As far as casino games go, roulette is one of the most popular on the floor and for good reason. There’s a certain glamor to the famous spinning wheel and its accompanying table and it’s a fun, easy game that anyone can get the hang of in no time at all.
It is, however, a game of pure chance that you win or lose purely based on how lucky you are. There’s no strategy involved, no way you can predict where the ball will land and no real skill or knowledge required beyond knowing how the betting works.
One of the most popular bets in roulette is betting on red or black. It’s easy to understand why. Despite the winnings from it being a mere 1:1, it’s one of the surer bets out there. There’s a small house advantage that comes through the green zero, so the odds aren’t quite 50/50 (more like 48/52 in favor of the house), but it’s as good a bet as you can hope to find on the casino floor. It can also be taken right alongside other bets as a way of giving you a bit of a relatively sure thing when betting on, say, 37.
The question is, though, which one should you bet on: red or black?
Luck, Statistics, and Superstition
The simple answer is that it makes absolutely zero difference whether you bet on red or black. None. It doesn’t even matter if the last six spins land on one or the other: every single spin is – or at least should be – different with those 48/52 odds happening with each spin of the wheel. Statistically, just flip a coin and bet on whichever comes up tops.
Some gambling guides might give you some idea that there are ways to work out whether red or black is more likely to come up next but unless the wheel is completely rigged, this is a bald faced lie and should not be believed. It is somewhat possible that the croupier may try to jig the wheel, but the amount of control it would take to land on a specific number or even a specific color is beyond most ordinary humans. You trying to spin the wheel or knock it while it’s spinning will similarly be an exercise in pointlessness.
However, while there’s no scientific reason to pick either red or black, that doesn’t change that you might feel that one is luckier than the other and this can often come from a cultural superstition. Numbers are frequently considered to bring good or bad luck, with numbers like 7, 13 being especially fateful for many cultures and religions. Similarly, different cultures may see black as a sign of good luck, while others, like China, might view red as more lucky.
There’s also just personal preference. In the same way that people put on lucky t-shirts when watching their favorite team in a highly contested game, they may have numbers that they consider luckier than others.
If you’re at all superstitious then you might as well play according to those superstitions. It can’t hurt, just as long as you understand that on a scientific level roulette is a game of pure chance and that you have exactly the same chance of winning on an “unlucky” color as you are on a “lucky” one.
Most important of all, though, is to practice responsible gambling and regardless of whether you’re black on red or black (or a specific number or row or corner) be sure to play with the right attitude. Don’t expect to get rich and play instead to have fun with the hope that you might win some cash as a nice bonus. And whatever you do, don’t spend more money than you have at the roulette table. Set a budget and stick to it. That goes for all gambling games, really.