It has been said roulette is the Devil’s Game.
And the sum of all its numbers is 666, so I guess it’s true.
Since its first appearance in casinos, countless players have tried to beat roulette, only to find out that the game is… unbeatable.
Here are the five main reasons you cannot beat roulette unless you cheat.
Why roulette is unbeatable
1. The roulette wheel has one or two zeros
Alright, let’s start with the basics.
From a mathematical point of view, the game of roulette is unbeatable purely because there is a house edge.
If the wheel has a single zero, then there are 37 numbers.
By placing a chip on a single number straight up, then you’re covering one of 37 numbers, and your chances of winning would be one in 37.
So with no house edge, the payout for the straight up should be 36 to one (plus your original bet).
Instead, it’s 35 to one. This alone makes roulette unbeatable. And of course, it applies to all other available bets as well.
And to make things worse, some casinos only have double zero roulette wheels, in which case the house edge is even higher.
2. Roulette clocking is (now) illegal
In my article about funny roulette facts I mentioned the story of an Eastern European gang that won over a million pounds at the Ritz Club in London.
Basically, the three used a device which would calculate the speed of the ball, and wheel, during the spin — then bet on the section the ball was likely to land on.
Management banned them as soon as they got suspicious, but then it was too late.
The three were brought to court but as back then there were no rules regarding the use of electronic devices at the table, they got away with it.
But things have changed. So if you’re thinking of doing the same (or using any device to “clock” the wheel), forget about it.
The same is true for any other form of cheating. Casinos have gotten a lot smarter and are able to tell when someone is cheating, even when it’s subtle.
3. The roulette spin is too unpredictable
Can roulette dealers hit numbers? As a dealer, I believe it is indeed possible to hit a certain section provided the wheel is slow enough and the dealer is experienced.
Some say it’s physically impossible to hit numbers on purpose, but I’ve seen it personally. You can read my thoughts about the topic here.
Now, let’s say you knew the roulette dealer and told them to spin your numbers (this would obviously be illegal), or let’s say you were able to predict a spin based on what’s called the dealer’s signature.
In both cases, even if you managed to get it right most of the time, I seriously doubt you’d be able to make a profit from it.
Casinos change dealers often, and that would be enough to ruin your plan. But most importantly, the roulette spin would still be too unpredictable.
This is mainly because of the speed of the wheel and ball — if the ball does not complete a certain number of revolutions, then it’s a no spin.
Also, all roulette wheels now have metallic diamonds, also called ball deflectors, on which the ball can bounce before landing on the number slots.
This makes the croupier’s spin even more random.
4. All roulette systems fail in the long run
Some players like to bet on splits and corners. Some prefer even chances, such as red numbers or even numbers.
And then there’s progressive betting systems, like the Martingale, where you double your bet each time you lose (very risky).
Then there’s the hot numbers strategy, the Fibonacci strategy, the Normal Leigh strategy, and so on and so on.
If you’re an inexperienced player, then on paper these concepts and ideas sound very easy and very profitable.
But the truth is that in the long run all these strategies and methods are bound to fail.
Anyone can sit at the table, get lucky, play for an hour or so, then cash out and leave (I’ve seen it many times as a dealer).
And that they may think it was thanks to their “brilliant system”. But in reality, provided there was no cheating involved, it was just pure luck, and if that player kept playing, eventually they’d lose their winnings plus more.
5. Casinos can ban you from winning too much
Say you were able to come up with a technique where you would win consistently at the roulette table.
As explained, this would count as cheating, which is illegal. And if you were not cheating, I honestly don’t see how you could win long term.
But for the sake of this example, let’s say you found a way to win over and over again without cheating.
Guess what — casinos don’t like to lose money. You would be banned regardless.
Casinos have a statistical advantage on all games, not just roulette, so consistent winnings that cannot be explained by luck alone would be a good enough reason to kick you out.
Now, is it fair? Unfair? At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter — casinos have the right to ban you if they believe you’re manipulating the house edge.
Please note: this applies to players who win large amounts over and over again. If you go to the casino and win, you’ll obviously keep your money!
To sum it up
Roulette is unbeatable because…
- There is a house edge (higher if the wheel has a double zero)
- Roulette clocking is illegal as it does count as cheating
- The dealer’s signature is too unreliable and unpredictable
- In the long run, literally all roulette systems fail
- Unexplained consistent winnings will get you banned anyway
Roulette is still a fun game
I think roulette is still a brilliant game for many different reasons, the main reason being the number of bets available.
Straight ups, corners, street bets, columns, red and black, odd and even.
Call bets, complete bets, neighbors of numbers, and any combination of bets you can come up with.
This is the beauty of roulette — if you like the game, then it’ll never get boring because there are so many different ways to bet.
Yes, it’s unbeatable. But it’s still an amazing game to play. Good luck!