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Beating Roulette with Column Play

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Jenny McCarthy Betting the Columns

Photo Courtesy (Getty Images Entertainment)

Roulette is a favorite casino gambling game for millions of players across the world. In Europe, most roulette wheels have just a single zero, making the odds against the player 2.7 percent. In North America, most roulette wheels have a zero and a double zero, so the house odds are much higher at 5.26 percent. With this in mind, any time you have a chance to play a single-zero wheel, take advantage. However, beating roulette with column play can be done on either game.

Successful roulette gambling includes strict money management of your gambling bankroll. In addition, beating roulette involves some luck, some attention to your system, and understanding that streaks at the game can go well beyond what a player might think is reasonable. However, being on a winning streak of 6, 8, or even 10 straight hits is quite a rush! Learn to play roulette before embarking on any wagering!

Column Bets

Regardless of what type of roulette wheel you play, the layout will be the same, consisting of three long columns of numbers that stretch along the length of the table. Each column contains twelve numbers, and a wager on any column is referred to as an outside bet. Inside bets are those that are on specific numbers.

Each column bet pays 2 to 1. Your column bet wins when one of the 12 numbers in the column are spun. Your bet loses when none of them are spun. On a single-zero wheel there are 25 numbers that lose and only 12 that win. Every bet you make is against the house odds, but some systems have been devised to try and take advantage of streaks in numbers.

Any bet on a single column will have a 12/37 chance of winning (single zero), so your bet will win .324 percent of the time. Gambling is by nature, a very volatile experience. Bet a column ten times and you may win all ten bets, or none of them. That's the fun and the thrill. However, losing too much of your bankroll should obviously be avoided, so the first thing to do is set your table stakes.

Any trip to the casino puts your bankroll at risk. For safety's sake, only risk a small amount of your total bankroll on any trip. A good rule of thumb is to use only 10 percent on each trip. Let's assume that you are currently playing on a $200 buy-in.

Each roulette table will have a minimum and a maximum amount you can wager on both inside and outside bets. Your outside column wager is likely to be a minimum of $5. Although there is no scientific basis and the thinking follows the gambler's fallacy, most players wait until their specific column has not won recently.

Bets on columns pay 2 to 1, so any streak of a few loses can be recouped if a winner does spin. A simple system involves a starting wager of $5 on the first spin, and if the wager does not win, the bet is then increased to higher amounts until a winner hits or the bankroll is exhausted. A simple progression that returns a profit when a streak ends goes: $5, $5, $6, $9, $13, $20. If the wager still does not win at $20, a loss of $58 is taken or $30 is the next bet. If it loses, a bet of $45 is next, followed by a final bet of $67.

If the column bet finally hits on the 9th spin with a $67 bet, the player has $201. If it misses, the entire $200 bankroll is lost. Nine straight column misses is common. Risking the entire $200 stake to win $1 seems extreme, so most players work with the streak.

Betting a Column Streak

As you will see after playing a few hours of roulette, streaks are common. And, as with other table games like craps, the amount of money that can be won is much greater when you follow a streak, especially when your payoff is always 2 to 1. Even a short streak of three or four wins can really help your bankroll. There are two styles of betting a column streak: aggressive and passive.

Passive betting starts with a $5 wager and each time it wins the bet is increased by $1. In this way, a streak of five wins would produce wagers of $5, $6, $7, $8, $9, $10. The total invested is only $5, since that was the original wager. The return is: $9+$11+$13+$15+$17= $65 (13 units) or a win of $60 before a new start and wager of $5 is attempted.

Aggressive betting starts with a $5 wager and jumps $5 with each win. In this way, a streak of five wins would produce wagers of $5, $10, $15, $20, $25, $30. The total invested is still only $5, but the return is now: $5+$15+$25+$35+$45= $125 or a win of $120 (24 units) before a new start and wager of $5 is attempted.

Some players start with the passive betting until their bankroll has improved for the evening and then try the aggressive approach. Hyper-aggressive play can include doubling-up on the first win and following a bet pattern of $10 increases such as $5, $15, $25, $35, $45, $55. This returns $200 on a streak of five winners, doubling the starting bankroll.

Obviously the most money will be made when a great streak of many winners comes along, but players always have the option of stopping their bets before a streak ends or cutting back on their wager to the starting amount. Sometimes a mixed progression might look like this: $5, $10, $20, $30, $40, $30, $20, $10...

Regardless of which system you use, betting columns can be fun and sometimes profitable!

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