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Ltryptophan's avatar

Is my roulette strategy bogus?

Asked by Ltryptophan (10285points) June 3rd, 2011

This is my roulette strategy:

Watch the roulette wheel until the ball lands on black or red at least ten times in a row. Then bet five dollars against the repetitive color (let’s say black is that color).

If it remains black the next spin then you double your bet to ten dollars on red. You keep doubling your bet until the spin goes red.

In the end you might have to wager up to $2k, to win $5. But that would be about 10 more spins without the ball going red, or 17 straight spins total without the ball going red. It is unlikely but not impossible.

So is this a stupid way to play? Do you have a better system?

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16 Answers

Judi's avatar

Roulette is supposed to have the worst odds ofcall table games. I’m not mathematically gifted, but I believe the experts. Now I will wait to see the logic behind why the experts say the odds are so bad. I’m sure it’s coming.

ragingloli's avatar

Gambler’s fallacy. For that to work, the game would have to remember the last outcome, to make the next occurance of the same colour less likely.
But the fact is that the probability of each colour/number is the same with each spin. It does not change.
The only sensible strategy to win roulette is to manipulate the game.

WasCy's avatar

I don’t play many gambling games, and I’ve never played roulette at a casino (never even been to a casino, in fact). However, I know a little bit about this game.

Roulette isn’t a 50/50 game. It’s not all black and red. Don’t forget the 0 and 00 slots (green, aren’t they?). On an honest wheel (and let’s assume that, at least) those two slots give the house the edge over anyone betting on red / black. (And anyone betting on 0 and 00 is simply paying the house directly.)

Furthermore, again not knowing the game, but understanding how most casinos limit bets, would you even be allowed to continue to double down on a losing bet? Could you bet $2000 or $4000 or $8000 on a single spin if they continued to go against you? I suspect not. The house is going to want to limit a catastrophic payoff. Imagine the payoff you could get if you did nothing but bet on 0 or 00 and double each losing bet there? And imagine how long you’d have to keep betting in order to win again.

@ragingloli is correct that each spin of the wheel is completely independent of any other spin. Ten “reds” in a row means nothing, and has zero influence on the next spin or ten. And if the game is being manipulated, and you’re not the one doing the manipulation for your own gain, then you’re likely a sucker in an even worse scam, like a Three-Card Monte game where the scam artist makes sure you win each early round, to set you up for the kill at the end.

Ltryptophan's avatar

@ragingloli by the same token you might see only blue cars one day. That isn’t very likely though.

zenvelo's avatar

Your original premise of getting ten reds in a row is not very likely to occur. You could be waiting hours and hours for it to happen, and then bet only for a minimal return.

Play blackjack or craps, they’re more fun and better odds.

obvek's avatar

I tried that once (except I didn’t wait ten spins), and I lost 7 or 8 bets in a row. As soon as I walked away from the table it came up red. Luckily, I started with a 50 cent bet. This was at Slots of Fun in Vegas.

filmfann's avatar

Your strategy is fine, if you don’t hit the limit. The problem is, in the end, you could be betting $5000 to show a $5 profit.
You don’t need to wait for the black or the red to come up 10 times in a row. The odds don’t change on what color will be next.

Vortico's avatar

Extending on what @ragingloli said, imagine you are flipping a quarter and have managed to land on ten heads in a row. The probability of this happening for any ten consecutive flips is (½)^10 = 1/1024.

Now, what is the probability of the quarter landing on heads yet again? Exactly ½.

Many people have trouble intuitively understanding this concept, which is one of the reasons the gambling industry is a success.

chocolatechip's avatar

The probability of the coin landing on heads for the 11/th time is ½, BUT if you look at the probability of the entire sequence of flips all being heads, the probability is less compared to the probability that there will be at least 1 tails.

mattbrowne's avatar

If you have unlimited resources there’s a sure strategy to win $100. Always double when you lose and keep betting on red.

flutherother's avatar

@Ltryptophan Your strategy would be sensible only if you had an infinite sum of money to play with. As you have only a finite amount you could lose a lot of money as there is no limit to how many times black can come up. What you are suggesting is called the Martingale System

LostInParadise's avatar

If I saw a roulette wheel come up with the same color 10 times in a row, I would bet on the same color, on the assumption that the wheel might have a bias of one color over the other. Unless there is enough of a bias to cover the 0 and 00 combinations (unlikely), whatever system you use will fail. The odds will catch up to you eventually.

I won the first time I played roulette. My birthday is on the 21st and my brother’s is on the 22nd, so I played all numbers that are combinations of 1 and 2. I played a few more times and, after losing consistently, gave up on roulette.

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soarflight's avatar

As for red in roulette poping up at an online casino 10 times in a roll, it is almost common! last week I seen red show up 23 times in a roll before the black did in a real play mode. luckly I was betting on high low numbers and did not get wiped out because I do not double after more than two loses anyway. then only yesterday I seen 19 blacks in a roll. I have also seen red black red black red black up to more than 12 times. So it happens. rare but you never know when rare will attack!

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