Basic Roulette Strategy Advice

Roulette is one of the easiest casino games to play. And you can bet that any time the casino makes a game easy to play, the odds are going to be overwhelming in the casino’s favor. If you’re a new roulette player in search of a basic roulette strategy for beginners, this may well be the most valuable roulette advice you ever receive.

Avoid the Gambler’s Fallacy

The Gambler’s fallacy, also referred to as the Monte Carlo fallacy or the fallacy of the maturity of chances, is one of the most costly traps for new gamblers, especially slot machine and roulette players. When you hear someone say that a slot machine is “due to hit”, that is a good example of the Gambler’s fallacy at work.

The Gambler’s fallacy is when someone (incorrectly) believes that the odds of an event (with a fixed probability) occurring increase or decrease because of a change in what should happen on average.

The easiest way to explain the Gambler’s fallacy is with a coin toss example.

In probability 101 we learned that flipping a coin has a 50/50 chance of landing on either heads or tails every time its flipped. The Law of Large Numbers states that over a large series of flips the coin will land on heads approximately 50% of the time and tails 50% of the time.

So that begs the question - if you flip a coin 9 times and it lands on heads 9 times in a row, is it more likely to land on tails on the 10th flip?

The answer is no, the probability of landing on heads or tails on the 10th flip is still 50%. This is where people get into trouble. People often use the term Law of Averages to say that something is due because it hasn’t happened in the short term.

The trick is to understand the difference in independent events vs dependent events, and short term vs long term.

Independent events in gambling are things that have a fixed probability of occurring.

  1. Flipping a coin
  2. Landing on a red number in roulette
  3. Winning the lottery
  4. Hitting a slot machine jackpot

Dependent events in gambling are where the probability of an event occurring is influenced by what happened previously or other variables.

  1. Getting dealt 21 in blackjack
  2. Winning a hand of poker
  3. Picking a winning sports team to bet on
  4. Choosing an ace in a standard deck of cards in 3 tries

The long term is used in the Law of Large Numbers to describe a huge sample size of independent events - a sample size so large in fact, that most of us will never see it in terms of gambling.

Take our coin flip example; over the course of hundreds of thousands of flips, the average of heads vs tails occurrences will slowly reach the 50/50 mark. However, in the short term of say 100 flips, you may end up with 75 heads vs 25 tails.

Applying the Gambler’s Fallacy to Roulette

Whoever invented the roulette board full of results from the last 20 spins deserves a huge bonus check. By perpetuating the myth that you can predict the result of a spin in roulette, this board has probably helped the casino win more money than we’ll ever know.

Since you can plainly see on the display that red hit the last 10 times, it’s easy to speculate that black is more likely to hit next, but it’s not.

Many people combine the Gambler’s fallacy with the Martingale betting system and think they’ve created their own secret winning roulette strategy.

With the Martingale in roulette, you start with a single even money bet (ie. $5 on black). If you lose, you double your bet each time until you eventually win.

Players who use this so-called roulette strategy, will usually wait for a large number of one event to happen; red hitting 5 times in a row for example. Then they start betting on black. If they lose, they will double the bet and continue betting on black until it wins.

The biggest problem (as we’ve already covered) is that black is no more likely to hit just because red hit that last five times in a row.The roulette wheel does not have a memory. It has no idea that red just hit the last 5,10, or 20 times.

For all intents and purposes, most of us should never expect to reach the long run when it comes to betting on roulette spins. So don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can predict the outcome of a spin based on previous spins. It will only cost you a lot of frustration and possibly your bankroll. Whether you use systems like the Martingale is up to you. Just make sure to educate yourself about it and other various roulette betting systems before you test them out.