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Roulette : Game Tips & Strategies

The Martingale One infamous betting strategy is what is called the Martingale. This type of betting method is used on outside bets where the payout is even money. To briefly describe this, it entails doubling your bet after each losing bet so that your next bet will "make up" for all the lost bets up to this and your profit is your initial bet. For example, if you bet $1 and lose, you can make your next bet $2 so that if you win then you're still a $1 in the profit. If you bet $1, lose, double this bet to $2 and still lose, your next bet would be $4. If you win this bet, then you win the $4, but have only lose the total of $1 + $2 = $3. So your $1 in the profit margin.

Two problems with the Martingale. #1 there are house table limits, so even if you had a lot of money, at some point you will not be able to double your bet. Many online casinos we have reviewed at .com Casino Guide offer a range of $1 to $100 for example. Have in mind the table range of your favourite casino when you are looking at the odds charts we post below. And #2, very quickly this can lead to extremely high bets, all to profit at $1. If you lose 7 bets in a row: $1, $2, $4, $8, $16, $32, and $64, all of a sudden your next bet would be $128 in an attempt to make an end profit of $1 to cover your 7 losing bets. Granted, the odds of losing 7 bets in a row are low, as will be derived below, but it WILL happen. And on that 8th bet, that wheel could care less if the last 7 spins have come up all black for example and you're betting on red. Below is charted the odds and amounts to be bet if you choose to use the Martingale.

European Wheel-No En Prison Rule-Martingale
Bet # Bet ($) Odds Losing(%) Total ($) Total Profit at this point if you win
1 $1 51.35% -$1 $1
2 $2 26.37% -$3 $1
3 $4 13.54% -$7 $1
4 $8 6.95% -$15 $1
5 $16 3.57% -$31 $1
6 $32 1.83% -$63 $1
7 $64 0.94% -$127 $1
8 $128 0.48% -$255 $1
9 $256 0.24% -$511 $1
10 $512 0.12% -$1023 $1

That's probably several bets further than you should even consider going if you plan to use this strategy. You see the trend on the right column that you only profit $1 at the point you win due to all your previous loses. Who wants to risk a bet of $512 that will for all practical purposes only profit you $1? You'd have to be insane!

But, let's look at the Martingale and see if it's useful for you at the lower end of the scale. Let's draw our sanity check at using a maximum of 4 bets in a row at this method. The odds of you losing 4 bets in a row is 6.95%. So therefore a 93%+ chance that you will have your $1 profit by this point. The largest risk you are facing is losing that 4th bet at $8, which puts you at -$15 for that 4 bet sequence. Not fun to be out $15, but $15 is not hundreds of dollars either. You shouldn't have dark thoughts being out the price of a few beers.. Perhaps at this point you call that a lose, and start the system anew. Placing a $1, and going through the sequence again. All the while keeping in mind the odds are really 93% that you're going to keep getting that $1 profit at some point. So then you see here that it becomes a balance. How many of those $15 sequences can you afford to lose? Set limits for yourself as to how much you can financially lose.

Let's look at the math. 93% of the time you are going to win with this sequence. For a 100 sample, that's $93 profit. However, 7% of the time you are going to lose your 4 bet sequence. With your total loss for each one being $15, that around $105 lost. Therefore your total loss is $12 on average if you do the sequence 100 times. If the odds are with you that night and you get lucky enough to only lose that sequence 6 times, you actually make a profit of $3! And that's what gambling is about, playing the game for fun because you love it, and hoping that lady luck is with you that night.

The Pyramid System
Another system thought of is what is called the Pyramid System. This system doesn't let you get out of control with your betting, as it is not based upon doubling. The system works where for every bet you lose, you increase your next bet by some unit, let's say $1 for example purposes, and for every bet you win you decrease it by $1. This way each winning bet you have is $1 greater than your previous losing bet. Let's chart an example using the European Wheel again.

European Wheel-No En Prison Rule-Pyramid System
Bet # Bet($) Result Tally ($)
1 $1 L -$1
2 $2 L -$3
3 $3 W 0
4 $2 W $2
5 $1 L $1
6 $2 L -$1
7 $3 L -$4
8 $4 L -$8
9 $5 W -$3
10 $4 W $1
Final   4W 6L $

You can see that even though we've only won 4 spins compared to 6 loses that we're still up $1! And our highest bet was only $5. With 4 loses in a row on the Martingale system, we'd be up to $16 bets trying to make that $1 profit. The Pyramid system can give you longer sustained play at lower risk than versions of the Martingale. But as you can see from the above charts with 10 bets to make $1 profit, this system doesn't afford you large gains either as you can make your $1 profit from one winning spin.

Let's combine the two for a moment. We can set our strategy to double our bet up to $4, then use the Pyramid system to slow try to get back our loses while in turn minimizing future loses if we keep losing. We can set this threshold to be 2 additional spins, so the bets would be $5 and $6. Our chart would look like this:

Bet # Bet ($) Odds Losing(%) Total ($) Total Profit at this point if you win
1 $1 51.35% -$1 $1
2 $2 26.37% -$3 $1
3 $4 13.54% -$7 $1
4 $5 6.95% -$12 -$2
5 $6 3.57% -$18 -$6

You can see here that at our worse case scenario, at odds of happening 3.57%, we lose $18. Even before we get to this point however, at a clip of 6.95% we have a chance to get bailed out with only a $2 lose. All other times, we benefit from a 100% - 13.54% = 86.46% chance that we are going to show a profit. So let's see what happens for 100 theoretical cycles: 86.46% of the time we can take our $1 profit, so we're up $86.46. Of the remaining 13.54%, we will win 48.65% of the time on the next spin, netting a $2 lose. So that's 13.54 * 48.65% = 6.59. 6.59 * -$2 yields a loss of $13.18. (decimal places carried out on calculations).
Therefore we are now at $86.46 - $13.18 = $73.28.

There is now a 6.95% chance that we will have to make that 5th spin, and if we win that, we have a net loss of $6.

Therefore with a win we have 6.95 * 48.65% = 3.38. 3.38 * -$6 yields a loss of $20.30.
Therefore we are now at $73.28 - $20.30 = $52.98

And now let's compute the bad news, with a 3.57% chance we will lose that 5th bet in a row, we would net an $18 lose. Thus we have 3.57% * $18 = $64.27.
Therefore we are now at $52.98 - $64.27 = -$11.29

So what good is this method if you lose $11? Well guess what, nothing mathematically can give you a complete mathematical edge over Roulette as the house has their 2.70% edge for each spin. But like the Martingale, all you need is 1 less worse case scenario and you've only lost $6 instead of the $18, which gives you a $12 difference and now you're in the black! With our worse case of 96% chance of not happening, you can bet that some nights will be your lucky night. And that's what winning on most games comes down to, getting on that hot streak!

Roulette School Lessons
Lesson 1: Roulette History
Find out the beginnings of the game
Lesson 2: Roulette Rules
How to play this incredible game
Lesson 3: The Roulette Wheel
The first playing tool, learn how to read it.
Lesson 4: Roulette Systems
Betting systems to maximize your playing time and winnings
Lesson 5: Roulette Strategy
How to play Roulette smart
Lesson 6: Roulette Betting
The different types of Roulette bets detailed
Lesson 7: The Roulette Table
The second playing tool, where to place your bet, and how to read the table
Lesson 8: Roulette Tips
Simple rules of thumb to help your game
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