Roulette betting systems: a beginner’s guide

Like in every other form of gambling, people come forward with systems that they claim will let you win at roulette. It sounds perfect, doesn’t it? A strategy that guarantees you make a profit at the casino.

Basic Roulette Guide

But. Stop. Right. There.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Think about it, if the system were sure to make a profit, we would all be using it because it would effectively be a way to print free money. Every casino would have to shut its doors within weeks because it was losing so much money to punters using the “can’t lose” roulette strategy.

The reality is that every casino game, from slots to blackjack, and baccarat to roulette, has a house edge favouring the casino. The house edge – the amount you are expected to lose – is how the casino makes a profit to pay wages and all other bills. Without it, there is no casino, and with no casino, there is no entertainment for us.

With that in mind, most gamblers readily accept the house edge. In roulette, for example, the house edge is 2.7% for European Roulette. That means for every £100 that you bet, you are expected to lose £2.70.

Those losses, however, are what will happen in the long-term if you played continuous roulette. In truth, over any single session of roulette, you might make a profit – or you might lose more than 2.7%. That’s variance for you.

Whereas in blackjack, you can apply some skill and strategy to bring the house edge down, there is no skill to roulette.

However, betting systems can help you to manage risk in a way that could – repeat, could – increase those chances of making a profit over a particular session. Here are some of the best-known betting systems you can try.

Martingale strategy

The Martingale is one of the most popular betting strategies, particularly among recreational players, because it is so easy to follow.

You must start with a low bet – let’s say £5 – on a 50/50 bet, like the red or black, or the odd or even selection. If you win, you repeat the £5 bet. But if you lose, you must double and stake £10 on the next spin of the wheel. Lose gain, and you must double the stake to £20. Keep on going like this until you do win again, then start again back at £5.

The idea is that you always keep the £5 profits and never lose because you keep betting until you win again. However, the eagle-eyed among you will notice immediately there are two possible flaws in this strategy.

  1. Sustainability – it’s not uncommon to go on a long losing streak. Can you afford to keep doubling your bet? Imagine losing 10 50/50s in a row. Your next bet would have to be for £2,560, and you will already have wagered that amount in total! At least when playing roulette online at sites like STS Casino, you can start for as little as 50p rather than £5.
  2. Table limits – some casinos may place a limit on the stake you can put on the table. Imagine having to place that £5,000 bet to stick with the Martingale strategy, only to be told you were not allowed to do so!

Of course, long losing streaks are rare, so in most cases, the Martingale strategy will make you a profit on a single session if played correctly. But one losing streak could cost you your bankroll.

James Bond betting strategy

We’ve all seen James Bond in a casino at some point in many of the films. He famously played poker in Casino Royale and favours baccarat and roulette in others. But did you know there is a roulette betting strategy in his name?

Bond never used the strategy himself, but his creator Ian Fleming did come up with it. He said he used it in Monte Carlo to pay for a nice meal.

The idea is that you bet the same total amount – a multiple of £20 – on every spin of the wheel, and you breakdown the bet like this:

  • £14 on high numbers, so the 19-36 segment
  • £5 on a six-line (double street), covering two rows of three. Always use 13-18
  • £1 on the green zero

The system means you always make a profit unless the ball lands in the 2 to 12 pockets. Some payouts will be higher, like landing in a zero. However, the reality is, you will lose on every third spin, and losing £20 on that third spin will not make up for the profits you made on the previous two.

With that being said, you can easily make a profit in the short term. The trick is to walk away when you are ahead because if you keep playing, the chips will run dry.

Try the systems for yourself

So there you have the two best-known roulette betting strategies. There are others, like the reverse Martingale, the D’Alembert, and the Fibonacci. Part of casino gaming fun is trying something new, so why not adopt a strategy to see how you get on. Just don’t expect to make a profit each time. 

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