Roulette is one of the simplest casino games. Pick your numbers, spin the wheel and the rest is over to chance.
The big question is: do any roulette strategies work? Can the popular casino game be beaten?
Sure, there are accounts of gambling “syndicates” exploiting land-based casinos by identifying biased roulette wheels.
But mathematically speaking, roulette has a house edge that cannot be cancelled out or overturned by any strategy you apply to the game. The odds always remain in favour of the house.
However, as with any form of gambling some approaches are safer than others. So let’s take a closer look at the most popular roulette strategies…
Original Martingale Strategy
I’ve referenced the Martingale strategy in various sports betting articles across Punter2Pro, and always strongly advise against using it. Applying it to Roulette is no exception to the rule.
The Martingale strategy is straightforward:
You could reason that by playing a casino game like roulette you’ll eventually strike a win — particularly on “50/50” shots such as Red/Black. While that’s true, it’s still an extremely dangerous strategy to play due to inevitable losing streaks.
Imagine a bettor who started with a £50 stake while betting on Black and hit a (feasible) 7x losing streak:
- £50 LOSE (total loss -£50)
- £100 LOSE (total loss -£150)
- £200 LOSE (total loss -£350)
- £400 LOSE (total loss -£750)
- £800 LOSE (total loss -£1,550)
- £1,600 LOSE (total loss -£3,150)
- £3,200 LOSE (total loss = -£6,350)
Now the bettor must place a stake of £6,400, and win, in order to realise a £50 profit overall. Not all casinos would accept this bet (and many players simply wouldn’t have the cash to deposit). So it becomes increasingly difficult, and stressful, to win back losses once you’re past a certain point.
If, for purely experimental purposes, you decided to apply the Martingale to any form of Roulette game, then it’s imperative that you start at a very low bet size to avoid facing the above scenario. At least that way only a highly improbable losing streak would be required to significantly dent your bankroll.
Reverse Martingale Strategy
The Reverse Martingale strategy follows a similar approach to the original Martingale, only instead of doubling the bet when you lose, you increase it when you win. The aim is to maintain losses of a consistent size — but to capitalise upon any winning streak by “reinvesting” winnings.
If, for example, a player loses their first three £50 bets on Red, but then wins the next three bets the situation is as follows:
- £50 LOSE (total PnL -£50)
- £50 LOSE (total PnL -£100)
- £50 LOSE (total PnL -£150)
- £50 WIN (total PnL -£100)
- £100 WIN (total PnL £0)
- £200 WIN (total PnL £200)
By no means does the Reverse Martingale reduce the edge of the casino, or increase your chances of winning in the long-run. Typically when using this strategy a players’ cash amount slowly declines, but during winning streaks the profit soars and offsets some (or ideally all of) the losses. But importantly, players must decide for themselves when to stop betting.
While Reverse Martingale offers very little improvement on its more reckless original “double up losses” version, it does mean that you’re less likely to rapidly blow your bankroll this way.
Grand Martingale Strategy
The Grand Martingale strategy requires a very large bankroll. It’s much like the original Martingale strategy, only when you lose, you double your current bet and add an amount equal to your original bet. This somewhat ludicrous strategy only interests risky gamblers that aim to win more than a single unit.
Aside from the Grand Martingale being riskier than it’s original “double up” version, the extra unit also reduces the number of losses that the strategy can handle before reaching the table limits. So all in all, it’s not an advisable approach to Roulette by any stretch of the imagination.
For the best experience, always use a reputable online casino with immersive online roulette tables, offering suitable minimum and maximum bets.
The D’Alembert Strategy
The D’Alembert system is based on the theories of mathematician Jean Le Rond d’Alembert. To apply it, you place bets on even-money outcomes and when you lose, you add a unit to your stake, rather than double it. When you win, you decrease it by one unit.
This strategy offers a much lower risk of losing a large sum of money than many other basic roulette strategies (such as Martingale). It also enables bettors to focus on the amount their winning — which makes it easier to walk away.
As an example, let’s assume a bettor placed a £10 unit stake on Evens and wins their first bet:
- £10 WIN (total PnL £10)
- £10 LOSE (total PnL £0)
- £20 LOSE (total PnL -£20)
- £30 WIN (total PnL £40)
- £20 LOSE (total PnL £20)
At the end of these five bets, the player is ahead due to the raised stakes (one of which was lucky enough to win).
This strategy can be applied on a relatively small bankroll, and the nature of the progression avoids hitting table limits too quickly. It is however worth reiterating that while the D’Alembert strategy is far less aggressive (and safer) than the Martingale, it does not flip the house edge into the player’s favour.
The Fibonacci Strategy
Safer than the D’Alembert strategy is the Fibonacci strategy.
The strategy bases itself on the famous numbers sequence in which each number is the sum of the two numbers before it:
1 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 5 – 8 – 13 – 21 – 34 – 55 – 89 – 144 – 233 – 377 – 610 – 987
When using this strategy, you’ll have to bet on even money outcomes (e.g. Red/Black). Once you have your first win, starting with your minimum bet, increase your stake by one place in the sequence. Win again? Increase it by two places. If you lose, go back two numbers in the sequence.
Fibonacci is just like all other roulette strategies –- it’s purely there for enjoyment and optimism, but doesn’t generate a profit in the long run. It’s really just a sequence of numbers that tells you how much to stake.
Here’s an example sequence of ten bets on Black. Note that bets 6 and 9 follow a win, so the stakes were adjusted to sizes two places earlier in the sequence:
- £10 LOSE (total PnL -£10)
- £10 LOSE (total PnL -£20)
- £20 LOSE (total PnL -£40)
- £30 LOSE (total PnL -£70)
- £50 WIN (total PnL -£20)
- £20 LOSE (total PnL £0)
- £30 LOSE (total PnL -£30)
- £50 WIN (total PnL £20)
- £20 LOSE (total PnL £0)
- £30 WIN (total PnL £30)
Following the sequence creates a little extra work in terms of calculating/remembering stakes. Furthermore, much like with other progressive betting systems, you must watch out for the maximum bet size on the table you’re playing at.
The “James Bond” Strategy
The James Bond strategy is essentially a novelty bet that’s suited to players that don’t want to spend much time at the Roulette table. It succeeds two-thirds of the time and is easy to remember.
To follow the strategy, players bet a total of 20 units in each round. A £200 stake, for instance, would be split as follows:
- £140 on numbers 19 to 36 (14 units)
- £50 on a numbers 13 to 18 (5 units)
- £10 on the single zero (1 unit)
The idea is that by covering most possible outcomes, the player wins more often. However, there’s still a good chance of losing the entire stake:
- If the ball lands on 19-36, you win a total of £80
- If the ball lands on 13-18, you win a total of £100
- If the ball hits the 0, you win £160
- If the ball lands on 1-12, you lose £200
There’s nothing to this strategy that helps to increase your chances in the long-run. Nonetheless, some players prefer to play strategies that cover the 0; psychologically it can feel like the house no longer has an edge.
The All-In Strategy
No complications with this one. It’s all a question of how lucky you’re feeling and how much you want to live on the edge! You just pick an outcome (number, colour, line) and bet your entire bankroll on it.
While that sounds suicidal, there’s some logic to betting with a one-off stake rather than a larger total of smaller (albeit less risky) stakes. In fact, a £100 one-off bet on Roulette leaves the player theoretically better off than placing 150 bets of £1. But how can that be the case when there’s so much risk?
Well, French Roulette has a house edge of 2.7% (the 0 on the table). Therefore you can estimate your expected losses against the house edge as follows:
- £100 x 2.7% = £2.70 loss
- £150 x 2.7% = £4.05 loss
Sure, betting 150x £1 stakes leaves you less likely to lose big. The trade off, however, is that you’re highly unlikely to win big either. By reducing the stakes and betting more, you’re taking less risk — but losing more against the house edge than you would do given a lower turnover of larger stakes.
Nonetheless, players are advised to keep large one-off bets to a minimum, as it certainly does increase the chances of going bust very quickly.
Constant Bet Strategy
This strategy perhaps is isn’t the most appealing if you’re looking to win big at the tables. It’s a mere case of betting the same amount in each round whether you win or you lose. It’s as straightforward as that.
While this approach doesn’t appeal to many gamblers, it’s a discipled and sensible way to bet on Roulette (provided your stakes aren’t too high). Applying it means that you’re far less likely to spiral into losses by trying to recoup losses in larger stakes.
Whatever roulette strategy you decide to apply, be aware of the potential for losing money. In any approach, remember that you’re playing against the house edge — which cannot be beaten in any way. Be sure to avoid risky strategies which attempt to redeem losses by exponentially betting more on each round. Above all, recognise that luck plays a huge part in your success and, as a general rule: the more total stakes you place the more you’re expected to lose long-term.