Roulette strategies do they work

Roulette’s been around for centuries and for as long as the wheel has been spinning, players have tried to find the best roulette strategies to beat the game.

Incredibly, the most popular roulette strategies in the 19th century are still top of the pile today. Systems like Martingale, d’Alembert, Paroli and Bond are the first place people look in their quest for a profitable strategy. But as you’re about to discover, they all share one common feature.

I wonder if you can guess what it is yet!

Here are the 5th strategies you’ll find out more about today:

  • Strategy #1: The Martingale method
  • Strategy #2: The Paroli system
  • Strategy #3: The d’Alembert system
  • Strategy #4: The Bond roulette bet
  • Strategy #5: The 666 system

What are roulette strategies and do they work?

Before we tackle the so-called best roulette strategies, let’s recap what roulette is and why we even need a strategy.

Roulette is a numbers game that is 100% luck. With no skill involved, playing roulette is a bit like picking numbers on the lotto. Pick the right number and you can win up to 35 times your bet. But the catch with roulette – just like every casino game – is the house edge.

In European roulette, the best variant, the house edge on every bet type is 2.70%. There’s no escaping that cost of playing, so you can’t improve your chances of winning consistently by what numbers you bet on.

Show 3 x chip stacks with numbers, and the outcomes between each $10 - LOSE $20 - LOSE - $30

What you can change is the amount you bet. By increasing or decreasing your bet size based on the outcome of your previous spin, you can have a large short-term impact on the result of your roulette session. And that’s where the most popular roulette strategies like the Martingale system come in.

But let’s cut to the chase. Despite what you might read on YouTube, there is no such thing as a winning roulette strategy and anyone who tries to sell you one deserves to lose their shirt.

But although no roulette strategy will make you rich (and some might even achieve the opposite pretty quick), the following best-known roulette strategies can be fun to play if you practice sensible bankroll management.

Strategy #1: The Martingale method

The best-known of all roulette strategies, Martingale is a notorious system that casinos have long since neutralized by capping the table stakes. Although I suggest you avoid this like the plague, it’s still important to know what it is, and why it’s destined to fail.

‘Martingaling’ involves placing even money roulette bets like red or black, and doubling your stake on the next spin if you lose.

Rather than simply trying to win back your loss from the previous spin, the goal of the Martingale roulette strategy is to win back your stake from the previous sequence of losses AND make a profit of 1 unit.

Here’s an example of Martingale in action:

We start with a £1 bet on red, although it could just as well be any even money bet such as black, odd or even, high or low.

Bet 

Stake 

Result 

Total stake 

Running profit 

#1 

£1 

Lose 

 

-£1 

#2 

£2 

Lose 

£3 

-£3 

#3 

£4 

Lose 

£7 

-£7 

#4 

£8 

Lose 

£15 

-£15 

#5 

£16 

£32 

£31 

£1 

We get off to bad start with 4 Blacks in a row, and double our bet each time. We finally hit Red on the 5th spin to come away with a £1 profit. If we had lost that 5th bet, we’d be staking a whopping £64 on spin #6, and #128 on spin #7.

There are various reasons why Martingale is not a winning strategy:

  1. To begin with, losing several coin flips in a row is far from impossible.
    It is almost inevitable that you’ll end up betting huge sums to make the same measly £1 profit you were trying to make with a £1 stake on bet #1.
  2. If you play long enough, you’ll eventually hit the table maximum and be unable to continue.

It would be fair to call this system ‘chasing losses’, but I also see it as an investment strategy with an extremely unattractive and unbalanced shape; You can’t win much, but you can lose big. If you’re looking for a roulette strategy which works, keep looking.

Strategy #2: The Paroli system

flow chart graphic PAROLI SYSTEM £10 - LOSE - £10 - WIN - £20 - WIN - £40 - COLLECT

Martingale is all about what to bet when you lose, whereas the Paroli roulette system covers what to do if you win. In this case, we double our bet when we win, which is why the Paroli method is sometimes called the Reverse Martingale.

Like Martingale, this is a black or red roulette strategy but this time, you double your next bet after a loss, and return to flat betting 1 unit when you lose. The goal of the Paroli roulette strategy is to achieve 3 consecutive wins, which will net you a 7 unit profit.

Here’s an example:

Bet 

Stake 

Result 

Total stake 

Running profit 

#1 

£1 

Lose 

 

-£1 

#2 

£1 

Win 

£2 

£0 

#3 

£2 

Win 

£4 

£2 

#4 

£4 

Win 

£8 

£6 

#5 

£1 

Lose 

£9 

£5 

We start with a loss and continue to bet our £1 unit stake. Once we get a win on the 2nd spin, we double our bet, and continue to double until we hit our 3rd win. Our mission is now complete, so we return to a £1 unit bet and start over.

Although the Paroli system gives you no greater edge over the house than any other system, it has a less risky structure, which attacks when you’re winning and defends when you’re losing.

Pro tips: Fans of the Paroli strategy will often change the structure (e.g. stop at 4 wins in a row) and play it with Column or Dozen bets with a 2 to 1 payout.

Strategy #3: The d’Alembert system

We’ve already seen 2 roulette strategies that double your bet size when you either win or lose. Now we’ve got a strategy with rules for how much to bet when you win AND when you lose. It also smooths out the wild swings of doubling systems with a more conservative bet spread.

Using the d’Alembert betting system, you increase your bet by 1 unit when you win, and decrease it by 1 unit when you lose. Like Paroli, the end-game is to turn a short-term profit and then start again from scratch.

Here’s how it might work with a £1 unit bet, although we start at £5 so we have room to decrease if we lose.

Bet 

Stake 

Result 

Total stake 

Running profit 

#1 

£5 

Lose 

£5 

-£5 

#2 

£4 

Win 

£9 

-£1 

#3 

£5 

Win 

£14 

£4 

#4 

£6 

Win 

£20 

£10 

#5 

£7 

Lose 

£27 

£3 

As with all other roulette betting strategies, this system relies on short term luck, and has no bearing on the overall house edge. It does however offer something unique, by taking elements of Paroli and fusing it with a way to protect your stake when you lose.

By reducing the bet spread to 1 unit, it eliminates the risk of big losses. Anything that protects your bankroll gets a thumbs up from me.

If you do fancy trying any of these roulette betting systems, be sure to play with French roulette rules which halve the house edge on even money bets to just 1.35%. If you can’t find a French table, a European roulette game will do.

You should avoid playing even money roulette strategies at an American roulette table, due to the effect of the double zero.

Check out our roulette guide if you want to understand more about the difference between these variations of the game.

Strategy #4: The Bond roulette bet

I’ve covered the most popular roulette betting strategies based on changes in bet sizing, but there are also many fun roulette strategies which cover what numbers to bet on.

player in a tuxedo next to a roulette table with a stack of chips on 0 the 13-18 six-line bet and High

There’s no evidence that James Bond ever used this famous roulette strategy in a film, nor that it will make you money (it won’t). But it’s an interesting combination of numbers and bets sizes which gives you 4 possible outcomes.

Here’s how to possibly win, using an example stake of £10 per spin, divided between 3 bets.

Bet 

Stake 

Profit 

Zero 

50p 

£8 

13 to 18 

£2.50 

£5 

High (19 to 36) 

£7 

£4 

The method uses a mix of straight up, six line and even money bets, as well as a tiered stake structure. The worst case scenario is that around 32% of the time, you’ll lose your entire stake. With any other outcome, you’ll make a modest profit.

Although this strategy includes a 35 to 1 bet on 0, it’s basically an odds-on bet that wins most of the time, but pays less than 1 to 1 on your money.

Although most players who try the Bond system bet the same amount on every spin (called flat betting), some combine it with the Martingale method, increasing their stakes after each loss. You already know my view on Martingale, so I recommend you stick to flat betting if you do try the Bond method.

Strategy #5: The 666 system

I might as well discuss the 666 system, given how often it’s mentioned, although god (and the devil) knows why!

In a nutshell, you’re covering all but 4 of the numbers on a roulette wheel and hoping to make a meagre 10% return on your money.

Not a thrilling profit margin, but at least you’ll win almost every time.

player next to a board covered in chips with only 33, 35, 24 and 22 left uncovered

The 666 roulette system gets its name partly because all numbers on a roulette wheel add up to 666, and also because it requires a total of 66 units on each spin, and makes a 6 unit profit when it wins.

This method features 10 separate bets including 3 x single number bets, 6 x split bets and a chunky even money bet.

Bet 

Stake 

Return (Profit) 

Red 

£36 

£72 (£6) 

0-2 

£4 

£72 (£6) 

8-11 

£4 

£72 (£6) 

10-13 

£4 

£72 (£6) 

17-20 

£4 

£72 (£6) 

26-29 

£4 

£72 (£6) 

28-31 

£4 

£72 (£6) 

4, 6, 15, 22, 24, 33 or 35 

£2 

£72 (£6) 

4, 6, 15, 22, 24, 33 or 35 

£2 

£72 (£6) 

4, 6, 15, 22, 24, 33 or 35 

£2 

£72 (£6) 

In effect you’re covering 33 of the 37 numbers on the board and getting the same return whatever you hit.

On average:

  • you’ll make a 6 unit profit 33 times out of 37,
  • and lose all 66 units 4 times in 37.

In football betting terms, you’re backing a Barcelona home win at odds of 1/10.

In slots terminology, you’re playing a super low variance game with very small, very frequent wins.

For me, the main issue with the 666 System is a psychological one. You’ll expect to win every time, and on those rare occasions when you lose, you’ll think it’s unfair.

Backing dead-certs can be more fun when you’re learning how to play roulette than waiting hundreds of roulette games for your single number to come in, but it’s a losing strategy just the same.

 

The bottom line: Roulette strategies aren’t worth a cent

None of the most popular roulette strategies I’ve discussed will turn a profit in the long run, as you simply cannot beat a game of chance with a built-in house edge. But depending on the balance of risk/reward you prefer, some of these strategies give you plenty of bang for your buck.

If you want to try a roulette strategy next time you’re playing live roulette, stick with one that minimizes losses, bet only what you’re happy to lose and you should get plenty of enjoyment from this classic casino game.

Daniel Grant

Dan Grant has been writing about gambling for 15 years, and been fascinated by beating the odds for even longer. Now he’s on a mission to help others bet smarter and avoid the mistakes he made. When he’s not obsessing over bankroll strategy or counting cards badly, he’s hosting The OJO Show podcast.

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