Lessons in Roulette

Monte Carlo in the nineteenth century. Casino paradise. The ballroom of Europe, with luxuriously furnished gaming salons, filled with rich nobles in fur-lined overcoats, accompanied by their snobby, watchful wives who can mostly afford to play and lose cheerfully. We also see supercilious-looking young men with quick restless eyes, treating their gambling as a business.

I love to read age-old gambling stories, the unfolding of romance, mystery and adventure. In particular stories about Roulette, which is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating gambling games in the world.

Recently I read a story about a gentleman who has frequented gambling establishments for most of his life. He was obsessed with the spin and the chance of winning a small fortune with each turn of the wheel.

He failed.

Experts in gambling strategies have written numerous books about beating the wheel. Thousands of pages. Authors claiming to have found the secret formula, a sequence of magic numbers or a detailed method of play to gain an edge over the House. They all promise a complete paradigm shift, packaged in a highly profitable strategy.

I don’t want to blow your dream to pieces, but these authors only want to sell their books.

No One Can Win at Roulette Unless He Steals Money from the Table
– Albert Einstein

In Roulette, the House has a fixed edge over the player. Winnings in the long term are simply not possible. The appearance of a zero (and a double zero on American roulette wheels) decreases the winning payout with 2.70 percent (5.26 percent in case of American roulette). It is a pure game of chance, like the toss of a coin. So I am not stating that you cannot make any money, the opposite, you can make a fortune. But only with luck, or better said, with a lot of luck.

The question is, are there any learnings we can use in football trading? I mean the odds have wider ranges, we have more flexibility in our bets and we have the option to trade our bets on the exchange. I would like to ask a professional Roulette gambler the following question: How much do chances increase if you were allowed to change colors the moment the ball loses momentum and falls onto the wheel?

Diving a bit deeper in the learnings, I found a couple of nice tweets, posted a while ago by an account named Betscores4U:

As the ball bounces its way, yet undecided of its landing slot, you hit the button ‘Cache Out’ to secure your profit.

Looks like the ball is finding its way into a red slot. A win. But you’re not sure and decide to take half the profit already.

The ball is tumbling around, looking for a slot to land. Red. Black. Red. You’re in doubt, and take your chips back from the table.

What if you could get your stake back while the ball is bouncing around and you will still make profit if it lands on red?


Bull’s eye, in my opinion. These tweets perfectly reflect the lesson we could gain from Roulette in order to build an advantage over the market. In essence, a Roulette player cannot trade his stake while the game is in play. As football traders, we can.

So what about the following thought? Our knowledge of football is our advantage over the market. It can either be a statistical proven edge – although these edges may disappear over time, as the market will adapt as more people find out – or it can be our own judgement when watching a football match. What about looking for odds in the range of 2.2 to 2.4, where we are capable to judge the chance of occurring to be 50%. In that case, we will be able to trade a profit in the long term, where a Roulette player would simply lose.

What do you think?