Thing To Try
Unlike craps or blackjack, roulette is more of a
"spectator sport". Your only involvement in game play is placing
your bet (chips) on the layout. The dealer does all the work. Note
that due to it's French origins, a roulette dealer is called a
croupier (pronounced croop-ee-ay). Also unlike blackjack, you can
still play if there are no open seats at the table. You'll just have
to reach in between two seated players to place your bets.
Every roulette table has a lighted board that
shows which number came up on the most recent rolls. What does this
board really tell you? Absolutely nothing. The "law of independent
trials" dictates that each roulette play is completely random and
has nothing to do with any previous plays. Just because red came up
the previous six times doesn't mean black is "due" to come up. Red
has as much chance of coming up on the next play as it did the
previous six plays. The wheel has no memory. Those lighted boards
are their for the casinos advantage, not yours. Why? Because people
don't know about the law of independent trials and if they see one
color come up several times in a row most of them will bet the
opposite color, and lose. The casinos put those boards up because
they win more when players pay attention to them. In short, ignore
the lighted boards.
Some gambling books claim that you can spot
"tendencies" in certain wheels to come up one way or another. That's
hog-wash. The casinos make their money due to the randomness of the
game and if any such tendency did start to develop (due to wear and
tear on the wheel) they would immediately replace it. The casinos,
and the Nevada Gaming Commission, go to great lengths to ensure that
no such wheels exist.
Roulette has a high house edge (over 5%) due to
the '0' and '00' locations on the wheel. As a result, you don't want
to spend a lot of time at a roulette table because the longer you
play the better chances are the odds will catch up with you.
However, playing roulette is fun, and the little routine I have
outlined here will give you a chance to enjoy the game and possibly
make a little money in the process.
You may have to hunt around the smaller
casinos to find a table with a $2 minimum bet level. Most major
resorts on the Strip have $5 minimums. You may also be able to
find a table with a $2 or $1 minimum at the older resorts on the
north end of the Strip or downtown. The following scenario uses
a $2 minimum bet level, but if you find a $1 minimum table just
cut the amounts in half.
Put $62 down on the table and tell the
croupier you want "a color". (That's 62 one-dollar colored
chips. Each player has their own color.)
Put the chips in the following stacks; 2, 4,
8, 16, 32.
It's best not to
have a towering stack of 32 chips
sitting there while you're playing
because it could easily get knocked over
and create a mess. Instead:
count out 8
chips and put them in a stack
six more stacks of the same height
put the six
chips you have remaining in stacks
of 4 and 2
You will now have seven stacks of 8
chips. This way you can stack up two of the 8-chip
stacks to create the 16-chip stack, and four of them to
create the 32-chip stack, once it's time to bet them.
You'll want to keep your 8-chip stacks grouped according
to their bet though, so you don't lose track of which
bet you're on (see the diagram where the number on the
chips represents how many chips are in the stack). Note
that when you do go to place the 16 and 32-chip bets you
do have to stack them up into one tall stack before
sliding them onto your position on the layout.
Pick one of the three "dozen" bet positions
('1st 12', '2nd 12', '3rd 12') or one of the three "column" bet
positions. Both dozen and column bets cover 12 numbers and pay
- Play your chosen dozen or column bet position in a
progressive manner as follows (stick with the same dozen or
column position throughout this series):
Start out by placing the $2 stack of chips on
Each time you lose, bet the next stack of
chips (doubling your bet) on your position
Each time you win, START OVER. i.e. use part
of your winnings to replace any lost stacks of chips so that you
again end up with stacks of 2, 4, 8, 16, and 32, and bet the $2
stack. Set aside any chips you have left over after replenishing
your stacks. These are your "winnings".
Continue playing until you must bet (due to
four consecutive losses) the stack of 32 chips. Win or lose on
this bet, cash out and walk away.
The reason I say "walk away" is because of
roulette's high house edge so the longer you play to more likely you
are to lose any gains you may have made.
Because the dozen and column bet positions pay
2:1, if you hit a hot streak you could do quite well with this
little routine. The possible outcomes are:
Worst case - you lose on five consecutive
spins and you're out $62 (it happens)
Not so bad - you win some of the lower
bets but lose on the $32 spin coming out up or down
Even better - you lose on the first four
spins but win on the $32 spin and walk away with $96
Best case - you win a lot of the lower
bets and hit on the $32 spin and walk away with double or possibly
even more your original stake
It is getting harder and harder to find anything
less than a $5 roulette table. What if you can't find a $2 or $1
table? You can still try this progressive game without risking a lot
of money. However, you'll only have four minimum plays rather than
the five minimum plays the $2 and $1 tables give you. This is a full
20% reduction in the number of chances you have for the ball to land
on your chosen "dozen" or "column" position so you may want to
search out a $2 or $1 table. (You could go to five plays on a $3
table but that would require a stake of $93.) But if you can't find
a $2 or $1 table, or you're just short on time, you can still do
well if luck is on your side. Here's how you would play a $3 table
and a $5 table.
Another alternative I like to play at a $5 table
is to wager a little more ($95) and have a minimum of five plays.
You basically set up your chips for a table with a $3 minimum but
just add $2 to your first bet to meet the table minimum.
When the ball starts to drop the croupier will
wave their hand over the layout indicating that no more bets can be
placed. Any chips placed on the layout after that will not be
counted in the current play.
When the ball drops onto a number the croupier
places a plastic marker on the winning number, collects losing bets
and pays winning bets. Wait until the croupier removes the plastic
marker before picking up any winnings or placing the next bet. If
you're ahead when you finish this routine, remember to tip the
croupier when you cash out and walk away.
If you're just passing through and you want to
place a quick bet on a certain number or on one of the other areas
of the layout, you don't have to ask the croupier for a color. It is
perfectly acceptable to put the house's chips, or even cash, down on
the layout. Note that the red, black, odd, even, 1-18, and 19-36
areas of the layout pay even money. The individual numbers pay 35:1,
but only have a 1:38 chance of coming up.