Roulette Rules and Strategies

Roulette is a classic game of strategy, over 300 years in the making. If you think about it and consider that Canada as we know it today only came into being in 1867, that's pretty incredible! Like other thrilling casino games like blackjack and poker, knowing the roulette rules and having a solid roulette strategy may help you win over the long term.

Online Roulette Rules

Online roulette is a virtual game consisting of a wheel where the action happens and a table for placing bets. A roulette player will have different chip values that can bet set on the table cloth position (layout) corresponding to the bet(s) they wish to make. Keep in mind that the minimum and maximum bets allowed depends on the version you're playing. For example, it can be much higher when playing VIP roulette. A player must predict the pocket that the ball will fall into:
  • Betting on a number.
  • Betting red or black.
  • Betting odd or even.
  • Betting high (19-36) or low (1-18).
To do this, players have several online roulette betting options, categorized into 'Inside Bets' or 'Outside Bets.' Each of these bets has different roulette odds. In live dealer roulette, with multiple players, betting remains open until the dealer announces no more bets. However, with online roulette, a player simply needs to press the spin button to begin. With live roulette, a croupier would set the ball spinning in one direction. In contrast, the wheel spins in the opposite direction. Eventually, the ball loses momentum and falls into one of the pockets. In online roulette, a random number generator determines where the ball will fall. Any winnings are credited to your bankroll immediately. In essence, that's all there is to roulette rules, and conceptually, the game is simple to play. The fun and perhaps the challenge arises from learning all the possible bet types (including their respective payouts). Also, many players like to use their favourite online roulette strategy. There are several strategies which we'll cover here at OnlineCasinoList.

Short History of Roulette Strategies

Although predicting the spin outcome is impossible, this doesn't mean that people have not tried in the past. For example, American mathematics professor Edward O. Thorp and engineer and mathematician Claude Shannon tried to predict where the ball would land in 1961. They calculated the probable octant based on the wheel and ball timing. This system required that the bet be made while the wheel is still spinning, which meant that casinos could counter this strategy by closing the table before spinning the wheel. In 1982, several British casinos started losing huge sums of money on roulette tables. Investigations determined that American gamblers were using biased wheel-section betting. The manufacturer of the wheel designed a new wheel to counter this flaw. Using computers in the 1990s, casino roulette wheels were analyzed to determine the numbers more likely to come up. Casinos struck back using a newly designed wheel and tracking software to ensure that the outcomes are entirely unpredictable.

Roulette Strategies

No doubt, over the centuries, many players have claimed to have a roulette strategy to defeat the house – Canadians included! Indeed, many of the same strategies remain in use today. The truth is that roulette, like all casino games of chance, is designed to give the house a natural edge. This edge is 2.7% in European roulette but significantly higher at 5.26% in American Roulette because of the extra (00). It is impossible to influence or predict what pocket the ball will fall into. Mathematicians and physicists have attempted this in the past. Hence, any roulette strategy might be more accurately described as a cash management strategy or system. No roulette winning strategy exists that can consistently defeat the house edge. After all, what casino would offer a game where they didn't hold the advantage? This would be like buying a Lotto 6/49 ticket, knowing what the winning numbers are in advance!

Roulette Progressive Strategy

Most roulette strategies are only helpful on even money bets, based on payouts of 1:1 (red/black, odd/even, high/low). The chance of winning is not exactly 50-50 because of the (0) and (00) (American Roulette only) pockets tilting the odds in the house's favour, but it's close. The roulette progressive strategy can be divided into two categories. A negative progressive system means that bet sizes increase after a loss and are the more common of the two categories. The idea is to win back losses quicker to enter profitable territory as soon as possible. The second category, the positive progressive system, involves increasing the bet size after winning. The idea is to ride positive momentum streaks, which can also reverse losses quicker.

Fibonacci Roulette Strategy

The Fibonacci roulette system uses the Fibonacci sequence to establish even money bet sizes on even money games. Here, each bet is the sum of the two previous bets. The series looks like the following: 1-1-2-3-5-8... A player can start from any number in the sequence, although it's probably best to start at the lowest. The bet size increases by the number to the right after every losing round. On a winning round, use the number (bet) two places to the left. This strategy is more conservative than, say, the Martingale strategy, as it will take longer to lose your money if you go on a bad losing streak.

Martingale Strategy

The Martingale strategy is a progressive strategy made on even money bets and one of the most popular when it comes to roulette. Here, a player would double their bet on each loss and return to their original bet after winning. The idea is that the win would recover previous losses and return a profit equivalent to the original bet. In theory, it represents an exciting strategy. However, in practice, players continuing to double down on losses can lose their money quickly if they go on a long losing streak.

Labouchère Strategy

The Labouchère System is another progressive strategy applied to even money bets, similar to the Martingale strategy. However, unlike the Martingale, where players doubled their bets after losing, Labouchère is based on a number sequence. Here a player decides on the amount they wish to win. They then write a list of positive numbers that adds to that amount. A player then bets based on the sum of the first and last numbers on the list. If the round is successful, then these two numbers are scratched from the list. If the bet is unsuccessful, then the lost amount is added to the end of the list. A player who has scratched all the numbers off the list will have won the desired amount. However, it is also possible that the player will lose all of their money.

Reverse Martingale Strategy (Paroli)

The Reverse Martingale system is also known as the Paroli system. As the name suggests, it is the reverse of the Martingale strategy. Here, a player doubles down on every win instead of loss. The flaw in this strategy is that players can quickly lose what they've won and eventually run out of money.

D'Alembert Strategy

As with the Martingale, the D'Alembert Strategy applies to even money bets. It is often called a pyramid system and is the preferred strategy for players who want to minimize their bets and losses. It is straightforward since a player reduces their bet by one for every win and increases their bet by one for every loss. It is based on the gambling assumption that a player is more likely to lose on the bet following a win and vice versa.

Tier et Tout Strategy

With a Tier et Tout strategy, the gambling assumption is it should take no more than two rounds to win on a roulette even money bet. A player's bankroll should be divided into thirds. A player begins by wagering a third in the first round, followed by two thirds, assuming the player loses the first round. When a player wins, they split their new balance into a third and two thirds, which continues. Of course, when a player loses the first two times after breaking their balance, this strategy could be devastating.

Oscar's Grind (Hoyle's Press)

Oscar's Grind is another even money strategy based on the gambling assumption that wins and losses often come in streaks. Stakes are raised by 1 unit at the end of a losing streak if you have not made an overall profit of at least one unit. Once you've made an overall profit, the bet size returns to the original size. Bets on losses remain the same.

The Hollandish Strategy

The Hollandish strategy is similar to the Martingale strategy but is less risky. It also applies to even money bets only. Identical bets are made in blocks of threes, and stakes are increased by 2 units after each losing block until reaching a profit. The system repeats with a new sequence, and you must again decide the amount you want to bet. The potential rate at which you raise your bets is much more conservative than the Martingale, meaning that you can play for longer.

Kavouras Bet Strategy

The Kavouras Bet strategy is entirely different from what we mentioned so far because it is not focused on even money bets. It includes making bets covering 20 numbers spread across the roulette table. Some players believe it reduces the volatility and losing streaks since it covers more spaces. The pattern of numbers and bet sizes are not randomly chosen. For example, a player should bet 'x' on the corner consisting of the numbers 0-1-2-3. Then, bet '2x' on the 'Double Street' covering the numbers 31-32-33-34-35-36. Finally, 5 bets of 'x' each should be placed on the following 5 splits: 8or11, 13or14, 15or18, 17or20, 27or30. The 'x' represents a betting unit like $1. For example, a player using $1 chips would be wagering $8 per round (1x$1 +2x$1 + 5x$1). Although this strategy may work for some in the short run, a losing round means a player is losing 8x a single bet. This means that an unlucky streak can lead to losses challenging to come back from or be wiped out entirely.

Closing Thoughts on Online Roulette Strategies

Canadians love their roulette almost as much as they love their hockey. Online roulette rules are as easy to learn as the game of curling. Also, roulette payouts vary from 1:1 to 35:1, depending on your risk appetite – you decide! Combine it with an online roulette strategy, such as a Martingale strategy or a Fibonacci roulette strategy, and go for gold like Team Canada at the IIHF World Junior Championship.

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