Roulette Systems and Strategies – What Works and What Doesn’t

This page will closely investigate the most popular roulette betting strategies to see if they have earned their popularity. I will discuss the best roulette betting systems and help explain how they work.

Jump to Your Chosen Roulette Strategy Topic

The buttons above will take you directly to the section of your choice. First, my page will explain, what I think are the best roulette betting strategies. Then you can read about other types of progressive betting strategies. The page will conclude with a few tips worth contemplating, a roulette glossary and some FAQs.

Best Roulette Betting Systems

While officially no roulette betting strategy can really be recommended, as the game is so heavily based on chance, I will tell you that my personal best roulette systems are Martingale and James Bond as they are the most simple and fun to use, with potential for large profits. You can read more about them (and many others) below.

Best Roulette Strategy Comparison Table
Strategy Simplicity Low-Risk * Short Term Long Term Profit Potential ** Fun
Martingale Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
James Bond Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Paroli Yes No Yes No Yes No
D’Alembert Yes Yes No Yes No No
Fibonacci Yes No No Yes Yes No
Play the Numbers No No No Yes No Yes
Dealers Throw No No Yes No Yes Yes
Biased Wheels No No No Yes No No

*Dependent on perfect conditions. e.g. suitable limits and player’s capital

**Depends on the size and fiscal risk of wager

The most effective roulette strategies can be divided into three approaches: progressive, non-progressive and physical. I have spent many an hour testing a number of strategies from each category and you can find my honest personal opinions of each, along with a simple (wherever possible) explanation of how they work below. If you need some more basic information about the game, check this roulette guide.

Progressive Roulette Systems

In short, progressive systems refer to roulette strategies with increasing bets. This is the most common type of betting system you’ll find on this page, the most likely to show any positive results and in my opinion the best type of system. The bets increase proportionately to your playstyle, in order to ensure you recoup any losses from previous bets. Let’s have a look at some of the most popular strategies below to see how this system works.

Martingale

If you’ve ever dipped your toe into roulette strategy before, chances are you’ve come across the Martingale system. Considered by many to be the best roulette strategy, Martingale is exceedingly simple and, so long as you have enough money and patience in the bank, very easy to use to your profit. It is best to use this strategy on a classic roulette variant that allows high maximum bets on even money(outside) bets. I would recommend playing European or French Roulette with the La Partage rule, which will keep the house edge at 2.70% as opposed to the 5.56% advantage in American variants.

How It Works:

The Martingale system, when broken down, is basically about covering your backside. Start with an even money bet on red, black, even or odd, it is best to make your initial bet small, especially if you are new to this betting strategy. If you win the bet, continue betting the same amount, say £5, on even money bets until you lose a spin. When this happens simply double your bet to cover your losses. This way when you win again, you will have made your money back in addition to a small profit of £5 (if the initial bet was £5), this is not a get rich quick strategy, but you can see some nice returns if you are willing to stick with it for a while.

Flaws:

The fly in the ointment is that if you hit a losing streak and reach the betting limit from redoubling your bet, you will lose all of your wagered funds and it is not possible to get any money back should this happen. For this reason, it is important to start with small bets and select a game with high outside betting limits.

Summary icon with bullet points.

Summary: Martingale is a simple system in which you place even money bets and double your bet for every loss ensuring you recoup all of your wagered funds. Just watch out for hitting the betting limit.

James Bond Roulette Strategy

For many, the idea of gambling at a casino looks like something straight out of a film – men in tuxedos, women in ballgowns in a chandelier studded room in Monte Carlo. The reality is usually quite far removed from this, however, with the James Bond betting strategy, you can bring a little piece of 007 to your at home roulette game, bow tie optional.

Roulette Game with James Bond bet
Profits table
The Bet Profits
£140 on 19-36 £80
£50 on 13-18 £100
£10 on 0 £160

How It Works:

For this strategy players will ideally start with £200. This is split into three different bets. £140 on the high numbers or 19-36, £50 on the six line 13-18 and £10 on the number zero. This can be scaled up or down as fits your wallet, but £200 is traditional for true devotees. This strategy covers more numbers than a simple red or black or even or odd bet and slightly increases your chances of winning. If a number from 1-12 is spun and you lose your bet, the strategy is continued, and the same bet is doubled following the Martingale system. The bet should be continually doubled until the turn is won and your bet is returned. This strategy should only be used if your funds are extensive enough to cover a long losing streak or you will lose all of the money you have bet.

Flaws:

The James Bond betting strategy has the same flaws as Martingale: the possibility of hitting the betting limits before winning back your money. In addition to this, the set betting numbers might feel a little restrictive to players who like to jump around, anticipating the movements of the wheel. The final flaw with this plan is that you are not James Bond and are just as likely to lose money using this strategy as anyone else.

Summary icon with bullet points.

Summary: This system might sound cool but, like a 007 Halloween costume, it shouldn’t be used very often. There is potential for big wins with this strategy but you’d need to have a very healthy bank balance behind you to take the risk.

Paroli

Unlike Martingale, with the Paroli system you double your bet following a win and keep doubling until have won three bets in a row or you lose the spin. The idea being that you bank a little money by winning three progressive (growing) bets and then protect your winnings by dropping back down to your original bet before continuing. This is a gentler strategy as instead of doubling your bet until you have potentially lost all of your money, you will only ever double your bet twice giving you more control over your money while still being able to win a little extra.

The Paroli strategy flow chart demonstrating that on your third consecutive win, you should return to the beginning of the sequence and repeat.

How It Works:

This system, like most, uses even money bets, choose to bet on red, black, even, odd or numbers 1-18 or 19-36. Players can feel comfortable betting a little more money with Paroli, safe in the knowledge that the maximum amount betted will only be four times the original bet. Place your bet and double it if you win or rebet the same amount if you lose. The aim is to win three spins in a row doubling your bet for each win. Once three consecutive wins have been achieved, or you lose the spin, drop back to your original bet and start again. Not betting all of your winnings means you can still come out of the game with some money should you hit a losing streak. The good thing about this system is that it can be used on tables with lower betting limits as it does not require enormous bets to recoup your losses from previous bets.

Flaws:

The risk with this system is that winning is dependent on consecutive wins, of which there can be no guarantee. If this occurs at all, it may take a long time to spin three wins in a row meaning you can lose a lot of money without winning anything. Just as in the game of roulette, this betting system is enormously reliant on chance and cannot be recommended as a reliable way to increase your chances of winning at roulette.

Summary icon with bullet points.

Summary: With Paroli you aim for three consecutive wins, doubling your bet with each win. After three wins or any loss drop back to your initial bet to protect your money.

D’Alembert

Designed by French mathematician Jean Baptiste le Rond d’Alembert, the D’Alembert system is one of the lower risk strategies you will find on this page which may appeal if you are new to a roulette system or if you are a more cautious gambler. Using this system effectively will require a lot of patience from the player as it requires an incremental change to the wagered amount with each bet, win or lose.

D'Alembert flow chart demonstrating the different outcomes of winning and losing bets whilst utilising the strategy.

How It Works:

The strategy is simple, start with your chosen bet, I’d recommend starting with £1 as your profit percentage will be incredibly small with larger bets. Place your money on an outside bet – even, odd, red or black, or high or low numbers. If you win a turn, decrease your bet by £1, if you lose, increase your bet by £1. This roulette betting system isn’t hard to remember though you may find it frustrating to have to adjust your bet for each turn and even disheartening seeing such a small return on your bets, The key here is patience, this system is not designed for those who want to see big wins fast, it is for players who love roulette and like playing with different betting styles.

Flaws:

While the incremental increases in bets aren’t going to immediately bankrupt you or force you to the betting limits, the £1 increase isn’t going to make up your losses either. This system is not going to help you make money playing roulette unless you are incredibly lucky and have a lot of time on your hands.

Summary icon with bullet points.

Summary: The D’Alembert system is simple, increase your bet by £1 following a loss and increase by £1 following a win. This system is slow and won’t net you a lot of money.

Labouchere

The Labouchere strategy simply allows players to record their progress towards a predetermined winning goal. The idea is to choose how much money you would like to win, divide that number into smaller numbers and then aim to win a portion of the total with each bet. For example, if I was hoping to win £20, I might split that into 2-2-4-2-4-4-2. It is helpful to write this down as it can be a little tricky to action otherwise.

The Labourchere chart with blank spaces for you to fill in your winning's goal and record your progress. Download the Sheet

How It Works:

To begin, select your winnings goal, divide it into smaller, more achievable portions and write them down using my downloadable Labouchere chart. To start betting, add the two numbers from either end of your list together then place this amount on an even money bet. If the bet is won, you may cross the numbers off your list, if the bet is lost, add the two numbers to the right side of the list as you will now need to win that bet back in order to reach your goal. Continue taking the two numbers from the left and right until you have no numbers left or your list becomes uncomfortably long.

Flaws:

This system can be used towards winning smaller or larger numbers, though in my opinion, it is only useful for recording your bets, wins and losses and is not an effective strategy except for knowing when to stop playing. This system cannot be easily used in a land-based casino as the dealers are unlikely to take kindly to you writing things down and the speed of play is beyond your control. Likewise, a live dealer casino might move too quickly for you to record your numbers and do the maths without getting flustered.

Summary icon with bullet points.

Summary: Labouchere is designed for goal-oriented people, it’s helpful to set down the amount you want to win then be able to break that into steps. Just be warned there is no guarantee you’ll ever be able to cross all of the numbers off your list.

Fibonacci

If you fancy yourself a mathematician, you will surely be familiar with, or at least have heard of the Fibonacci sequence of numbers. The sequence appeared as early as 200 BC and is a list of numbers that are the sum of the two preceding numbers as shown below. However, it wasn’t given a name until the Italian mathematician (of the same name as the system), introduced the sequence to Europe. The number sequence has now been developed into a roulette strategy.

A chart showing the Fibonacci sequence and depicting how it can be using in roulette strategy.

How It Works:

As with the Martingale strategy, this system can be used on even money bets only e.g. red or black. The way it works is when you lose a bet, your next bet will be the sum of the previous 2 bets. The progression of the bets is therefore rather slow, and players can survive longer losing streaks. Put more simply, start betting with the first number in the pictured sequence then, with each loss you move one step to the right. If you win, you go back 2 steps (or keep betting the same amount until you lose).

Flaws:

One drawback of this system is that when you get a win, you only get back the money from the previous 2 bets. As with many other systems, there is the possibility that a long losing streak will bankrupt you or will take you to the maximum betting limit meaning you lose all of your funds, in which case you could stand to lose a lot of money. The Fibonacci strategy is also rather slow and boring compared to other systems such as Martingale.

Summary icon with bullet points.

Summary: The Fibonacci sequence might be ancient but some things are better left in the past. If you’re looking to make quick money playing roulette I would not recommend this strategy.

Other Progressive Systems

There are plenty of other progressive systems which see the stakes increase slowly. Such examples include the Montante Hollande system, the Whittacker Progression, the Goldstein Progression and the Fitzroy system, which are all rather similar to those listed above in terms of playstyle, advantages and disadvantages.

Non-Progressive Systems

Non-progressive betting strategies use sequences of numbers and statistics to predict the outcome of roulette games. Unlike progressive betting systems, the size of the bet does not change depending on previous results. Non-progressive systems are also referred to as flat betting. Here, players use the numbers that have won previously to predict which will win next.

Playing the Numbers

Playing the numbers may seem riskier than the earlier mentioned strategies as you are betting on individual numbers and not whole sections making the probability of winning much lower. It is worth repeating here that no betting strategy is likely to make you money so this is no more or less likely to help you win.

A downloadable PDF sheet which allows you to record every number the ball lands on while playing roulette. Download the Sheet

How It Works:

With this strategy, players bet on single numbers that have not made an appearance in a while. The idea behind this is that if some numbers have not been drawn in a while, then they are overdue, and more likely to win. This practice assumes that these numbers must occur at some point to fulfil the “law of large numbers” (the equal distribution of all numbers over a very large number of games). These so-called overdue numbers are also referred to as retardaires. It requires a bit a leg work and a lot of time as you will need to play several rounds to determine which numbers haven’t been spun recently. To help you keep track, download my roulette number recording chart above.

Flaws:

The flaws in this strategy are obvious – you will look suspicious copying down the numbers spun if anyone can see you, so you’ll need to stay home to play this way. Individual numbers are also far less likely to crop up than a red number or an even number so it’s best to keep your bets small here unless you want to face a huge disappointment or are extremely lucky.

Summary icon with bullet points.

Summary: Also known as the Andrucci system, playing the numbers might seem like a smart strategy but the randomness of this game means there are no guarantees an overdue number will come up at all.

Physical Systems

Physical systems try to use small failures in the roulette wheel, or the way the croupier throws the ball to the players’ advantage by trying to predict winning numbers based on these actions. These are easily the least reliable betting strategies, especially when playing online. I cannot recommend using any of the following strategies in an effort to make money. They can, of course, be observed, and it might be fun to try and predict what number will be spun based on watching the dealer closely or watching the table but these methods are flawed, to say the least.

Biased Wheels

A roulette wheel icon.

This system applies only to land-based casinos, where, in theory, roulette wheels could be affected by flaws. These could occur during the manufacture of the wheel, or even during installation where the wheel may not be placed completely level, which could cause some numbers to win more often. This would be very hard to spot, and it would take a keen eye (and a lot of time) to notice and use this to your advantage. This is extremely unlikely to work as casinos are vigilant about checking their games for fairness and any faults would immediately be fixed.

Summary icon with bullet points.

Summary: This is only valid for land-based casino roulette games and incredibly unreliable as a strategy.

Dealer’s Throwing Style

A system occasionally used by professionals is to watch the actions of the croupier closely. To assess how the ball is thrown, and the position and speed of the roulette wheel, to help predict which section of the wheel the ball will land in and therefore which numbers are likely to be spun. You might have heard of profession player Christian Kaisan using this method, although it should be noted he spent three years studying before making a single bet based on his findings. Overall, there are so many factors that can change when the ball is thrown such as the wind, the dealer’s strength and the way the ball hits the diamonds, that it is pretty much impossible to predict an accurate result each time.

A dealers hand tossing a ball on to a roulette wheel.
Summary icon with bullet points.

Summary: This strategy might work for some lucky people but is more likely to lose you money than any other. Bet on numbers, which don’t change, not on the human error of dealers.

Roulette Tips to Consider When Playing

Below you will find an overview of a few quick tips that I think are valuable for any roulette player, no matter how experienced. Although some of the things listed below may seem obvious enough, players sometimes forget them when playing, especially when using strategies. Even though you think you have beaten the system, you haven’t. Remember these four simple things while playing:

Play European or French Roulette Variants Only

Play European or French roulette variants only to reduce the house edge and increase your chances of winning. If you play American roulette, the house edge is increased due to an extra ‘zero’ pocket.

Know Your Wallet

Know your wallet – be aware of how much money you can afford to spend on roulette before you begin playing. It’s important to be realistic, there is no sense in spending beyond your means in a game of chance (Or set yourself a losing limit).

Stick to Outside Bets

Bet on simple chances only. While other bets may payout higher, betting on the most likely occurring events is the smart way to go. Bet on red, black, even, odd, 1-18 or 19-36 to keep your chances of winning as high as possible.

Play for Fun

Play for fun. The plain truth is that roulette betting strategies do not work. The best way to approach them is to have a little fun seeing how different strategies work, or don’t work as the case may be. They are to be used with caution, or not at all when playing roulette with real money.

If you keep the above in mind, there is no reason that roulette won’t be a fun experience. We are here because we enjoy the thrill given to us by these fun casino games. However, if we make the false assumption that the games are money making tools, not entertainment, we run the risk of major headaches. If you approach games in a healthy way, you should be fine. If you’re a fan of high-stakes roulette, this advice is even more pertinent.

Helpful Resources

This page has covered a lot of different strategies, and I wouldn’t judge you if you were still felt a little lost. I have created a few helpful charts that you can download in order to test out some of your strategies. I recommend using them when playing online versions of roulette. Get your pens ready and enjoy my free and helpful tools. 

Downloadable Charts

Here you can find useful charts for the Labouchere and Playing the Numbers strategies. Simply print out the sheets and fill them out while you play. The charts will help you stay organised while gaming, so you won’t have to struggle to remember every spin of the roulette game you are playing.

Labouchere Sheet A mini version of the Labourchere chart with blank spaces for you to fill in your winning's goal and record your progress. PDF Download
Playing the Numbers Sheet A mini version of the downloadable PDF sheet which allows you to record where the ball lands in roulette. PDF Download

The above strategies are not my favourite, but some players swear by their usefulness. You can try them out for yourself. However, if you want to use the best strategies, I suggest playing with Martingale or the James Bond strategy. Download the charts above, and see which strategies you prefer.

Roulette News

For all the latest news concerning roulette betting systems, including big wins using the systems, strategy research and developments, check back to this section which I will make sure to keep updated. At casinoreviews.co.uk, I try to keep the news as up to date as possible, below are just some of the few news stories to be found on my site.

News

The news section of my site is a helpful way to keep your finger on the pulse of the online gambling world. News stories are published daily, which cover a range of topics including sports, casinos, industry news and changes in gambling regulations. 

Roulette Glossary

As with any niche topic, you’re sure to come across some terminology that you haven’t heard before. This glossary should help you understand any unfamiliar terms and ensure you have a more holistic understanding of the game.

Glossary
    • American Roulette The version of roulette where the wheel has two green pockets, zero and double zero, as opposed to the one green pocket in French and European Roulette. This leads to a greater house edge and it is therefore advisable to avoid this style as you are less likely to win.
    • Croupier A croupier is the French name for a casino game dealer.
    • Diamond The name for the silver diamond-shaped metal pieces on the roulette wheel’s lower ball track. These disrupt the trajectory of the ball and contribute to the randomness of the game. Also known as a ball deflector.
    • Even/ Odd Bet An even bet is placed on all even numbers on the wheel. An odd bet is placed on all odd numbers on the wheel. 
    • Even Money Bet An even money bet has the highest probability of winning in roulette and is also called an outside bet. There are six options including red, black, even, odd, 1-18 and 19-36.
    • Inside Bet A bet made on an individual number or small group of numbers on the wheel. These payout with higher odds but are less likely to win.
    • La Partage This is a rule in many French roulette variants where if a player has made an even money bet and a zero is spun, the player receives half their bet back.
    • Non-Progressive Strategy A betting strategy in which bets are placed on results throughout play.
    • Outside Bet See even money bets. 
    • Physical Systems Betting strategies based on physical elements such as the roulette wheel and its parts, the ball and the dealer. 
    • Pocket The numbered green, black and red numbered slots on the roulette wheel are called pockets. 
    • Progressive Strategy A betting strategy in which the bets increase in size throughout play. 
    • Red/ Black Bet A red bet is placed on all red numbers on the wheel. A black bet is placed on all black numbers on the wheel.
    • Simple Chance  A lesser known name for an even money or outside bet. These bets have the highest probability of winning and include red, black, even, odd, 1-18 and 19-36.

Frequently Asked Questions

I receive a lot of questions about roulette, perhaps more than I receive about any other casino game. This is because the game can look overwhelming to new players. The ironic part is that it is probably the most straightforward of all casino games (well…maybe war is easier). Below, you’ll find some of the most common questions surrounding roulette strategy.

What number hits the most in roulette?

The roulette wheel has 37 (or 38 in American) pockets into which the ball may fall. Each of these are exactly the same size meaning the probability of the ball hitting any of these pockets Is the same. Check out the Playing the Numbers strategy to see how you can try to predict which number may come next.

What are the odds of hitting black on roulette?

The odds of hitting black on roulette are 48.65% in European or French roulette and 47.37% in American roulette due to an extra zero pocket.

Is there a roulette strategy?

There are many popular roulette strategies and several lesser known ones, although none of these are advisable to play to make money, they can be a fun way to shake up your roulette game. Scroll up the page to see my favourites explained.

Your Opinion is Valued

Simon Rose, author of the page and casino reviewer at casinoreviews.co.uk.
Written bySimon RoseFirst published: 15/12/2015Last update: 27/02/2019
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