Roulette is one of the oldest casino games. It has its origins in the 18th century and was developed by Blaise Pascal. Roulette is the French word meaning little wheel. For as long as the game has been around there have been people who have claimed that they can “beat the wheel.” Ed Thorp and Claude Shannon developed the first wearable computer in that was used to predict wear the ball would land. Others took the success of the Thorp/Shannon initiative and used it to develop scaled down and non-computer based methods of predicting the final resting basket of the ball. The degree at which each is successful vary greatly. The best system I have seen in print is the Professional Roulette Prediction series by Laurence Scott. With the success of the time tested professional players and mathematicians there is a group of people that take observations out of context and make broad and vague assertions. I will take a look at some of the more outrageous roulette myths and debunk why they are so absurd. For further advance roulette strategy reading, you can visit Frank Scoblete’s Ultimate Roulette Strategy Guide, that he published exclusively at 888casino.com
Myth: The outcome of the previous spin impact the outcome of the next spin?
This misconception is widely popular among tourist and novice gamblers. Many amateur roulette players have likely seen only 1500-2000 croupier spins over their playing time. Most of these have been on different wheels and by different croupiers. Even if a player were to record the numbers that come up, and if the number set were to show a biased toward a specific octant -a group of 8 numbers that are adjacent to one another on the wheel, the information would not be significant for a few reasons.
The first reason is that result of the outcome is dependent on numerous physical characteristics. Some are dealer dependent and some are characteristics of the wheel itself. In addition to these, there are other variables that are not even considered. These included elevation, humidity, and rotation of the earth and gravitational forces. In order for the set of numbers to show any reasonable conclusions the data set would have to be in the neighborhood of 30,000 spins, all under the exact same conditions. This is impossible.
Truth: The previous spin does not affect the outcome of the next spin over the long term.
Myth: All Roulette Wheels behave in the same
The assertion that all roulette wheels behave the same way is the most amusing assertion I’ve heard. Considering there are 2 versions a roulette wheel, an American wheel: where there are a 0 and a 00 basket and a European wheel: where there is only a 0 basket, the very nature of the duplicity leads any reasonable person to conclude their must be at least two versions. The American wheel has 38 slots and carries a house edge of 5.25%. The single zero roulette wheel has a house edge of 2.7%. The very nature of the different number of slots dictates that the behavior is different.
The physical characteristics of the wood and steel used on the wheels vary from wheel to wheel. The different in the coefficients of friction and tensile strengths vary slightly per batch. The slight differences in the physical property of the materials used do not individually make a difference but when combined with all the other variances the result becomes logarithmic. It is very likely that 2 wheels produced on the same day by the same person will be very different.
Truth: All Roulette Wheels behave differently
Myth: You overcome the negative expectation of with a betting system.
Many people are under the impression that games can be beaten using some type of betting scheme. Serious mathematicians find this assertion laughable. Several decades ago before information was readily accessible through the internet some people would sell betting systems that would claim to beat the casino. This was done usually advertised in the back of popular magazines, similar to the ads of X-ray glasses that kids would find in the back of comic books.
The players would get a short term game out of the “system,” and because many players only visit casinos for a short period of time, the chance that a short term gain will be seen is pretty high. The most popular betting method is the martingale. The martingale system works in a way that doubles the initial bet after a loss on a bet that pays approximately 1:1. The bet keeps doubling after each successive loss. You bet one unit on red it loses then you bet 2 units then 4 and then 8 and so on until you win, the cycle then starts over again.
The problem with this approach is that around 10 or 11 spins the player reaches the table limit of the game. This would occur approximately 1 time in 1000 spins. For a professional player this will definitely occur. The reason that a positive expectation may occur over the short term is because most casual players don’t anywhere close to 1000 spins on a short trip. In many cases the player is quite content with a 10 to 15 unit game over the truncated sample. Sooner or later though the negative EV will overtake the player and wipe player’s entire bankroll out.
Truth: No betting system can overcome the house edge of the roulette wheel.
Myth: Dealers are able to control where the ball lands.
Dealer signatures and muscle memory are terms used to describe ways that a croupier can control the outcome on where the ball will land. Both of these terms are used interchangeably and both are considered fictitious by serious gaming people. While it’s true that croupiers can release the ball on the same position of the track with the roughly the same force, the wheels constant motion and random bouncing pretty much prohibit any consistent predictable landing zone of the ball.
Some dealers may be able to land the ball on a specific zone of numbers occasionally but any dealer that asserts that they are able to do this with consistency (greater than 20% of the time), is greatly over estimating their abilities.
Truth: Dealers may occasionally be able to put the ball in a specific octant of numbers.
Myth: Always bet on sleeping numbers.
A sleeping number in roulette is a number that has not come up for awhile. On the roulette table there is an electronic board that shows the history of the last 20-30 spins. Some of the more recent additions to the roulette statistics are how often red and black hits and a distribution of what numbers of have hit. The graphics are impressive and the presentation is professional but it is all for show. You can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a pig. This is all designed to give the player a false sense of confidence in their betting decision. The untainted truth is that the no amount of analytics of the past 20-30 results will determine the likely hood of the next number to come up. The probability of a specific number coming up is the same on every croupier spin of the wheel; 1 chance in 38 on the American Wheel and 1 chance in 37 on the European wheel.
Everything involving gambling has myths that surround it. Roulette is no exception to the rule. The psychology behind these myths is that it gives players some sense of control. Every spin of roulette wheel has the same odds as the spin before it. The ball will never land on a Black number every single time, but that is just the mathematics of the game. Simply stated way to the roulette ball has no memory.
Many of these of fallacies are encouraged by the casinos, and this should tell us all we need to know about the validity of the myths. And if there is one thing to know for sure is that casinos don’t want to make less money.