Roulette Systems

Simulations of the most popular systems

Roulette Systems

Here's a list of the most popular betting systems used in roulette.

I've included short and simple explanations for how each of them work, along with simulators to show the kind of results you can expect when using these systems in real life.

  1. Martingale System
  2. Fibonacci System
  3. d'Alembert System
  4. Cancellation System
  5. Paroli System
  6. Oscar's System

1. Martingale System

Animation showing usage of the martingale system in roulette

Double your bet every time you lose. If you win, go back to your initial betting unit.




2. Fibonacci System

Animation showing usage of the fibonacci system in roulette

Increase the size of your bet according to the fibonacci sequence when you lose. If you win, go back two steps in the sequence:

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, ...



3. d'Alembert System

Animation showing usage of the d'Alembert system in roulette

Increase and decrease the size of your bet by one unit when you lose and win.




4. Cancellation System

Animation showing usage of the cancellation system (Labouchère system) in roulette

Generate a sequence of numbers that sums to a target amount you want to win (your choice). Bet an amount that is equal to the first and last numbers in the sequence. If you win, cross those numbers off the sequence. If you lose, append the size of the losing bet to the end of the sequence. You will win your target amount if you complete the sequence.




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5. Paroli System

Animation showing usage of the paroli system in roulette

Let your bet and profits ride when you win, but stop when you hit your progression limit. When you hit your predetermined limit, return back to your initial bet size.





6. Oscar's System

Animation showing usage of Oscar's system in roulette

If you lose on your first spin, increase your bet by one unit every time you win until you make it to a one unit profit. If your next bet will take you above this amount, adjust your bet downwards so that you will only win one unit in total. The goal is to only win one unit, so the system restarts when you have made a one unit profit.





What are systems?

The aim of using a system is to try and secure a win from every session you play.

The majority of systems are designed in order to try and beat roulette, and they often involve increasing the size of your bet when you lose so that you can recoup any losses and (hopefully) guarantee yourself a win.

A roulette system typically involves betting on red/black (or any even-money wager on the roulette table) and adjusting the size of your bet when you win/lose.

Roulette table highlighting the even-money wagers (red/black, even/odd, high/low)

Roulette systems typically make use of the even-money wagers on the roulette table.

What types of systems are there?

There are two types of betting systems:

  1. Negative Progression. With these systems you increase your bet when you lose.
  2. Positive Progression. With these systems you increase your bet when you win.

Negative progression

These systems are based around the idea of recouping losses so that you can return to making a profit. This is the most dangerous type of system, because although they appear to work most of the time, they occasionally result in catastrophic losses that wipe out your bankroll. These are the most common type of betting system and arise from the belief that you can beat the roulette wheel.

Chart showing the balance over time when using a typical negative progression system (martingale system)

A negative progression system tends to display a steady upward trend, with the occasional catastrophic losses wiping out all winnings.

Positive progression

These systems are based around maximizing your wins when you hit winning streaks. These are far less pernicious than negative progression systems, because they're not (usually) founded on the idea that the roulette table can be beaten. Instead, they embrace the fact that the odds are against you and simply amplify your wins when you get lucky.

Chart showing the balance over time when using a typical positive progression system (paroli system)

A positive progression system tends to display a steady downward trend, with the occasional upswing from winning streaks.

Note: If you're going to use a betting system, I would recommend using a positive progression system. Negative progression systems are alluring, but they can lead you in to very dark holes.

Which system is the best?

There is no "best" system for roulette. None of the systems above can actually help you to beat roulette, and they all provide the same results over the long run.

To put it another way, you can expect to lose the same amount on average from each of these systems over the long haul. Whilst some appear to be more successful than others, over a long enough time period your losses will always converge toward the house edge.

All these systems do is provide a different path to the same end result.

The systematic approach gives the illusion of being a framework for success, but ultimately they all provide the same results as betting random amounts at the roulette table.

Who invents roulette systems?

People who think they can beat roulette. Some of the creators of these systems are well-known mathematicians and politicians from the centuries ago:

But that doesn't mean their systems work. It just means they shared the same flawed belief that they could beat the inherent odds of the roulette wheel. If anything it just goes to show that even some of the greatest minds can be fooled by roulette.

Even Dostoevsky believed he could beat the roulette wheel by keeping his cool, although he didn't use an exact system during play.

Why use a system?

Because they offer a different way to play roulette.

Unfortunately the majority of people who use systems do so because they believe they will work. This is the most dangerous reason to use a system, because this belief will only lead you in to bigger and bigger losses at the hands of the roulette wheel.

The only good reason to use a system is because you want to try something new. For example, the cancellation system provides a structured approach to betting, and the paroli system (my favorite) will amplify your wins when you hit a lucky streak.

So as long as you're careful and accept the fact that you're still expected to lose over the long run no matter what, a system can provide a change of pace.

Why don't systems work?

The most popular systems for claiming to be able to "beat roulette" are the negative progression systems, as they promise to recoup losses so that you can always guarantee yourself a win.

There are two major problems with this idea however:

Screenshot of example table limit of £5000 in online roulette
  1. You don't have an infinite amount of money to bet with.
  2. The roulette table has a limit to how much you can bet.

Eventually you will hit a losing streak that goes on for longer than you thought possible, and the size of your bet will increase so much that you either run out of money, or you exceed the maximum bet at the table.

Either way, the system is going to fail at some point, plus the inevitable losses will wipe out any previous wins you may have had.

So whilst these systems may work in theory, in practice they're always doomed to failure.

Can I use my own system?

Sure.

As I say, none of the systems on this page improve your odds of winning, and any system you devise will be subject to the same odds.

So feel free to experiment and create your own system. You're not going to be any better or worse off for it.

Which system is the most popular?

The martingale system is the most famous. In fact, I've seen many roulette players naturally adopt this system without even knowing it, which explains it's popularity.

Beyond that it's a bit of a mixed bag. Although a variant of the cancellation system (Labouchère system) was popularized in the book Thirteen Against The Bank by Norman Leigh.

But as I say, they all produce the same results, so just use the one you find most interesting.

Conclusion

There is no system that can help you to win money at roulette.

The only benefit to using a system is making your sessions more interesting by introducing a new betting structure. However, be very careful with negative progression systems like the martingale, because if you follow them too closely you can end up experiencing devastating losses.

So I'm sorry to disappoint you by revealing the fact that there is no roulette system in existence that can help you to win money. But at least you won't lose any money in the pursuit of finding one.