Why the D’Alembert Betting System Doesn’t Work

Croupier sweeping away chips from the roulette table

If you’ve played roulette before, you’ll be aware of the complexity of the game and the potential to bet on a vast array of diverse outcomes. While the game is purely based on chance, some players do like to go in with a strategy to try to improve their chances of winning. For example, many would agree that placing random bets on each spin is unwise, and that bettors should be consistent when they put their chips down.

One of the most famous betting systems in existence is the D’Alembert approach, which is renowned for its simplicity. Indeed, it is regarded as the second-most popular strategy behind the well-known Martingale system. But does it work? Let’s dive into the reasons why roulette players can’t solely rely on playing the D’Alembert system to win at the wheel.

What is the D’Alembert Betting System?

The D’Alembert betting system takes its name from the French physicist and mathematician, Jean e Rond d’Alembert, who came up with D’Alembert’s principle. He was also a famous gambler, and the system is named after him because he succumbed to gambler’s fallacy.

If you were to spin a roulette wheel for long enough, the law of probability states that it would eventually be close to even in terms of red or black spins, or odd or even. However, streaks of one outcome don’t make the other outcome more likely on the next spin. Gambler’s fallacy is when gamblers think that red must be about to come in because black has come up so many times in a row.

The D’Alembert betting system is designed to mitigate gambler’s fallacy and is based on the theory that there is eventual equilibrium when placing even money bets. It requires players to play the same even money bet on each spin, and is designed to stop players from getting sucked into betting on a particular even money option because they believe it is due to come in.

How do you Implement the D’Alembert System?

If you’ve heard of or played the Martingale system before, D’Alembert is similar. However, this method doesn’t require players to double their stake every time they lose. Instead, they increase it by smaller increments. Like the majority of other betting systems it involves placing a bet on an ‘even money’ wager, or at least as close to that as possible in the casino.

Players need to decide on their base unit of stake before starting out. For the purposes of this explanation, let’s say that the base unit is £1. Decide what outcome you want to bet on and ensure that it pays even returns. You may choose red, for example. Start by placing your base unit stake of £1 on red. If the bet loses, you increase it by one base unit every time. So, the first time you lose, the next bet would be £2. If that bet doesn’t come in, the next stake would be £3.

After a winning bet, you decrease the stake by one unit. The only time you don’t do this is if you are back down to one-unit stakes. In this circumstance, you would bet one unit. This is an extremely simple betting system that almost anyone could follow. The idea is to maximise the stake on the bets that you win and minimise the stake on the bets that you lose. Over time, the theory is that if you win and lose roughly the same number of times, you should come out slightly ahead.

Why Doesn’t the D’Alembert Betting System Work?

It sounds great in theory, doesn’t it? Could this be the code that cracks the roulette wheel once and for all? Unfortunately, it isn’t. Don’t you think that if this was an infallible way to win at roulette, everyone would be doing it?

The main problem with the D’Alembert system is that, at the best of times when it works as it should, players only end up winning a small amount more than what they started with. If there is an equilibrium between red and black during the time that the player stands at the wheel, then the system should work. But probability doesn’t always work perfectly like this. You could be waiting days for a roulette wheel to end up evening out.

This means that a lot of the time, players don’t end up recouping their losses as they would do if they were using the Martingale system. Instead, they can end up worse off than when they started playing. For the D’Alembert to be successful, players would need to commit to playing it for a lengthy period and choose a point at which they are willing to walk away. They also need to be happy in only being one or two units in the green at the end of the session.  

What do Players Need to Know Before Playing Roulette?

One of the worst things about the D’Alembert system is that it goes against the true essence of roulette. The wheel should be about the thrill that comes with uncertainty. Players get the most out of the game knowing that they are not going to win every time, but when that number does spin in, it’s all the more enjoyable. Roulette shouldn’t be about implementing a dull strategy that produces minuscule returns. Instead, it should be celebrated for its variance and volatility.

When you play roulette here at Casino.com, the aim of the game is for you to enjoy yourself. Try not to take things too seriously and remember to only stake what you can afford. You must remember that there is no clear-cut way to win on the wheel.

Stephen Tabone is a prolific author of books that analyse how casino-goers can profit from randomness. The London-born betting strategist has honed his expertise in number combinations and patterns for nearly 30 years, creating rule-based systems that reduce risk and raise long-term profits. His acclaimed Baccarat and Roulette books include the ‘The Ultimate Golden Secret Baccarat Winning Strategy’, ‘The Clockwork Betting System’, ‘The Ultimate Silver Bullet Proof Baccarat Winning Strategy’, and ‘The Martingale-Tabone Fusion Betting System’, among others. His other interests are in similarly high-stakes fields such as political analysis, investment and stock trading.

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