A Crash Course on Roulette
Much of the appeal of playing roulette online comes from the game's simplicity. All you need to do is place your bets, watch the ball and wheel spin around, and collect your winnings if the ball lands where you bet.
In terms of gameplay, it really doesn’t get much simpler than that. But dig a little deeper and we find a few more subtleties to the game which you might not notice at first glance.
For example, did you know that there are different versions of roulette? If you play in American casinos, the grid will show 38 numbers: 1 to 38, then 0 and 00. However, when you play European roulette, there aren't any 00 spaces, which leaves only 37 numbers to bet on. If you want to try leaving the game with more money than you started, playing the European variant of roulette will give you much better odds of winning.
There is also a French version of roulette, which is identical to the European version but with two added rules: La Partage and En Prison. These rules could be considered a form of insurance, and apply when the ball lands on 0 on an even-money wager (Red/Black, High/Low, or Even/Odd). The La Partage rule returns half of your initial wager, while the En Prison rule holds your bet en prison (“in prison”) and gives you the chance to win it all back on the next spin.
Now, which version are you most likely to encounter when you play on a live roulette site? If you play online, then that’s no problem; the ever-growing number of great online casinos means you won’t have trouble finding the exact game you want to play. Playing in a land-based is a slightly different matter, but you can reasonably expect to see either the American or European formats on offer, or in the case of the Casino de Montréal, both.
Types of Roulette Bets
Similar to craps, roulette is known for its wide range of betting options. These are all laid out on the table in a dizzying grid of words, colours, and numbers. So if you want to take advantage of any roulette betting strategy, you must first be familiar with all of the choices you have at your disposal.
Red / Black
Bets on all red or black numbers, and places chips on the corresponding color square. Pays out even money (1-to-1).
High / Low Number
Bets on numbers 1-18 (Low) or 19-36 (High), and places chips on the corresponding space. Pays out even money.
Even / Odd Number
Bets on all even or odd numbers, respectively, and places chips on the corresponding space. Pays out even money.
Bets on the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd group of 12 numbers on the table (except zero), and places the chips on the corresponding space. Pays out 2-to-1.
Bets on 12 numbers in a straight column, and places the chips on the corresponding space at the edge of each column. Pays out 2-to-1.
Bets on 6 numbers in a 2-row cluster, and places the chips between the edges of two rows on the board. Pays out 5-to-1.
Bets on 1, 2, 3, 0, and 00 (if available), and places chips between the edges of the zeroes row and the first row. Pays out 6-to-1.
Bets on 4 adjacent numbers in a square formation, and places chips in the middle of said numbers. Pays out 8-to-1.
Bets on 3 numbers in a row, and places chips on the outside edge of the row. Pays out 11-to-1.
Bets on 2 adjacent numbers, and places the chips between the two numbers. Pays out 17-to-1.
Bets on a single number, and places chips in the numbered space. Pays out 35-to-1.
What are the Best Roulette Strategies?
Now that we've covered the kinds of bets you can place, it's time to get into the similarly large variety of strategies you can employ when you play live dealer games.
Because people have come up with so many strategies over the years, trying to include all of them here would make this guide dizzyingly confusing. To keep things simple, we've condensed the most popular strategies into two basic categories: betting strategies and table strategies.
Roulette Betting Strategies
As the name implies, this type of roulette strategy involves changing your bet amounts based on certain outcomes. Unlike the table strategies we will cover later, betting strategies aren't particular about what numbers you bet on. However, these strategies tend to produce the best results when played on bets that pay even money, such as High/Low, Even/Odd, and Red/Black.
Starting this list off is arguably the most popular betting strategy used in most casino games, the Martingale strategy. In this strategy, you double your bet every time you lose, and return to your initial bet when you win. An example scenario using this strategy is as follows:
The logic behind this negative progressive betting system is that doubling your bets when you lose allows you to recoup your losses when you win. However, this betting system falls apart when you encounter an especially long losing streak. At this point, you run the risk of going over the table's maximum betting limit, leaving you unable to recover your bankroll.
The Paroli method is another popular betting strategy that could best be described as the reverse of the Martingale method. This is because the Paroli method has you doubling your bet after every win, instead of after every loss (which is referred to as a positive progressive betting system). The doublings continue until you lose or get three wins in a row, by which point you go back to your first wager. The following is an example scenario using this strategy:
The Paroli method has the potential to make substantial profits with winning streaks of three at a time. However, the strategy is vulnerable to major losses if one loses on the second doubling. Using our example scenario, a loss on the second doubling means we lose $4, putting our bankroll at $-1.
True to its namesake, the 1-3-2-6 method has one place bets based on the numbers in the sequence. Like the Paroli method, one progresses through the sequence with consecutive wins, only returning to the first step on a loss or after completing the sequence.
The logic behind this particular sequence is that your losses are minimized if you lose further down the sequence. To illustrate this, we've put down two example scenarios using the strategy:
Roulette Table Strategies
So far, the roulette strategies we've covered were all focused on the bet amounts. Table strategies flip this script, being very particular about where we place our bets instead.
Cover the Table Strategy
As the name suggests, the Cover the Table strategy involves betting on one of various combinations of bets that cover as many numbers on the table as possible. These combinations were devised based on the known payouts of each type of bet, maximizing the odds of winning while minimizing losses. Some of these bets include:
- 35 straight up bets, covering 35 numbers out of the 38 on the grid (37 if playing on the European variant).
- 17 split bets, covering 34 numbers.
- 11 street bets, covering 33 numbers.
- 5 line bets, covering 30 numbers
The Cannon (also called Canon) System is a relatively advanced table strategy that requires you to play different combinations of 9 straight up bets in 12 different stages. The idea is to play each stage of bets until one wins or loses 5 times in a row. Afterwards, one moves to the next stage and repeats the process until one hits their point limits. The stages, as well as their respective numbers, are as follows:
|Stage||European / Single Zero||American / Double Zero|
|123456789101112||1 2 3 20 21 25 26 33 35 4 5 6 10 19 21 24 27 34 7 8 9 22 23 28 29 30 31 5 10 11 12 23 28 30 35 3613 14 15 19 20 27 31 32 3616 17 18 22 24 25 29 33 34 0 1 2 4 14 15 19 20 21 5 8 9 10 16 18 22 23 24 0 2 3 6 13 17 25 26 27 0 7 8 11 12 18 28 29 30 0 1 9 14 16 26 31 32 33 3 6 11 12 13 17 34 35 36||0 00 1 2 3 13 14 15 24 4 5 6 16 17 18 21 22 23 7 8 9 11 12 19 20 26 28 7 8 10 11 12 25 27 29 30 1 2 3 13 14 15 34 35 36 4 5 6 16 17 18 31 32 33 6 7 8 19 20 21 31 32 33 3 4 5 22 23 24 34 35 36 0 00 9 10 25 26 27 29 30 0 9 11 12 25 26 28 29 3016 17 18 19 20 21 31 32 3313 14 15 22 23 24 34 35 36|
The point limits are part of a separate system that tracks one's progress through the cannon system. Points are added on a win and removed on a loss. If one reaches the win limit of +70 or the loss limit of -100, the player must end the session and quit for the day or find another table to start over.
James Bond Strategy
Yes, you read that right: James Bond has his own roulette strategy. Depicted in the original Casino Royale novel written by Ian Fleming, the James Bond strategy involves divvying up a bet with a multiple of 20 as follows:
- 1 unit on 0
- 5 units on 13-18
- 14 units on 19-36
This table spread covers 25 of the 38 numbers on the grid and provides pretty substantial payouts when the ball lands on your spread. However, your odds of winning are lower than with the Cover the Table method (but better than the Cannon method), with 12 numbers that could result in a loss.
Take Your Roulette Game to the Next Level with Good Strategy
Easy to learn but hard to master, roulette is satisfying and one of the most rewarding games in the entire casino. Whether through betting systems, table coverage plans, or a combination of the two, understanding good gambling strategies could boost your chances of winning big in roulette. And we hope that this guide has set you on the path to doing just that.
Roulette Strategy FAQs
What is the most successful roulette strategy?
The short answer is: it depends on what's worked best for you. The longer answer, unfortunately, is that the "most successful" roulette strategy doesn't exist.
This is because all casino games, roulette included, are designed to favour the house in most circumstances. How much advantage the casino has in a game is measured by the house edge, which indicates how much of one's wager is statistically lost to the dealer in every bet. This house edge means that all roulette strategies eventually lose out to the casino in the long term.
So if you have a strategy that has given you significant profits, then by all means, call it your best strategy for roulette. But remember that just because it works for you doesn't mean it will work for anybody else.
Is there a strategy to win roulette?
Knowing what we know now about the house edge, it's safe to say that there is no single best roulette strategy. As the saying goes, "the house always wins in the end," and the same saying applies in roulette.
But before you get discouraged, it's important to remember that the house edge applies over the long term. Implementing European roulette strategy techniques like the Paroli method could result in substantial profits in a single session, but the house edge will eventually catch up and tip the scales over to the house's favour before long.
What is the 666 roulette strategy?
The 666 roulette strategy is a table strategy that attempts to cover as much of the table as possible with a fixed betting arrangement that maximizes the payout from each bet. This strategy distributes bets to one of the outside bets, 12 split bets, and 3 straight up bets.
Whether this strategy is actually effective or not is a different story. A particular concern with this strategy is its relatively low profit per win, which can all be wiped away with a single loss.
What number comes up most in roulette?
Statistics and understanding the mechanics of roulette tell us that the ball generally has an equal chance of landing on any of the numbers on the wheel. However, subtle (and often subconscious) biases in the croupier can very slightly change these statistical probabilities and make the ball land on some numbers more often.