When it comes to strategy, few games divide opinion quite like roulette. People are inventing new systems all the time, most of which end up being debunked, old strategies are dusted off and tweaked. But, regardless of what you do, the chances of hitting black on a European roulette wheel still sit at 48.65%, the chances of hitting a straight-up number in American roulette are 2.60%, and so on. There is nothing you can do to change those odds.
Strategies do have some merit, of course, and you can find lots of information on different systems on this site. However, we want to look at a more fundamental question today: Should you change your roulette strategy when you are playing online? Compared with, say, playing in a swanky casino resort? In essence, we are asking whether you should play differently against software than against the house, i.e. a physical roulette wheel.
Live games online add new dimension
Of course, the lines are blurring between virtual casino games and real ones. If, for example, we looked at how to play roulette at casino.com in Canada, you can see that both options are available – virtual and ‘real’ roulette with live dealers. But we want to concentrate on how you would play in a casino resort and how you would play against a software-bases game.
The first thing that must be noted is that virtual roulette from quality software providers is advertised as reflecting the true odds in a casino. So, for example, Playtech Premium European Roulette has an RTP figure of 97.30%. That means the online casino operator will pay back 97.30% of all wagers to players over time, making a house-edge of 2.70%, which is the same house edge you would find in a real casino.
But we must distinguish between theoretical probability and guaranteed house edge. We are 100% sure that the virtual casino game will make that profit over time, whereas it is only highly probable that the real roulette game will pay back 97.30% over time. Getting our heads around those facts can be difficult. But it’s probably more important to wonder if it really matters? We are talking about probabilities that are only relevant when a huge number of spins are analysed. And, that counts for the virtual games as well as the real ones.
Impossible to second guess RNG software
You see, when we play virtual games, we often frame it as our own personal session, as if 1000s of other players aren’t also playing against the same software. We could be up, or down, $1,000 and believe that has a bearing on what happens next. It might, but in all likelihood, the impact is minimal on the vast number of bets factored into the RNG software. The point is that, just like real roulette, we should not get sucked into the gambler’s fallacy when playing virtual roulette.
Players should be cautious, however. You cannot predict that the probabilities of the software will be relevant to you. If you tried, for example, a martingale system strategy, you cannot be sure that it would eventually work before hitting the table limit. Why? Because you do not know if the software is ‘down’ millions of dollars and is working to recoup that back in order to reach its payout goals.
Overall, though, it’s probably best to keep the same strategy in terms of bankroll management. You can’t really guarantee to beat the system; unless you are a genius physicist. Like all casino games, virtual or real, the key is to walk away when you have won enough, or to cut your losses when you are approaching the point of losing too much. That’s probably the best strategy of all.