# Roulette Strategy: A Beginner's Guide to Playing the Odds

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At face value, roulette looks like a game where the odds are stacked against casino patrons. In actual fact, like any game of numbers, there are a wide range of ways to deploy a strategy and have a good go at beating the house.

## American Roulette vs European Roulette

The first thing to address are the differences between American and European Roulette. In theory, the difference is zero - that is, American Roulette has an additional cell, a double zero. In practise, this affects the house edge (the amount the casino will take on average over time), with European Roulette running an edge of 2.7% and American of 5.3%. That means a run of bad luck is extra costly in American Roulette. Of course, if you are a lucky bettor and plan on betting on a single number - the odds are 36/1 in European Roulette and 37/1 in American Roulette. One note of caution, however, many American casinos operate American 'single zero' tables, in which case the edge issue is moot.

## Avoiding Zero

Whichever table type you choose, avoiding the extra zero is a good plan for beginner strategies. The Odd/Even, Red/Black and Low (1-18)/High (19-36) cells make a good starting point, and the double zero can seriously chip away at regular winnings.

## The Martingale System

If you play one of these cells regularly, a common system is to double down when you lose to reduce losses. This is called the Martingale System, and is a good way to slowly increase your winnings. But remember, the house edge means that each bet comes with a 47.4% win probability, and doubling your stake can end in a major loss if you don't have enough cash to take you to a win.

## Three Column Betting

The next step-up in odds is on 1-12, 13-24 or 25-36; or on the three columns starting 1, 2 or 3, which pay 2/1 and have a win probability of 31.58%. Here strategists could consider hedging bets by placing equal stakes on two of the three columns (or blocks) and doubling up with every non-winning spin. It's similar to the Martingale System, but with a 63.2% chance of winning on each spin.

## Bond Strategy

More devious strategies can cut risk even further. A famous example is the Bond Strategy. In this system, if you had £100, for example, you would bet £55 on the high numbers, £40 on the first third and £5 on zero for insurance: this covers 31 of 37 numbers and gives an 83.7% chance of ending up after the spin.

## Alternative Bets

The key to any strategy is maximising board coverage to minimise risk. Roulette is a game of chance, after all, and the odds are there to be played. Other bets to choose from are:

• Six Line (six numbers): pays 5/1, 16.2% win chance
• Corner (four numbers): pays 8/1, 10.8% win chance
• Street (three numbers): pays 11/1, 8.1% win chance
• Split (two numbers): pays 17/1, 5.4% win chance
• American Roulette also offers bets on the first five numbers at 6/1 (13.2% win chance).

So use the numbers to build your own strategy and then give it a spin. But bet with your head, not your heart - don't get sucked into the gamblers fallacy that a number is 'due' or 'lucky', because each spin is independent from the last and so the odds are the same every time.

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