Chapter 6-Roulette


(Thomas: “I have used every system I can think of. I bought so many of them that my head spins even thinking about them. Sometimes they win and sometimes they lose but my roulette money overall is a loser and I don’t see me ever recovering what I have lost. Don’t get me wrong, I love the game, I really do but all those strategy? They don’t work any better than just throwing some chips wherever. I won more betting on the numbers of my miserable ex-wife’s birthday.”)

Betting systems do not work to beat roulette or any other random game. All the systems I have written about so far can’t overcome the house edge. When the house structures its edge as casinos do with roulette by making every bet have a house edge attached to it; you ultimately lose. You can’t escape it.

Systems that require you to bet many numbers certainly do one thing for many players; these systems increase the amount of money the house edge gets to work on. You make 19 bets of 10 units each and you are throwing out 190 units. Yes, you might “win” half the time but you will also lose half the time. No, you don’t break even if you win on half and lose on half because the house won’t pay you the true odds of the bet. Now that’s nasty!

Chapter 6.1


The idea is you are countering chaos with chaos and good things will come of doing that. Two negatives make a positive. In short, The house pays 35 to 1 on the inside bets when a fair game means 37 to 1 or 36-to 1. That creates the edges for the house. On those outside even-money bets, the house wins 20 times, the player wins 18 times on the double-zero wheel and the house wins 19 times and the player wins 18 times on the single-zero wheel; making the edges 5.26 percent or 2.70 percent respectively. (I am sure you are getting sick of me constantly writing these edges but it is a good lesson to learn.)

So memorize the following list:

> You split wins half and half by betting half the numbers and the house wins.
> You bet the outside proposition bets such as the dozens and the house wins.
> You split the even-money bets and the house wins.
> You buy betting strategy advertised in magazines and the house wins.
> You buy betting strategy advertised on the Internet and the house wins.

The picture is clear for me. The house built their edge against the betting strategies by changing the nature of the payouts from fair to unfair and there is nothing a player can do about it by trying to bet his or her way to victory. The house edge is monetary quicksand.

The house edge assures that the casino will win money. All the players playing all over the world today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year and in the years to come will ultimately contribute their money to the casinos by using betting strategy.



Saying all this does not mean that on any given session, day or trip you can’t come home ahead but it does mean quite clearly that the more you play the better chance you have of being down. As Ace Rothstein (played by Robert De Niro) said in the movie Casino: “In the casino, the cardinal rule is to keep them playing and to keep them coming back. The longer they play, the more they lose, and in the end, we get it all.”

Casinos are in business to win money. They do this by manipulating the math of the game – in short, short paying the customers. Players are in the casinos to gamble. Casinos are not gambling. Math beats gambling any day. Players rely on luck (a fortuitous event) but the casinos don’t care about luck when math eventually dictates luck.

Win at times




There is a very simple rule of thumb that is absolutely true when it comes to gambling in online casinos, be that gamble at roulette or any other random casino game – the less you bet, the less you will lose over time. That’s not too hard to grasp.

But what if you love to bet red, the odd and high-number bets on the even-money bets for 10 units each, what then? You put 30 units up. Your expectation is to lose 1.58 units per total bets over time on the American double-zero wheel and 0.81 units on the European single-zero wheel. That’s the grinding the house edge will do against you.

Play a hundred decisions and those seemingly small losses will add up to 158 units and 81 units. Now these losses are not funny unless a person has an extremely weird sense of humor.

Anything I can do




Take those three bets down and bet 15 units on any one of those propositions. Yes, you are now cutting your total losing expectation in half because you are cutting your total expenditure in half. You don’t need three bets to feel the thrill of wagering. Make one bet suffice.

Try to make an effort to find casinos that offer surrender or en prison on those even-money bets. That will further cut your losing expectation in half. That is some big savings.

On inside bets use the same method. If you bet two numbers for 10 units each, then bet one number for 15 units and reduce your losing expectation by 25 percent.

Is the game going to be worse or better approaching it this way? I say it will be far better. And here’s why:



  • There is no way to beat a random game of roulette because the house either pays back an amount that is not a true worth of the bet or wins more bets.

  • The payback is 35 to one instead of 36 to 1 on the European wheel and 37 to 1 on the American wheel

  • The payouts for the outside even-money bets also show how the casino beats the player. The casino wins 19 bets to 18 bets on the European wheel and 20 bets to 18 bets on the American wheel.


Chapter 6.2


Carly Simon’s song Anticipation should be the casino player’s anthem. I think the full joy of roulette and every other casino game has more to do with what’s about to happen than what just happened (short of some monster jackpot on the slots).

Think of the delicious feeling of anticipation you have when you know in a few days you’ll be heading for the casino. Come on, I’ll bet you even fantasize about possible wins.

Think of the anticipation you have as you enter the casino; as you cash in for chips; as you make your first bet. It feels so good; it feels so strong inside you.

Hope and despair are riding high on such anticipation. Will I win? Will I lose? The ball spins, your heart beats faster; the ball falls and bounces from one pocket to another pocket to another and your heart beats even faster. The decision, bam! And that spin is over.



You come back down to earth (you might be happy if you won; a little sad if you lost) and then you go through the same build up again for the next spin.


Gambling Hangover

And that is the common gambler. As his anticipatory feelings become dulled he longs to get more stimulation. He does this in the wrong way. He plays more and more chips and he bets in a furious manner. He has lost control.

He will often wake up the next morning (having lost the night before) asking this question, “Why did I play so much last night?” If he won, well, then he can go “Whew!” But he still missed out on the glorious fun of reveling in anticipation.



I believe in totally subverting the above scenario. Screw the gambling hangover. Turn it on its head.

Carly Simon’s song says, “Anticipation is keeping me waiting.” And Ms. Simon has hit the right note and what she says is the key to truly enjoying oneself without the morning-after blues.

Instead of playing faster, I recommend playing slower. Make every decision wait. Make yourself wait. Waiting will raise excitement.

I recommend you play into the anticipation and not through it. If that means only playing every other spin to get that delay to enflame your passions then so be it. What’s the rush?

Feelings are important when playing casino games; being dulled is a waste of time, emotion and money.



My strict strategies coming in a couple of chapters will help you reign in your “inner” wild man and wild woman and these strategies will make the games far more fun. It will bring your emotions to a height and your potential losses lower than ever before.

Make all decisions as if they are the first drink. Savor them. Enjoy them. Let them wash over you in a delightful way.

You’ll get the most out of playing that way.



  • The delightful feeling of anticipation is one of, if not the most, enjoyable parts of casino gambling

  • To keep oneself from falling into a speed trap, the roulette player must consciously limit the number of decisions he faces.Doing so will keep the anticipation at a high level.


Chapter 6-Roulette


1. Why doesn’t a roulette player break even if he wins half of his bets and loses half of his bets?
2. What is the difference between true odds and casino odds?
3. When we say roulette has a losing expectation does that mean all roulette players lose every session? Why not?
4. What does it mean to consolidate your bets?
5. What feeling makes gambling such an enjoyable experience?
6. After a while many players start playing faster and faster, and perhaps make wild bets. Why does this happen?
7. The medicine for wild fast play is to slow it all down. Why will this increase one’s pleasure in the game?
8. What singer sang the song that should become the anthem for casino players?
9. Why can’t betting systems on random games beat the house?
10. What is the gambler’s hangover?


1. Because the house takes a cut out of winning bets, a break-even session means the house has taken some of the money from the players’ wins. For example, since the house only pays 35 to 1 on a winning bet instead of 36 or 37 to 1, the player must win more than 50 percent of decisions.

2. The true odds of a bet means neither contestant has an edge. If an inside bet is supposed to pay 37 to 1 on the American wheel and does pay this amount, then the game pays at the true odds. However, if the casino takes our two units from the win, thus paying 35 to 1 this payment is considered “casino odds.” This holds true for the European wheel as well.

3. Although the house has an edge on every bet at roulette that does not mean a player can’t win. The edge eats away at a player’s bankroll but many players have good runs of winning sessions. But playing for long periods of time will allow the edge to ultimately defeat the player.

4. If you enjoy betting on several propositions take the total money you bet and reduce it by 25 percent (or more) and bet just one proposition. Since you are betting more on a single proposition you’ll feel the excitement while still saving yourself a lot of money.

5. Anticipation is the key emotion in gambling. It sets everything else up.

6. Players, like drinkers, start to become numb and they think they need to play faster and faster and take greater risks. They think such betting behavior will increase their enjoyment of the games.

7. Slow playing is the equivalent of sipping a fine drink. Since anticipation is the most powerful pre-decision experience then the longer one waits between spins the more anticipation builds.

8. Carly Simon

9. Betting systems alone cannot beat the house at random games because the casino either wins more decisions (even-money bets) or takes a cut out of winning bets (paying 35 to 1 instead of the true odds).

10. A gambler who loses control and loses a lot of money will often wake up the next day wondering why he allowed himself to play so foolishly. Even wins can’t make up for the shame of losing one’s control while gambling.


Frank Scoblete grew up in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. He spent the ‘60s getting an education; the ‘70s in editing, writing and publishing; the ‘80s in theatre, and the ‘90s and the 2000s in casino gambling.

Along the way he taught English for 33 years. He has authored 35 books; his most recent publisher is Triumph Books, a division of Random House. He lives in Long Island. Frank wrote the Ultimate Roulette Strategy Guide and he's a well known casino specialist.