Of all the games you’ll encounter in the casino, they can be categorized according to one fundamental characteristic: chance versus strategy. A number of games, specifically card-oriented ones like Blackjack and Poker, obviously rely on a certain degree of luck, but the individuals who routinely win are usually supplementing that luck with hard-earned skill.
And then we have the games that rely solely on luck. These are the games that are literally “up to fate”, and include all of the slots games or dice games where the roll is out of your control.
However, when we come to roulette we encounter a game that moves between these two realms of strategy and luck. Roulette involves a spinning wheel with 37 slots (38 on American wheels), all labeled and either red or black. A ball is thrown onto the moving wheel and where the ball eventually comes to rest signifies the winning number/slot. It might seem like there isn’t room for much “strategy” when you’re not able to predict where the ball will land, but in fact roulette relies very heavily on some choice skills.
The first, and foremost, involves being able to predict where the ball will land. This might sound like a job better suited to a superhero, but in fact, all wheels have a bias. This means that every roulette wheel has certain irregularities and flaws in it, and once you know what that irregularity is it’s possible to take advantage of it (think of a pool table with a shorter leg). Being patient, watching, and learning what the ‘tendency’ of the wheel is will invariably give you an edge over your opponents and the house.
The second tip I’d give is slightly more psychological – the roller of the ball has his own bias. He or she may not even be aware of it, but the way they flick their wrist when they drop the ball, the speed of the roulette wheel, even the time when they decide to drop it, are all vital factors in predicting where the ball will land.
Thirdly, and this is an obvious one, stick with European wheels. American wheels have an extra 00 slot which gives the house a major advantage, and can really hurt your chances at winning. Keep this in mind when you decide to play – if it’s not a European wheel, walk away (the odds are already stacked against you).
Fourth, avoid the tendency beginner players (and even notable experts) have of thinking that they’re ‘on a roll’. Whether the ball lands on red or black is totally up to chance, and unlike card games there is no progressive limit – this means that every roll goes back to the original probability of 50/50. Never lose track of this fact. It can be very seductive to get to lured into the trap that one is on a winning streak, or that a certain number or color is supposed to come up on the next roll.
Fifth and last, but also vital to ensuring your winnings, is never bet more than your original stakes. When certain players succumb to the logical fallacy that a number will or ought to come up, they tend to make larger bets, putting more and more money on a specific number they consider “lucky”. This is how casinos bleed you dry, and being aware of the trap is the first step in evading it. If you go in with $50, keep that as your limit, no matter how much you win. This ensures consistency, and over a long enough time period, it is also probabilistically the safest bet.
But most importantly, have fun! Roulette is so attractive because it offers its players big rewards for single rolls, and when you’re playing with other high rollers it’s one of the most alluring games because of the high risks and, of course, the appeal of Fate.