Roulette is my favorite table game. When I’m not at the video poker machines, I’m probably playing live or electronic roulette, betting $10 at a time for a few hours.
I use three simple steps to keep myself from over-spending on the devil’s wheel.
I wanted to outline them here in a simple blog post so that other players could avoid the embarrassment and hassle of spending beyond your means on a simple casino game.
Shop for the Best Table
I do this every time I play roulette.
I get that excited-toddler feeling when I take my first step onto the casino floor and head toward the roulette tables, but I keep it under wraps long enough to eyeball the games the casino has available.
Sometimes, like my last trip to Vegas, I do my research ahead of time. The Internet is a great resource for information on games and rules, and it took me about ninety minutes to figure out where the best tables were going to be.
In case you’re interested, it was the MGM and the Mirage. Both hosted European rules roulette (the only variation I will play) with the kinds of rules that gave the house an edge of just 1.35% on even-money bets. As an added bonus, both of these tables allowed a minimum bet of $25. Unfortunately, tables like this are becoming rare in the American casinos where I do most of my gambling.
Obviously, if you play at a table where the casino’s edge is 1.35%, you’re likely to lose less money over time than if you were playing at a table where the house advantage is 2.6%. Just remember that even a slim house advantage means the casino always wins in the long run.
Join the Casino Rewards Club
Every casino has some kind of comp or reward system. It comes in the form of a little plastic card that the house uses to track your play. You swipe the card in when you play and your activity is tracked.
I’ll admit right up front that roulette play isn’t going to reward you comps as quickly as other less-advantageous games like slot machines. Roulette isn’t as profitable as the machine games, so it’ll take you longer to earn the really valuable goodies.
But that’s no reason not to take advantage of the casino’s generosity. After all, an afternoon of roulette play at $10 a bet means I’m handing the casino about $30 of my hard-earned money. No wonder they offer me a free meal every now and then.
Joining the club is free, and if you play for any amount of time, you’ll earn a little something extra from the house for your business. Even though I know my roulette play won’t rack up a ton of rewards, I always sign up when I visit a casino.
Take Control of Your Bankroll
Establish and maintain a standard bet
This is simple – divide your total budget by your desired amount of play. So if your total budget is $1,000 and you want to play roulette for five hours, you shouldn’t bet more than $200 an hour. Since most roulette tables produce about forty outcomes per hour, you should never bet more than $5 per spin.
Remain calm and clear-headed while playing
If this sounds a little touchy-feely, just hang in there. Since roulette is totally luck-based, it doesn’t make sense to ever wager more than that. Unlike in blackjack or poker, you don’t have any influence over the outcome of roulette, so there’s never a “good time” to increase the wager. When you get emotional (or intoxicated) you’re more likely to make bad decisions. That includes placing bets that are beyond your bankroll. If you get upset or you drink a little too much, it’s time to stop playing.
Increase the value of your bankroll
I already talked about joining the player’s club in the above section. While that is a powerful tool for increasing your profits from roulette play, it’s not my favorite one. The way I see it, the more fun I have, the more valuable my gambling budget is to me. It works the same way as seeing a great movie at the cinema. If a film is really good, it totally justifies the money you have to spend for a ticket and snacks. When I want to start having more fun, I play around with the Martingale betting system for a few rounds. Not because I think it’ll work, but to make the game a little more interesting. For those few minutes, I’m having so much fun that I’m not really thinking about wins and losses.
There is no one trick to avoiding the pitfalls of over-extending your casino budget. These three are the best tools because they’re easy to apply, they work really well, and they’re all good habits besides good strategy.
But other factors are important, too. You’ll want to develop your own strategy for avoiding going broke on roulette, but if you follow my above advice, you’ll be well on your way.