I’ll admit that I love roulette. I’m a secret fan of roulette. I keep it a secret because my friends, many of whom are successful poker players or blackjack card counters, would roll their eyes when I tell them about roulette. It’s a fun game, but it’s also an expensive game. At an undeniable house edge of 5.25%, it can be really expensive to play. However, follow my advice below and you will increase your chances of winning and reduce your overall expected loss.
NUMBER 1. ADD UP YOUR TOTAL BETS PER SPIN, AND SEE IF YOU QUALIFY FOR THE HIGH LIMIT ROOM SINGLE ZERO GAME
I’m at a casino right now, writing this while in my room. I’m currently in Atlantic City (hint hint, if you’re waiting for the next craps video). When I was downstairs playing, I was on the main gaming floor just observing. There was a lady playing roulette who was betting with $1 chips and spreading her bets out. I added up her total action and noticed that she had around $60 worth of total bets, spread out around various numbers.
So nowadays, I’m the RoadGambler. The old Max Rider would have kept to himself, but as the RoadGambler, I’m somewhat more active in my engagement. In the old days, I wouldn’t have said anything. But the RoadGambler asked this lady, ‘Do you know that over there (not more than 20 feet away), is a single zero roulette table?’.
She looked at me and said, ‘that’s the high limit room. I can’t afford that’. To which I replied, ‘the minimum is $25, and you’re betting over $50 a spin’.
It had never occurred to her that her ‘$1 bet’, which in her mind was low limit, was really a $60 bet.
Of course, she was losing; and humans being humans, she already had a sunken cost with the table that she was playing. She wasn’t going to leave.
However, before the psychological grip of sunken costs grabs you, next time you are playing on the general gaming floor, add up your bets. Be real with yourself and see how much you are betting per spin. Then go to the high limit room and see if they have a single zero roulette game. Most single zero games, especially in Las Vegas, are in the high limit room. Then inquire as to their minimum bet. If your total action qualifies you to play the single zero game…PLAY THE SINGLE ZERO GAME!
By playing the single zero game, you are cutting the house edge in half. A single zero game has a house edge of around 2.6%, depending on the rules.
Just think of single zero roulette as you taking away a number from the casino. You will be more likely to win. Simple as that.
NUMBER 2. IF YOU ARE IN ATLANTIC CITY OR ANY CASINO WITH EUROPEAN ROULETTE RULES, BET THE EVEN MONEY BETS
I know, I know. We love betting the 35-1 long shot. But in all my years of playing roulette, I have only seen a handful players bet one or two numbers. Look at your total bets. If you find that you are spreading your bets out among many different numbers, it will be more worthwhile to bet the outside even money bets.
Here in Atlantic City, a player was spreading his bets to cover almost every number, except for maybe 8 numbers. I noticed that he covered every number from 19-36 at $5 each, for a total of $90 (in addition to his other numbers). This player would have been much better off taking his $90 and putting it on the 19-36, then if he wanted, he could individually cover the other numbers.
Because in Atlantic City or European roulette rules, if 0 or 00 is the result, you will only lose half your bet. It’s either an actual half or a theoretical half, depending on if the rule is la partage or en prison. For an explanation of la partage or en prison, see my explanation here.
In the players case (who I mention above), if 0 or double zero comes up, he gets back $45. Think about it. He was covering the numbers from 19-36 anyways. Even if he wanted to bet the 30s heavier than 19-29, he could bet $90 on the 19-36, and then put additional money on individual number 30-36.
So lose all your money or half your money, if green comes up. Which do you want? It’s that simple.
NUMBER 3. LOOK FOR SLOWER GAMES, I.E., GAMES THAT ARE FULL AND WITHOUT THE AUTOMATIC CHIP SORTER
It’s no secret: The casino wants you to play fast. If you don’t believe me, do this experiment. Find a roulette game where you can play by yourself. Make your bets, and then tell the dealer that you want to wait. Tell the dealer to not spin the ball. After a while, the floorperson will come and ask why the game isn’t moving. The casino wants you to play, play, play!
The faster you play, the more likely you are to meet the expected result, which is 5.25% loss of total action. However, when you gamble, you are buying variance. At the end of the night, your total results are not just going to be exactly 5.25% of total action deducted from your bankroll.
Your greatest portability of winning at roulette is to stake your entire bankroll and put it on one spin of an even money bet. That’s the approach with the greatest probability of winning. Realistically, we are in the casino to have fun and win. So what’s a good compromise between playing too many hands and playing one spin? To play a slow ass game with as few spins as possible.
Therefore, when I am playing roulette, and I have several games to chose from, I will find the game with the slowest dealer or the fullest table. Usually, the fullest game is the game also the slowest game.
I understand the desire to play fast, especially if you’re losing; but you must fight the urge to play fast. The faster the game, the more likely you are to be grinded down by the house edge. Even if you are losing, you must exercise discipline. Do not play fast games.
NUMBER 3. ASK FOR EXPENSIVE DISCRETIONARY COMPS
I have a rule when playing roulette: if you play roulette for more than an hour, you should never ever pay for your own food. Roulette is a game where the house has a relatively large advantage on the player. Casinos love players who play slots and roulette.
It boggles my mind how many players do not know that the casino will pay for your food, drink, and even your hotel rooms.
Even if you do not qualify for a comp, the casino supervisor has the ability to write a comp known as a discretionary comp (see my comp guide)
Nowadays, certain casinos are implementing policies to combat this piece of advice. They make it so that they can’t comp you food. Certain Caesars Entertainment properties will tell you to go ask the host for comps. So what do you do? Find a liberal casino where the supervisor has the ability to write discretionary comps.
Remember that the moment you step in the door, every dollar in your pocket is ammunition to beat the house. Let’s assume you are a responsible gambler, and your entertainment budget is $100 for the night. That $100 is your food, drink, and gambling budget. Things aren’t going well, and you only have $20 left. You want to gamble your remaining $20, then you at least have a chance to win your money back. But if you spend that final $20 on an overpriced buffet or casino cafe sandwich, then you have zero chance of mounting a comeback.
Over the long run, you can significantly minimize your losses and increase your chances of winning if you can convince the casino to pay for all your food, drink, and hotel, especially, if you can go from casino to casino and obtain discretionary comps.
NUMBER 4. THE RESULTS BOARD CAN HELP, BUT NOT IN THE WAY YOU THINK
This is a fact: If the wheel is not biased, the board is utterly useless in predicting what will come next. If the wheel is not biased, you may as well ignore the results board. Not only is the board useless, but it may also induce you into betting more than you should bet.
The issue of biased roulette wheels is an issue that can open up a can of worms. Many people think that biased wheels do not exist, while some believe that biased wheels do exist. In my experience, they do exist. They aren’t easy to find, and if they do exist, usually, it’s because the casino staff became lax about the procedure.
Almost every instance of a biased wheel being on the floor came about because staff did not follow procedure. At the end of the day, a casino is staffed with humans, and humans have weaknesses.
If you disagree with the statement above, then check this out…
The Sugarhouse casino in Philadelphia was fined for various violations.
I personally have played in games where I knew the dealer was…sloppy. I’ll leave it at that.
What is the likelihood that you will find a biased wheel? Extremely unlikely. I look for signs that I think a wheel may be biased. I find a biased wheel maybe once a year. Even then, I’m not always sure the wheel is biased because the bias is very subtle.
The casino can swap out a wheel relatively quickly and easily, so it’s a fleeting advantage.
I’m going to address this issue in a future post, but for now, know that one of the first indicators of a biased wheel will actually show up on the board. Stay tuned to this space.