Roulette is one of the most frustrating games on the planet (besides golf). No matter how you play, the odds are against you. My friends seem to think that the best roulette strategies involve sticking with a single number all night while throwing in random bets with it. Even though they’ve bet that number 80 times, if they win once, they consider it a success. That roulette strategy relies merely on luck. Since each roll of the roulette ball is a mutually exclusive event, the previous outcomes have no effect on the future numbers. In theory, a ball could hit the number 14 an infinite number of consecutive times. Just the same, it could never hit the number that my friends choose to play all night. Just because it hasn’t hit that number in a while does not increase the odds that it will in the future.

However, there are three strategies that are designed to give us the best chance to win. Each roulette strategy has its drawbacks, and the odds are technically still against us due to these drawbacks. But if we use each of these roulette strategies correctly, you can definitely see your winnings go up. Also, before any of these strategies are played, keep in mind that your odds also go up when using a European Roulette table instead of an American one. European tables only have one zero spot, while American tables have two.

The first roulette strategy is called the Martingale system. This is probably the easiest of the roulette strategies to understand, and also the most mathematically sound. Although you aren’t interested in scoring a huge jackpot, the Martingale system is designed to slowly and systematically increase your winnings.

It works like this: you will start by only betting the minimum on even money bets (red/black, even/odd). Let’s say you put $1 on red. If it hits, great! If you lose, you repeat your bet on red, only with a $2 bet. If you win, you will have bet $3 total and won $4. If you lost instead, you would increase your bet from $2 to $4. This way, if you win, your winnings would be $8 and you would have spent $7 over the three bets. Essentially, every time you win, you will end up $1 ahead of where you started. After you win, you go back to betting the minimum on the next hand.

There are some obvious drawbacks to this method. Most roulette tables have a max bet. Based on my first paragraph, it’s very possible to have a long string of losses before you see a win. This means you can reach the maximum bet allowed before you win, and you would need to modify the amounts you bet to get back to even. You could also run out of the money you have available very quickly. For instance, let’s say you started with $1 betting on red, and it shows black 7 straight times. You would have spent a total of $127 on those 7 hands. You would have to bet $128 on the next bet to keep in line with the system. For this system to work the way it was intended, you need to have a table with a small minimum bet, with a very large maximum bet.

The next roulette strategy was first made popular by James Bond. This is why it’s called the James Bond Strategy. To make the numbers easy, I will assume we are making a $200 bet. Of course, one can decrease the bet as long as the different numbers chosen remain the same proportion to each other. I would put $110 on the high half, $80 on the first third, and $10 on one of the zero’s for insurance. You would now have all numbers from 1-12, 19-36, and one of the zeros covered with your bets. This means you have 31 out of the 38 numbers covered for an 81.5% chance of success.

If the number lands between 1 and 12, you win $240. If the number is between 18 and 36, you win $220. If you hit the zero, you win $360. If the roulette table allows $5 increments, I would change these bets to $115, $75, and $10. This way the winnings are more even. If you happen to lose, you could modify this strategy by incorporating the Martingale system. Just double your bets (if you can afford a $400 bet) and hope for the best.

Unfortunately, with one loss, you are probably broke. This is the obvious downside.

Remember, there is no such thing as a roulette strategy that guarantees success. However, these roulette strategies will increase your chances. I would definitely prefer an 81.5% chance of winning to taking a bunch of shots in the dark.