Wealthy roulette game players often prefer to backgammon a single number until it wins and it does, they leave the 35 to 1 payoff to run on the same number for another spin in the hope that it will win twice running, and give them a 1225 to 1 (35 x 35 to 1) payoff.  Other more cautious players are convinced that they can get an edge by using a system called the Cuban.  It is based on the assumption that because there are only three black numbers (as against eight red ones) in the third column of the table layout, a steady profit can be made by placing two bets on each spin of the wheel: one on noir, and a colonne bet pays at 2 to 1.)  The mathematical theory behind this system seems to indicate that a simultaneous coverage of Noir and the numbers 3,6,9,12,15,18,21,24,27,30,33, and 36 will result in an excess of profits over losses after every 37 spins.  But the system seems to ignore the fact that for every win there could be an equal or greater loss on the alternative bets: And then, of course, there is the ever-present threat of the zero.

A more down-to-earth system is called variously the cross-out, top-and-bottom, and cancellation.  This involves writing down the figures 1-10 in a vertical column.  The player then stakes the total of the top and bottom figures 10 + 1= 11 units of money) on any even chance.  If he wins, he crosses out the top and bottom figures and stakes another 11 units (9+2).  If he wins again he crosses out the 9 and 2 and stakes another 11 units (8+3).  Should he lose at any time in this process, he adds 11 units to the figure that is at the bottom of the column at that time, and stakes this new total.  He continues in this fashion until all the figures in the column are crossed out.  If he doesn’t reach either the limit of his pocket or the limit of the bank by the time all the number are crossed out, he will have won 55 units of money.

But, as in every roulette system, both the zero and the bank’s percentage are major stumbling blocks.

Other systems are constantly being invented and re-invented under different names often names that imply some kind of mystique, like black magic,the gambler’sheaven, the planets, and so on.  These are sometimes suggestions that by additing seven or nine or some other symbolic number to the number that last came up, the player will benefit from some mysterious occult influence. Some of these are described in a book called The Sealed Collection of Systems written by a man who signs himself “Croupier X.” “I am a person,’ he writes, “who believes in the inevitability of patterns, cycles, sequences: I am of the first opinion that there is a sort of recurring order in life that, taken at the right turn, must lead on to enduring and overwhelming fortune.”

Most online poker gamblers have their own pet systems, often extremely ingenious and occasionally very profitable as was the systems devised by an English engineer named William Jaggers and used by him to win 1,500,000 francs (about $ 180,000) from the Monte Carlo casino.  Aware of the difficulty of maintaining a perfectly balanced roulette wheel, and knowing that the slightest inaccuracy would cause some numbers to appear more frequently than others, Jaggers employed six assistants to stand at different tables and note the numbers that came up at roulette all day long.  Meanwhile he made an elaborate analysis of the results.  After a month’s play it became obvious that certain numbers were predominating out of all proportion to the laws of probability.  So Jaggers proceeded to play on these numbers, and won his thousands in four days’ play.  The casino soon realized what was happening and adjusted the wheels –which put an end to Jagger’s schme.  (This happened at the end of the 19th century.  To prevent any similar occurances, roulette wheels in most casinos are now carefully tested and examined every day.)

The actor Sean Connery (the screen’s James Bond ) Itlay’s ST. Connery backed number 17 three times running.

The 19th century French textile magnate Stefan Heller obviously sharing Croupier X’s belief in the inevitability of patterns, cycles, and sequences used an eccentric system of his own invention that was based on daily reports from his factories concerning the number of bobbins in use on certain looms.  He played roulette only on alternate evenings, spending the intervening time working out which numbers the bobbins told him to backgammon.  (He had to take his mathematical secretary with him to the casino game to help him with the intricate calculations that system he put his faith in, it is more likely that he made his millions by the loom rather than by the wheel.

And in January 1963, the British actor Sean Connery who in his film roles portrays James Bond, the secret agent and top-flight gambler created by the British author Ian Fleming –was reported to have made a roulette coup quite worthy of James Bond himself.  In the casino at St. Vinvent, Italy, Connery won the equivalent of about $ 30,000 in three consecutive spins of the wheel.  He was betting on number 17.

The odds against any number coming up three times running are 46,656 to 1 which only goes to show that when it comes to winning (or losing) large sums of money at roulette, chance can be as reliable as any system.

The “equipment” needed for the more eccentric system that a player once used at Monte Carlo’s casino.  He imprisoned a spider in a match box (painted half red and half black on the inside) removed the lid after a few minutes, and bet on rouge or noir according to the spider’s position.