Roulette’s D’Alembert strategy

While all roulette strategies are ultimately pointless, some are riskier than others. One of the safer and simpler options out there is the D’Alembert system. We’ll show you all the nuts and bolts of this easy gambling strategy, as well as how it stacks up against the other betting systems out there.

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How to use the D’Alembert strategy in roulette

The D’Alembert roulette system is a basic negative progression in which you raise your bets after losses and lower them after wins. This is the same philosophy behind popular strategies such as the Martingale, the Fibonacci and the Labouchere.

But where other systems ask you to alter your stake by different amounts depending on whether you win or lose, this one keeps it simple. After each loss, you increase your bet by one unit; and after each win, you decrease your bet by one unit.

As with most roulette betting systems, the D’Alembert strategy is designed for even-money outside wagers. It doesn’t matter whether you choose red or black, odd or even, or the high or low numbers, but it is generally recommend that you stick with the same option for the duration of your betting session.

For example, let’s say we start with a $1 bet and play 10 spins for five wins and five losses:

$1 – loss
$2 – loss
$3 – win
$2 – loss
$3 – win
$2 – loss
$3 – loss
$4 – win
$3 – win
$2 – win

When we tally up the losses (-$1 – $2 – $2 – $2 – $3 = -$10) against the wins ($3 + $3 + $4 + $3 + $2 = $15), we come out on top by $5. This is the bottom line with the D’Alembert strategy: when you win the same number of spins as you lose, you always end up ahead by the number of bets won. In this case we won five wagers out of 10, so we finished with a five-unit profit.

Pros and cons of the D’Alembert system

The main advantage of this system is that it poses minimal risk compared to other negative progressions. Let’s compare it against the popular Martingale strategy, which asks you to double your stake after every loss.

If we were playing in $5 units and lost the first five spins, the bet sizes would progress like so:

Martingale – $5, $10, $20, $40, $80
D’Alembert – $5, $10, $15, $20, $25

Thus, the next bet would be $160 under the Martingale system, compared to only $30 with the D’Alembert sequence. If you’re playing with a modest bankroll on a low-to-mid limit table, the latter option is considerably more manageable in the event of a losing streak.

On the other hand, the limited amount of risk also means there is less potential to win big. For while other systems require only a few wins to cover any and all losses, the D’Alembert method banks on the idea that even-money wagers will win about 50 per cent of the time.

For example, let’s say we start at $10 and lose seven out of 10 spins:

$10 – loss
$20 – loss
$30 – loss
$40 – win
$30 – win
$20 – loss
$30 – win
$20 – loss
$30 – loss
$40 – loss

That leaves us $70 down, having won $100 ($40 + $30 + $30) but lost $170 (-$10 – $20 – $30 – $20 – $20 – $30 – $40). So if you do happen to suffer a heavy run of losses, you need an equally solid string of wins in order to get back in the black.

Reverse D’Alembert strategy

As with the other inverted roulette strategies on the market, the reverse D’Alembert maintains the same basic structure but flips it from a negative progression into a positive progression. Thus, instead of raising after losses and dropping down after wins, you bump up the bet by one after a hit and lower it by one after a miss.

For example, let’s say we bet in $5 chips over 10 spins for six wins and four losses:

$5 – win
$10 – loss
$5 – win
$10 – win
$15 – loss
$10 – loss
$5 – win
$10 – win
$15 – win
$20 – loss

The problem here is that even though we have won more spins than we’ve lost, we end up $5 down ($5 – $10 + $5 + $10 – $15 – $10 + $5 + $10 + $15 – $20 = -$5). That’s because the losing bet is always bigger than any single win which comes immediately before or after it. Therefore, the reverse D’Alembert only functions when you go on a big winning streak, as anything like an even ratio of wins against losses will guarantee an overall deficit.

Michael Maguire

About Michael Maguire

Mike writes about casino games for Roulette.com.au - one of the leading Web resources for Australian gambling news and info. He enjoys long sessions at the devil\'s wheel where he diligently sticks to a betting pattern, then forgets where he is in the sequence, then panics and puts everything on 7.