How to improve your chances of winning money at roulette
So you've been playing roulette, and you're wondering if there is any strategy for winning money. I should know, because I had the same question myself. What is the best strategy for roulette?
In a nutshell, there is no strategy in terms of where and how much you should bet that will improve your odds of winning. All bets have the same expected returns on average, so there's no need to worry that you've been playing roulette badly up until now.
However, there are a few things I've learned that will minimize the risk of losing.
So here's my all-in-one strategy guide for playing roulette based on what I've learned over the years.
|Rank||Casino||Rating||Payment Methods||Payout Time||Links|
||Rating A+||Games AmericanEuropean||Racetrack Yes||La Partage No||Play Now Read Review|
||Rating A||Games American||Racetrack No||La Partage No||Play Now Read Review|
I. Table Selection
Play European or French roulette.
Not all roulette tables are created equal. Different variants of roulette actually give you a better chance of winning than others. Here's the house edge for the most common variants:
- American Roulette =
- European Roulette =
- French Roulette =
What this means is:
- For every $100 you wager on American roulette, you're going to lose an average of $5.26.
- For every $100 you wager on European or French roulette, you're going to lose an average of $2.70.
Why? Because all of these variants have the same payouts when you win (e.g.
35 to 1 on a single number), but the American roulette wheel has an extra 00 pocket, which ultimately just gives you another opportunity to lose.
So if you have the option of choosing between different variants of roulette, the best strategy is to always choose European or French roulette. This way you're immediately halving the house edge, and therefore increasing your chances of winning money.
To be honest I'm amazed that casinos still offer American roulette alongside European roulette. I'm guessing that some players are still unaware of the different house edges the games offer. There is absolutely no reason to favor the American version of roulette.
Tip: European and French roulette are basically the same game; they just have different table layouts.
II. Table Rules
Play at a table with the En Prison/La Partage rule.
In addition to selecting the best roulette table, you should also look for tables that offer either of the following rules:
- La Partage
- Rule: If you bet on an even-money wager and the result is 0, you get half of your bet back.
- Effect: Reduces house edge to
- En Prison
- Rule: If you bet on an even-money wager and the result is 0, your bet is held on the table for the chance to win on the next spin.
- Effect: Reduces house edge to
In short, these beneficial rules give you the chance to get some of your money back if you've bet on an even-money wager (e.g. red/black) and the ball lands in the 0 pocket.
From a mathematical perspective both of these rules are equally as good. For example, with En Prison your money is just carried over on to the next spin of the wheel, and the chance of losing is 50% (which is equivalent to getting half of your money back with the La Partage rule).
So either way, if you see La Partage or En Prison, you're being given the option of halving the house edge once again from
1.35%, and you should take the casino up on their kind offer.
A smart roulette player always looks for a table that has one of these rules in operation.
Just remember that these rules only apply to even-money wagers. These rules do not help with inside bets, and so they're still subject to the standard house edge of 2.70%.
All bets have the same expected return over the long run.
As I mentioned at the start, there is no strategy for where you should place your bets on the roulette table. On a standard European roulette table (without La Partage or En Prison), all bets have the same house edge:
|Red / Black||1:1||
|Even / Odd||1:1||
|Low / High||1:1||
The only practical difference between the different types of bets is the frequency of winning. For example, you'll experience small but frequent wins when betting on an even-money wager like red, whereas if you choose to bet on a single number you'll experience infrequent but much larger wins.
And over the long run, the amount you win from each of these bets balances out to give you exactly the same expected return.
So in summary: no bet is better than any other at the roulette table. They all have the same expected return, so feel free to place your bets wherever you feel most lucky.
Tip: If you want to maximize your chances of winning, you should play at a table with La Partage/En Prison and stick to the even-money wagers so that you can get the benefit of the reduced house edge of
1.35% on every bet you make.
Systems do not work.
There is no system that exists that can improve your chances of winning at the roulette table. The mathematics of the game is fixed, and betting systems do nothing to alter it, so you may as well bet in any pattern that you like.
Most systems are designed to increase or decrease the amount your betting when you win or lose to try and guarantee a profit. However, whilst some systems appear to work over the short term, over the long run they always fail.
- Martingale System (doesn't work)
- Fibonacci System (doesn't work)
- d'Alembert System (doesn't work)
- Cancellation System (doesn't work)
- Paroli System (doesn't work)
- Oscar's System (doesn't work)
For example, the most popular betting system is the martingale. The jist of it is you double your bet each time you lose, so that when you win you will recoup all of your losses and always end up with a profit. It seems to make sense, and the majority of the time it appears to work, but the fact that you're doubling your bets when you lose means that there is always a devastating loss lurking around the corner:
Whilst systems appear to return small but consistent wins, they also provide the occasional catastrophic loss that wipes out all your winnings (and more).
The worst thing about systems is that they often draw you in to a false sense of success, but inevitably you will always hit a bad run that goes on for longer than you thought possible, and you will be compelled to risk far more than you feel comfortable with.
In general I would advise against using systems. Technically they're no worse than any other method of betting, but ideally you want to avoid being under the illusion that you can beat the roulette table… maintaining that belief will lead you in to a dark hole.
Tip: The best system/strategy is to bet amounts that you choose for yourself and feel most comfortable with.
V. Money Management
The greatest piece of advice that I can give to any roulette player is as follows:
Decide how much you're prepared to lose and to stick to it.
If you come to the table with a fixed amount of money in mind that you're prepared to lose, you're giving yourself a safety net that will catch you if things go wrong. The problem with the fast pace of roulette is that it's easy to get swept away and to move the limits that you're comfortable with. And the moment you go past your own limits, your heading toward an addiction that will cost you more than you bargained for.
Roulette can be enjoyable, but gambling addiction isn't.
Think of your loss limit as an upcoming test. When you hit your limit, you are given the opportunity to strengthen your resolve and walk away. If you do walk away, you have reinforced your ability to make good decisions in the face of temptation. It might seem like a minor issue at the time, but in reality it's a major victory that will serve you well for the rest of your life.
The roulette wheel can take you on a wild ride, so it's important to keep a cool head when you're playing.
So set yourself a limit, and stick to it.
At the end of the day, the biggest cause of loss at the roulette table is not betting on the wrong color, it's falling to addiction.
What's the best strategy?
The best strategy for winning money from roulette is to minimize the amount of money you expose to the roulette wheel.
For example, if you want to try and win $100, your best bet is to make a single bet of $100 on an even-money wager (on a European table with a La Partage/En Prison rule) and hope to get lucky on one spin of the wheel.
The more money you wager at the hands of the roulette wheel, the more it gets eroded by the house edge. Conversely, the less money you expose to the wheel in an attempt to reach your target amount, the less your are succumbing the mathematical advantage that the casino has on every bet you make.
For example, you could make four bets of $50, or a single bet of $100, and eventually end up with a win of $100.
- With the four bets of $50, you are exposing $200 to the wheel for an average loss of $5.40 (
2.70% of $200).
- With the one bet of $100, you are exposing $100 to the wheel for an average loss of $2.70 (
2.70% of $100).
So in short, the longer your play for and the more money you place on the table, the more money you are losing on average.
The best strategy is to risk as little as possible.
What's the worst strategy?
There isn't really a "worst strategy" for roulette, as all strategies have the same expected results over the long run.
However, the most dangerous approach to playing roulette is to use a negative progression system in the hope of beating the odds and guaranteeing yourself a profit.
With these systems you tend win small amounts of money frequently, so it feels like the system is working over the short run. However, you will eventually experience a run of bad luck that goes on for longer than you thought possible, and the losses will be absolutely devastating.
So it's not so much that a specific strategy is bad, but more the suggestion that it could work that leads you in to a deep hole.
Why doesn't strategy work in roulette?
Because the odds are fixed and there is nothing you can do to change it.
Every bet you make on the roulette table is marginally in favor of the house, so it doesn't matter where you bet or how much you bet, the casino will always have a slight edge, and there is absolutely nothing you can do to swing the odds in your favor.
Analogy: It's the same thing as me giving you lots of small negative numbers and asking you to use add them together to create a positive number. It doesn't matter what strategy or system you use for adding the numbers together, you will always end up with a (bigger) negative number.
In other casino games like poker you can use strategy to win money. This is because you're playing against other people (and not the house), and you will sometimes be dealt a hand where the odds are in your favor. In these situations the strategy is to get as much money in to the pot as possible, which means there are tactics you can use to actually win money consistently.
However, in roulette there are no tactics. All you have is a fixed set of odds, and the only strategy available to you is to hope that you get lucky and defy the laws of probability.
Tip: If you're interested in using strategy to win money in the casino, play poker instead.
The best strategy for improving your chances of winning when playing roulette can be summed up in two key tips:
- Play at a European or French roulette table.
- Play at a table that offers the La Partage or En Prison rules.
This will reduce the house edge to the smallest amount of
1.35%, which is the best possible odds you can get when playing roulette, and as a result it gives you the best possible opportunity to win money.
The casino still has the edge, so over the long run you should expect to lose more than you win.
Beyond that, you just need to set yourself a loss limit before you play and resolve to stick to it no matter what. You don't have to set a limit on how much you can win, but it's important to set yourself a limit to how much you're prepared to lose.
The Achilles heel of roulette players is addiction, and you need to protect yourself from it.
Finally, in terms of where to bet and how much to bet, that's entirely up to you. There is no perfect strategy, and all the different bets have the same expected results (over the long run), so play the game however you want.