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Mar 16, 2017

How to Win at Roulette

author Peter S.

Every player is interested in how to win at roulette, how to outsmart roulette and how to overturn the house edge. Now you can see best strategies on how to win at roulette.

What are your chances of winning at roulette?

Although many players may not believe it, winning in roulette is all about probability. So, in today's article, we'll take a look at what the odds of winning for each bet are depending on the number of rounds of play. As complicated as it sounds, it's very simple and as a result, even you will be able to calculate the odds of success for your favorite bets. 

Roulette and probability theory have a lot in common. First of all, they share the same father. None other than the famous mathematician, physicist, and philosopher Blaise Pascal. He invented both roulette and probability in the 17th century and, thanks in part to this, it has made its way into every primary school textbook.

Although probability theory is extremely interesting as such, today we will focus more on its real-life applications. Specifically, then, we will look at what all gamblers are primarily interested in, namely the chances of winning. It is the first to know if you know how to win at roulette.

To begin with, it should be noted that all probability calculations are derived from the European roulette wheel, which has 18 black squares, 18 red squares, and 1 green square with zero. We have chosen this game because it has half the house edge and is thus much more profitable to play on in the first place. Although you won't often find it in brick-and-mortar casinos, every online casino that offers table and card games has European roulette in its portfolio of games.

You should know the chances of winning for every roulette bet and their respective payouts.

Bet Payout European  American 
Red/Black 1:1 48,65 % 47,37 %
Even/Odd 1:1 48,65 % 47,37 %
Low/High 1:1 48,65 % 47,37 %
Dozen 2:1 32,43 % 32,58 %
Columm 2:1 32,43 % 31,58 %
Six line 5:1 16,22 % 15,79 %
Corner 8:1 10,81 % 10,63 %
Street 11:1 8,11 % 7,89 %
Split 17:1 5,41 % 5,26 %
Straight 35:1 2,70 % 2,63 %

Every basic bet covers a certain number of playing fields. Logically, then, the more fields the single bet covers, the higher the chances of winning. The probability is simply calculated by the formula:

Number of covered fields / 37 * 100

Statistically, the best bets at roulette are even bets (color, even x, odd, high x low) which cover less than half of the gaming area. The chances of winning in the roulette with them are 48.65% (18/37 * 100). The least sure is betting on individual numbers. These bets have only a 2.7% (1/37 * 100) chance to win.

Calculating the probability of winning for consecutive bets

Now that we already have calculated the odds for individual bets, we can further calculate the chances of winning in the series of games. For this case, the original formula has to be modified:

Probability formula for winning in roulette

Q - Number of covered fields

N - Number of played rounds

For our simulation of all individual bets, we have chosen a limit of 50 game rounds, which corresponds, on average, to one hour of playing at a table of 4 or 5 players.

The probability of at least one win in 50 consecutive games

Probability roulette rounds

In the chart above you can see how the probability of winning an individual bet increases. At this point, it is very important to say that the chances never reach 100% probability.

In addition, if you are actually sitting at a table, the chances of winning a single bet always depend on the probability calculation of individual bets. This means that the chance of winning a red bet will always be 48.65%, regardless of the previous one. Do not forget that this calculation tracks the game series as a whole.

You can see it clearly in the famous Monte Carlo example in 19137 when black hit 26 times in a row. The probability of this phenomenon is 0.000000007%. If we convert this number into a meaningful figure, it turns out that you would have to experience about 143 million series of 26 games to see it again, which would take about 10 000 years of consecutive play.

How to Win at Roulette - Best Bets in Roulette

One of the critical factors that make roulette, so fun is just the amount of bets with different pay ratios and probability. As more experienced players know, in principle, bets can be divided into two main groups - Inside and Outside Bets. Inside bets are on single numbers or a small cluster of numbers. Outside bets are on large groups of numbers such as red-black bets, high-low bets, or even-odd bets.

These bets are listed on the table and are quite familiar pretty much for everyone. The most commonly used are the so-called Even bets (red-black, high-low, even, and odd).

Probability and Payout for Inside and Outside Roulette Bets

Roulette Bet Win Probability
Red/Black 1 48.6%
Even/Odd 1 48.6%
High/Low 1 48.6%
Dozen 2 32.4%
Bet Line 5 16.2%
Corner 8 10.8%
Street 11 8.1%
Split 17 5.4%
Straight 35 2.7%

The table only includes the numbers from European roulette. Type of roulette online with only one zero. Because this has better chances in general. If possible, never play American roulette (double zero).

The Best Bets in Roulette

To know how to win at roulette, you need to know more than probability and payout to find the best bets on roulette. The key factor is also the so-called House Edge or Expected Return as economists would say. House edge represents the amount casinos earn in the long run from a particular game or bet. With that logic, the key is to find a bet with the Lowest House Edge.

 Bet House Edge
Red/Black 2.7%
Even/Odd 2.7%
High/Low 2.7%
Dozen 2.7%
Bet Line 2.7%
Corner 2.7%
Street 2.7%
Split 2.7%
Straight 2.7%

As you can see, every bet in roulette has the same house edge. That means that in the long run, it doesn't matter what bet you choose to use. Most players bet Even bets because of the almost 50/50 probability.

Most players do not know that there is a subtype of European roulette that offers even better bets. On some French roulettes, there are two specific rules:

  • En Prison house edge – 1.35%
  • La Partage house edge – 1.35%

En Prison and La Partage are the best bets in roulette. There is no other combination or a single bet with better chances.

En Prison and La Partage Bet Explained

La Partage and En Prison bets are the most popular bet at roulette. But it is not easy to find them. Both bets have one thing in common. They apply only to Even bets (red/black, even/odd, high/low). Let’s start with the La Partage rule first.

La Partage is a French word for “sharing or dividing”. Whenever a ball lands on zero, all even bets are divided in half. The first half goes to the casino, and the other goes back to the player.

En Prison means “in prison”, and the rule works a similar way. Whenever a ball lands on zero, all active bets are marked and kept on the table. If the second roulette spin wins the original bet, the total full goes back to the player.

What is the best roulette strategy?

Betting strategies are very popular among roulette players. And not only among players. Many mathematicians and enthusiasts try to invent new and new systems. In the past, there was also very often a software that was designed to predict the results of online roulette. Which was, of course, nonsense.

One of the first, and best, roulette strategies is the Martingale strategy. The Martingale system is very simple.

  • You choose the Base Bet
  • You bet on what is called Outside bets (red or black, odd or even, high or low)
  • After each losing hand, you double the previous bet
  • After each game is won, you return to the Base Bet

Let's go to an example.

Let's say the Base Bet is €5. So in the first round, we bet €5 and lose. In the second round, the bet is doubled, i.e. €10. We also lose this round. In the third round, the bet is already €20. We win the third round. In the fourth round, the bet is €5 again.

And where's the profit? Let's look at the numbers from our example. A gaming session in the best Martingale roulette system starts in the first round with the Base Bet and ends with the last win.

  • Round 1 bet - bet €5, win 0
  • Round 2 bet - bet €10, win 0
  • Round 3 bet - bet €20, win 40

In total, we bet €35 for the gaming session and won €40. So we have €5 profit. It works out that for each gaming session the player has a profit equal to the Base Bet.

Problem with the Martingale system

Seems like the best roulette strategy, right? However, the problem comes with the maximum bet amount. Even if you start with a relatively small bet, a series of losses can quickly bring you to that limit. And once you can't afford to double your bet, this whole roulette strategy goes down the drain.

We cover the topic of betting systems in the article Top 10 Roulette Betting Systems. In addition, we have published a series of articles analyzing roulette betting strategies. You can find the complete list in our Testing Roulette Systems category.

Biased Roulette is another chance how to win at roulette

As the name suggests, a biased roulette produces different results than would be expected by probability theory. This can happen in two ways. Either the wheel is already defective when it is made, which then produces non-random results, or the roulette wheel wears out during play to the point that this damage causes the roulette to be biased.

Nowadays, misaligned or damaged roulettes are not very often seen. It is perhaps the only way to legally beat roulette. Casinos are well aware of this and regularly review and maintain new and used machines. However, you may encounter a deflected roulette wheel in some of the smaller casinos where roulette wheel inspections are not exactly the order of the day.

Another reason why you will rarely come across a deflected roulette wheel in casinos today is the way it is manufactured. In the past, roulette wheels were most often made of wood and laminate, materials that are more susceptible to warping over time. Today's roulette wheels are increasingly made of metals. However, even on these, there are still parts that can become damaged.

How to recognize and use a biased roulette wheel

Finding a game that gives you an edge over the casino can be harder than it first appears. After all, if the roulette wheel is too damaged and after a few dozen spins it is visible that the results are not random, the roulette owner will notice very soon and simply replace the wheel or the entire table.

However, given the relatively low house edge in roulette, even a small imperfection is enough to put the bettor in the black in the long run. Here, however, the smaller the flaw in the roulette, the more difficult it will be to detect. This can take days or weeks in such a case.

Tracking down such a roulette is quite a chore. First of all, it is necessary to observe and write down the fallen numbers. Here, the more numbers you get the better. We would like to remind you that there is no need to save. You certainly won't be able to tell a biased roulette wheel from a few dozen spins. Here, the observation may involve several hundred or thousands of spins. However, once you've established that the numbers in a particular sector fall more often than the probability indicates, it's time to bet on them.

Famous cases of biased roulettes from the past

A more obscure case where a player took advantage of imperfection on a roulette wheel and won a larger amount of money is, oddly enough, even a first. It happened back in 1873 at the Monte Carlo Casino, where Joseph Jagger managed to win £65,000 on roulette. Taking inflation into account, that amount would be around £3 million today. Perhaps nobody has won that amount of money on roulette in modern times.

Joseph Jagger often referred to as the Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo, noticed that some roulette cylinders were slightly damaged or had a misaligned axis. So he hired several people to monitor all the roulette tables in a selected casino and write down the results. After a few days, he was able to find the biased roulette wheel, and Jagger started cashing in.

However, the casino soon figured out his trick and started changing the roulette cylinders. Jagger lost some of his money, but when he realized that his advantage was irretrievably lost, he left Monte Carlo with the rest of his winnings.

Another case took place more than a century later when the enterprising Spaniard Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo discovered a deflected roulette wheel in the Casino de Madrid and managed to win more than one million Euros on it.

The Most Famous Cheaters in Roulette

Since the beginning of gambling, people have been trying to cheat in these games. Therefore, we bring you the best scams and cheats in roulette throughout history. All the players want to know how to win at roulette legally, but these guys are so determined, that they decided to break a law.

Roulette is one of the most popular gambling games of today and history. According to some sources, it was created by well-known mathematician Blais Pascal, who tried to invent the Perpetuum Mobile device. If it is true, it is not yet known, but it is a nice story. Pascal himself is also the father of the theory of probability, which he defined when he tried to help a gambler beat a game similar to today's dice.

Either way, the first mention of roulette comes from the 17th century. At the same time, the first roulette betting system - Martingale - was created. It is Martingale that could be considered a forerunner of attempts to defeat roulette. And it was definitely not the last one.

The Man Who Broke the Bank in Monte Carlo

Joseph Jagger was a British textile businessman. Until 1871, there was certainly nothing special about him. But then he thought that some roulette wheels might be slightly deflected off the axis and leaning sideways. Let us not forget that at that time, production was not nearly as perfect as it is today.

Jagger decided to test his theory and went to the famous Monte Carlo, where he studied the local roulette table for over a month. After analyzing thousands of games, he managed to find that the roulette was actually tilted and the ball fell to the selected places more often than the probability indicated. According to available information, Jagger earned more than two million francs, which would be equivalent to approximately £ 7.5 million in terms of the current exchange rate.

He used the money to buy real estate for himself and his family members, and in 1892 he died of diabetes. He is also often referred to as the "Man who broke the bank in Monte Carlo".

Pierre Dugal and Biased Roulette

In the 18th century, Pierre Dugal also exploited mistakes in the construction of roulette. A better expression would be 'caused'. Dugal was a gifted carpenter who used to hide in a casino in the toilet and wait. Once all the employees had left, he picked up the tools and adjusted the roulette so that the ball often fell into the selected sector. Then, he and his wife revisited the casino and won big times.

But not everything ends beautifully. Dugal's wife found out about his affairs and reported her husband to the police. He went to prison for a while, and after his release, he found a new wife.

Dugal repeated the same scam on roulette three more times. Every time with another wife, every time unfaithful and always went to jail. His last stay in the detention center was also Dugal's last.

Cheating in Roulette with Mobile

Enough of frauds with biased roulette. Now let's look at the more current case, specifically 2004. Two men and women entered the London Casino Rits and headed straight for roulette. That same evening, the three left with £ 100,000. They returned the next day and won an incredible £ 2.1 million. Since such winnings are not quite common in roulette, the casino called the police, which later detained the group.

Investigators said the gang managed to put into practice the theory known as "sector targeting". Players were able to use a laser to capture the ball's point of entry into the roulette wheel. Then they use the laser to measure its speed, and finally, use specialized software on mobile phones, to estimate its declining orbit. Just for the sake of interest, similar software is also used in the analysis of objects descending in the atmosphere.

But the story did not end there. Because of the imprecise wording of the law, these cheaters had never been accused of fraud. Their device did not affect the roulette or its parts. And the British 18th-century law does not directly prohibit the use of lasers and predictive software. In conclusion, the case is 15 years old, and something like this would not work today, just because casinos use cell jammers.

The Big Cigarette Scam

We will stay with hi-tech equipment for a while. In 1973, Monique Laurent became the face of this roulette fraud. Together with their husband and brother, they managed to cheat the French Casino Deauville by over $ 1 million. In just a week.

At that time, Laurent's brother worked as a roulette dealer in the casino, and from the beginning of his career, he wondered how to beat the roulette. Eventually, he and his beautiful sister came up with an almost perfect plan. They implanted a radio receiver in a ball and concealed a transmitter in a cigarette box. Once the device was activated, the modified ball ended up in a sector of six digits. While her husband was betting, Monique controlled the device in the cigarette box.

The whole action was revealed by accident. Attractive Monique caught the eye of the casino owner, and he started to make her suggestions. For obvious reasons, Monique stubbornly refused these proposals. The owner noticed Monique itself virtually does not play, but on the contrary, often suspiciously moves at very lossy roulette.

The casino eventually had to hire detectives to disclose the detail of this particular roulette cheat. Monique herself did not go to jail for fraud.

How Magnets Beat Roulette

This case happened in 2003 in Austria. According to all information, the roulette cheaters consisted of four Germans and one Austrian. The gang won tens of thousands of euros in a casino in Vienna, thanks to the fact that it managed to get a specially modified ball with a magnet on the roulette table.

According to the police, this group of five people created an electromagnetic field using a remote device, probably in a watch. The ball then fell into one sector. Unknown scammers didn't win every game, but they managed to take around € 200,000 from the casino.

It is interesting how the casino found out about their roulette fraud. As the dealer picked up the ball, it stuck to the metal button on his jacket. After the incident, the group quickly left the casino and no longer showed up. Only a mystery of how I managed to change the ball was left behind.

Richard Marcus and his Quick Hands

Richard Marcus is probably the most famous casino cheater of all time. He has operated with his group in the US for over 20 years and made millions of dollars.

Marcus seemed to have had a sense of gambling since his early years. He moved to the city of sins from New York in 1976 with $ 30,000 winning on races. However, he lost all of his money shortly after. Marcus then lived as a homeless for a while and found a job as a dealer in a casino.

As he was dealing cards, a certain Joe Classon approached him and offered to cheat the casino together. Using a pre-mixed deck, they won more than $ 20,000. It was also Classon who introduced him to late chip placement.

The trick was that Markus always placed a few low-value chips and placed a high-value chip at the very bottom of the stack. If the bet won, he left a high chip on the table. If, on the other hand, in the lost situation, Marcus discreetly pulled the chip from the bottom of the stack. In this way, he operated with his group for more than 20 years until 1999, when he decided to retire and write down his memories.

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