Lack of education
Many players learn how to play the game from other players. They pick up bad habits and get misinfomred about the chances of winning.
Playing the slow death
One of the most common mistakes made by players is to play what casinos call the "slow death". These players do not understand the concept of the house advantage.
This tends to happen a lot with bets on the dozens. A player will typically bet on all three dozens on one spin. Because they get paid out they think they are winning. They don’t understand that they are only breaking even. Then zero comes up and they loose all their chips. Even then they still don’t understand that they can’t possibly win. Such players continue playing until they eventually run out of chips.
Other players opt for a faster form of the slow death. They put a chip on each number and are delighted when they win and get paid. They fail to notice that they are actually losing until they run out of chips.
Relying on the law of averages
Many players rely on the law of averages – that in the long run all numbers will be spun an equal amount of times. However, the law of averages is a fallacy. Consider the tossing of a coin. If a coin lands on heads on the first toss does this mean the second toss will be tails? The answer is possibly since there is a 50 per cent chance that it could land on either side. Suppose you tossed the coin 100 times. What result would you expect? According to the law of averages, it would be 50 times heads and 50 times tails because in the long run it would even out. But just because there is a 50 per cent chance of something happening, it doesn’t mean it will happen 50 per cent of the time. The coin does not know what the previous result was. Each subsequent toss is totally unrelated to the previous toss. There is actually no reason why you couldn’t throw 100 heads or 100 tails in a row.
With roulette some players bet on numbers that have failed to appear because the law of averages says that they should eventually be spun. However, it has been known for some numbers not to appear at certain tables for weeks. The roulette wheel has no memory. By waiting for one particular number that has not appeared for a while, you can easily lose a lot of money.
Belief in systems
Many players want to win but are prepared to put very little effort into ensuring that they do win. Many are looking for a quick easy system that is not complicated. This is why they get seduced into playing one of the common systems like the martingale. With these types of system, it is also easy to lose. A system may appear to work over a short time span but this often has more to due with luck.
One of the most popular systems is the martingale. This involves doubling the stakes on losing bets and continuing to play until you have a winner. It is commonly used to play on the outside bets (red, black, even, odd, high or low). The way that it works is that the player makes a bet on, for example, red. If this bet loses the stake is then doubled on the next spin. If this wins then the player has won one chip and has recouped his losses on the previous bet. The problem with this system is that the table limit is soon reached, making it impossible to continue to double up. It also requires players to have a large bankroll to make large bets. The reason that so many players think it works is that they try it out and win. However, their win is not due to the system, it is simply due to luck.
Suppose a table has a minimum bet of £10 and a maximum of £1000. The first bet is £10 on red. If this loses, the next bet is £20. If the player continues to lose, the bets need to be increased to £40, £80, £160, £320, £640. Now the system will fail as the table maximum is £1000 and the player needs to bet £1280 to recoup his losses. This means that a succession of seven black numbers has caused the system to fail. The player has now spent £1270 with no prospect of recouping losses.
Not knowing when to quit
Not knowing when to quit is a huge problem. It is extremely common for players to have big wins but to end up losing all their winnings. It is often due to the player trying to recoup losses by making bigger bets.
With single-zero roulette the odds paid for a bet on en plein (one number) are 35/1. However, the true odds are 36/1. So, for each spin the casino has one number working in its favour. The house advantage is 2.7 per cent of the stakes, that is, for every £37 that you bet, the casino is raking off £1.
The casino comes off even better if the player bets on a roulette wheel with two zeros. Now there are 38 numbers but the odds paid are the same for a winning number (35/1). If a player bets a chip on every number, the casino wins two chips on every spin. By adding an extra zero, the casino effectively doubles its profits.