Can Maths help you win Roulette? Here is what Einstien has to say

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Can you win roulette with help of Mathematics? Why is there a display board of past results beside a roulette board?

Roulette is a common game seen in every casino. It is easy to play even for beginners. But with little effort and skill can players increase the chances of winning? The numbers, the colors, and their arrangement in the table have fascinated many including the famous physicist Albert Einstein. When on a trip to Las Vegas, Einstien reportedly once said: “No one can win at roulette unless he steals money from the table while the croupier isn’t looking.

What Einstein actually meant according to Graham Kendall, Professor of Computer Science, University of Nottingham was that there is no mathematical trick that can help you win at roulette. Each spin is an independent trial and, in the long run, the casino will win.

Understand the Roulette board: 

A roulette board layout is a circular board with numbers in red and black. The most commonly used layouts are – an American wheel and a European wheel. Each wheel has 0 to 36 numbers.  The difference between the American and European wheels is that the American wheel has an additional two zero (two zeroes). Mathematicians state that this small change makes the American wheel more profitable to the casino operator. 

Also read: Is it legal to play Dream11 in India?

On a European wheel, you would expect to lose, in the long run, 2.7 percent of any money you bet with. On an American wheel, you can expect to lose 5.26 percent.

The numbers are arranged in a different order on each wheel but there are some similarities in the patterns. On both wheels, the red and black numbers alternate around the wheel, although if you removed the zeroes, the American wheel would have consecutive reds and blacks. The numbers are placed on a board such that the low numbers (1-18) and the high numbers (19-36) alternate. An exception to this rule in the European wheel is where two low number 5 is placed next to the 10. 

This rule is not followed in the American wheel strictly. This anomaly makes the American wheel not as balanced as the European wheel. But both wheels also try to distribute odd and even numbers as evenly as possible. 

On the European wheel, there are two other interesting symmetries. All the low red numbers and black high numbers are on one side of the zero, and the high red numbers and low black numbers are on the other side. 

Another noticeable feature is that the sequence 29-7-28-12-35-3-26-0-32 has no numbers between 13 and 24 (the second dozen). As explained by Prof. Kendall here you can place a bet on the whole of the second dozen, with odds of 2-1.

The most popular and common strategy to win in roulette is the money management strategy known as the Martingale system invented by French mathematician Paul Pierre Lev. This system requires players to double their bet after every loss, so when luck favours, players get their lost money back and can wager with the initial amount again. 

This Martingale system also has a downside, because of an exponential increase in your bets every time, you may not recover the invested amounts, as winning amounts can be lesser. But this system is guaranteed to win money as long as you have enough bank balance to double your wager after every loss. The Martingale system is probably the quickest way to bankruptcy known to man.

Whatever betting strategy, and money management strategy, players elect, maths says it is the house that ultimately wins in the end. Any strategy or system may appear to be in your favour and may work in the short term, but when one of the numbers comes up that you have not bet on you will lose and the casino will move towards its win expectation.

FAQs on Roulette

QUESTION: I see a pattern in the results, can I predict the number using the pattern in earlier results?

ANSWER: NO, this is a common misconception. The past results are in no way connected to the present result. Each spin is an independent spin and is not linked or determined by the past result. Roulette is a mechanical machine and is not programmed to remember past results to decide the present result. So, the display board of results you see beside a roulette table is to provide you with a misconception that you can win by studying the patterns. In fact, every set of numbers can have some pattern but that does not mean the next number can be guessed precisely.  

QUESTION: I would like to bet on several numbers in a single spin. What will my outcome be?

ANSWER: Wagering on multiple outcomes may increase your chances of winning at least at some point. But that does not mean the profitability increases. While you may win at least once by betting on several outcomes, your margins won’t increase and in fact, you may still be in losses. 

QUESTION: What if I play to double my bet every time I lose?

ANSWER: This system as discussed above is known as Martingale Strategy. You need to double your bets every time. Say you start with 2, it goes on with 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, and so on. This system is also known as the easiest way to bankruptcy. Players may be tempted to bet under this system with a conception that they will recover all the lost money. But as said earlier, each spin is independent of the other. This strategy also relies on the fact that the more games you bet the higher the chance to win at least at some point.

QUESTION: So I have INR 10,000, should I go with 10 games of INR 1000 or 1 game with INR 10,000?

ANSWER: Investing your entire amount on a single bet, you win or lose the entire amount. Winning at least one game in 10 games is highly probable than winning one game out of one game.