How Much of an Edge Do You Need in Roulette to be Profitable?

Roulette and Beating the House Edge with or without a No Deposit Bonus

Betting chips in front of roulette wheel

Every game in a casino has a house edge, from blackjack to poker. But how can the house edge be overcome in roulette, and which methods are best avoided?

The House Edge

By definition, casinos only have games that give the house an edge. After all, they’re there to make money. The good news as far as roulette is concerned is that the house edge actually tends to be very low. It can also vary from one type of roulette to the next (single zero being better for the player than double zero, for example). The house edge in roulette is often around 2-3% – but do check the specifics of the game you’re playing as rules can vary. A general tip is that rule variations tend not to help the player, particularly in games that already have very low house edges. And, as mentioned, the house edge is bigger in American style roulette because two zeroes are on the wheel.

This tight edge means that it’s entirely possible to finish ahead in roulette (although the average result, of course, will be a modest loss in percentage terms). Similarly, tilting the odds so that the average becomes a profit doesn’t take much at all. One way to do this is with roulette computers (more on that below).

Overcoming the Edge

The simplest, and most unlikely, way to win big at roulette is to just be very lucky. Those familiar with a normal curve (a bell-shaped line that indicates the distribution of probabilities) will know that every so often a huge slice of luck will fall someone’s way. The good news is this requires zero effort and preparation, and the bad news is that it’s always a huge long shot. Not as long as lottery odds, but pretty hefty.

It’s worth noting that a modest profit isn’t all that unlikely. It’s odds against, but only just. A substantial win, however, is far less common.

So, apart from blisteringly good fortune, are there any actual actions a player can take to get past that small house edge? Some people will advocate a mathematical, pre-determined approach to alter stakes, whether this is by doubling (Martingale) or additive (D’Alembert). The problems with these approaches are significant.

For a start, both involve chasing losses. More importantly, they maximize the chances of a small profit but make the only alternative a huge loss. Just playing roulette normally will average a small loss (a couple of percent). Using a numerical system such as those mentioned above actually makes it so that if you do suffer a loss, that loss will be immense. Plus, roulette games have upper limits on stakes so you can only increase your wager by so much before you bump into the ceiling.

In the world of online gambling there are other ways for players to give themselves an advantage against the casino’s in-built house edge. As well as better payout rates than brick-and-mortar casinos, online gamblers can benefit from nodepositreviews and no deposit bonuses to have a shot at winning cash without having to risk even a penny of their own money, whether they’re playing roulette, slots, or other table games.

There’s also a contrary strategy for roulette. If black comes up three times, you might bet on red. The odds on four blacks in a row are longer (due to the zero(es)) than one in 16. Unfortunately, each spin of the wheel is an independent variable. The odds on three blacks and a red in a row are also longer than one in 16. And there’s a chance of a zero coming up too. Because the variables are not linked to one another the odds on the next result being red or black remain very slightly below 50% for either outcome. Past results do not predict future outcomes.

Mathematically, the odds will always be to the advantage of the house. The casino is a business, after all. If a game averaged a loss for the house, then the game wouldn’t be hosted.

Predicting where the ball might fall on a mathematical basis just doesn’t work. Which brings us onto a more scientific approach: roulette computers.

Roulette Computers

Roulette computers do seek to predict what number might come up next, but they work in a fundamentally different way to the approaches discussed above. The basis of this method is that a camera observes the ball being released, at which point a computer calculates to a statistically significant degree of accuracy the probable landing spot.

These predictions are made automatically and quickly, usually within a few seconds, enabling players to place bets after the ball is released and in time to take advantage of the predicted landing spot. In addition, a single computer can assist one player, or a small team. Because the computer is located elsewhere, only an individual’s phone (or other) camera is required. In addition, only about 5-15 spins are required in order for the wheel to be learned and then beaten by the computer fairly accurately.

There is some variation with different wheels. No two are alike, and a particularly difficult wheel will be more challenging to predict. The roulette computer will still perform well enough to transform the house edge into a substantial player advantage, but this advantage will be even better with easier wheels. The predictions are not perfect, but they are good enough to swing things towards the player (and perfect results would be noticed pretty sharply by the casino in any event). There will also be some statistical noise due to good or bad luck, but the advantage afforded by the computer’s accuracy will mean this has a minor affect, nudging the profit up or down a little.

Using a roulette computer, the edge can be around +34% for a difficult wheel, and often +90% or more for easier wheels. Given the narrow house edge without using a computer, this obviously skews things against the casino to a hefty degree.

Computer Costs and Concerns

That’s most of the good stuff but it’s only fair to mention the other side of the coin. Roulette computers don’t come cheap, and the price tag is usually in the tens of thousands of dollars. These are not toys for casual gamblers.

Because this is predictive rather than manipulative (i.e. it forecasts a result rather than fiddling with people or equipment to create a result) the technology is legal in about half of the world. However, it’s important to know that casinos are not fond of things that give the player an edge and will ban you if they catch you using a roulette computer.

Roulette is one of the table game classics, and a longstanding staple of casinos. The house edge is small enough that a bit of good luck can overcome it, but if you want to be sure of increasing your chances and have deep pockets then you may want to consider a roulette computer.

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