If you have ever played roulette then you've probably come across at least some roulette strategies. They are just different betting systems, so you don't place your chips completely at random.
But do they work? That's what I wanted to find out, so I tested 6 most popular roulette strategies a million times each to see where they leave me.
This is how I played: I always started with $100 in my pocket. My initial bet was always $5 (except for the Fibonacci strategy, where all bets were predefined). My goal was to try doubling my money, so I always walked away when I reached $200 or continued to play until I lost all my money or until the bet got higher than what I had left.
The results surprised me. This is what I found out:
- The James Bond roulette strategy did the worst,
- Labouchere and the Reverse Martingale strategies doubled my money the fastest,
- The Fibonaccy strategy took the longest to either double my money of make me lose,
- The Reverse Martingale strategy proved to be the best.
HOW MUCH DID I WALK AWAY WITH?
The bars of the top right chart show how much money I had at the end of all games I won, averaged out. That means when I reached $200, I walked away, but it was rarely exactly $200. So how much did I win exactly? As you can see, it was always more then $200, with some strategies only slightly more and with others significantly more.
That is expected because your bet amounts vary from spin to spin with every strategy except the James Bond strategy and it would be a big coincidence to end up with exactly $200 at the end of a win.
What’s more interesting is that the Fibonacci, Labouchere and Reverse Martingale left me on average with significantly more. I know that’s always good news but can it help you?
If you’re sticking to one strategy and always play until you either double your money or lose your money, that means you either win more than $100 on top of your initial $100 or lose the initial $100 or less.
Why would you lose less? Because if you’re strict about your betting system and you end up with $30 for example but need to bet $37 on your next spin according to your strategy, then you can’t do it and you finish the game. That means you didn’t lose $100 but only $70.
DID I DOUBLE OR LOSE MY MONEY FASTER?
The bottom left chart shows the average number of bets I had to make with each strategy to either double my money (green bars) or lose my money (red bars).
4 out of 6 strategies took more bets to double my money than to lose it, which means I can’t rely on doubling my money until it actually happens. Or I lose it all along the way.
But the Fibonacci and the Reverse Martingale strategies show an inverted trend. Meaning that it took more bets on average to lose than to double my money. Which means I have the ability to predict whether the game I’m playing is heading to me losing my money or not.
If we take the Fibonacci strategy for example, I could add another rule to my betting system: if I don’t succeed in doubling my money in 216 rounds, I stop playing no matter how much money I have left. I could play with this number and set it to 220 or 250 or 300 instead of exactly 216, it doesn’t matter, depends on how safe you want to play.
This decreases your risk of playing tremendously. And if I return to “loosing less than $100” from the previous section, this information helps me lose even less because I don’t walk away when I don’t have enough money any more to place the next bet but I walk away sooner, according to my statistic of playing a million roulette games with this strategy.
The same scenario applies to the Reverse Martingale strategy but the “walk away” window is smaller because the overall number of bets is smaller.
WHICH STRATEGY IS THE BEST?
As you can see from the first chart where the green areas represent the percentage of all games where I walked away with at least $200 in my pocket, no strategy allowed me to do that in 50 % or more. But don’t get discouraged just yet.
That result makes sense and was expected. Roulette strategies can’t help you beat the casino’s house edge, so your odds are always below 50 %.
However, this is the time to remember the scenario from the “How much did I walk away with?” section: “… you either win MORE than $100 on top of your initial $100 or lose the initial $100 OR LESS.”
Taking that into account means that even though I lost more than 50 % of the games with any strategy, I almost always lost less than I won when I managed to at least double my money.
Let’s put this into an example to help us get a better picture: I won 38.9 % of the games with the Reverse Martingale strategy and the average amount I was left with at the end was $258, that’s $158 on top of my initial $100. Let’s be pessimistic here and assume I lost every cent when I lost the rest 61.1 % of the games.
After 100 games:
100 * 38.9 % * $150 + 100 * 61.1 % * (-$100) = $36.2
That means I had $36.2 more after 100 games than I had at the very beginning. After 1000 games I had $362 more, after 100 000 games, $36,200 more, …
See where I’m going with this?
And I was pessimistic in this scenario by assuming I actually lost all $100 61.1 % of the time when in reality I almost always lost less.
But let’s not just stop at this example. Here’s another chart showing my wins-losses after each of the 1,000,000 games played with each roulette strategy.
As you can see, I managed to turn a profit with 3 out of 6 strategies after a million games. However, this isn’t one of those black-and-white scenarios.
To fully understand what was happening we must look at the whole process, from the first to the last game. After the first few thousands of games I was staying on a very promising winning journey with the Martingale strategy but then started loosing at around 250,000 games and never recovered again. While on the other hand, I started losing very soon with the Reverse Martingale strategy but then recovered at around 350,000 games and remained profitable.
But in order to get to my final $163,500 profit with the Reverse Martingale strategy I needed to lose almost $69,000 along the way.
So, considering all this data, I must say the Reverse Martingale strategy nevertheless seems like the most promising strategy to use. It didn’t have the highest percentage of games won but close enough, it earned me a lot of money exceeding my set $200, it required more bets to lose than to win on average to allow me to play it more on the safe side and it left me with the most profit at the end.