How to win at roulette is seems to be a question that’s bugging a lots of people. Or rather: Is there a reliable way for winning at roulette? There are some roulette tricks and roulette tips out there, but they are, at best, ways to mitigate losses. If one is a bit more on the cynical side he could even assume, that casinos take part in ‘designing’ and publicising such tactics, to lure more players to their tables.
Casinos carefully calculate their edges, and as we can see they do a very good job, as the casino gambling industry is quite a lucrative one – and usually not for the players.
The “How to win at roulette?” question can only be approached one way legitimately, and that is through a method that aims to exploit small biases of roulette wheels which appear as results of imperfect manufacturing and/or the wear and tear of the wheel over long usage times. All the rest are just tactics that do not eliminate the house edge and therefore guarantee, that the player will have a negative balance on the long run.
However, even this is not, by no means an easy-money scheme, but for those who are interested, this post offers some roulette tricks for discovering an exploiting wheel bias.
- Roulette methods and systems that DON’T work
- How to win at roulette using wheel bias – is it possible?
- What is wheel bias?
- Calculating wheel bias
- Roulette trick – a fast way to determine, whether a wheel bias can be suspected
- How to win at roulette exploiting wheel bias
- Roulette tips – obstacles you might face
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Methods that DON’T work
Betting systems in casino games, that don’t use any extra insight about the game (like card counting does), only involve setting the amounts of bets in a certain way bear one collective trait: They do not work.
There are of course lots of roulette strategies out there, from lots of people claiming to know how to win at roulette. The truth is, these are ‘crafted’ whether in an attempt to sell the system to others and make money for the person behind them or are just simply very faulty observations of excessive gamblers who desperately want to come up with an excuse, that what they’re doing is not just simply wasting money.
Here I collected some of the methods, that are not mathematically proven by any means, nevertheless some people believe – with near-religious fervour – that these are legit ways of winning at roulette. These are the most basic preconceptions about gambling. Most all other strategies are based on these.
- The Martingale strategy – in roulette, it means betting on whether red or black all the time and increasing the bet after losses. Martingale is a so-called progressive strategy and all other progressive betting strategies are faulty, just like this one.
- Flat betting – this is actually not a real system in the traditional sense. It involves playing the same bets all through the game. This one actually has considerably lower losses than progressive systems, like Martingale, but nevertheless still leads to net losses on the long run.
- Gamblers fallacy – The gambler’s fallacy, also known as the Monte Carlo fallacy or the fallacy of the maturity of chances, is the mistaken belief that, if something happens more frequently than normal during some period, it will happen less frequently in the future, or that, if something happens less frequently than normal during some period, it will happen more frequently in the future. Many gambling “strategies” are based on this flawed preconception, but the truth is, neither the roulette wheel nor any other gambling instrument has a memory. Each spin, throw, roll, whatever is perfectly unconnected to previous or subsequent ones and perfectly random.
How to win at roulette using wheel bias – is it possible?
Theres is a debate going on, whether discovering and exploiting a biased roulette wheel is still possible nowadays given the advancements in the manufacturing technologies and built in bias monitoring systems in modern roulette wheels. It is certainly true, that these technologies exist and they make roulette tricks aiming to exploit wheel bias lot harder stunts to preform, but there is a reason to believe, that in some cases it is still feasible. For example:
- Most, but not all casinos have bias monitoring systems in place
- Roulette wheels are expensive, so casinos use them for a long time – which increases the chance that a significant bias develops
- Smaller venues, that lack the infrastructure of premiere providers might be more prone to operate biased wheels and not to notice, or not to act on the bias
- Even a noticed bias does not always result in direct action on part the casino’s part, unless they notice someone making systematic profit out of it
Below I will give you a short overview on the advantage gambling method called wheel bias. It is not easy at all and if you want to learn how to win at roulette this way, you will need:
- Diligence to track wheel results over enough time to get the requisite data for a representative statistical analysis,
- statistical skills to examine your findings and determine, whether you can actually gain an edge acting on them,
- a know-how on how to exploit a discovered bias,
- discipline, to stick with your tactics till you actually realise profit,
- and lastly, deep pockets to begin with, as most biases are minor and are only profitable on the long run.
After reading this guide, you will probably still don’t know exactly how to win at roulette this way, but I will hand you some useful roulette tricks and roulette tips for discovering and exploiting wheel bias and point you into the right direction to educate yourself further on how to win at roulette finding and exploiting wheel biases.
Let’s get started.
What is wheel bias?
In short: A biased roulette wheel is any wheel that gives results that are different from those expected by chance. A wheel bias can occur as a result of many factors. Here are some roulette tips on how a wheel can be biased:
- An imperfectly balanced roulette wheel with a tilt so small that it’s invisible to human eyes might produce a statistically significant bias. Just as water flows to the lower places, the ball will favour the numbers on the side toward which the axle of the wheel is bent.
- Loose frets: a fret that separates pockets from each other might loosen over time, due to the impact of the ball that occurs during natural usage. When the ball hits such loosened frets, it absorbs some of the force exerted and the ball doesn’t bounce as much. This is called “deadening” and it leads to ball tending to come to rest in specific areas more often that it would if spins were completely random.
- Uneven deceleration of the wheel can also result in non-random winning numbers, although only if also combined with common or dominant ball drop point. This too is often invisible to the human eye, but a useful roulette trick for the sharp-sighted player could be to watch for a small change in the deceleration of the wheel when the zero is in a certain position.
Note, that some wheels are more susceptible to bias. Generally, older wheels are more bias-prone, partly as a result of inferior design and partly because larger usage times – common sense suggests, that a small initial bias gets worse over time, because the spins affect parts of the wheel unevenly. However nowadays, in the first world, a biased wheel is extremely hard to find, if not impossible.
Calculating wheel bias
The possibility of a number winning is 1 in 37 on the standard European wheel (on an American wheel, it’s 1 in 38, you should NEVER play on an American wheel as the 00 pocket increases the house edge). This means a quite slim, -2,7% house edge (a number pays 35 times your bet and your original bet, which means, after 37 spins you end up with 36 chips on average, if you always bet 1 chip).
Going further along this line of thought, it’s easy to see, that the theoretical break-even point is when the probability of a number coming up is 1 in 36 and profitability starts at 1 in 35.
Firstly, even with a sample of 1000, statistical deviation can account for few percent biases, so when analysing results you should aim for 1 in 32-33 or higher probabilities for numbers. It’s important to repeat the analysis with a new sample, if the first one showed the possibility of a bias. See the table below on how the edge changes with changes in probability for individual numbers.
|Probability of an individual number||1 in 37||1 in 36||1 in 35||1 in 34||1 in 33||1 in 32||1 in 31||1 in 30||1 in 29||1 in 28||1 in 27||1 in 26||1 in 25|
|Players’ edge for that number||-2.7%||0%||2.9%||5.9%||9.1%||12.5%||16.1%||20%||24.1%||28.6%||33.3%||38.4%||44%|
Secondly, life is not a vacuum experiment, neither is wheel bias analysis. Tracking numbers spun on a roulette wheel will likely yield messy results, and rather than identifying a number that comes up more often than others, you will likely see a group of numbers with non-random probabilities. Than you have to develop a strategy on how to place your bets on these numbers and how to win at roulette using these insights.
Luckily, there are a variety of statistical tools that are easily accessible for calculating wheel bias from tracked results for players seeking to learn how to win at roulette this way. Some are dedicated roulette analysis platforms, like this one but if you’re a more advanced stat person you can also use some general statistics software to support your analysis, like SPSS.
And remember, that every statistical result is an estimate by nature, therefore use statistical methods, like chi-squared test and confidence intervals to evaluate your findings.
Roulette trick – a fast way to determine, whether a wheel bias can be suspected
Chi-squared test is a fast and easy way to determine, whether there is a chance that a wheel is biased. Here are the steps to perform the test:
- Find the expected frequency of every number under the assumption that the wheel is not biased, i.e. divide the spins by 37. If you have 1000 spins , the expected frequency is 1000/37 = 27.03.
- For every number from 0 to 36, calculate the difference between observed frequency and expected frequency.
- Let’s call this number Diff. Eg. Suppose the number 0 was spun 30 times, the Diff = 30-27.03=2.97. Suppose the number 1 was spun 20 times. The Diff for 1 is 20-27.03=-7.03.
Sum all the squares of the Diffs from 0 to 36 (remember the squares are always positive numbers).
- Divide the result by the expected frequency (the same number as above, here it was 27.03).
- If the number is bigger than 59.89 (a value you have to look up in the chi-squared table, I wont go into details, but this is the method), it is 99% sure that the wheel is biased.
Update: The Roulette calculator – determining if there is a wheel bias with chi-squared test calculator is not accessible in an embedded form please click on the link to access it.
In the Roulette calculator you can type in your own tracked results, and it helps you determine, whether there is a possibility of a bias.
You can do this test with groups of numbers also, if you suspect the wheel is biased towards a group. You have to threat the groups as units for the chi squared test and calculate the frequency accordingly. If you identify 5 groups, for instance, than you have to go like this: 1000/5=200 is the expected frequency and you only calculate Diffs for the 5 groups. Than you divide their sum by 200 and choose the right value from the chi-squared table to compare your results against (15.086 for 99% accuracy).
This wont tell you how to win at roulette right away, but it is a nice roulette trick to determine whether you should go on with your analysis. Note, that you do need further analysis to determine how big is the bias and which numbers does the wheel “favour”.
How to win at roulette – exploiting wheel bias
Discovering wheel bias is one thing and exploiting it is another, but you have to master both if you want to learn how to win at roulette reliably. Here are some general roulette tips for exploiting wheel bias:
- Manage your bankroll
- Set win goals and loss limits
- Even with a significant edge you’re bound for some losing streaks – make sure you calculate your bets taking into account your estimated edge and bankroll size – calculating ROI is also a prerequisite
- Don’t get greedy, play it safe
Roulette tips – obstacles you might face
Casinos usually keep themselves up-to-date on the techniques that have the potential to give players edge in their games. There are a few practices to trick players trying to learn how to win at roulette as well.
- Most casinos have bias monitoring systems in place, therefore, if you discover a bias, it’s likely that the casino staff knows or will soon know about it too. This shrinks the window of opportunity to take advantage of the bias.
- Some casinos change the wheels between tables to cut wheel tracking endeavours. If your casino does this too, you need to derive a way to find the tracked wheel across tables – you need to find some identifying idiosyncrasy on the wheel.
- Hanging around the roulette table with a notebook, you’re bound to draw suspicion. Subtlety is important. Although, it’s only considered a roulette trick and is not illegal, tracking results can get you banned from the casino.
- It’s obviously impossible to do online – roulette algorithms do not have a bias, unless coded that way
It is not at all a joyride to learn how to win at roulette, but if you have a keen eye for numbers, enough funds and free time, than it could be an interesting, and if you’re lucky and tenacious, lucrative endeavour to try. I hope my roulette tips and roulette tricks help, at least to decide whether you feel up for trying to learn how to win at roulette exploiting wheel biases.
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/If you’re not interested in how to win at roulette, but want to make money gambling some other way, check out my guide on how to make money like a professional gambler./
Last updated: 2015.10.21.