The aim of the game is to correctly predict which pocket the ball will land in, which is entirely down to chance. However, although a bit of good luck certainly helps, there are roulette strategies you can employ to boost your chances of ending up in profit.
Here's a closer look at some of the most popular roulette strategies, including how and when to use them.
Good for: High rollers
This is a common betting strategy and is based on the concept that everyone wins eventually. It can take a heavy toll on your budget and may involve remaining at a roulette table for a considerable length of time. It's therefore advisable to find a roulette game that has a low minimum bet to start out from.
The idea is simple: you keep playing until you win, but every time you lose, your next bet is double the previous one. By doing this, when you eventually hit a win, you'll at least break even but will hopefully profit.
Some tables have a modest maximum bet which will prevent this strategy from being effective, so don't forget to check this before you start.
This system works the best with outside bets which have even money such as low/high, red/black and odd/even.
It's one of the best-known betting strategies and one of the easiest to follow. However, depending on how the numbers fall, you may end up shelling out a lot of cash for a relatively small return.
Good for: Maximising returns
The Grand Martingale is a variant of the general Martingale strategy and will appeal to high rollers who want to get the biggest possible returns.
It works in the same way, except that when you double your next bet, you also add an amount equal to your original stake. It's like a plus-size version of the original Martingale. The benefit to this is that when you eventually hit a win, the returns will be more significant, guaranteeing you a better payout.
It only takes a few Grand Martingale wins to pick up a very nice profit, mitigating some of the objections to the regular Martingale system. However, you will need a very generous budget to implement this successfully and the nerve to keep betting higher even when you're on a losing streak.
Good for: Stretching out your budget
The Reverse Martingale takes the same strategy and turns it on its head. Instead of doubling your bet every time you lose, you double it when you win. The benefit of this is that you won’t end up with a rapidly increasing bet while you're on a losing streak. It also means that you can follow the strategy if you don't have a huge budget.
By using the Reverse Martingale while you're on a winning streak, it’s possible to pocket a healthy return.
Good for: Keeping track of your budget
Named after a 19th century aristocrat, Labouchere is a system that works with practically any casino game where the odds are 50/50. For this reason, it's best used for outside bets, which have an evens probability.
It sounds more complicated than Martingale, but once you see it in practice, it's easy to follow. And the best part of all is that it can be tailored to whatever level of profit that you want to achieve.
You choose your target profit, then break this number down into a smaller sequence of numbers. Your first bet is calculated by adding the first and last numbers in the sequence. Those numbers are crossed off if you win, and your next bet is the new first and last numbers in the sequence. If you lose, the amount you have just bet is added to the right of the sequence. You then take this number and the first number to get your next bet.
Here’s an example of Labouchere in practice:
Target bet: 30
First bet: 5+1 = 6
New sequence after winning:
New bet after winning: 3+3 = 6
New sequence after winning: 5-3-4-5-2-1-4-1-3-1-6
New bet after losing: 5+6 = 11
Labouchere is excellent for helping you keep track of where you are in your overall strategy and for managing your budget, but it doesn't actually improve your odds of a win. If you hit a long losing streak, the sequence can get ridiculously long, and the stake can climb high. However, if you stick to the formula and play 50/50 bets with a reasonable number of wins, you will collect a decent profit.
Good for: New players
If you're a new player or anxious about playing with high stakes, the D'Alembert system may be a good one to try. The principles are broadly similar to the Martingale but less aggressive.
You decide on your base unit; you can set this to be whatever you want, but it's advisable not to set it too high. Some experts suggest that the unit price doesn't exceed more than 1% of your total available budget.
You start by betting this amount; if you win, the bet remains the same, but you add another unit if you lose. Every time you lose, you add a further unit; when you win, you deduct one unit from the stake.
For example, if you decide that a unit = £1, you would start with a bet of £1. If you lose, you would add another £1, to make a second bet of £2. Lose again, and the next wager would be £3, but if you won this, the next bet would reduce back to £2.
It's a straightforward system and easy to track, and it's possible to avoid spirally betting stakes. This is useful if the table has a maximum limit, and it also means you can use this strategy if you have a smaller budget.
The flip side is that the wins are smaller, and if you hit a losing streak, it can take some time to recoup your losses.
Good for: Cautious players
The Fibonacci system is a progressive strategy, but it's safer than others like the Martingale, making it ideally suited to those who prefer to avoid taking big risks. Using the principles of Fibonacci numbers, the wins will be more measured, but over time it can deliver a solid profit.
Fibonacci numbers are used in many walks of life, including on the stock exchange. They are well-known as a mathematical device that has many applications. The Fibonacci method involves a long string of numbers representing the stake; each number is the sum of the previous two numbers on the sequence. Here's what it looks like:
The sequence can continue indefinitely, and it's been used for many years within betting. In theory, you can start at any point on the sequence that you like, but it's generally suggested that you start at the bottom and move up. When you win, you move your stake back two places.
Fibonacci only works for even money bets, and you'll need to be able to complete the sequence to get the benefits. This means that if you've escalated to higher stakes, you'll need a sufficient budget to cover the bets.
Good for: Players who enjoy taking a risk
Unlike many of the others systems described here, the Andrucci method relies on a hefty dose of good fortune to be profitable. It's a strategy that comes with a high risk but also the potential of high reward. This means that it won't appeal to the more risk-averse players.
If you're familiar with the chaos theory to choose lucky numbers, you'll understand how Andrucci works. For those who haven't read about chaos theory before, the simplest analogy is the raindrop comparison. When it starts to rain, some drops will fall before others, meaning that some parts of the pavement will get wet first. More drops may fall in the same spot, leaving some places soaking wet and others still dry. By the end of the rain shower, all of the pavement will be wet, but the start may be uneven.
This is Andrucci in a nutshell; players are aiming to find the hot numbers which are landing more frequently.
Before placing a bet, you must observe 30-40 rounds of roulette at the table where you plan on playing. Write down the numbers and observe which ones land more frequently. These are your hot numbers; choose one to bet on.
Unlike other systems, which are often based on placing an evens bet, with Andrucci, you'll be betting on a single number, a straight up bet. This means you'll have 35 spins for you to break even; if you land it in fewer, then you'll be in profit.
It's not recommended to stick with the bet for longer than 35 spins. After this time, whether you win or lose, go back and repeat the observation cycle to choose your next bet.
The advantages of Andrucci is that it offers potentially high returns, is easy to follow and anecdotally, many players report that it works for them. However, the science behind it is dubious, and you'll need good instincts to know when to quit.
Good for: Players who prefer to keep bets low
James Bond may not have played in the casinos in the films, but that hasn't stopped a casino strategy being named after the debonair character. Rather than being a progressive system as so many betting strategies are, the James Bond betting system is flat. This means that you will be betting the same amount every round, whatever stake you feel comfortable with.
However, as you may suspect, there's more to the James Bond than just betting the same amount every round and picking a random bet.
On each roulette spin, you'll place three separate bets. Based on a token amount of £20, this would be:
● Numbers 19-36: £14
● Line bet on numbers 13-18: £5
● Zero pocket: £1
You can adjust the amounts to fit your stake providing the proportional split remains unchanged.
These bets cover the majority of the wheel, leaving just 12 numbers where you wouldn't win at all. If the ball lands in one of the above bets, your winnings would be:
● Numbers 19-36: £8
● Line bet on numbers 13-18: £10
● Zero pocket: £16
The profits aren't huge but can gradually accumulate to create a tidy sum. However, it's important to remember that not all of the wheel is covered, and a lot depends on your luck. If any of the uncovered pockets are the current "hot numbers", you may end up losing more than you win. And without a progressive stake to offset the losses, you'll need a substantial number of wins to recoup your winnings.
Good for: New gamblers
This betting strategy is based on the notion that wins and losses tend to come in streaks. By following the pattern of betting set out in Paroli, you’ll have the chance to cover losses and win additional profit.
The system has been used since the 16th century when it was first applied to basset, an Italian card game. It can be applied to many games but works particularly well for roulette and baccarat. It needs even money bets, such as red/black, low/high or odds/evens.
The goal of Paroli is to hit three consecutive wins, and when you do, you'll double the bet each time. At all other times, the betting is flat.
Using a starting bet of £1, a Paroli betting strategy might look like this:
● Starting bet £1: loss
● Next bet £1: loss
● Next bet £1: win
● Next bet £2: win
● Next bet £4: loss
● Next bet £1
In this example, you bet £1 on each spin, but double the bet each time you win. If you lose before three consecutive bets, you revert to betting £1. The goal is to achieve three consecutive wins to complete the Paroli cycle.
Paroli is attractive because, with each bet, you are only using £1 (or one unit) from your own budget; every higher bet uses money you have won from the casino. The resulting third consecutive win covers all losses and delivers a profit.
You don't need to worry about exceeding casino limits as the rise is slow and modest. The flat betting structure also ensures that your budget will last; you don’t need lots of money to follow this strategy. For this reason, Paroli particularly appeals to cautious players or those who are just starting out.
Many other roulette strategies are in use; these are just a handful of the most successful and popular.
When choosing the right strategy for you, consider the minimum and maximum table amounts as this may preclude specific systems. Your available budget and attitude to risk will also be essential factors.