Roulette Strategy - d'Alembert's System

Published on March 13th, 2009 - 12:02pm PST

For the more contemporary gambler no casino game has the same mystique and class as roulette. It also does not have the best odds for the player, but more advantages for the house. While strategy is integral to poker and useful in other card games and sharp betting can bring the odds closer in craps, roulette offers few opportunities to try and beat the bank. No less than Albert Einstein once said you could only beat a roulette table by "stealing money from it." This, however, has not prevented gamblers from developing sophisticated betting systems over the years, hoping to make it big with "the little wheel."

betting system for the game of roulette - dalembert - french mathematicianAmong the most famous of these strategies was developed in the 18th century by noted mathematician and philosopher Jean le Rond d'Alembert and is thus called the d'Alembert System. At its heart is an assumption that after a winning bet you are less likely to win on the next spin of the wheel and after a losing bet you are less likely to lose. Based on this assumption every time you win you remove a chip from your wager and every time you lose you add one. It is similar to the Martingale System which keeps the bet the same after every winning bet and doubles it every time you lose. D'Alembert's method is clearly less pricy and so is more frequently adopted.

The immediate problem with the d'Alembert System is that it is based on bad math. The odds any particular number will come up on the wheel is exactly the same every spin-1 in 37. If a number doesn't come up on one spin, the odds are exactly the same for it on the next—the wheel "has no memory." d'Alembert's System might be useful as something of a ritual or superstition. If it makes you feel more at peace, go ahead and add a chip after every loss and take one off after every win. Just don't expect to beat the house on such a scheme and remember that gambling is all about fun-when it stops being so, it is time to quit (and if you can't quit, it is time to get some help).