How to Master Roulette?
Introduction to How to Win at Roulette: Traditional Visual Prediction
[Note from Arnold Snyder: This article deals specifically with American roulette, which doesn't make much of a difference for the purposes of this discussion except when I talk about what exact number the ball will land in if it rolls x spaces, etc. You European players have it so made with your lower house edge at roulette and better roulette culture that I'm going to let you translate those numbers for the European wheel yourself.
For reference, the house edge at American roulette is 5.26%. The house edge with a single-zero European roulette wheel is 2.70%. If you're betting one chip per spin on either wheel, you need to hit on average once out of every 36 spins to take the house edge to zero. If you can hit once out of every 35 spins, your edge will be 2.86%; once out of every 34 spins, 5.88%; once out of every 33 spins, 9.09%.
Part II of this article has also now been posted: .]
How to Win at Roulette
In the three decades since I began publishing Blackjack Forum, I have run into a number of roulette system sellers, as well as a number of books and video or DVD products put out on legitimate to semi-legitimate to phony methods for beating roulette, and I’ve been taught methods in person by people who have proven they know how to beat roulette under certain limited conditions.
The going rate for these systems right now is in the $200-$300 range (without personal instruction), though of course many of the system sellers promise the moon to every player who buys one of them. The legitimate system sellers prescribe essentially the same method as the one described by Laurance Scott in his article (Blackjack Forum“First, you must find a wheel with a predictable ball fall-off point. Second, you must be skilled at identifying an exact point within each ball spin at which to make your prediction-generally three to four revolutions before the ball actually drops from the track. Third, you must make your prediction based upon a visual observation of the ball in relation to both the position and velocity of the wheel. Finally, you must place your bets on the layout.”
The traditional method of betting once a player had his prediction has been to bet a sector of roughly ¼ of the wheel, or nine consecutive numbers on the wheel in the area of where you predict the ball will land. A number of system sellers advocate betting some random subset of this sector to camouflage your play.
Although I learned to beat an old-fashioned deep-pocket wheel in this way at home, I experienced a number of problems with this method in actual casino play. Essentially, I found the modern game, as dealt in the U.S. on modern low-profile wheels, impossible to make any money at with these methods. This article will discuss the problems I experienced in detail.
This article will also discuss the solutions we developed to these problems, and hopefully leave readers in a position to begin to win at roulette (at least any who are willing to practice and develop the necessary skills.) This article will also discuss the debate on roulette dealer section shooting, or steering of the ball, and methods of winning at roulette that exploit “dealer signature.” There’s a lot to talk about, and I expect that this article will be published in at least three parts over the next few months.
For now, it’s important for you to understand that the traditional method of winning at roulette, as described by Scott above, is a method that was devised on slow-spinning deep pocket wheels, of which there are very few remaining in play in U.S. casinos. Everyone I know who discovered this method learned it in the course of trying to develop a roulette prediction computer, with a mental framework for how to go about that based on Edward Thorp’s chapter on roulette in his book The Mathematics of Gambling, which I highly recommend.
Let’s start with some definitions, then I'll go further into the details of this method—exactly how you use it to gain an edge on roulette, and what conditions must exist for you to use it. After that, I’ll discuss the problems I had using this method with modern wheels and game conditions. Then I’ll discuss a better method for beating modern roulette.
Rotor: The rotor is the spinning part of a roulette wheel. It contains the numbered pockets where the ball will land.
Stator: The stator is the stationary part of a roulette wheel. It contains the spindle on which the rotor turns, as well as the sloped track that holds the spinning ball and the apron where the deflectors are located. The ball must pass across the apron, and through the deflectors, to enter the rotor and a numbered pocket.
Deflectors: Deflectors are the vertical and horizontal obstacles on the apron leading to the rotor. They are typically thicker and wider in the center, and thinner at the ends. They are spaced evenly and symmetrically around the wheel, with alternating vertical and horizontal obstacles. Most casino roulette wheels have 8 deflectors; a few older wheels have 16.
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