Roulette players are an ancient lot. By that I don’t mean they are all elderly; instead, I mean that they play a game with much heritage --- a long heritage that goes back hundreds if not thousands of years when shields were spun and villages and towns lived or died by the results.

Betting methods and elaborate betting systems of all types have been employed to try to beat the game and guess what (oh, come on, you can guess)? None of these betting methods and betting systems was able to bring the laurels to the players. That house edge was (is) indomitable and cannot be defeated with a betting method or system of any kind.

Lost Eight Different Betting System

Still, there are better and worse ways to play the game of roulette. There are even ways --- at least in the almost near past --- where players had worked out wheel strategies that could actually beat the game. Keep in mind now that a wheel strategy is not a betting strategy. The two are worlds apart.

So here are my eight best tips to play this ancient game:


These two terms accomplish the same thing. In casinos that offer “surrender” anytime one of the propositions of red/black, odd/even or high/low hits only half the bet is lost because the 0 or 00 appeared. The other half is returned to the player. These are called “even-money” bets because they pay one-to-one.

In the American game of roulette “surrender” cuts the house edge in half. Instead of facing a 5.26 percent edge, the player now only faces a 2.63 percent edge. Find games with surrender and only play those outside “even-money” bets.

En prison is the same thing --- it cuts the house edge in half --- but it is done in a somewhat different fashion. If the green 0 appears (en prison is usually found on European single-zero wheels) the “even-money” bets are locked up until the next spin of the wheel.

Women Begging

Let us say you bet red and the 0 hits. The red bet stays on the table for the next round. If red hits, you get your bet back; if black hits you lose your bet; if the 0 hits again, your bet continues to remain in prison.

En prison reduces the house edge to 1.35 percent instead of the normal 2.70 percent on the European game.

Again if you are lucky enough to find either of these two options then play them.


This isn’t a hard proposition. Given the choice of playing a single-zero wheel with a 2.70 percent house edge or a double-zero wheel with a 5.26 percent house edge --- come on now, take a wild guess. Yes, you are right; play the single-zero wheels.

The only caveat on that is this: If the single-zero wheel has a higher minimum bet, say 25 units, to a double-zero wheel’s 10 units, you would then be better betting the 10 units. Otherwise, go with your first answer.


Playing games should only use “play money,” that is money reserved especially for playing games.

Set up an account at the bank and put in funds only (as in only) to be used for gambling. Weekly or monthly add a little at a time from your entertainment fund. This account I call a 401G and that “G” stands for gambling.

You are only allowed to gamble with money from this account. That will save you the anguish of Lulu covering her mouth at her wedding.

401G Account


 Roulette is a leisurely game so play it in a leisurely fashion. Don’t be in a rush to get those bets out should you be the only one playing.


So you were consistently betting the 8 for spin after spin after darn spin. And it never hit. In fact, no number near it hit. Maybe it had an invisible shield over the pocket, who knows? So, being clever, you didn’t place the bet this time and as fate (or the angry gods) would have it that stupid hit! Just your bad luck.

Don’t sweat it. The game is random and no “fate” or “gods from Olympus” had anything to do with it. Some pocket has to hit and it happened to be that one. The ball wasn’t thinking, “Let me screw that dope by landing on the 8”.


The player next to you is wagering thousands of units on the numbers. He is betting more than you make in a year! He is royalty. You are a peasant.

Nonsense. You have to bet what you can afford to bet. Trust me, casinos are not impressed by the royalty who bet thousands of units. They just think of these people as a shark thinks of a seal; something to be devoured.

Play based on your 401G. Maybe use 10 percent of the money you have in your account as a session or a two-session stake. Hey, we’re way past the age of royalty anyway.


I think all roulette players know what a biased wheel is. But just in case, here is a handy definition: a certain number and/or numbers are hitting out of all proportion to their probability. Of course, to ascertain this you’d have to study the wheel for thousands upon thousands of spins.

Indeed, the players who broke the bank at Monte Carlo did just that. I doubt most (or any) of our readers would be interested in trying to find biased wheels among today’s super-computer-perfectly balanced ones but have at it.

So here is a way to (pretend) to play a biased wheel. Check the scoreboard and any number that has come up twice then bet that number.

Are these numbers indicative of a biased wheel? Please. But it is fun to imagine that they are.


The more you play, the better for the casinos; the less you play the better for you. I think all casino gamblers know that (or they should know that). So sit out a decision every now and then to reduce the hit of the house edge on your bankroll.

Again, don’t worry if a number you selected in the past comes up. The game is random and no deity has it in for you.

About the Author

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. 

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