Is roulette just pure luck?
Or does an experienced player actually have an advantage?
The truth is somewhere in between — although there is no way to manipulate the odds, you can learn to play smarter. Not sure it counts as a skill, but still.
I’ve been dealing roulette for a few years, and in this article I will try and explain the five “skills” of experienced roulette players so you can do the same the next time you play.
Roulette is just pure luck, but…
Alright, let’s cut to the chase here.
The short answer is that there is actually no skill in roulette. Roulette is unbeatable because the house edge cannot be lowered unless you cheat. This means the only way to win consistently at roulette is to be lucky.
In games like blackjack or baccarat, the player’s skill can lower the house edge significantly, but even in that case it would not be enough to generate profit in the long term.
The only casino game where skill can be used to make money consistently is poker. This is because poker players play against each other, not against the house — casinos make money by simply taking a percentage of each pot.
Unfortunately, when it comes to roulette the player’s skill cannot influence the house edge. This is why roulette is referred to as a game of pure luck.
Now, that being said, there are five things that experienced players can do in order to maximize their winnings (and minimize their losses) when playing roulette.
Keep in mind, none of these will ever turn you into a “professional roulette player” — no such thing.
But by knowing the following five tips, you will definitely have a better chance of winning compared to the average roulette player. Keep reading…
Five roulette “skills”
1. Money management
This applies to any type of gambling and casino game, including roulette.
Before placing your chips on the layout, you must set a limit. Some people do this by bringing a fixed amount of cash with them, and leaving their credit cards at home.
Ideally, you want to set a time limit as well. When gambling, it’s easy to lose track of time, so you can set an alarm on your phone or simply decide to leave the casino at a certain time (many casinos are open 24/7).
Money management alone is an invaluable skill when playing roulette — don’t underestimate it.
2. Spotting the dealer’s signature
A few weeks ago I wrote an article where I explained that some roulette dealers are actually able to hit sections of the wheel on purpose.
This is usually referred to as section shooting and, although very hard, it is possible (provided the wheel spins slowly). As a casino dealer, I’ve seen it a few times.
And then there are dealers who tend to spin the ball and wheel the same way over and over again, and this may result in a “dealer’s signature” — the dealer hitting certain numbers more often.
So theoretically, if you could spot any of these, and take advantage of them, you could have a higher chance of winning.
The thing is, the roulette spin is too unpredictable and unreliable. Even if you told an experienced dealer to try and spin your numbers (which would be illegal), it would not be guaranteed.
3. Choosing single zero roulette
The third skill that could help you maximize your winnings at the roulette table is to simply choose a table with a single zero. This is called European roulette — American roulette is the one with a double zero.
Put simply, if you placed a chip straight up on a number in European roulette, your chances of winning would be one in 37. In American roulette, your chances would be one in 38.
And since the payouts are exactly the same, from a statistical point of view it makes absolutely no sense to play double zero roulette.
So the players who want the best odds will always play European roulette, even if it has higher minimums.
4. Roulette bonuses and offers
Both offline and online casinos offer bonuses for new and existing players.
Some offers are reserved for VIP customers only, and you would have to gamble large amounts to have access to them. But most of the time you can take advantage of the offers by simply joining the casino.
These could be a welcome bonus, free spins, or a cashback. Some casinos even host free roulette tournaments where the winner is awarded a cash prize.
Bonuses and offers will not change the house edge, but if you’re going to gamble anyway, why not take advantage of them?
5. Walking away and cashing out
Seriously. The best players are those who know when to stop (as explained in the first point), and then cash out their winnings.
Casinos make money primarily for two reasons: the house edge, which guarantees an advantage in the long run, and the player’s psychology and behavior.
Most players will literally gamble until they lose their last chip. And if they buy some more chips, they’ll keep playing until they run out of cash. This basically makes it impossible for them to win, even when they get lucky.
So to maximize your roulette winnings, you want to develop the behavior where once you win a certain amount, you just call it a night, cash out, and walk away.
No roulette skills can earn you money
In case this isn’t clear enough: none of the skills mentioned above could ever guarantee a long term profit when playing roulette.
As a dealer who’s worked in casinos for many years, I have never seen anyone win significant amounts by using a strategy or trick. Literally no one.
The only exception being players who did follow a random strategy, such as playing the splits, and simply got lucky and won a large amount within a few hours.
So yeah, no skills. Just pure luck. They may have thought their method was the reason they won (confirmation bias), but in reality it was just the roulette gods being generous.