Ever since the game of roulette first gained popularity, players have been trying to devise a strategy that will help them predict correctly which number the little white ball will land on. It is important to consider the fact roulette is a game that revolves around chance, so no strategy can help you predict the outcome of the spins. Each number that is hit is pretty much independent of previous and subsequent numbers that are spun. Even more so, when one plays the game online where the outcome is determined by Random Number Generators whereas in landbased venues sometimes there are the so-called “biased” wheels which might slightly increase the house advantage.
The house edge in the game remains the same, regardless of which strategy players have opted to implement in their betting cycle. But if so, how do players decide which numbers to wager on? If you spin the wheel 37 times in a row (or 38 in American roulette where there is a double-zero pocket), you surely will not hit each single number. This causes players to ask themselves the question whether or not some numbers are spun more frequently than others.
What are “Action” Numbers?
The pockets on roulette wheels are of the same length and width, assuming there are no damages or imperfections and the wheel is not biased. All roulette wheels are practically the same and the pockets with the numbers are arranged in the same sequence. Of course, it depends on whether you are playing American or European roulette since the arrangement of the numbers on the European wheel differs from that on the American wheel.
The numbers are spread in such a way around the roulette wheel so as to separate the continuity and prevent players from cracking the game. A great deal of effort and thought have been put in arranging the numbers on the wheel. However, there are instances where players can use the arrangement of the numbers to their advantage.
Such is the case when players are betting on the so-called “action numbers”. These are called “action” numbers because when the ball spins around the edge of the wheel, it typically lands on one of the action numbers or in a close proximity to one of these numbers. From this, it follows that action numbers are evenly spread around the wheel which makes it difficult for the ball to land on a number that is not covered.
The action numbers on a double-zero, American wheel are as follows – 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 and 33. All numbers that are not included in the above group are called “clicks”.
If you look at the wheel, you will notice that the above-listed numbers are indeed spread in a such a way so that they are never more than six pockets away from each other. Two of the action numbers have four “clicks” on one side. One of them is the number 14 which has two clicks on one side and four clicks on the other. Then again, number 33 has four clicks on one side and no clicks at all on the other.
If you drop the ball at random in one of the pockets that do not contain an action number, you will notice it still lands in a close proximity to one of the action numbers in the group. In other words, the said action numbers are spread in such a way so that they are “in action” or in play most of the time. In theory, you minimise your chances of losing because the ball always lands in proximity with the numbers in the group. Then again, if you play the action numbers as a group, you can limit the amount of your wagers until you start winning.
How to bet on groups of action numbers? You can group the numbers in a different way. For example, numbers 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 comprise a double Street bet, so you can wager three chips between numbers 10 and 13. With action numbers 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 and 33, you can place a double Street bet and wager three chips between numbers 28 and 31. Then again, numbers 17, 18, 20 and 21 make for a Corner bet, so you can wager one chip on this group of numbers.
By doing so, you boost your chances of winning by covering a considerable section of the wheel with fewer chips. Or in other words, you have covered all the action numbers with 7 chips only. This is considered the most basic approach towards betting on the action numbers.
Hot and Cold Numbers
The concept behind hot and cold numbers is relatively simple. If a given number is spun more frequently in the last few draws, it is considered a “hot” number. With “cold” numbers, it is precisely the opposite – they have been spun less frequently in recent draws.
Betting on Hot Numbers in Roulette
As you can see, “hot” numbers are simply repeating numbers which have been spun more frequently. So, according to the systems that dictate betting on hot numbers if a given number has been spun X times in Y spins, it is considered a hot number and the player is required to wager on the said number for Z spins. It is important to mention that hot numbers are not necessarily spun several times in a row – they simply come up more frequently than”cold” numbers.
For instance, if number 24 has been spun five times in the last 36 spins, it is considered a hot number. Therefore, you are expected to place flat or level bets on number 24 for the following 36 spins of the wheel or until this number is spun again. If you win with number 5, you stop betting on it and wait to see which the next hot number will be.
If you play the game online, there will be no need to write down which numbers come up more frequently. Many online roulette variations display statistics regarding the hot and the cold numbers, providing players with all the information they need on which numbers have been spun repeatedly in a given period of time.
It is important to remember, that just because a given number has come up five or six times in the last fifty draws, there is no guarantee it will be spun again soon. All numbers on the wheel have equal chances of coming up.
Betting on Cold Numbers in Roulette
As was mentioned above, numbers which have been spun less frequently in the recent draws are referred to as “cold” numbers. Such numbers are sometimes called “sleepers” or “overdue” numbers. Many players prefer to place inside bets on such numbers because of the notion that if a given number has not been spun in a long time, it is “overdue” and will win on the next spins of the ball.
On the surface, this idea seems to be logical. Since the chances of any given number to win are 1 out of 37 (or 1 out of 38 on American wheels), the expectation is that each number will win an average of once every 37 spins. If number 23, for example, has been a “sleeper” for the last 60 or 70 spins, it is expected to “wake up” and appear on the following spins. This is known as the “law of average” but it can be relied on only over very prolonged periods of time. And in roulette, a long period of time means thousands of spins of the ball.
If a given number comes up extremely rarely, this might mean the wheel in landbased venues is biased, either intentionally or unintentionally. For example, if number 23 has not been spun lately, this might indicate the pad at the bottom of its pocket has been replaced during routine maintenance of the wheel. The new pad may cause the ball to bounce off the pocket more easily and thus, reduce the probability of number 23 being spun.
The Gambler’s Fallacy
Players, who place even-money wagers or bet on hot and cold numbers often fall prey to the so-called “Gambler’s fallacy” which is the false belief that the outcome of random spins is affected by and depends on the previous spins. Such players assume that if a given number has not come up in quite a while, it is bound to win on one of the following spins because it is “overdue”. Or the contrary, a specific number has appeared more often in a given period of time, so its chances of appearing again on the next spin are greater.
However, if you play the game on an unbiased wheel or online, where the outcome is determined by a Random Number Generator, the probability of 1:37 of each number coming up does not change from one spin to another. After all, roulette wheels do not have a memory and do not favour some numbers over the others.
The outcome of each spin is not affected by previous and subsequent spins. If the wheel is indeed random, the probability of any given number coming up remains 1 out of 37, no matter when was the last time that number was spun. That is why, players are often recommended to avoid placing Straight Up inside bets on “sleepers” or “overdue” numbers. Even more so, when one considers the fact that cold numbers become hot numbers after a specific number of spins and vice versa.