Apr 22, 2020
Apr 22, 2020

Roulette betting strategies analysed

What is the expected return on Roulette betting strategies?

There are several betting strategies that can be applied to Roulette and claim to be capable of ‘beating’ the game and guaranteeing that players can make money from it. What are these strategies, how do they work and are they actually reliable? This article will analyse some of the most popular Roulette betting strategies.

Roulette call bets strategy

A popular Roulette betting strategy is to make call bets, which are bets that cover multiple numbers that are next to each other on the Roulette wheel. Many of these are referred to by specific names.

Call bets that can be made on a European style Roulette wheel include:

• Voisins du zéro: This is a nine-unit bet covering zero, two, three, four, seven, 12, 15, 18, 19, 21, 22, 25, 26, 28, 29, 32 and 35. The bet is comprised of two units on a zero-two-three Trio bet, one unit each on Splits of four and seven, 12 and 15, 18 and 21, 19 and 22 and 32 and 35 and two units on a Corner bet of 25, 26, 28 and 29.
• Jeu zéro: This is a four-unit bet covering zero, three, 12, 15, 26, 32 and 35. The bet is comprised of one unit each on Splits of zero and three, 12 and 15 and 32 and 35 and one unit on 26.
• Le tiers du cylindre: This is a six-unit bet covering five, eight, ten, 11, 13, 16, 23, 24, 27, 30, 33 and 36. The bet is comprised of one unit each on Splits of five and eight, ten and 11, 13 and 16, 23 and 24, 27 and 30 and 33 and 36.
• Orphelins: This is a five-unit bet covering one, six, nine, 14, 17, 20, 31 and 34. The bet is comprised of one unit on one and one unit each on Splits of six and nine, 14 and 17, 17 and 20 and 31 and 34.

Call bets are often relied upon because they cover more numbers than many common Roulette bets and therefore offer a greater win probability for any given round.

The win probabilities and expected profits from these bets according to the law of probabilities on a European style wheel are as follows (assuming a unit value of €1 for each bet):

Roulette call bet odds and winnings

 Bet Win probability Expected profit from 37 rounds Voisins du zéro 45.95% (17 in 37) -€9 Jeu zéro 18.92% (7 in 37) -€3 Le tiers du cylindre 32.43% (12 in 37) -€6 Orphelins 21.62% (8 in 37) -€23

As you can see, with all the most common call bets probability dictates that will you lose more often than you win, and across 37 rounds (during which each number on the wheel is expected to come up once) the player is expected to lose money. Therefore, while call bets provide an interesting component to the game, they offer no means of guaranteed profits over a long period of time.

Martingale Roulette strategy

The Martingale strategy is perhaps the commonly known and used betting strategy applied to Roulette. The idea is simple – start betting a set amount on any bet that offers a 1:1 payout (Low or High, Red or Black or Odd or Even) and continue to bet the same amount every time the bet wins. If the bet loses, make the same bet but double your bet.

The thinking behind this is that by doubling your bet every time you lose, you will ultimately always record a profit the next time you win. For instance, if you place a €10 bet that loses and then a €20 bet that wins, you will win €40 to cover €30 worth of bets. If you place €10 and €20 bets that lose and then a €40 bet that wins, you will win €80 to cover €70 worth of bets and so on (assuming the casino does not return half your bet for a zero).

However, this logic falls down on the fact that bets with a 1:1 payout in Roulette do not include zero and double zero, meaning you will always lose more often than you win. Indeed, on a European style wheel the win probability is 48.65% and on an American style wheel it is 47.37%. As a consequence, this strategy can be easily be a gateway to losing large amounts of money.

To illustrate this, here is a typical betting progression for the Martingale strategy:

€10 -> €20 -> €40 -> €80 -> €160 -> €320 -> €640 -> €1280 -> €2560 -> €5120

As you can see, you are only required to lose three bets in a row to find yourself betting eight times your original amount, and just five until you are betting over thirty times your original amount.

While you may rate this as unlikely to happen, the respective probabilities for these occurring are 13.54% and 3.57% - plausible outcomes that have caught many Roulette players out. As the amounts listed above suggest, any losses beyond this point will likely be wildly unsustainable.

Overall, the Martingale strategy is extremely volatile to use due to the steep progression of the amounts you are required to bet, and exacerbated by the fact that the probabilities involved dictate that will you lose more often than you win.

There is a popular variant of the Martingale strategy in which players continue betting the same amount even if they lose, but also place a small bet on zero to overcome the fact that their main bet does not cover this and tip the win probability in their favour. As the table below illustrates, this strategy will also lose money over time:

Roulette Martingale strategy odds and winnings

 Number Bet placed Winnings Profit per win Probability Overall profit 0 €1 €36 €25 2.70% (1 in 37) €25 1 - 18 €10 €20 €9 48.65% (18 in 37) €162 19 - 36 - -€11 -€11 48.65% (18 in 37) -€198 Total profit: -€11

When placing a €10 bet on one to 18 and a €1 bet on zero on a European style wheel, the player will be expected to lose €11 across every 37 rounds that the strategy is used.

James Bond Roulette strategy

The ‘James Bond strategy’ was popularised by the Ian Fleming novel Casino Royale, in which 007 himself attempts to devise a method to beat the Roulette table. The James Bond strategy for Roulette is designed for European style wheels and involves placing the following bets:

• €14 on a Passe bet (19 to 36)
• €5 on a Six Line bet (13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18)
• €1 on zero

The thinking behind this strategy is that as the player has placed bets accounting for 25 of the 37 numbers on the table (a 67.57% win probability), they will therefore win more often than they lose and record a profit. The potential outcomes and expected winnings for this strategy are as follows:

James Bond Roulette strategy odds and winnings

 Number Bet placed Winnings Profit per win Probability Overall profit 0 €1 €36 €16 2.70% (1 in 37) €16 13 - 18 €5 €30 €10 16.22% (6 in 37) €60 19 - 36 €14 €28 €8 48.65% (18 in 37) €144 1 - 12 - -€20 -€20 32.43% (12 in 37) -€240 Total profit: -€24

Despite the fact that this bet covers just over two-thirds of the numbers on the wheel, by virtue of the fact that the entire €20 bet is lost if any of the other 12 numbers come up, the law of probabilities means that the player will be expected to lose €24 across every 37 rounds that the strategy is used.

As a result, it is not feasible to expect profits from this strategy when it is used for a long period of time.

3:2 Roulette strategy

The 3:2 strategy requires players to place a five-unit bet, of which three units are placed on a Red or Black or Odd or Even bet and two units are placed on a Column bet. For instance, a €10 bet using the 3:2 strategy may consist of €6 placed on red and €4 on the second column of numbers on the table.

It is worth noting that this strategy can provide differing win probabilities depending on the specific bet made. The win probabilities involved for a 3:2 strategy bet on a European style wheel are as follows:

3:2 Roulette strategy win probabilities

 Bet First column (1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28, 31, 34) Second column (2, 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 23, 26, 29, 32, 25) Third column (3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33, 36) Red 24 in 37 (64.86%) 26 in 37 (70.27%) 22 in 37 (59.46%) Black 24 in 37 (64.86%) 22 in 37 (59.46%) 26 in 37 (70.27%) Odd 24 in 37 (64.86%) Even

This indicates that the highest win probability can be achieved by betting on red and the second column of numbers or black and the third column of numbers. Using the former, here are how the probabilities and expected winnings for this strategy play out for a €10 bet on a European style wheel:

3:2 Roulette strategy odds and winnings

 Number Bet placed Winnings Profit per win Probability Overall profit Red second column number €10 €24 €14 10.81% (4 in 37) €56 Red first or third column number €6 €12 €2 37.84% (14 in 37) €28 Black second column number €6 €12 €2 21.62% (8 in 37) €16 Any other number - -€10 -€10 29.73% (11 in 37) -€110 Total profit: -€10

Again, despite offering a win probability of 70.27%, the expected value for this strategy is a loss, with the player expected to lose €10 across every 37 rounds. This indicates that the 3:2 strategy is another Roulette approach which may prove capable of producing small short-term profits, but has no cause to be relied upon as a long-term sustainable method of beating the table.

The Romanosky Roulette strategy

The Romanosky strategy requires players to place an eight-unit bet, of which three units are placed on a Dozen bet, three units are placed on another Dozen bet and one unit each is placed on two separate Corner bets on numbers not covered by the two Dozen bets.

For instance, a €40 bet using the Romanosky strategy may consist of €15 placed on Première douzaine (one to 12), €15 placed on Moyenne douzaine (13 to 24), €5 on a Corner bet covering 25, 26, 28 and 29 and €5 on a Corner bet covering 32, 33, 35 and 36.

Therefore, any bet utilising the Romanosky strategy covers 32 of the 37 or 38 numbers on the Roulette table, resulting in a win probability of 86.49% on a European style wheel and 84.21% on an American style wheel.

Using the aforementioned example described, here is how the probabilities and expected winnings for this strategy play out for a €40 bet on a European style wheel:

Romanosky Roulette strategy odds and winnings

 Number Bet placed Winnings Profit per win Probability Overall profit 1 - 12 €15 €45 €5 32.43% (12 in 37) €60 13 - 24 €15 €45 €5 32.43% (12 in 37) €60 25, 26, 28, 29 €5 €45 €5 10.81% (4 in 37) €20 32, 33, 35, 36 €5 €45 €5 10.81% (4 in 37) €20 0, 27, 30, 31, 37 - -€40 -€40 13.51% (5 in 37) -€200 Total profit: -€40

While in 32 of 37 instances this strategy produces a small profit equivalent to one-eighth of the total amount bet, the large quantity of both money and bets involved means that it results in considerable losses if any of other five numbers come up. As a result, the player is expected to record a loss of €40 across every 37 rounds.

Are Roulette betting strategies worth it?

The recurring theme you will have noticed among the Roulette betting strategies covered in this article is that none supply a positive expected value across 37 rounds, irrespective of the win probabilities involved. While some may entail better returns than others, the fact remains that in all circumstances the house is expected to win more money off the player than vice versa.

The reason for this is simple – there is no way of ‘beating’ the game simply via the choice of bets you place. As covered in our guide to Roulette, casinos secure a house edge by supplying payouts as if there are fewer numbers on the wheel. Even if you were to place a €1 bet on all 37 numbers on a European style table totalling €37, you would still only win €36.

With this in mind, Roulette betting strategies with particularly favourable win probabilities can potentially be relied upon to secure small profits across a few rounds, but should not be viewed as a guaranteed long-term method to make money from the game. It’s plain and simple, the longer period of time they are used, the more likely they are to fail.

Remember: if there was a reliable betting strategy capable of beating Roulette, everyone would be using it.