Evaluation of roulette strategies that involve a progressive betting system and why they don’t work in the long-term.
The most important thing gamblers have to understand about casinos is that they aren’t in the business of losing money. They do not rely on luck to make a profit. They develop games with rules and payouts that always give them an advantage. They are confident in knowing that, in the long-term, players cannot realistically turn the advantage to their own favor.
Before we get into specific roulette strategies that utilize progressive betting systems, and their inherent flaws, you first have to understand how casino’s gain their advantage.
The Casino’s Invariable Edge in Roulette
In the game of roulette, the casino claims its edge by paying even money on bets that have a negative probability of winning. For example, betting on black does not give the player a 50/50 chance of winning, thanks to the green 0.
Playing American roulette has even worse odds, using a 0 and 00. So for the remainder of this article, I’ll assume you’re smart enough to avoid American roulette, and only consider European roulette strategies.
What about betting on single numbers? Sure, it’s a long shot, but there are 37 numbers to choose from (0-36), and a 1 in 37 chance your number will strike. Odds are, it will hit in 1 in 37 plays. That would leave the player and casino with 50/50 odds of winning your bet over 37 spins of the wheel, right?
Wrong. The casino gains its advantage here by placing unfair payouts on such bets. While the odds are 1 in 37, the payout is only 35 to 1. Therefore, if you’re betting $1 per spin, and it takes 37 spins to hit your number, you’ve still lost $2.
The casino always has the advantage, period. Moving on…
Progressive Betting Systems
There are a number of progressive betting systems to choose from. There’s the Martingale, the Fibonacci, and the Tier et Tout, just to name a few. They all require the bettor to choose even-money bets (red/black, high/low, or even/odd). Let’s examine them for a moment.
This is nothing but a progressive betting system. The roulette strategy relies solely upon doubling your bet each time you lose so that, when you do win, you make a 1 unit profit.
This progressive betting system is a bit more complicated. It involves betting very specific amounts, multiplied by a 1 unit bet size. To make it simple, we’ll assume 1 unit is $1. The progression is: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89.
The player only progresses to the next number if the previous bet is lost. If it is won, the player moves back two numbers in the sequence. So if you win on a 13 unit bet, you move back two numbers, betting 5 units on the next bet. Once you have made a profit in the betting cycle, drop back to the beginning (1, 1, 2, etc.)
Tier et Rout System
This system claims to incorporate a bankroll management system into the progression. It involves dividing your bankroll into thirds, betting the first third on the first bet, then if you lose, bet the last two thirds. Win that, split your new bankroll into thirds, and repeat.
Inevitably Flawed Roulette Strategies
The Tier et Tout system described above has the most obvious flaw. Betting all of your bankroll on the first bets results in losing everything if you don’t win one of the first two bets. Ouch!
All progressive betting systems are flawed, no matter how you break down the bets. There are two major problems here.
This first is the fact that roulette tables have betting limits. If the stakes are $1-$100, and you’re doubling (or more) with each losing bet, what happens when you go on a long losing streak? You hit the table limit and can no longer follow the system.
Secondly, none of these roulette strategies has anything to do with increasing your odds of winning on any bet. They don’t give the player any advantage at all. The house edge is constant.
Odds Don’t Change With Successive Spins
You can’t assume that, because black hit three times in a row, there’s a higher chance that red will hit next. It doesn’t work that way. Every new spin comes with a new 50/50 (less with the 0 in play) chance of black or red hitting.
In the long term, red and black will hit a relatively similar amount of times, but what is long term? If you examine the wheel for 1,000 spins, and red hit 600 times, black 400 times, you could bet on black thinking it’s a better bet. But what if the last 10,000 spins were 6,000 black and 4,000 red? The odds don’t look so good anymore, do they?
Unfortunately, progressive betting systems are the most flawed of all roulette strategies. They may net you a profit here and there, but in the long-term, the house edge will catch up to you.
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