If you’ve been playing the game long enough, you may have heard of a strange theory which would presumably give you an advantage.
It’s called the law of the third.
I’m a casino dealer, and I’ve been dealing roulette for a while.
In this brief article I will explain what the law of the third is, whether it is a law or not, and why you should not rely on it anyway.
Let’s get started.
What is the law of the third in roulette?
The law of the third is a theory according to which the roulette ball tends to land on only about two thirds of the wheel during a short roulette session. By betting on those two thirds, and not putting any chips on the remaining third, the roulette player would have an advantage.
Now, unless the wheel has imperfections, and unless the dealer is trying to hit a certain section, then the wheel will have no memory.
It’s pretty safe to say that if you play online roulette, the outcome of each spin will be 100 percent random; and if you play at a real table, then it will be close to 100 percent random.
This means that any pattern or series of numbers that came in previously will not really affect future spins.
Law of the third and hot numbers
Roulette players commonly refer to numbers that came in twice or three times (or even more) as hot numbers.
Conversely, numbers that haven’t come in in a while would be called cold numbers.
Nowadays, almost all roulette tables in casinos will have a display showing the last winning numbers as well as these hot and cold numbers, calculated based on the last hundred spins or so.
So, are hot numbers more likely to come in?
Statistically, this would make no sense. But then there are players who swear by this concept, and claim they’ve made tons of money out of it.
As someone who’s worked in a few different casinos, as a dealer, I can’t really think of anyone who did.
Nor can I think of any roulette strategy that has made anyone money in the long run (more on this later).
Either way, the law of the third seems to be a variation of the hot numbers strategy, where you basically bet on numbers that have come in previously, and avoid betting on cold numbers.
Often, a player may mistakenly believe that a number that has already come in is more likely (or less likely) to come in during the next spins as well.
This is known as the gambler’s fallacy, and honestly casinos love that.
It makes a player think they can somehow predict the outcome of the roulette spins and therefore have an advantage.
As mentioned, if you play at a live table then no roulette spin will be completely random.
So in theory, by betting on hot numbers (or by using the law of the third) you could lower the house edge a little bit.
But again, as a casino dealer I’ve never seen it.
Even if you manage to lower the house edge slightly, it doesn’t mean you have an advantage — you’ll almost certainly still lose over time.
Roulette law of the third example
There are many different variations of this theory/strategy.
Some players will tell you to simply watch the first, say, ten spins, then bet on the numbers that came in.
Others will tell you you need to watch the wheel for a little bit longer, then cover most of the layout and leave those numbers that never came in.
As an example, assuming these were the last spins:
You could use the law of the third and bet on these exact numbers.
Or, bet on only a few of these numbers. But you would not bet on the numbers that did not come in, such as zero.
Is the law of the third really a law?
No, not really.
As explained at the beginning, it’s more of a theory or concept.
The only law here would be that roulette has 37 numbers (I’m referring to single zero roulette).
Therefore if you bet on a number straight up you’ll always have one in 37 chances of winning.
If you bet on eighteen numbers, then you’ll have about one in two chances of winning. And so on.
Some players like to think they’ve discovered some law that could give them an advantage, but unfortunately 99 percent of the time it’s not a law but just their own theory.
So personally, I wouldn’t call it a law, no.
Although it can be pretty fascinating to observe the roulette dealer spin the ball over and over again and try to see if there are patterns or coincidences.
It’s actually a lot of fun if you enjoy the game.
I remember a few times when I, as a roulette dealer, watched the wheel and tried to predict the winning number based on all the previous spins.
It’s like a game in the game, so to speak.
No roulette system guarantees you’ll win
I’m sure you know this already, but I feel I need to point it out just in case.
No roulette system will ever be profitable in the long run. This is for two main reasons:
- Roulette has a house edge — relatively low if the wheel has a single zero, and relatively high with a double zero — and this pretty much guarantees that in the long run the player will lose.
- Even if you were able to exploit a vulnerability of the wheel, and found a system that could indeed guarantee profit in the long run, the casino would ban you. It doesn’t matter if what you’re doing is legal — casinos are a business and cannot lose money.
We’ve all heard of gamblers who won a huge sum on roulette, cashed out, and walked away and never played anymore.
But was it really thanks to a strategy? Or just pure luck? And most importantly, what amount did they start with?
If you put 100k on red, won, and walked away, then your profit would be 100k. But starting with, say, 500, and getting to 100k, is a whole different thing.
Then there are those players who cheated and somehow got away with it. Like the Eastern European gang who won £1.3 million at the Ritz Club in 2004 (I mentioned it here).
Either way, as explained, forget about winning consistently because either your money is eaten by the house edge or you’re practically trying to exploit a vulnerability, which would never be allowed.
I always say the best roulette system is to play for a few minutes, maybe an hour or so, get lucky, and cash out.
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