We’ve all seen the famous movie cliché. A high roller puts his whole stack of chips on a number picked on a hunch on a roulette table. The croupier sets the ball rolling, calls “no more bets” and, after a few tense turns around the wheel, the ball lands with a satisfying “plunk” in the gambler’s choice of number.
But, as anyone who knows anything about roulette will tell you, the chances of this actually being reality are, at best, 37 to 1 – not good odds by anyone’s reckoning.
The assumptions behind this scenario are also as inaccurate as the likelihood of it actually happening, namely that roulette is purely a game of luck that leaves you at the mercy of the wheel.
The first important decision you have to make is to carefully choose the kind of roulette you’re going to play. There’s the choice of American, European and French versions of roulette. The former has both the numbers ‘0’ and ‘00’ as well as 1 to 36, making 38 possible places where the ball could land. On the other hand, European roulette doesn’t have the additional ‘00’ so there are just 37 possibilities. The difference may sound marginal but it’s certainly something to be considered. The French version is the most rare, yet the more favorable to player.
Start to play roulette and you’ll soon discover that one of the real beauties of the game is the wide range of betting options it offers you. For example beyond the simple choice of red or black you can also bet on groups of twelve numbers – 1-12, 13-24 or 25-36 – which will reward you for a win at 2 to 1 or even on four numbers in a block on the table that pays out at 8 to1. So, as you can see, there are options to appeal to both the cautious and more adventurous gambler.
However one principle that almost all roulette experts agree on is that the secret to success is to bet on as many numbers as possible for each spin of the wheel. This is a far more reliable method of playing than either trusting in lucky numbers or the so called “gambler’s fallacy” based on the principle that if a number’s not come up recently it must surely be due to soon.
There are other misguided principles that also lead players into losing and one of the most widespread is called the Martingale. This is the theory that if, each time you lose, you double the stake on the next bet eventually you will end up in profit. While it sounds logical and is statistically correct anyone who has a poor run of luck can soon find themselves having to put up indefeasibly large stakes which may even be over the casino’s limit.
Yes, the way the ball falls into each individual number is a random occurrence but that’s by no means to say that there aren’t distinct betting systems that you can adopt to help tip the odds in your favour. Yet you can still win the game without “changing the odds” or “beating the house edge“.
So, obviously there’s a lot to learn about the seemingly simple game of roulette and the pressured atmosphere of a casino’s not necessarily the best place to learn it. Far better to try your hand in the online version, then, when you’re sure you’re ready, it could be time to dig out your tuxedo for the live experience.