It’s not unusual to find a roulette player with a system. It’s less common to find a systems player who wants to coach you in their method just because you happened to be standing next to them.
That’s what happened to Rob, who made the table minimum $5 wager on inside bets by putting his chips straddling the line separating 13-14-15 from 16-17-18. That gave him all six numbers in a wager some call a double street and some call a six-line bet. If the ball landed on any of his six numbers, Rob would be paid 5-1.
“Sometimes I spread chips around the layout on single numbers, splits and maybe corners,” Rob said. “That double street is in my collection of go-to bets because of birthdays.”
The ball landed on 29, and Rob decided to spread five $1 chips around other numbers the next time. That’s when the systems player stepped in.
“That’s not how you play that,” said Mr. System, who had bet a different double street. “You have to give your six-line a chance. You make the same bet, either until it wins or until you’ve lost six in a row.”
Rob went back to his double street.
“I thought, what the heck,” Rob said. “I wasn’t playing to any set plan anyway.”
The second try was another loss. Mr. Systems took the break between spins to offer an explanation.
“If you win on any of the first tries, you make a profit,” he said. “If you win on the sixth, you break even. How often are you going to lose six in a row anyway?”
Rob was dubious, but he figured staying on those six numbers was no worse than any other combination. He was correct — the house edge on a double street in double-zero roulette is 5.26 percent, the same as any other wager except the 7.89 percent on the five-number combo 0-00-1-2-3.
“As it turned out, I did lose the six in a row,” Rob said. “Not that big a deal at roulette. I’ve lost six in a row lots of times. But systems guy wanted me to stay on the double street at $10, doubling my bet.
“I wasn’t hearing any of that. But for the record, what are the odds of losing a seventh in a row?”
There are a couple of different ways to look at that. With six potential winning numbers and 32 losers, there’s an 84.2 percent chance of losing on any given spin. Before the first spin, there’s a 35.6 percent chance of losing the next six, and a 30 percent chance of losing seven in a row.
However, once you’ve lost six in a row, much of the dirty work has already been done. At that point, there’s an 84 percent chance the next spin will be a seventh loss.
If you commit to six spins in a row, your profits will be variable. With a $5 wager per spin, your profit will be $25 if one of your numbers comes up on the first spin, $20 if the winner is on the second spin, $15 on the third, $10 on the fourth, $5 on the fifth and you’ll break even with a sixth-spin winner.
Every streak of six losers will bring $30 in losses. As in many roulette systems, profits will come more often than losses, but losses will be bigger than wins. In the end, the house will collect its 5.26 percent, just as if you’d spread chips around the layout while blindfolded.
Look for John Grochowski on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44) and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).