Basic Roulette Concepts

Roulette is a long-time, casino game favorite that first arose in Paris in 1765.

To play, participants stand around a wheel that has various numbers in the colors of black and red. In American Roulette, there are 38 pockets — ranging from zero to 36 and including the 00 pocket. The players can choose to place bets on either one number or a range of numbers.

The croupier, or dealer, spins the wheel in one direction and spins a ball in the opposite direction around the wheel. Eventually, the ball slows and falls into one the numbers’ colored pockets.

This game of chance is a semi-random game for players to enjoy. Some people believe that the winning numbers come in patterns, but this method of play is not only ineffective, but holds untrue due to variance.

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Gambler’s Fallacy

Some eager players work to find patterns in the ways that numbers are selected on the wheel. One important thing for players to remember and reflect upon when looking for these patterns is what is referred to as Gambler’s Fallacy.

Gambler’s Fallacy is based on the idea that if a number or color is landed on more frequently on the Roulette wheel, then the player believes those colors or numbers are less likely to be landed on in the future. Similarly, they believe if the color or number is less frequently landed on in the start, then later it is more likely to be landed on, to “balance” the outcomes.

The Roulette wheel is works completely at random, therefore every Roulette spin has an independent outcome. The wheel is not “fair” in the way that it spins and slows, so the idea of balancing outcomes is a misconception.

When players create sequences of numbers based on this fallacy, the efforts are lost due to the nature of both probability and variance.

Understanding Probability

An important concept to grasp when playing gambling games is the term probability. When playing Roulette, probability has become point of discussion among players seeking to identify the chances of particular numbers, colors, and patterns to occur.

In American Roulette, the probability of the ball landing on any one number of the wheel is 1/38, since there are 38 possible slots for the ball to drop. No matter how many times you have spun the wheel, the probability that the ball will land into one of the slots remains 1/38.

If the player is looking for repeating numbers to occur, that probability changes. Two numbers being repeated in a row have the following probability: 1/38 x 1/38 = 1/1444. Depending on how many times you seek to see the same number repeated on the spin, the probability will reduce each time.

Expected Value

When players place bets on various numbers and colors, there is an expected value (EV) that they may be anticipating if they win or lose. In Roulette, the expected values are always the same, unless you bet on more than one number.

For example, if you bet $1 on one number, you know that your expected value is -$1 if you lose and +$36 if you win.

Players may choose to bet according to this expected value and tie those bets into the sequences that they construct during the game; the issue that these players face is based in the concept of variance in Roulette.

Variance and Why It Matters

The term variance is key, and it is similar in nature to volatility, but to better understand the fallacy in selecting Roulette numbers in a pattern, variance will be the focus of this section. This term refers to how often a casino game will pay out high profits to a player and how often the game will swing to losses for the player.

This swing from wins to losses is part of what makes sequencing in roulette an untrue method for “beating” the game. A player may be facing a major upswing during the game, and then they could face a loss; this is all a part of the nature of Roulette and other games of chance.

The equation for variance is variance (V) is equal to the standard deviation squared. This mathematical method of understanding variance can get messy as the game progresses, but players face both variance and probability when playing Roulette.

Roulette remains a fun game for gamblers around the world. Though players have been trying to “crack the code” with this type of game of chance, there is no set method by which they can beat the game. » For Dummies » Basic Roulette Concepts
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