Roulette betting systems

A lot of players play roulette by following a previously established system. Although most roulette systems don't statistically increase the odds of winning, they do allow a player to more effectively control the development of their game. There are many systems available for roulette players, combinations of various systems, variations of the same system and "scientific" sytems, all based on the Gambler's Fallacy: the belief that a system can change the laws of probability.

The only thing that is truly certain of any system is that it holds to the Williams and Holland law: "If you gather enough data, statistics can prove anything."

Types of betting systems

The most common betting systems, used throughout roulette history, can be classified into three groups, according to their characteristics:

1. Bet size control systems

These types of roulette systems are typically used with even money bets (even-odd, red-black and high-low), and attempt to use the amount betted and the form the bets take to generate profit. This method will often use progressions, rules that determine how to increase or decrease you bets:

  • Geometric Progression
    A series in which the numbers increase geometrically. These types are generally risky because of the high rate at which the bets increase.
    In the Martingale system, for example each bet in the series is the result of multiplying the previous bet by 2. This way, every winning bet makes up for the losses of previous bets. The Fibonacci system is also of this type.
  • Arithmetic Progression
    In this type of series the new bets are made up of the sums of others: two lost bets are added together, leading to the next bet in the series.
    Examples of this type of series are the D'Alembert system and the Oscar Grind.
  • Other Progressions
    Some systems have progressions that do not fall into the above categories. Examples include Labouchère, a system where both the increase and decrease of bets is linear, and the 1326 system that aims to exploit winning streaks.

These progressive series can be used to up the ante after either a losing or a winning situation. This defines the difference between negative and progressive betting systems, respectively.

  • Negative progression systems
    The most common types of roulette systems are of this type such as Martingale, Labouchère and D'Alembert. Negative betting systems progressively increase the amount betted after every loss. The intent of this is to cover previous losses by future wins.
  • Positive progression systems
    Exactly opposite to negative systems, a system with a positive progression will up the ante whenever a player wins. The bets decrease as the player loses. The aim of this is to win money from the casino and use this to bet for more money and possibly cover losses. Examples include 1326 and the "Reverse versions" of common negative systems: Reverse Labouchère, Reverse D'Alembert, etc.

2. Systems combining different bets

Other systems than those that control bet size focus instead on earning winnings based on covering as many numbers on the table with bets. A few examples are:

  • Double Dozen System
    This consists of betting on two dozens, either by directly betting on them or betting on the six splits that make up each dozen. This is mostly done by players who believe they can spot trends in the wheel, based on the idea that previous spins determine the outcome of future ones.
  • Column One and Three
    In this roulette system you bet two chips (or multiples) on columns one and three, and two chips on black. This covers nearly all numbers.
  • Austrian System
    This consists of 6 chips on the first and third column, one chip on each of the splits that include the 0, one chip on the split 8/11, another on 17/20 and the last on 26/29. Whenever one of the numbers bet on hits, it pays out 2 chips.
  • The Law of the Third
    A lot of roulette systems are based on this "Law of the Third", but what is it?
    Although it is very hard to predict the outcome of a single spin of roulette, for a given number of spins (for instance 37) about two thirds of all the numbers on the wheel will be hit, and one third will not, on average.
    Many systems offered on the internet attempt to utilize this fact, but it is based on the gambler’s fallacy and does not increase a player’s chance of winning.

3. Attack systems

This is what we call roulette systems based on exploiting any mechanical imperfections in the roulette table. After documenting a large number of spins from the same table, it can be determined if that specific wheel has a bias toward one or more numbers. This can then be used to increase the odds of winning by betting specifically on those numbers.

Throughout roulette history this approach has yielded very good results for players, much to the dismay of casino owners. Nowadays, however, almost all casinos are very alert when it comes to biased tables, and take several precautions to avoid exploits of this type. This includes randomly changing table cylinders and balls, and checking for players documenting spin results.