Roulette is the most straightforward game at the casino, yet it still has many different ways to play. You can bet a single number, a line of numbers, a square, a corner, a color, a trio, six-line, or a basket. And that’s not even taking into account bet size! With so many decisions, surely there must be an optimal way to play, right?
Can You Mathematically Beat the House at Roulette?
Albert Einstein once said, “The only way to beat roulette is to steal money when the croupier isn’t looking.” If one of the greatest mathematicians of the modern era couldn’t beat this classic casino game, what hope have you? Then again, he’s also famous for the phrase “God doesn’t play dice with the universe,” which has been largely proven untrue by quantum mechanics. So, perhaps gambling-related things were a blind spot for the brilliant science icon? Let’s find out!
A Mathematical Description of Roulette
Roulette is a game where professional croupier (or computer) spins a wheel, and you bet on a number or a group of numbers. If the wheel lands on a number you have chosen, you win cash equal to your bet times the odds. Your chances of winning? A roulette wheel has 18 black spaces, 18 red spaces, and either one or two green spaces, depending on what country you’re in.
So, if you bet on a color, red or black, in America, you have a 47.36% of winning and doubling your money! If you bet on a number, your odds are 1 in 38! If you want to calculate your odds for any bet, simply put however many numbers you’re betting on over 38!
That’s the game, but what kinds of strategies have people developed to win at it over its long history? The martingale is the most famous roulette strategy by far! Its proponents will tell you, “All you have to do win at roulette is to double your bet every time you lose!” It makes sense at first glance. If you bet $1 and lose, play again and bet $2! You’re increasing your chance of winning to 75%! Lose again? Just bet $4! Keep going, and you’ll never lose, so long as you have infinite money.
Unfortunately, this technique doesn’t work in practice. You might win a few bucks the first time you try it, but sooner or later, you’ll inevitably rack up a loss large enough to eclipse all your previous winnings. All betting systems, from the Labouchère system to the D’Alembert system, fail similarly.
The House Always Wins?
The only things you can control in roulette are how much you bet and what you bet on. When it comes down to it, neither of those things really matter. Every space on the board has an equal chance of being selected, and the odds are designed in such a way that whether you bet on a single number, an entire color, or anything in between, your proportional winnings will invariably stay the same.
The size of your bet only works to change how fast you win or lose. So at the end of the day, every choice comes down to virtually the same thing.
A True Game of Chance
No matter how you slice it, there’s no way to beat the odds at roulette. Of course, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s the best choice for someone looking for a game of pure chance! You don’t have to worry about being the best player in the world. Just spin to win!
Roulette is the great equalizer, whether it be at goodLuckmate or your local casino. No matter who you are, from the best shark at the table to the casual first-timer, roulette treats us all the same. That’s the beauty of the game!