If you find this article too long and just want a simple tutorial on how to stack some sats, skip straight to the final paragraph before the P.S., where the great Albert Einstein himself gives you a simple tutorial on how to make money at roulette.
I recently discovered bitcoin lightening roulette, which awakened in me a long-forgotten passion for this game. What is so unique about this roulette? Apart from the fact that it can be played by anyone, from anywhere, with no registration, no KYC, no age limit and in seconds with a minimum deposit, one thing in particular caught my attention. The minimum bet is 1 satoshi, the betting limit is 200k satoshis. No other casino will offer you such favourable conditions for playing. (I'll explain why this is important below.) This made me come back to this fascinating game, which is why I even decided to write a series about it on Stacker News to share my hobby and maybe get a few sats into the game. First, let's talk a bit about the history and rules.
History and rules
The invention of roulette is credited to the French mathematician, physicist, writer and philosopher Blaise Pascal, who created it in 1655 as a means of exploring probability. His version had 36 numbers and a zero (still played in this form today as European and French roulette). Later, a version with two zeros (known as American roulette) was created that greatly increased the casino advantage. For this reason, I won't go into American roulette any further and will focus only on European roulette, which is more player-friendly. Although Pascal created roulette as a tool for his scientific research, it quickly became a popular gambling game that spread throughout Europe and eventually the world. It was made most famous by the famous casinos of Monte Carlo.
Roulette offers a large number of bets that have different probabilities of winning and payout ratios. (It should be said here that the odds are always slightly skewed in the casino's favour due to the zero not seeming to belong in any group with the other numbers)
Bet on 1 number: payout ratio 35:1, odds 2.7%
Bet on 2 numbers (split): payout ratio 17:1, probability 5.41%
Bet on 3 numbers (street): payout ratio 11:1, probability 8.11%
Bet on 4 numbers (corner): payout ratio 8:1, probability 10.81%
Bet on 6 numbers (double street): payout ratio 5:1, 16.22%
Bet on colour, odd/even, high/low: payout ratio: 1:1, 48.65% probability
Bet on a dozen or column: payout ratio 2:1, probability 32.43%
By combining these bets in different ways, the player can achieve different win probabilities and payout ratios. Since the beginning of time, people have tried to take advantage of this by devising different strategies to "beat" roulette. Basically there are 2 ways. Either you try to cover a large part of the playing field with your bets, increasing your probability of winning, but the amount risked is higher than the possible payout. Or you keep increasing your bets according to a predetermined plan so that the subsequent win covers all previous losses. This continually increases your exposure to the game, but at the same time increases your chance of winning with each successive spin.
Martingale the oldest and most famous roulette system
This finally brings us to the roulette systems that I would like to discuss in this series and I will start with the oldest and most famous system of all, called Martingale. Its creator is John Henri Martindale. If you feel that there is a typo in his name, you will be disappointed. His name was indeed Martindale and it was only later that his name was mangled. He was a casino owner in London in the 18th century. It was he who invented the system because he felt that people were not spending enough at his casino, so he encouraged them to do so, which is what the Martingale system is based on. Doubling the bets in the event of a loss. As a casino owner, he believed that the casino would always win over the player, and it backfired cruelly. His players came into the casino with such large amounts of money that they overcame even the worst losing streaks and he eventually had to declare bankruptcy. So John Henry Martindale faded into obscurity, as did his casino, and all that remains of him is the most famous roulette system of all time, which bears his name, albeit mangled.
However, the one who made the system famous was someone else. In 1891, a man named Charles Wells set out for the world-famous Monte Carlo casinos equipped with considerable capital and the Martingale system. You can imagine the enormous financial power of the Monte Carlo casinos, which are the Las Vegas of Europe. Now imagine Charles Wells arriving at Monte Carlo with 4,000 francs in his pocket (a respectable sum for the time), sitting at the roulette wheel for 3 days, during which he broke the bank 12 times, and eventually pocketed an incredible 1 million francs! A year later he sailed to Monte Carlo with his mistress on a huge yacht and spent many more deceits living in luxury surrounded by beautiful women. Unfortunately, towards the end of his life, he lost his entire fortune due to bad investments. However, he will forever go down in history as a man who was not afraid to play against the whole Monte Carlo. He died in 1922. This is no fictional story. All the newspapers of the day covered this unprecedented event, and Charles Coborn even wrote a song about him - "The Man Who Broke the Banks of Monte Carlo" You can listen to the song here:
How to play Martingale?
So how does one play Martingale? The procedure is very simple. You start by betting 1 chip per suit (or another bet that has a payout ratio of 1:1, such as even/odd or high/low). If you win, you are 1 chip in the plus. If you lose, you double your previous bet on the next round. This means that if you have a losing streak, your bets increase in numerical order of 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256 and so on. This process ensures that after each win you have 1 more chip than before you started betting. It looks simple, but there is one big BUT! This is a very aggressive system that requires a lot of capital to play and unless your empty wallet takes you out of the game, sooner or later the betting limit set by the casino will do it. For example, if the smallest chip is €1 and the betting limit is €100, it only takes 7 losses in a row to walk away from the table with a loss because the casino will not allow you to raise your bets further. This brings us back to what intrigued me about bitcoin lightening roulette. A minimum bet of 1 satoshi gives you the opportunity to play for fractions of a cent, while a maximum bet of 200k satoshis allows you to stay in the game for a very long time if you have enough capital and choose a good game strategy.
After reading it, do you feel like it's a how-to guide for getting rich easy and that you're going to be the next Charles Walles? Well, you're gonna be disappointed. The truth is, no roulette system can guarantee you a win. Roulette is unpredictable and the more games you play, the more likely you are to encounter extremely unlikely scenarios and long losing streaks that can have devastating effects on your capital. The casino will always have a mathematical advantage over you. You may be able to weather long unfavourable streaks more easily on bitcoin roulette, but the amount of capital at risk will grow very quickly, you will spend a lot of time playing, and you will only win 1 satoshi in the end. So never play for money you can't afford to lose. Don't be greedy and play for fun, not for money. Gambling can be a great diversion, but it will never make you a profit in the long run.
I don't play Martingale myself, due to its boring nature, capital intensity, extremely fast growing risk and small winnings. There are many more interesting game systems and if there is interest in me continuing this series, I will be happy to introduce them in future episodes.
I will be glad if you appreciate this article with some small sats so that I know it is worth continuing.
The bitcoin lightening roulette I mention can be found at: https://lightning-roulette.com/?rid=c23c5c2d It's a referal link for which I get 10k sats if you make a deposit. You can also play the demo for free. You can play completely anonymously without any registration, but I recommend signing up using Twitter. Playing anonymously you risk losing your deposit when the site closes. If you log in, you can return to the game later or continue on another device.
Finally, I will say goodbye to you with a quote that you should always keep in mind. It was spoken by Albert Einstein, who was involved in roulette for some time:
"No one can possibly win at roulette unless he steals money from the table while the croupier isn't looking."
P.S.: English is not my first language. I have the help of https://www.deepl.com/translator to help me with the translation, so I apologize if there is a mistranslation somewhere. At the same time, I will also translate these articles into Spanish and add simulations of the game programmed in Python. I take this as an opportunity to improve my English, where I am a "perpetual beginner", my Spanish, which I have only been learning for a little over a year, and my programming, which I only started a few weeks ago. Therefore, I would be glad if you could give me feedback and point out any mistakes, whether in translation, grammar or my code. May the goddess Fortuna always be on your side of the table ;o)