17 Nov

Casino Roulette Odds – Should you Let it Ride?

Do the odds in roulette change with consecutive hits, or should you let it ride following a win?

Roulette is often considered the game of kings. A game for the affluent, with big payouts and odds that are hardly in your favor. But if you lose, so what? You’re already wealthy. Laugh it off and try again!

Casino Roulette Odds and the Gambler's Fallacy

In olden times, maybe… but that’s rarely the way the game is played today. In the modern world, anyone can play roulette, so long as they’re old enough and have a few bucks to spare. The game is offered in almost every land-based casino, as well as thousands of online casino environments. It’s even available online as live dealer roulette. It’s everywhere!

But Casino roulette odds are a tricky thing. I’ve come across countless websites that depict the odds of a particular bet changing based on consecutive outcomes. Then there are websites that claim the odds never change from one spin to the next, no matter what happened previously.

Who is right, and should it effect your game play? Is it better to switch things up, or let it ride on a win?

Odds In Roulette – The Gambler’s Fallacy

In my research, the vast majority of roulette strategy articles declare that letting a winning wager ride is the wrong move. An article I came across just this morning claims that a $100 even-money bet (black/red, odd/even, high/low) has consecutive winning odds of:

Note: This chart is INCORRECT. It’s only being used to explain the gambler’s fallacy.

Consecutive Wins To Win Odds of Winning
1 $200 48.6%
2 $400 23.7%
3 $800 11.5%
4 $1,600 5.6%
5 $3,200 2.7%

You’ll notice that the ‘Odds of Winning‘ column decreases by half with each consecutive win. By this logic, it would be a terrible idea to “let it ride”. In fact, by this assessment, one would be strategically obligated to always bet on the other side of the original winning bet.

For example, if a bet on black wins, the odds of it winning again are (supposedly) 23.7%. Conversely, the odds of a bet on red would have to increase to 73.7% (100% – 23.67% [odds on black] – 2.63% [odds on 0]).

If this were true, every roulette player could win by simply waiting for 4 or 5 consecutive blacks or reds (or odd/even, high/low), then betting the opposite. It would deliver a fantastic expectation of a 92-95% win rate! But no… it doesn’t work that way. Casinos wouldn’t be in business if it did.

Casino Roulette Odds Never Change

If the odds of any even-money bet winning are 48.6% on one spin, they will always be 48.6% on every spin. Sure, mathematical probabilities state that red and black will each land 48.6% of the time, but mathematical probabilities take a very long time to pan out. Maybe over one million spins of the wheel, they will be extremely close to 48.6% each. But over 10 spins, 100, even 1000, odds are they won’t be spot on, and there will be plenty of variation in percentages throughout that time.

The fact is, the roulette wheel, and that shiny ball that bounces around within it, have absolutely no memory. They don’t play favorites. They don’t care about what happened over the last few spins. Just like flipping a coin, the odds of any outcome are constant. If I flip a coin 100 times, and it lands on heads every time, there’s still a 50% chance it will land on tails (or another heads) on the next flip.

An accurate version of the above chart would look like this.

Consecutive Wins To Win Odds of Winning
1 $200 48.6%
2 $400 48.6%
3 $800 48.6%
4 $1,600 48.6%
5 $3,200 48.6%

So if you want to let it ride, go right ahead. The odds in roulette will be no better, or no worse, for it.

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