped “snake” on the table. Some in-person casinos offer this as a standard bet, though most online casinos would require players to align those bets individually.
- Outside bets include:
- Inside bets can also allow for betting on multiple numbers with a single bet, but will only apply to individual number squares, or a number of adjacent number square
- Inside bets include:
- Straight: Betting on a single number
- Split: Betting on two numbers by placing a chip on the line between them
- Street: Also known as a row or line bet, players can wager on a row of three numbers to hit (for instance, 4, 5 or 6) by placing a chip on the vertical line separating the inside and outside betting areas from that line.
- Corner: Betting on four numbers at once by placing the chip at the intersection of four numbers.
- Six line: Also known as a double street bet, the six line lets players bet on two streets, or rows, at once. This bet is placed similarly to the street bet, but at the intersection of the vertical line and the horizontal one splitting the two streets, you wish to wager.
- Trio: Players can bet on either 0-1-2 or 0-2-3 in single-zero layout games. The house edge on this bet is higher than for other bets, making it a poor bet.
- Basket: In double-zero layout games, players can bet 0-1-2, 0-00-2 or 00-2-3. Like the Trio bet, the basket has a higher house edge than other bets.
- Top line: Also available only in double-zero layout games, this bet lets players wager on 0-00-1-2-3, and also has a higher house edge.
- Inside bets include:
Other Betting and Money Management Tips
- Roulette is a game of luck, and it’s easy to fall into a negative thought pattern where you are convinced that the wheel is working against you.
- Bet with your head, not your emotions
- Never let yourself get caught up in the thrill of a winning streak. Instead of betting on your lucky number, which has lower odds as a single digit, bet on higher odds options like black/red, even/odd, or high/low.
- Be aware of the odds of the table you’re playing on. American tables have an extra number (00)
- It’s just by a bit, but the odds are still slightly better on European or French roulette tables.
- Never jump into a roulette game without a strategy, even if it’s just a general commitment to a stop-win
- It’s easy to fall for the gambler’s fallacy, but remembering why you’re playing and what you’re after can help keep you focused.
There are a lot of ways players can make their online roulette experience more interesting.
In the end, though, there’s little a player can do to actually improve his or her odds. The house will always hold a slight edge at the roulette table, but that doesn’t mean players won’t improve their odds through smart betting.
To give some of these systems a try, or to try some of the various bets for yourself, be sure to check out our recommended roulette casinos below.