The odds for roulette are displayed on or around the roulette betting table. But have you actually paid attention to them?
Most players only have a vague understanding of them. Sure, they might know on the European wheel there are 37 pockets. And that it means they have a 1 in 37 chance of winning on single number bets.
But here’s where the average player’s understanding of roulette odds goes wrong.
When Your Bets Ignore The Odds
A typical casino player’s system doesn’t even consider the real roulette odds. Take for example the Martingale system, which is only a betting progression. In simple terms, you increase bet size after losses.
If you understand casino advantage play and genuinely effective strategies, you’d know you must improve odds. So what does the Martingale do for the odds of winning? Nothing. So it changes nothing except the rate of losing.
Most gambling systems are fundamentally the same – they don’t change the odds.
Does Your System Change The Odds?
If you’re still new to roulette, you might ask how the odds could be changed. After all, aren’t they fixed and based on the betting table layout? Umm, no.
The odds are determined by far more than just the wheel or table layout. To explain this, let’s put it into perspective . . .
Consider in a horse race, a particular horse has odds of 10 to 1. This means for every $1 you bet, you get back $10 if the horse wins. We might call this the “odds”, but really it’s just the payout. And the payout actually has nothing to do with the real odds. I’ll come back to this later.
Understanding How Horse Bookies Profit
Horse racing bookies don’t care which horse wins. They just consider what people have bet on which horses, and offer unfair payouts to ensure they profit. In other words, even when you win, you aren’t paid a fair amount. But this requires additional explanation:
For simplicity, let’s say there were 3 horses that were perfectly matched. The “odds” for each of the horse to win are 1 in 3, or 33.33%.
The “payout” would be 3-1 if the bookie was fair. So if you bet $10 on all three horse, you’d invest $30 and definitely win. But you’d get back $30, which is a net result of $0. But at least they’d be “fair” payouts.
But in the real world, bookies want to profit. So in this case, the payout they offer might be only 2-1. In this case, the bookie knows the “odds” of any horse winning is 1 in 3. And they don’t care. They only care their payout is below the odds.
Fixed Odds Vs Variable Odds
The next point to understand is if bookies offer fixed odds, they risk losing. That’s because their calculations may be wrong. In the example above, perhaps the bookie thinks the odds are 1 in 3 for each horse. But perhaps one of the horses has an unnoticed injury and barely stands a chance of winning. This would tip the odds well in favor of punters who bet on the other two horses.
So why do bookies offer fixed odds at all? Because it’s what many punters want. But what most punters don’t understand is the fixed odds usually come at the cost of even less-fair payouts. Specifically less-fair than variable odds.
Variable odds are odds that change constantly, and are based on what each punter bets. As each new punter places bets, the bookie makes new calculations and varies the payouts. This absolutely guarantees that the bookie will profit each and every race.
The Real Odds In Roulette
All gambling games are fundamentally the same, in the sense they offer unfair payouts for the odds. In the dice game of Craps, each dice determines the odds. And the payouts are always unfair for the odds. In roulette, the odds are determined by variables like a roulette wheel and ball. In these cases, the dice, and roulette wheel and ball are the “equipment”. Together with your bets, the “equipment” determines your odds of winning. But it is specifically the difference between odds and payout that determine your profit or loss. This “difference” is known as the “house edge”.
And I know you’ve likely heard of the “house edge”. And if you’re reasonably educated, you’d know the math behind it.
Most people on the surface appear educated. And they may be. But the logic escapes most gamblers when it comes to understanding why their gambling strategy doesn’t work. And here’s what most players don’t understand:
Most gambling systems don’t at all change the odds of winning. The patterns they bet on almost always exist only in their imagination.
There’s no shortage of examples I could give. But a classic one is thinking after perhaps ten REDS in a row, that RED or BLACK or more of less likely to spin next. Some players will think the RED streak is likely to continue. And other players will think BLACK is “due” to spin. Both the players are wrong. Because each color is just as likely as each other. And in the middle is a green pocket, and the casino owner rubbing their hands, knowing there will be winners and losers. But to them, who cares? They know in the long-term, they’ll profit no matter which players win or lose.
Advice For Moving Forward
Be honest with yourself when assessing the effectiveness of any gambling strategy. If you aren’t improving the odds of winning to be better than random, your system is northing more than random bets.
Never test with real money. Your system will eventually fail for as long as you ignore the basics, and actually change the odds.
And finally, to change your odds and win long-term, you absolutely must properly understand the mechanism that determines the winning event. In the case of roulette, it’s the physical ball and wheel – and the related physical variables that determine the winning number.
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