Roulette is, for most purposes, a completely random game. Its results hinge on a small ball bouncing around a spinning wheel.
This being the case, roulette doesn’t offer you a realistic chance to make profits. It does, however, feature openings for profits in rare cases.
Researchers have actually found that you can gain up to an 18% advantage with roulette! But how is this the case?
I’m going to cover more on their studies and how real money roulette can be so profitable. But first, I’ll discuss what your normal odds are of beating roulette.
Roulette Gives Casinos a Healthy House Edge
Roulette Comes in Three Main Forms
- American roulette – 5.26% house edge
- European roulette – 2.70% house edge
- French roulette – 1.35% house edge
You can see that American roulette is the worst game among the bunch. It features two pockets (zero, double zero) that favor the house.
European roulette provides the middle ground here. It only offers one pocket (zero) that favors casinos on all bets.
French roulette, which takes place on a European wheel, should be your game of choice. Its la partage rule pays half back on losing even-money bets that land on zero.
The problem with French roulette, though, is that it’s not available in most settings. Casinos don’t like providing a low 1.35% house advantage through an unskilled game.
Therefore, you’ll be dealing with either the American or European versions in most cases. European roulette gives casinos a solid 2.70% advantage, while the American wheel features a terrible 5.26% house edge.
Study Shows That Players Can Gain a Big House Edge
Few casino games offer opportunities for you to win long-term profits. Roulette isn’t typically one of the games that provides a chance for you to win consistently.
However, a pair of researchers figured out a way to gain an 18% edge over the casino. Michael Small (University of Western Australia) and Chi Kong Tse (Hong Kong Polytechnic University) smashed roulette odds and published their impressive results afterward.
They were able to determine the rate at which the ball and wheel were spinning. The duo used this knowledge to make accurate guesses on where the ball would land on the wheel.
“Knowing the initial conditions allows you to beat the odds,” Small said. “In some cases you can beat them quite significantly.”
How Did Small and Tse Crush Roulette?
The researchers applied their research to a European roulette wheel. They used calculations and a clicker device to turn the 2.70% house edge into an 18% advantage for themselves.
But how did they accomplish this nearly unfathomable feat? First off, they looked at the problem of beating casinos purely from a physics standpoint.
Tse and Small studied the velocity of the dealer’s release and wheel spin, the precise location of the dealer’s release point, and how friction slows the ball.
These aspects form a complex puzzle that can’t be solved by the human eye. However, learning each of the conditions was crucial to the team’s mission.
They placed a digital camera above the roulette wheel to monitor the conditions and obtain data. By using the camera’s technology and data, they were able to more accurately predict where the ball ended up.
As noted in their paper, Predicting the Outcome of Roulette, the team used the digital camera to get measurements of the wheel/ball conditions. They ran 700 “trials” to test their model on predicting where the ball would land.
Feasibility of Using Technology to Beat Roulette
Small and Tse are far from the first people to apply technology to this popular casino game. A group of physics postgraduate students known as the “Eudaemons” were the first-known group to do so.
They entered Las Vegas casinos with computers concealed in their shoes in the 1970s. The group won a modest $10,000 and quit after being satisfied that their project indeed worked.
Of course, using such electronic devices to beat casinos is illegal everywhere now. But Nevada had no such laws against the matter back then.
Unfortunately, the Eudaemons didn’t publish their research. Few details are known on their exact methods as a result.
Tse and Small merely expanded on a concept that was first developed by the Eudaemons. However, they’ve actually offered extensive materials on how they accomplished their goal.
One thing that the duo refrained from doing, though: using their camera to beat casinos!
Their research was conducted on a roulette wheel housed in a lab. Small and Tse would’ve assuredly ended up in jail had they used technology in a real casino setting.
The major difference is that these players were looking for pure profits. London police arrested the gamblers for cheating.
They went free and kept their £1.3 million afterward. London didn’t have any laws against using devices to beat roulette at that point.
However, times have changed greatly. Every major gambling jurisdiction outlaws the use of electronics to beat casino games.
Wheel Bias Works – But It’s Rarely Available
As covered before, you can’t use electronics like the Eudaemons or Small/Tse to legally beat roulette. However, you can use a strategy called wheel bias.
This term refers to the process of watching wheels to look for biased results. Some wheels favor certain pockets when they suffer wear and tear.
Joseph Jagger was the first player to successfully use this technique to win. In 1873, the English engineer hired six clerks to visit Monte Carlo and record roulette results.
Upon receiving the data, Jagger analyzed it to figure out which wheels and accompanying pockets featured bias.
He visited Monte Carlo and used his knowledge to make £65,000. That amount is worth over £7 million today when accounting for inflation.
Billy Walters is another player who has beaten casinos through wheel bias. He and his “Computer Team” won approximately $4 million off Atlantic City casinos in the mid-1980s.
Unfortunately, wheel bias isn’t as prevalent today. Most casinos now use Starburst wheels, which don’t break down as easily.
You could spend time recording hundreds or thousands of spins only to find that no bias is present. You’ll eventually feel defeated if your efforts keep turning up nothing.
However, Small offers a simpler way to detect wheel bias.
“If you wish to beat the house, look for a wheel for which the ball drops only from one side of the rim — that is, a crooked table. Prediction becomes substantially simpler and more reliable.”
Other Ways to Improve Your Roulette Odds
You can’t use an overhead camera to monitor roulette due to devices being outlawed in gambling. Wheel bias is legal but also incredibly hard to use.
What, then, can you do to boost your chances of winning? Here are some simple roulette tips that’ll help you win more often.
Play European or French Roulette
Earlier, I discussed how French and European roulette feature the lowest house edges in the game. They come with 1.35% and 2.70% house advantages, respectively.
You can find the European wheel in most online casinos and in a decent number of land-based settings. French roulette is available in Microgaming and Realtime Gaming online casinos. It’s also located in a few European countries (e.g. Germany, Monaco).
Look for Roulette Bonuses
Some internet casinos offer roulette deposit bonuses. You’ll typically find such offers under “table games” deals.
A roulette bonus is based on a match percentage of your deposit amount. You must meet terms and conditions to withdraw the money.
Here’s an example:
- A casino offers a 100% match deposit bonus worth up to $200.
- You deposit $100 and qualify for a $100 bonus.
- Wagering requirements are 100x.
- 100 x 100 = $10,000
- You can withdraw the $200 bonus after wagering $10k.
$10,000 may sound like a lot to bet. However, you theoretically won’t lose much money earning this bonus when considering roulette’s low house edge.
Take Advantage of VIP Rewards
Both land-based and online casinos offer loyalty rewards to roulette players. You should ensure that you’re signed up for the VIP program at your favorite casino to take advantage.
Online roulette begins delivering loyalty perks after you deposit and place real-money bets. Casinos require you to sign up for their player’s club and then tell the dealer that you wish to be “rated.”
Michael Small and Chi Kong Tse were able to dominate roulette games by studying game conditions and using an overhead camera. They gained an unheard of 18% advantage over the house in this case.
But I use the phrase “over the house” lightly in this case. Tse and Small didn’t put their research to use in an actual casino setting.
The problem is that their methods would be highly illegal in casinos. You can’t use electronic devices to beat the casino.
Wheel bias is the only legal roulette advantage gambling methods. If you don’t want to waste hours with wheel bias, though, you can also use the basic tips provided earlier.