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In between the thousands of spam comments on this site, I do get quite a lot of casino and roulette related questions. Last week I had an interesting one which might seem very simple to many of you but thought it was interesting none the less. It’s a suggestion for a roulette strategy to win, but in reality as you’ll probably realize there’s some slight flaws in it.
So here’s the question –
If I and a friend walk into a casino with $20,000 dollars then head over to the roulette table. We then split our stake and one of us bet on red and the other bets on black, what could stop us leaving the casino as winners.
A Roulette Strategy to Win ?
It sounds such a simple plan that you’d imagine with out even the slightest knowledge of casinos that there’s a problem here and you’d be absolutely right. It portrays a huge lack of understanding of how roulette works and perhaps most importantly the odds and payouts involved. So here’s a quick summary of the potential outcomes of this scenario to explain the position, presuming I’ve chosen red and my friend places on black.
- Scenario 1 – Roulette wheel spins black and my friend wins and doubles his money, I of course lose mine after betting on red. End result is we walk out with $20,000 dollars between use.
- Scenario 2 – Roulette wheel spins red and I win and double my money, my friend loses their stake after betting on black. End result is we walk out with $20,000 dollars between us.
- Scenario 3 – Roulette wheel spins and lands on zero (neither red or black) and you both lose your stake. End result you walk out without a penny.
It is unfortunately a plan with many flaws and ultimately without any chance of success whatsoever. The best result you can achieve is to walk out with the same money you entered with, however there’s a risk that even that may not happen. Depending on whether there are one or two zeros on the wheel, you have either 2.8% or 5.6% chance of losing everything. American roulette tables have two zeros so you effectively double the risk of losing. This built in advantage that exists in every casino game is called the house edge.
In essence this particular plan will never allow you to win anything and you run a risk of losing everything every time you play. It’s certainly not a roulette strategy that will win you any money, of course betting against yourself in any situation is unlikely to ever be successful.
This is the problem of any of these various tactics and strategies that are guaranteed to win you money, they are always based on flawed mathematics. Any casino game which handed a guarantee of a player win would not exist for very long. Every game has some built in advantage which means that all being equal, the casino will have a positive expectation i.e they would normally win. Of course this doesn’t allow for luck and obviously many individuals win huge amounts of money in casinos. Although it should be worth reinforcing that this method actually guarantees you’ll never win!
The only situation where people are statistically expected to win in a casino is where there is some sort of flaw or weakness to exploit. This could be similar to the tactic employed by Gonzalo Garcia Pelayo who studied individual roulette wheels looking for any apparent biases. There are lots of situations where this could happen, a problem with the wheel, maybe a croupier who is trying to pitch for certain areas. Although this is actually much more difficult than you would imagine and really pretty much impossible on a properly set up wheel.
Ultimately there’s no perfect roulette strategy, most of the ones you see online are actually betting strategies rather than how to play. Many of them are based on progression systems like Martingale which rely on people putting in increasing stakes and very specific bets. If you do think you’ve found such a system think again, or at the very least go and test it out in an online casino using their free play systems. It will save you some money, guaranteed.