We get asked quite a few questions about roulette betting systems, and we have tried to convince our readers that they are not worth following.
One of the most simple ones is the Martingale System, where you double your bet after each loss. This system can be hazardous to your bankroll as the bets will get very large, very fast. Even if you have a large bankroll that can handle these large bets, table maximums will bring this system to it’s knees quickly.
Then there is the cancellation, where you start by writing three numbers, the sum equaling your win goal for the sequence. In a three-number cancellation with a win goal of three units, you’d write 1, 1, 1. Your first bet is the sum of the end numbers, so you start with a two-unit bet. A win cancels the end number, that’s the cancellation part, so your next wager is the remaining bet. Win that, cancel out the number, and you’ve won your goal.
If you lose then you then write your wager in units at the end of your number sequence. Start with 1, 1, 1, wager two units and lose, and you’re left with 1, 1, 1, 2. Your next wager is three units, which is the sum of the two end numbers.
The problem lies in that you are still increasing wagers as you lose. It’s not as dangerous a system as the Martingale, but a few losses in a row stretches out the sequence, and it’s not unusual for your row of numbers to get so long it’d take an unusual hot streak to get you back to even.
One associate of ours likes to extend play at roulette by betting on black plus an equal amount on the third column. Eight of the numbers in the third column are red, so my friend covers 26 of the 38 numbers, all 18 black numbers plus eight red. If a black in the first two columns shows up, he breaks even, winning on black but losing the column bet. If one of his eight reds turns up, he makes a one-unit profit, winning a 2-1 payoff on the column while losing on black. But if the ball lands on one of the four third-column blacks, he wins triple, even money on black, plus 2-1 column.
Of course, he really has to worry about the 10 red numbers he doesn’t cover, plus 0 and 00. Any of those dozen numbers bring a double loss.
Undermining all roulette systems is that the house edge never rests. Whether you’re betting red or black, dozens or columns, single numbers or three-number streets, that 5.26 percent house edge is always working against you. The exception is if your system includes the five-number bet on 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3. Then a little higher house edge is working against you, since the house has a 7.89 percent advantage on that bet.
Still, few players just throw their chips out haphazardly when they play roulette. Nearly everyone uses a system of some sort, whether it’s in how they choose their numbers, or in how they raise or lower their bets.
Given a balanced wheel, no number is any more likely than any other to come up, so why not have some fun? It might even produce a memorable moment.
In roulette, the magic number for the house is almost always 5.26.