I’m something of a casino junkie.
Let me rephrase that – I’m the one guy in my close circle of friends who gambles more than once or twice a year. Because of that, I’m also the go-to guy for all gambling-related questions.
While I’ve spent more than a few hours explaining why the Martingale system won’t work and why there’s no such thing as a hot or cold slot machine, I really get a big kick out of giving answers to more legitimate questions.
I’ve had more than a few friends ask me “How can I win at roulette?” This is a great question, and I love to answer it. I’ve talked about it so much, I felt it was time to write a blog post on the subject.
Here’s my guide on to How to Win at Roulette.
Pick the Right Game
What is roulette? It’s a casino game in which players bet on which slot on a spinning wheel a tiny silver ball will come to rest in. That’s it – it’s one of the simpler games on the casino floor.
The first trick to winning at roulette is picking the right game. Generally speaking, two forms of roulette exist – American and European-style. The American-style game includes a single extra slot on the wheel (the green 00 slot) that tips the odds a little more in the casino’s favor. The European wheel does not include the “00” slot.
How much are the game’s odds affected? Significantly, at least in casino terms. The overall house edge on American games is 5.26%. Compare that to the 2.7% house edge on European wheels, and the choice should be exceedingly obvious. American wheels give the casino an edge twice as big as European wheels.
If you have a choice (unfortunately, in American casinos, this isn’t always the case), you should always play on a European roulette wheel.
Place the Right Bets
Roulette has more than a dozen standard bets on the layout, and some casinos and game designers have added features to the game that increase that number even more. If you’re playing roulette to win, you have to understand how likely the game’s various bets are to pay off.
The second trick to winning at roulette is placing the right bets, the ones most likely to pay out. The general rule is, the more a bet pays out the less likely you are to win. A successful bet on a single number pays 35 to 1 – that’s a lovely payday, but with just a 1 in 38 chance of winning, it’s not a very safe wager.
Obviously, the safest bets (the ones most likely to lead to winnings) are the even money bets. In roulette, the safest bets are high/low, red/black, and even/odd. They all pay even money, and they all cover 18 of the 38 possible winning outcomes. Put simply, it’s one of the best bets in the casino. You won’t have as much fun placing these bets as wagering on a single number or other longshots, but you will make yourself more likely to win money.
Join the Club
I do almost all of my gambling in land-based casinos. If you gamble mostly online, this tip won’t help you much. But I still advise everyone I know to do it.
The third trick for winning at roulette is to join the player’s club. No, you won’t literally win more cash from your bets or suddenly become eligible for a special prize (necessarily) – but you will enjoy savings and bonuses that cut into the casino’s edge.
If, by “winning at roulette,” you mean “beating the house,” joining a loyalty club is a no-brainer. The casino can’t track your play if you don’t join. How does membership help your bottom line? Casinos use these clubs and cards to issue comps. These may come in a few different forms: rebates, free games, special tournament entries, passes to the buffet, free casino rooms, tickets to shows, etc.
I’m not kidding when I suggest this to my friends, even though it almost always gets a belly-laugh. If you want to win more cash at any casino game, you’re going to have to depend more than a little on luck.
The fourth trick for winning at roulette is to get lucky. Even the safest bets on the layout (the even money bets) are designed to eventually separate you from your money. That 2.7% house edge on European roulette may look pretty sweet at first, until you realize that the game is designed to do nothing more than take your money and return 97.3% of it back to you.
So how do you get lucky? This is where your preferences come in. Maybe you’re a believer in lucky rabbit’s feet, or a lucky shirt, or a specific religious routine to increase your chances. It doesn’t matter what you do, as far as I can tell. The purpose of a luck ritual is to make you confident. So find your own ritual, practice it, and let me know what you did if it works.
If you started this article hoping that I had a secret formula that would lead to consistent winnings, I’m sure I’ve disappointed you. The truth is that casinos are designed to make money. The real trick to winning at any casino game is to play it in such a way that you have fun. Anything else is just icing on the cake.