How to win at a casino, or what roulette can teach those who do not like gambling – Part 1


I’m not a casino owner or a gambler. I haven’t received a penny for this article from the gaming business, and I even risk causing their dissatisfaction by teaching you how to play roulette correctly. And yes, I didn’t lie in the headline, and I will really tell you the theory on the verge of math and psychology that will allow you to win at the casino. Even though it won’t always be money, you’re in a good mood!

Who loses at the casino?

Play building red money black stadiumThe loser at the casino is the one who comes to make money. If you go to the casino for this purpose, you already lose! In the casino they go to have a fun time in luxury and excitement. They go to work for the money. So before going to the casino, allocate the amount that you do not feel sorry for. And how to save it – my task, for which this article was written.

Second point. Never play slot machines (one-armed bandits). There is no more talentless and stupid way to plant money than to throw coins in an iron box. However, according to the American Gaming Association at the Las Vegas casino, 74% of gamblers prefer slot machines and only 5% prefer roulette.

What is the fundamental difference between a slot machine and roulette? In the first case, you play with a black box, which decides whether to give you a win or not. In the case of roulette, your opponent is a probability theory with objective laws, which you can observe with your own eyes. The opaque operation of slot machines allows you to lay in them any “appetite”. Therefore, in different countries, the minimum return on winnings slot machines are set forcibly at the state level. As a rule, the minimum value is limited to 90%. That is, if you play for a long time in such a machine you will find that he “eats” only every tenth put in it a ruble. It is said that in Las Vegas, at the initiative of individual casinos, this bar rises to almost 95% (impossible to check, you can only believe in the kindness of sharks gambling business). But more often than not the percentage fluctuates (at least, should) around 90%. Compare this with roulette, where the “appetite” of the casino is not 10%, and only 2.7%.

roulette: basics

Hand play place usaThere are numbers from 0 to 36 scattered around the roulette. This is European roulette. American roulette has another 38th number, “00”. Be afraid of American roulette, you have twice as much chance of losing it as you do of losing it to European roulette! That means you should prefer to go to Monte Carlo or Macau (the Chinese gambling zone, which has long shut the legendary Las Vegas behind the belt). Why is American roulette twice as voracious as its European sister? To do that, you have to understand how you win at roulette. Its size is determined not by the desire of the casino owner, but only by the theory of probability. And that’s how it works.

Let’s drop the unfortunate 0 and 00, pretending we have 36 numbers. The probability that a particular number will randomly fall out is 1 of 36 (or 1/36). This means that you have only 1 chance out of 36 to guess which number will fall (i.e. 2.78% probability (= 1/36 * 100%)). But if you guess, you’ll get from the casino 36 times more than the amount you put.

All 36 numbers are equally painted black and red (18 black and 18 red; only zero green). You can choose whether to bet on “red” or “black”. If you bet on “red” and guess, the casino will give you back twice as much as you bet. Why 2 times and not 3 or 4 times? Because the probability of guessing by betting on “red” or “black” is 18/36 or 1/2. And that’s why your reward will be twice as big as the bet (i.e. equal to the denominator of the fraction).

According to the rules of roulette, you can put a chip not only on a specific number or black-red, but also close several numbers with one chip. In particular, 12 numbers, 6, 4, 2 (below in the article there is a picture showing how it is done on the game table). And in all cases, if you guess, the winnings will be inversely proportional to the probability of guessing. So, if you close 12 numbers, you will get 3 times more chips than you have bet (12/36 = 1/3); put a chip on 4 numbers at once, you will get 9 chips (4/36 = 1/9) and so on, the principle is clear – less probability of winning, more chips you get.

If there were only 36 numbers on roulette (by the way, the sum of all numbers from 1 to 36 is 666, because of which roulette is called the “damn wheel”), we could play casino for hours, staying with our money. As shown above, winning would accurately balance out the probability of losing. But the casino is not a charity, so it wants to pluck a piece of your pie. To do this, we’ve added a 37th “0” (European roulette) to the 36th. And the greedy Americans also added a “00” to the 38th. The rules for calculating the winnings remained the same, as if we had 36 numbers. It turns out that the 37th (and 38th) number – this is the income of the casino. Now the probability that your number will fall – 1/37 (or 1/38 in the American version), you will still get 36 times more than you bet. It turns out that the average casino receives 1 ruble of each 37 rubles, which you put on roulette. Casino income – 2.7% (1/37*100%); and from American roulette – 5.3% (2/38).

How much does the casino earn on me?

red casino gamblingYes, you only pay 2.7% when you play roulette. But that’s so little, wouldn’t you say?! The supermarket’s food price can be 20% and 30%! Then why the golden walls, marble floors and free drinks in the casino and not the supermarket? It’s as simple as that. The shop covers the costs of delivery, storage, etc. And the casino takes your bill and, figuratively speaking, cuts off the 37th part of it without leaving the gaming table. Money flows by the river, and the small stream that leaves this river in favor of the casino turns into a very small lake with goldfish in the phase of the owner of a gambling establishment. So why am I writing this article, if 2.7% must be guaranteed to give to the institution, the game is obviously a loser? Because there are many ways to lose. You can lose all the money in one moment, or you can spend the whole evening rejoicing at your victories, getting sharp, but mostly positive emotions. How – read below.

Casino myths and magic schemes to win at roulette.

Myth 1: Beginners are lucky.

Of course, beginners are no more lucky than regulars. It’s just that when the old man wins, they don’t pay much attention to it. And when a beginner wins (especially when he puts his chip on one number and gets a stack of 36 chips in return), he is louder than happy, on his success others emphasize. The casino is a good way to attract newcomers, and the old-timers of the institution have a good explanation why the newcomer won and not him 🙂

FICTION 2: If 10 (20, 30 … ) times fell “red”, then now it is sure to fall “black”!

This is a delusion solely from the field of psychology. Indeed, the probability that 10 times in a row “red” will fall out – very low, less than 0.1%. Therefore, when we see that “red” fell out 9 times, we have no doubt that the 10th time “black” will fall out for sure. Actually the key point here is this: “red” has fallen out 9 times, so now the probability of “red” and “black” is still 50/50 (or, if you drop deeper, the probability of falling out 10 times “red” is exactly the same as 9 times “red” and then – black). I haven’t been to the casinos often, but I’ve caught these long series of the same color, just like those who believe they can’t go on forever. Yes, they can’t go on forever, but it’s a 50-50 chance that the “single-color” series will end in another move.

Myth 3: The casino cannot be beaten.

No, I wasn’t wrong. The fact that a casino cannot be guaranteed to win (in theory) is as much a myth as it is possible (practically). According to roulette rules, you can theoretically win. But to prevent this from happening in practice, the casino has introduced an additional rule – the maximum bet. Otherwise, the rich could have multiplied their fortunes without getting up from the table. To do this, you need to constantly bet on the red (or black): first 1 chip; losing – 2 chips, again losing – 4, then 8, 16, 32 and so on until you win. You will win only 1 chip, but you will not be able to lose endlessly; as I wrote above, the probability that one color will fall 10 times in a row – less than a tenth. Smartly, it’s called a system of martingale, but usually this idea of itself comes to all players. And so if it comes to Bill Gates, who has enough money to “survive” the black bar almost any length, the casino is not fed. To do this, the casino has two tricks: they limit the maximum bet that can be made at the table, and increase the minimum bet for the easiest option “red and black”. That is, who wants to wait for the light strip in life will have to start with a larger amount, and the chance to finish the “race” without waiting for the right color, is not so ghostly.