Understanding Roulette Systems – the House Edge

June 19, 2010

It would be good, if one of these guaranteed winning roulette systemslike the martingales system actually worked. Could you imagine instead of going to the bank or ATM you’d just pop into your local casino and win some cash for the weekend. Well there is one system that is actually very successful but unfortunately it’s being run by the casinos themselves. It’s based on a very simple concept known as the house edge.

 It’s not some complicated progression system, it’s based on a very simple statistical advantage that will always triumph in the long run. So what is this advantage known as the house edge ? One good way of illustrating the advantage is as follows – suppose you placed a single chip on every number on a roulette wheel, that’s a total of 37 chips on 1-36 plus the zero. After the spin of the wheel, you would of course have selected the winning number and could collect your winnings. You would receive the stated odds of 35-1 plus your initial stake, so in exchange for your 37 chip bet you would receive 36 chips back. Your loss would have been a single chip on that spin of the wheel.

This example demonstrates the small but significant advantage that the casino has, the house edge. The numerical value of the house edge is equal to the probability of a single number being spun. The probability is equal to 100 percent then divided by the amount of numbers that are actually on the wheel. So using a European roulette wheel this works out as 100/37 which equals 2.7%.

It actually doesn’t sound too much does it. The casino advantage in a game is only 2.7 percent, but despite being small it is the advantage that has help create all those fabulous casinos across the world.  Obviously this in built advantage is most often amplified by your average gambler , erratic betting, too much champagne or just a gambling addiction can again alter these odds in the houses favour.

 But this very small house advantage is what makes roulette so appealing to many professionals who gamble for a living , the odds are only minimally in the houses favour.  This is what the betting strategies seek to exploit , by using a system to minimize this advantage and progressively accumulate small wins. The other tactic which is also often combined with one of these systems is that of identifying a bias in a particular roulette wheel. There are numerous tales in the roulette world of a bias in a particular wheel being identified. When you analyse it, it doesn’t take much of a bias to tip the odds back in favour of the punter.

 Just for example say you identified a bias in a particular wheel, where two numbers didn’t get selected in a period of time. Just by eliminating two numbers and betting accordingly, you would turn the house edge around, to a 2.7% punter edge! Of course identifying a real bias against a perceived bias are two completely different things.


One things for certain, if you’re playing for fun make sure there isn’t a programmed bias as well. If you’re play online roulette, try to use an live online casino rather than a computer generated one.

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