Albert Einstein once said that the only way to beat roulette is by stealing chips when the dealer isn’t looking. This statement came after Einstein attempted to figure out a guaranteed way to beat roulette.
The famed physicist was right in that casinos do hold the edge in roulette. But you can still use strategy to lower the house edge and win more consistently.
Follow along as I discuss the different ways that you can reduce the roulette house edge and boost your chances of winning. We’ll also discuss an advantage-play method that may or may not work in today’s roulette world.
The biggest thing that you can do to win in roulette involves finding the best games. Here’s a look at four different roulette variations, along with their house edges:
As you can see, French and European roulette are the best versions.
European roulette features 37 numbers on its wheel, including a single zero pocket. The zero is what gives the house its edge.
Dividing this lone number by the 37 total numbers (1/37), we arrive at the 2.70% house advantage.
French roulette is played on a European wheel. But the key difference is that this game will feature either the la partage or en prison rule.
La partage pays half back on losing even-money bets when the ball lands in the zero pocket.
En prison keeps your even-money bets “in prison” when they land on zero. The fate of your wager will then be decided on the next spin.
These rules differ in terms of how they operate. But they both do the same thing: cut the standard European roulette house edge down to 1.35%.
Mini roulette is a wheel with 13 numbers, including a single zero pocket. Under normal circumstances, this creates a 7.69% house edge.
But many casinos offer the la partage rule in conjunction with mini roulette, which lowers the house advantage to 3.85%.
American roulette has a wheel with 38 numbers, including both a single zero and double zero pocket. Dividing these two pockets by the 38 total numbers (2/38), we arrive at the 5.26% house edge.
Obviously, you want to play French and European roulette over American and mini roulette. But the problem is that some casinos don’t offer either of these games.
This is especially the case in North American casinos, which commonly offer the American wheel.
The American roulette house edge is one of the worst among all table games. And this doesn’t make playing on the American wheel a thrilling prospect.
But how do you find French and European roulette games on a consistent basis?
Most major casino destinations have at least a few European and French roulette games. This is especially the case in Las Vegas, where you’ll find plenty of options.
In this case, the quest becomes finding affordable European and French roulette versions, because casinos sometimes jack up the stakes on these games. Here’s a quick guide on some reasonable roulette in Vegas:
Those who live in Europe will have an easier time finding French and European roulette tables. French roulette is especially available in France, Germany, Monaco (Monte Carlo), and Switzerland.
Now let’s assume that you live in an area without any land-based casinos that offer either game. In this case, your best bet is to look for these variations online.
Almost every internet gaming provider with table games offers European roulette. French roulette is tougher to find, but you’ll be able to play this game at Microgaming and RealTime Gaming (RTG) casinos.
Microgaming is the best because they not only offer French roulette, but also a few interesting variations on European roulette. These include multiplayer roulette, multi-wheel roulette (8 wheels), and Premier roulette (top notch graphics).
The main catch with Microgaming is that they restrict a large number of countries in unlicensed online markets. This is where RTG comes in, because they operate in a large number of grey-market countries (e.g. the US).
RTG is perfect for Americans who want to play French roulette, yet don’t live anywhere near Las Vegas or other major casino destinations.
An added bonus to playing any type of online roulette is lower stakes. You can enjoy European and French roulette for as little as $1 to $2 per spin.
This differs from brick-and-mortar casinos, which normally have minimum bets worth between $10 and $25.
Roulette offers a wide variety of bets, which is great for those who enjoy having lots of options. But if you’re dealing with a small bankroll and want to last for any considerable amount of time, then you should stick to outside bets.
These are represented by the boxes outside the numbers, and they give you the best short-term odds of winning. Inside bets, on the other hand, are located inside the numbers and offer the lowest short-term odds.
Let’s quickly look at available inside and outside bets before further covering the odds:
Every wager has the same house edge on the European wheel. This means that you won’t gain a long-term advantage by making outside bets over inside wagers.
Instead, the separation occurs with regard to how likely you are to win in the short run. Let’s check out European wheel odds for outside and inside bets:
Comparing an even-money bet with a single-number wager, you can see a drastic difference in the odds.
It’s fine to make split and single-number bets if you have a large bankroll. After all, you have enough funds to wait around for these wagers to finally hit.
But if you only have 20-30 minimum bets in your bankroll, then you don’t have enough time to wait for long shots to come through.
This is why I suggest that you stick to outside bets when you have a small bankroll. You’ll be able to extend your sessions this way and get more entertainment out of the game.
Many beginning roulette players expect to earn comps when they play roulette in brick-and-mortar casinos. At the worst, anybody who plays for a considerable amount of time will receive free drinks.
But you’re missing out if you’re only getting free drinks as a roulette player. You should join the players club at any casino you visit in order to earn the full range of comps, including free buffets, hotel rooms, show tickets, and/or limousine transportation.
Here are the steps that you should take to sign up for the players club and ensure you’re getting roulette comps:
Online casinos normally give you loyalty points based on your real-money roulette play. You can then trade these points in for cash when you’ve earned enough.
Here are the steps for getting online roulette rewards:
Most casinos are competitive in terms of their comp rate.
But you can still hunt for the best deals by visiting casino websites and seeing what their programs offer. You then take this information and compare it to other casinos to see who has the top program.
Sometimes this is a problem with brick-and-mortar casinos, though, because they don’t always offer much information on their websites. In this case, you can run Google or Bing searches to find out which comp programs are the best in your area.
For example, I did a search for the “best low-roller comps Vegas” and found that El Cortez, Golden Gate, Hilton, and the M offer good programs.
Roulette betting systems are a fun way to change your normal playing patterns and try something new. But you should never rely on systems to bring you guaranteed profits.
Betting systems rely on using predetermined wagering patterns to bring you short-term results. The main problem with this is that betting strategies don’t do anything to lower the house edge.
This is especially the dilemma with negative-progression systems, where you increase bets during losing streaks. Given that the casino still has an advantage, you’re adding more risk on top of your losses.
A good example of this can be seen with the Martingale system, where you double bets following every loss. You return to the table’s minimum bet following any win.
Theoretically, the Martingale would bring you guaranteed profits over time. But the downside is that you need an infinite bankroll and a lack of table betting limits to make this happen.
Here’s an example of how the Martingale compounds problems during losing streaks:
You’ve hit the table betting limit after eight straight losses in this example. And while the odds of losing eight consecutive even-money bets are low, it still happens sometimes.
I personally use betting systems with roulette on occasion. But my point is that you should never get carried away and think that these strategies are the path to guaranteed wins.
Roulette offers one of the few legitimate advantage-play techniques, called wheel bias.
The first element of wheel bias involves recording thousands of spins on a single roulette wheel. The goal is to get enough data that you can find out if the wheel is favoring certain numbers/sections.
You then use this information to bet on the numbers that the wheel is favoring.
Wheel bias has been proven to work by gambling legends like Billy Walters, Gonzalo García Pelayo, and Joseph Jagger. Each of these players made millions of dollars by identifying roulette wheels that were biased towards certain numbers.
If you’re a serious roulette player, this might inspire you to go to the nearest casino and start recording wheel results. But here’s my advice – don’t!
The modern wheel bias user faces three big challenges these days:
The first point is the most damning because there’s no way that you can effectively use wheel bias if wheels aren’t favoring certain numbers.
John Huxley manufactures the Starburst wheel to help casinos combat wheel bias. The metal frets on this wheel are much sturdier than wooden frets, thus making it very unlikely that the wheels will break down.
Electronic scoreboards also present problems because casinos are no longer oblivious to when their wheels break down. They can use this data to figure out if they have a roulette wheel that’s off.
Finally, there’s no way that I personally would be comfortable standing around roulette tables for hours and tracking numbers.
I don’t know how previous wheel bias and experts pulled off this feat without being harassed by casino employees. In any case, this is just one more roadblock to effectively using wheel bias.
Perhaps there are still some biased wheels out there somewhere in the casino world. But just keep in mind that it’s far tougher to pull off this feat today.
You can’t guarantee roulette winnings by using a betting system. It’s also highly unlikely that you’ll find a biased wheel and make a fortune.
But there are still some things that you can do to win more consistently in roulette, including finding the best games and picking up comps.
Both land-based and online casinos offer good roulette games if you know where to look. And you can visit casino websites or do online research to figure out who has the top rewards.
Playing French and European roulette along with good comps will dramatically improve your winning percentage in roulette.