French roulette (1.35% house edge) and European roulette (2.70%) offer some of the best odds in gaming. Nevertheless, they still put you at a long-term disadvantage.
The odds are against you in traditional roulette. You must overcome the house advantage to win with this game.
Enter roulette tournaments. These events see you compete against fellow gamblers for cash prizes. They’re exciting because they give you a realistic chance at earning profits.
But can you win enough from tourneys to make them worth your time? You can find out below by reading about the various factors that determine your tournament winnings.
Why Roulette Tournaments Give You a Chance to Win Profits
You can earn money through roulette in any capacity. Even when playing against the casino, you have an opportunity to win profits.
However, you need luck to beat the house over any measurable amount of time. After all, they hold an advantage over you in every variation.
Below, you can see how much you’ll theoretically lose to the casino with each roulette game:
- The French roulette house edge is 1.35%.
- You bet $100 on this game.
- 100 x 0.0135 = $1.35 in theoretical losses
- The European roulette house edge is 2.70%.
- You wager $100 on this game.
- 100 x 0.027 = $2.70 in theoretical losses
Mini Roulette (w/ la partage rule)
- The mini roulette house edge is 3.85%.
- You bet $100 on this game.
- 100 x 0.0385 = $3.85 in theoretical losses
- The American roulette house edge is 5.26%.
- You bet $100 on this game.
- 100 x 0.0526 = $5.26 in theoretical losses
French roulette definitely gives you the strongest chance to win money. It features the la partage rule, which pays half back on even-money bets when the ball lands on zero.
Even still, though, you’re at a disadvantage. You’ll most likely lose money over time as you keep playing the casino again and again.
Tournaments change this dynamic by seeing you compete against other gamblers. You’re on equal footing with everybody else in a tourney.
Of course, equal footing alone doesn’t help you win profits. You also have to use strategy to gain separation from other players.
Roulette tournament strategy revolves around how you bet. You can boost your chances of winning by betting in a manner that helps you pull ahead of opponents at the right time.
Timing is key with your betting strategy. You want to top the leaderboard standings at the end of a round—not at the beginning or middle.
Assuming you can put everything together, then you can win in the long run with roulette tournaments.
Factors that Determine Your Tournament Winnings
As covered above, your betting tendencies play a large role in how well you do in tourneys. But several other factors also determine your profitability. Below, you can see the aspects that define how much you win.
Most roulette tourneys aren’t very big in terms of prize money. They typically offer prize pools ranging from $100 to $1,000.
You can win decent money with the latter range. However, a top prize worth a few hundred dollars pales in comparison to the six and seven-figure payouts featured in poker tournaments.
You won’t win a fortune through a single roulette tourney. The only exceptions include special-and-rare events with prize pools worth $100,000 or more.
Quantity of Roulette Tournaments
You can find roulette events at both land-based and the best US online casinos. However, neither online nor brick-and-mortar casinos offer these tournaments in great frequency.
Instead, gambling venues feature more slots tourneys than anything. You’ll need to sift through numerous slots events before finding a roulette tournament or two.
You really must put forth effort into finding such tourneys. That said, low quantity presents a major problem regarding these events.
Casinos usually offer roulette tourneys in the form of freerolls. A roulette freeroll doesn’t require you to pay an entry fee and offers real-money prizes.
Larger tourneys can charge entry fees. You might have to pay rake on top of the entry. Rake is an added fee that goes directly to the casino for hosting an event.
Here’s an example:
- A roulette tournament offers a $10,000 guaranteed prize pool.
- The entry fee is $100 + $10.
- The $100 goes directly into the prize pool.
- However, the $10 goes to the casino.
- 10 / 110 = 0.091
- 1% of your money is going to the casino
Not all big roulette tournaments force you to pay rake. After all, casinos sometimes run large rake-free tourneys as a promotion.
You definitely want to look for rake-free events and freerolls whenever possible. These tournaments ensure that all your money goes into the prize pool.
An overlay refers to when the tournament entry fees are less than the guaranteed prize pool. Here’s an example:
- You play in the aforementioned $10k guaranteed tournament.
- 67 total players enter this event.
- $110 x 67 = $7,370 (combined entry & rake)
- 10,000 – 7,370 = $2,630 overlay
You gain theoretical value by playing in tournaments like this even when rake is involved. In the above example, the tourney is offering you a 26.3% edge (2,630 / 10,000).
You’ll theoretically win back $138.93 on your $110 entry. You may fail to win anything in this particular event, but you’ll earn long-term profits by continually finding overlays.
You might be the greatest roulette tournament player in the world. However, you’ll still struggle to cash in the majority of these tourneys.
The prize pools typically only cover 5% to 10% of the field. Some tournaments even feature a winner-takes-all format.
The latter gives you a chance to win big (relative to your entry fee). However, it also severely decreases the chances that you’ll cash in a given event.
Your Skill Level
Roulette tournaments don’t involve quite the same amount of skill as a Texas hold’em or daily fantasy sports tourney. But they do give you some opportunity to separate yourself from the pack.
Again, you can develop a roulette betting strategy that helps you gain the chip lead by the end of a tournament/round. With enough experience and devotion, you’ll hold an edge on the average tournament participant.
It’s difficult to say exactly what kind of edge you’ll develop. But if you become an expert, then you might hold between a 5% and 10% advantage over the field.
What’s the Max You Can Win Through Roulette Tourneys?
Here’s a recap of the factors that affect your tournament winnings:
- Prize pools – Not usually very large
- Quantity of tournaments – Not many available
- Entry fees (plus rake) – Usually free or rake-free
- Overlays – Some overlays exist
- Volatility – Very volatile
- Your skill level – You can gain an edge, but not a very big one.
When weighing these factors, your chances of getting rich through tournaments is almost nonexistent. You don’t have much chance to make a living through these events either.
Contrast this scenario to the large number of large poker tournaments that are available.
Here’s an example to show how little you stand to win from roulette tourneys:
- You hold a 5% long-term edge over the competition.
- You play in 300 tournaments throughout the year (most are freerolls).
- You pay $2,000 in total entry fees for non-freerolls ($6.67 per entry).
- The average prize pool for each event is $200.
- 300 x 200 = $60,000 in available prize money
- 60,000 x 0.05 = $3,000 in winnings
- 3,000 – 2,000 = $1,000 in profits
This example represents a near-perfect scenario. Even with a 5% edge and 300 worth of quality tournaments, you’ll only make $1,000 in profits.
How to Win More in Roulette Tournaments
Again, you’re not going to become a millionaire through roulette tourneys alone. But you may still want to play these events and chase profits. If so, the following tips will help boost your chances of making money.
Thoroughly Read the Rules Beforehand
You should adapt your strategy to the rules at hand. Therefore, you want to learn the roulette tournament rules before devising your plan.
Here’s an example:
- A roulette tournament features a winner-takes-all format.
- It lasts for 15 spins
- 20 players enter the tournament.
- You must bet very aggressively towards the end to top the leaderboard.
Your strategy for this tourney will differ from your plan for a multi-round tourney where multiple players cash.
Be Adept at Betting Strategy
You should constantly keep an eye on the leaderboard and determine when you must switch gears and bet more or less.
Online casinos make it easy for you to track leaderboards. Their software continually updates the standings and offers results in real-time.
Land-based events must stop from time to time so that leaderboard results can be figured out. In any case, you still need to check the standings whenever possible.
Assuming you’re behind as a round/tournament nears the end, you can make up ground through two ways:
- Raise your bet sizes.
- Make inside wager.
You can use a combination of these strategies to win more. Or, you can focus on one method over the other.
Raising your bets helps you better control volatility. You can still choose even-money wagers (e.g. red/black) and enjoy great odds. The only difference is that you’re risking more at once.
Inside wagers (e.g. straight up, split) offer you big payouts for a smaller bet. For example, you can wager $10 on a straight-up wager and win $350 (35:1).
These bet are perfect for playing conservatively in the beginning while still giving yourself a chance to win lots of chips.
Avoid Following Trends & Dealer Signatures
Some roulette strategies sound good in theory, but they don’t amount to much. Trend betting and dealer signatures both fall into this category.
The former refers to tracking past results and wagering accordingly. If you see “high” (high/low) win four times in a row, for example, then you might bet on “low” because it’s due.
A dealer signature refers to a dealer that spins the wheel in a predictable manner. For instance, they might consistently produce results within a 10-pocket range due to spinning the wheel with the same velocity.
Nobody has ever proven that trend betting or dealer signatures work. They won’t help you win tournaments nor overcome the house edge in standard games.
Reduce Your Entry Fees
You may consider paying to enter lucrative tourneys. However, you should look to cut down on entry fees to some extent.
Freerolls offer an excellent path towards playing roulette tournaments cheaply. You can also look for rake-free events to avoid paying extra money directly to the casino.
When you do need to pay rake, you should check and see if there’s an overlay. You’ll gain more overall value on your buy-in in this case.
Roulette is normally a house-banked game that gives casinos an advantage. However, you can swing the edge in your favor by competing against other gamblers in roulette tournaments.
Unfortunately, the amount of profits that you can earn is limited. Not enough big roulette tournaments exist to provide a true chance at winning serious money.
You also have to account for the volatility. Even if you’re a great tourney player, you’ll still experience droughts due to the limited number of prizes.
In the end, you should only play in roulette tournaments because you find them enjoyable. They’re not good for trying to get rich.
However, tourneys do offer a different outlet for playing an exciting game. Going further, you may even win small profits if you’re good at switching up your betting strategies.