Record Breakers - Roulette Reds in a Row
This question is particularly interesting for players of the Martingale Roulette system and goes right to the heart of the Gambler's Fallacy- that mistaken belief that if you see 5 reds in a row, the next result is more likely to be a black. This is a myth, of course- each and every roulette spin is what's known in statistics as a mutually exclusive event. There is always an equal chance of red and black coming up on an individual spin- the result is in no way affected by previous results.
Martingale players are also interested in this question, because this system involves you doubling your bet after a loss. It's generally played on the even money bets, and the idea is that at some point you will win and claw back all of your previous losses.
Players often look out for long strings of the same result, such as R,R,R,R,R. They'll then bet on black in the hope that the results will flip back to black to restore the long term equilibrium, something that the D'Alembert system also tries to do.
But if you experience 10 reds in a row, that will blow most Martingale players out of the water, as they'll either throw in the towel or hit the table limits, after which they won't be able to double their bets and cover their losses. It's difficult to figure out the best roulette strategy under these circumstances.
These long strings of the same even money results are rare, but they do happen, so you need to factor this risk in if you are playing the Martingale. There are two main risks to this system- one is that you experience a very long string of the same result. The other is that the ball drops in to the zero pocket- that pesky little area that gives the casino its house edge.
You can devise strategies to counter this of course. You could bet with the flow of results rather than against it after you see, say, 5 in a row (but you might have picked the exact time that this wheel of all roulette wheels decides to behave more "normally"). You could also choose a game that offers La Partage which will at least soften the blow of the ball landing in the zero pocket. La Partage is a rule followed by some casinos where they refund half your even money bet when the zero drops in. Many French roulette games offer this.
The Record For the Number Of Reds in a Row
So, this will scare you Martingale players! What is the record for the number of reds in a row? Check out this picture from the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. This had all the punters thinking that the wheel was rigged- 7 reds came up in a row (you will see 7 in a row at some point for sure) but these were all the number 19!
The record for the number of reds in a row was set in the US in 1943 when the colour came up 32 times in a row. The probability of this happening on a European Roulette table is (18/37) to the power of 32 which comes to 1 in 10,321,314,387.
it has also been reported that red came up 39 times in a row in the Casino Monte Carlo, Monaco.
You can see how it doesn't come up much, but it can happen! Luckily, I should think if anyone was playing the Martingale on that table, they hit the table limits WELL before the 32nd spin.
This was probably seen on an American roulette table which makes it even more incredible, because in this case the probability of it happening was (18/38) to the power of 32 which comes to 1 in 24,230,084,485, almost 2.5 times less likely because the American wheel has 2 zeros.
Here's the thing though- on the 32nd spin, the probability of the next spin coming up red or black was the same- 47.3%. Talking about individual spins and 32 spins is a whole different ball game, and in roulette you can only bet on one spin of the wheel.
If you do a search on Yahoo, you'll see that many people claim to have seen over 10 in a row on the roulette table. One guy claims to have seen over 15 at least 5 times (I guess we don't know how much roulette he plays to gauge the percentage of his visits that this represents). Even so, it does happen. 5 in a row, 6 in a row, 7 in a row, 8 in a row and so on is going to happen more frequently. 14 in a row seems to be the big one that people are talking about in their personal experiences.
What About Black?
The weird thing I find about these stories, is that everyone always talks about red. I mean, what about the record number of blacks in a row? Or the record number of evens in a row? Or odds? Or high numbers? Or low numbers?
There is a famous session where a roulette ball on a specific wheel landed on black 26 times in a row in a Monte Carlo Casino in the summer of 1913- August 18 to be precise. This even spawned the name "Monte Carlo Fallacy". Players at the table lost millions of francs betting against the black.
But generally, all the noise is on red, right?
I think here we are into human psychology. Red is an emotive colour, and it's the one that people talk about the most. Black also gets noticed to a lesser extent, but the others? There has probably been a case of 20 high numbers or odd numbers occurring in a row in a casino, but no-one probably noticed.
So, this brings up an interesting point for us, one that we touch on in our Even Money Switcher system.
If you are tracking the even money results, you don't just need to bet on red/black. You can look for patterns on the other bets as well. 23 reds in a row has been documented, but I have never heard of 23 high odd red numbers in a row.
Maybe it happened and no-one noticed!