Red, black, or take a gamble hoping to hit it big? For many players who step up to the roulette table, these are the decisions that will make or break the trip.
Even as its popularity has grown, some misconceptions do still exist. In this article, I’ll explain the top 4 commonly-believed roulette myths that should stop today.
1 – Myth: There’s Only One Version
Most people in America are accustomed to the standard version of the game that has numbers 1-36 with a 0 and 00 on the wheel as well. You might be surprised to know that there are actually other versions of the game available. Not just that, but they provide better odds to players.
Here are a few examples of real money roulette options that can be found in casinos around the world. Note that just because a certain version is named after a country/region, that doesn’t mean it’s only found in that country/region.
These are the roulette offerings out there with American being excluded:
The European form of roulette is very similar to the American version but with one very noticeable difference. Instead of having a 0 and 00, there’s just one 0 space. This might not seem all that significant, but when you consider that the house’s edge is typically just the 0 spaces, it means European roulette has only 50% of the house edge that American roulette does.
Just as in European Roulette, there’s only one 0. One major difference, however, is that in French roulette there are fewer betting options. French Roulette is less common than European and American roulette in many areas of the world, but if you do stumble upon the French version, make sure you know the rules beforehand.
The choice is yours in terms of how many wheels you want to play at once. Then, your single bet is multiplied by the amount of wheels you have chosen to play. For example, if you bet on 3 wheels, you put in 3 times your bet and have 3 chances to win or lose.
Multi-wheel roulette is exciting and presents a nice opportunity for some big wins, but make sure you’re staying on top of your plays – things can get out of hand quick!
Just as you might have guessed from the name, multiplayer roulette simply is roulette with a group. Whereas normally bettors wouldn’t be gathered around the same table and talking throughout, this version of the game allows you to do just that.
While it’s good for social people, there isn’t much else to be gained. Though some advocates do suggest that you can learn many new strategies if you participate and listen.
2 – Myth: The Martingale System Works
Since the beginning of time, gamblers have been looking for foolproof betting strategies that guarantee a victory. One such strategy that has been thought to accomplish this is the Martingale System.
Let me first say that I could go on for pages about the mathematical specifics of the system, but I won’t do that to you. Instead, here’s a quick breakdown of how it works:
Player A bets 2 units, if he loses, his next bet is 2 units +1. If he loses that, his next bet is 4 units +1. If he loses that, his next bet is 8 units +1, and so on. Essentially, the methodology states that you should always make a bet that covers your losses, and then at one unit on top of it so that you’ll make a profit.
At first, it seems to be a pretty solid strategy. It has survived in gambling circles for decades because it’s not entirely misguided – but there are some shortcomings that need to be addressed.
One of the main issues with the system is that it requires a huge bankroll to actually follow through with the bets in the way that the Martingale System suggests.
Another problem is that the system doesn’t take into account what happens if you lose a few hands in a row. What starts out as a reasonable $10 or $20 initial bet can turn into thousands within just a few hands.
When you break it down, the Martingale System, though solid on the surface, simply doesn’t hold up. Think of it this way: if there was actually a foolproof betting strategy that gamblers could use to win every time, you’d probably have heard about it at this point.
3 – Myth: The Gambler’s Fallacy
Many gamblers are aware of this phenomenon, but even more have not been clued in. The mistake known as the “Gambler’s Fallacy” is so common that – you guessed it – it has its own name.
The incorrect philosophy assumes that prior trials have some type of impact on future trials, when in fact they do not. It extrapolates a probability situation that is seen over thousands and thousands of trials and assumes that the same model also works on a much smaller scale.
If that doesn’t make sense, here’s a much simpler explanation that you’ve probably encountered during your time at the roulette table:
Let’s say the past three spins have ended up on black. Unfortunately, you’ve lost all three of your last bets as you had your money down on red. When it’s time for the fourth spin, there’s a higher chance of it landing on red than black, right? The correct answer is: no.
While over time, meaning over the course of thousands of spins, the times it lands on red and the times it lands on black will be very similar, on small scale you can’t count on it. The lesson to be taken out of this experiment is to recognize that every single spin is its own trial and isn’t affected in any way by the ones before it.
To simplify even further, here’s an example. For the sake of the example, I’ll assume that there’s a 50% chance it lands on black, and a 50% chance it lands on red (even though that’s not quite right). If you spin the wheel 20 times and it lands on black every time, what are the chances it lands on red on the 21st spin? The answer is still 50%.
The bottom line is that regardless of what happened before your current turn, the odds are the exact same every time. Overall probabilities can’t be calculated in one single game, so thinking that something is “due” to happen is a major mistake that has hurt gamblers since the beginning of time.
4 – Myth: Hedging the Board is a Good Strategy
If a casino game exists, there’s always going to be someone out there who thinks they’ve cracked the code. Roulette is no different, and this often presents itself in bets that are spread out across the board.
Obviously, if you place your bet on a specific number or any one of the higher risk spaces, you have a chance to take in a bigger win. However, the odds are never going to actually tip in your favor over the house advantage and no combination of bets is going to change that fact.
It’s completely fine to try risking a little more if you aren’t looking to stick to red/black, odd/even, or over/under 18.
Just like the Martingale System shows, if a foolproof strategy for winning roulette existed, everyone would know about it, and the casinos would have made adjustments.
As long as you stay away from these 4 myths, the roulette wheel presents some of the best opportunities in the casino. The low house edge and ease of play makes it something that should be incorporated into every visit.
Mind your bankroll, ignore the Gambler’s Fallacy, and let the chips fall where they may.