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Streaks in Roulette

By Charles D.

Level: Apr 20th 2010
What you'd really love to do when playing online roulette is get a nice winning streak going so that you can build your bankroll up. Naturally, in any game where you've got a negative overall expectation to your play, like roulette, you've got to be aware of the kind of chance you really have to run up a streak.

Naturally, it's kind of silly to think you could actually lay money down on a single number and win a bet like that three or four times in a row. So when we make an analysis of the situation, we are looking at the bets that don't operate on 37/1 odds, but instead have closer to an even money chance of helping our ship come in.

Those are called "outside bets."

Outside bets are more or less "one or the other" wagers. You are betting on whether a result is going to come up Red or Black, Low or High, Even or Odd. They are always wagers on sets of 18 numbers. These bets offer the appearance that they are even money, although the presence of the zero and double zero on the roulette wheel (in the American version) make it less than an even chance that the bet will actually come out in your favor.

When you look at the Even or Odd prop, for instance, you've got 18 chances to win, out of 38 total chances (on the American roulette wheel), and in this case, as in all cases, the zero and double zero provide the "vig" for the house.

So would it be at all possible for you to get four "evens" in a row, or, say, four "low" numbers consecutively?

Well, we can answer that, because it is something that can be calculated. You do it in the form of a parlay.

Understand that the probability is 18 out of 38 that our number comes in (18/38). What you'll do in this calculation is take that figure and keep multiplying by as many times as you need to (the equivalent to the amount of consecutive wins you're trying to calculate) in order to find out what the odds are.

You can reduce 18/38 to 9/19 if you wish, if that makes the set of numbers more manageable. Just multiply it four times in a row....

9/19 x 9/19 x 9/19 x 9/19 = 6561/130,321

Then you can reduce it to 1/19.86.

What this means is that you are going to be able to win four spins in a row about once every 20 spins (actually a little less than 20 spins). So you can see that it doesn't happen that often.

You can calculate the other thing the same way; the occurrences that you would like to avoid, which are the losing streaks. They will take you right out of the game if they overwhelm you at the wrong time. How often do THEY happen?

Well, a little more frequently, as you might expect. Remember that your possibility is 20/38 (or 10/19). So how frequently could we expect to LOSE four times in a row? Well, that can be part of a parlay too....

10/19 x 10/19 x 10/19 x 10/19 = 10,000/130,321 = 1/13.021

So essentially it occurs every 13 spins.

The lesson to be learned here is that if you base a roulette strategy on winning streaks that would occur more frequently than losing streaks, you need to re-think your approach.
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