How Math Can Improve Your Odds at Online Roulette Real Money
Some individuals believe that it's feasible to take advantage of the layout of the roulette wheel and betting area to increase their chances of winning. The idea is that you can position wagers on the layout in a way that ensures a win. But is this truly possible?
How Math Can Improve Your Odds at Roulette Game Introduction
It is claimed Albert Einstein once stated, "No one can win at roulette unless he steals money from the table while the croupier isn't looking." However, despite my usual reluctance to question Einstein, this assertion is inaccurate. In fact, one could use Einstein's area of expertise, physics, to gain an advantage. Alternatively, one could locate a biased wheel that favours certain numbers.
What Einstein was really trying to convey was that there is no mathematical formula that guarantees a win at roulette. Every spin is an independent event, and over time, the casino will always come out ahead. This differs from games like Blackjack, where the odds change as cards are dealt.
Nevertheless, some individuals believe that it's feasible to take advantage of the layout of the roulette wheel and betting area to increase their chances of winning. The idea is that you can position wagers on the layout in a way that ensures a win. But is this truly possible?
Roulette Wheel Layout
Similar to a dartboard, the layout of a roulette wheel was not created by chance but instead was deliberately designed with specific characteristics. In reality, there are two distinct layouts: the American wheel and the European wheel, both of which are depicted below.
American Roulette Wheel
It's worth noting that the American wheel includes two zeroes, a crucial factor that doubles the casino's advantage. Over the long run, you can expect to lose 2.7% of the money you bet on a European wheel. However, on an American wheel, this figure increases to 5.26%. If you're interested in the mathematics behind roulette, the video at the end of this article explains how these odds are calculated.
While the arrangement of numbers on each wheel differs, there are certain similarities in the patterns. On both wheels, red and black numbers alternate around the wheel, though the American wheel would have consecutive reds and blacks if the zeroes were removed. Additionally, the wheels are organized such that low numbers (1-18) and high numbers (19-36) alternate as frequently as possible.
On the European wheel, this rule is only broken when the numbers 5 and 10 (both low numbers) are positioned side by side. On the American wheel, however, there are many examples where this rule is violated, which is why it is deemed to be less balanced than the European wheel. Both wheels strive to distribute odd and even numbers as evenly as possible, but there are still a few exceptions to this guideline on both.
European Roulette Wheel
The European wheel possesses two other intriguing symmetries. First, all low red numbers and high black numbers are located on one side of the zero, while high red numbers and low black numbers are located on the other side. Second, the sequence 29-7-28-12-35-3-26-0-32 does not include any numbers between 13 and 24 (the second dozen). You can place a wager on the entire second dozen with odds of 2-1.
Can We Beat the Maths?
By simply searching on Google, you can find numerous systems for playing and supposedly winning at roulette, ranging from simple to complicated, and from well-described to poorly explained. However, a system for winning at roulette should consist of both a playing strategy and a money management strategy. The Martingale system is one of the most well-known money management strategies. This system is based on doubling your bet after every loss, and it is guaranteed to make you money, as long as you have a big enough bankroll and don't reach the table limit, which you'll quickly hit. In fact, the Martingale system is the fastest way to go bankrupt.
Regardless of the betting strategy and money management strategy you choose, all of them share the same flaw. Assuming the wheel is not biased and each number has an equal probability of being selected, the casino will always win due to the mathematics behind the game. Even if a system appears to work in the short term, as soon as a number that hasn't been bet on comes up, the casino will move closer to its win expectation, which is 2.7% or 5.26%, depending on the type of wheel.
Some systems involve betting on numerous numbers, such as 20, which may result in many wins because more than half of the numbers are covered. However, when one of the numbers isn't selected, which will happen almost half of the time, you will lose all 20 bets you've placed, effectively wiping out any previous winnings.
Any system that has been devised can be analyzed to show that there is a win expectation for the casino. In short, you might as well place a single chip on the same number every time and hope that it appears more frequently than it should during the short time you're playing. No matter how we dress up the wheel layout, the betting cloth layout, the number selection, or the money management system, the mathematics behind the game is always there, quietly working against us. As a result, you might as well have fun, select random numbers, and rely on Lady Luck. Alternatively, as Einstein allegedly suggested, you could try to steal chips (although we don't recommend it).