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.
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.
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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gx1SWS1MFbU
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)
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Impressive explanation. I appreciate the effort to write all this and therefore you will have some sats from me.
Only that is not for me. I never gamble, especially with my sats. No matter how easy or high probability to win, I will not do it.
I really want to earn my sats with honest hard work, providing something good for other people and in exchange to receive a honest payment.
This was an excellent explanation of the Martingale system (and your English is very good). I stumbled upon this system through trial & error without knowing the history. The technique worked well for me for some time until I got greedy and started increasing my bets too fast. Probability dictates that everyone will lose if they play long enough. A 500k sat loss was enough fun for me. Now I’ve blocked myself from Lightning-Roulette.com.
That's not my English. I use Deepl to translate and just correct the obvious nonsense and learn at the same time. I'm a bit disappointed that no one has responded to the Spanish translation yet. I pay a lot of money for lessons and could use some positive pressure to practice more often. I'm preparing other episodes where I will discuss other types of progressions like Fibonacci, D'Alembert, Labouchere and others. Personally, I prefer to bet on numbers. The 35:1 payout ratio is far more interesting, but Martingale as the oldest, most famous and most used system definitely deserves to be in the first part. For example, systems that work with uneven distribution of numbers are interesting, but I haven't tried those as much because they usually require paper and pencil and need more focus.
This reminds me of the St. Petersburg paradox.
Imagine a coin toss game where the prize starts at $1 and doubles each time you correctly predict the toss.
How much should one charge to play this game?
Critics of the St. Petersburg paradox attack in particular the assumption that the game can go on indefinitely. Perhaps because both the player and the banker are mortal and so the game must end at the latest with the death of one of them. Similarly, they question the size of the payoff for longer durations. That's because after just 35 rolls, the prize, if it were in US dollars, is equal to the value of the US gold state reserve deposited at Fort Knox, and after three more rolls it is already the amount of all US bank deposits. Thus, it cannot be expected that there would be a realistic possibility of a banker paying out even less than such a large prize.
With roulette, the criticism is simpler. Every casino has a betting limit, so the number of rounds is always finite.
Analytically, the price to play should be inifinite.
I ran over 2 billion simulations of this game.
Empirically, I found that $200 was a pretty good price. $2 if the prize starts at $0.01
Actually, in a coin toss, it's 50:50 In roulette, the odds are slightly less because 0 is neither red nor black, neither even nor odd, neither high nor low, so the probability of winning is only 48.65%. With a coin flip, you can use the same game strategy, but you'll be hard pressed to find an opposing side that will play with you until you win)
Funny that I stumble across this comment after I just made a coin flip nostr bot: https://stacker.news/items/147968
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I did this over the summer and was making a few hundred sats per day for about a month but then I got bored of the simple mechanical process and started increasing my bet size and playing multiple strategies at a time and blew myself up. I am going to miss those 100k sats. I punished myself for the loss by buying 200k immediately after.
Yes, I know. I won 500k sats very quickly. I told myself it was easy and started taking more risks. Soon I lost all my winnings and most of my original stake. Roulette always punishes the greedy. In every game one should have clear limits for both winning and losing. People are often under the impression that if red has fallen 15 times in a row, black must have fallen too, but this is not the case. The probability of what falls is still the same, regardless of what fell before. In the end I was left with 10k sats, which I have been playing a very careful 1 number strategy with ever since. In a couple of days I've made 40k from 10k, but I'm still sticking to very low stakes, so as my capital grows my risk is getting lower and lower, and if I'm lucky I might get my stake back in a few days.
Best of luck. I haven't played in awhile. Maybe I will try to win some sats later today.
Maybe you will like Nostr Coin Flip too: https://stacker.news/items/147968
A newer version of the code that includes limits for losing and winning:
I thought the magic rule of roulette was the house always wins? Lol all jokes aside interesting code
If you read the whole article, you'll learn that even the casino loses sometimes. But I wouldn't bet on it.
Oh neat I just made 200000 sats!
Update, the sats are gone
Yeah, it's roulette! I won over a million sats today, but I sweated all over the chair and came close to walking away with zero. I had to wait about 170 hands for my number. When I went through my transactions today I managed to win back what I lost in the last 2 weeks, but it was a really close one.
And I haven't even mentioned that you can also play the so-called Big Martingale, where the bets increase according to the formula previous bet * 2 + 1. This is an even riskier strategy, where you get a chip for every spin of the roulette wheel.
Some also use modifications like the Waiting Martingale, where the player starts betting only when a color is repeated several times, or the Alternating Martingale, where the player bets alternately on both colors, or twice on one, then the other, and so on. There are many different arrangements, but none of them guarantee a win. There is always a significant risk of a bad series, and the longer one plays, the more likely one is to lose. Therefore, you should always set your limits for both losing and winning, and when you reach them, quit the game or start using a different strategy. The mathematical advantage of the casino is relentless, so you should never expose yourself to it for too long.
Maybe you will like Nostr Coin Flip too: https://stacker.news/items/147968