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Finding a Roulette System

You don't really have to show any finesse to play roulette in the US, but it helps if you treat your bankroll with a little respect. Roulette systems have been devised, broken-down, massaged, and miscalculated for years. The way to enjoy roulette is to choose a system you are comfortable with and have fun at the table, not with whether you win or lose. This is good like and tequila fiesta slots, since a zero and double zero wheel has a house edge of 5.26 percent.


A famous old gambling system is the Martingale. With this system, a player chooses an even-money bet (pays 1 to 1) such as red/black, odd/even, or 1st 18/2nd 18, and makes a wager. If the wager wins, they make a wager for the same amount on another even-money bet. If it loses, they double their wager - doing so on subsequent spins of the wheel until they win, hit the table maximum, or lose their bankroll.

If that sounds fun, give it a try. You'll probably win several times before a streak of numbers hits and wipes you out. This is not a system any true gambler would suggest for anything other than a lark.

Pedagogical Approach

If you are looking for a system that is likely to give you fits, but also provides some fun and excitement while producing some winners, you might consider the Labouchere. You can look like a fine system player as you work your way through a series of bets ranging from 1 to 7 (starting with a bet of 7) and crossing off the high and low number on a winning even-money bet, and adding a new higher number on a loss.

This is a fun system that you can use with a starting table bankroll of $100. You can expect several small loses before being successful and crossing off all number and cashing in.

Learning Outcomes

Don't Bet Against Yourself

Show that you are a polished player by toking the dealer on occasion. You can tell the dealer that a chip wagered on any spot if for them. If it wins, they collect. Having bets on the numbers is fun for dealers because a hit pays so well, especially if it is a straight-up bet at 35-1.

You can also show how sophisticated you are by not betting against yourself. Don't bet on both sides of a proposition, such as odd and even at the same time. You'll just breakeven most of the time - except when green comes up, then you'll lose both bets. That probably sounds obvious, but many players like to bet on two bets such as 1-12 as well as 2nd 18. You're covering most of the table but the odds are working against you. You, are working against you. Make sure your bets can both win, such as 1-2 and the second column. It's harder to hit both, but at least it can be done.


Consider Conservatism

Gambling often brings out the worst in our emotions, and our senses. Players like instant gratification, so betting on several numbers is common. However, some players just can't wait to hit a winner and they make too many bets on numbers. Betting three or four numbers makes sense, betting twenty numbers at a time does not. Remember that the house edge is always the same, so you are taking a hit on every wager you make. Bet 20 numbers and you get whacked 20 times.

Another way of look at the multiple bet situation is to consider that on a table where you have $1 chips, in the long-run, every time you bet a chip it cost you a nickle (actually 5.4 cents, but why quibble). If you bet on 20 numbers, it costs you $1.08 per spin. And, since there are plenty of numbers you didn't cover, your chance of losing quickly is much higher.

The Europeans had it figured out long ago. Roulette is meant to be played at a leisurely pace. Give yourself a chance to enjoy it.

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