We’ve all seen the neon boards littered with red and blue numbers at the side of the roulette table – or in the top corner of the screen if playing online. But what are they? What do they mean? And are they of any use? Fortunately the casino experts at Lucky Nugget Casino are here to shed some light on these mysterious numbers.

Are these magic numbers the key to success?

You may well come across guides on the web – or even literature – claiming hot and cold numbers are the catch-all solution to increasing your winnings at the table. That by betting on hot numbers – those that have frequently appeared in the last thirty spins or so – you’re more likely to win in the long-run.

The logic behind this is that as is stands, in our now hypothetical situation, the numbers two, 10 and 25 have paid out more than any other number so far. Why bet against the winners? Continue to throw money on these and you’re set to win, surely. This all sounds completely reasonable on the surface.

The very same logic applies to cold numbers – they’re losers, enjoying none of the action – and you wouldn’t back a loser, right? Well, you wouldn’t be the first person to think the same way. Hot and cold numbers have been ingrained in gaming nomenclature for decades.

Placing bets around which numbers are hot or cold will not guarantee success
Placing bets around which numbers are hot or cold will not guarantee success

The origin of hot and cold numbers

We’re not sure on the exact origin of hot and cold numbers, as nobody has laid claim to being the first to push it into the face of gamers, but we can be confident why they came about.

Humans are always on the hunt for reasons. Why is it the number 32 is extremely popular tonight? There must be something behind this, but what?
We simply cannot accept even with stern mathematical explanations that patterns occur naturally.

Take the lottery. Results from as far back as the 90s have broken down in the vain attempt to find a pattern – in the pursuit of logic – for reasons other than pure probability, that the number 34 (again, hypothetical) has appeared more frequently in the last twenty years than, say, six.

Statisticians will tell you there is no reason for this quirky statistic. They’ll claim that every draw is independent, with the last draw having no bearing on future results.

Why are they independent? Well, let’s take two draws:

Draw 1: There are forty numbers (1 – 40). The host picks five numbers (1, 4, 6, 22, 40) from a bowl, comprising of this week’s results. The next week the host picks from the same bowl, without replacing the numbers.

Draw 2: The same format as above, but instead the host replaces the five numbers at the end of the draw.

Now, in draw 1, the odds of picking the number 10 would have been 1 in 40 (or 40/1), as there were forty balls – given that you can only pick numbers before the draw begins.

In week two, the odds of picking 10 have dramatically reduced to 35/1. There are now 35 balls in the bowl, thus increasing the likelihood that the number 10 will be picked. As such, the events are not independent from one another as the actions from last week have directly impacted the concurring event – which is the week 2 draw.

Alternatively, if you were to replace the balls picked in the first draw, after all the balls had been drawn, the odds of picking 10 in week 2 will remain at 40/1. As the odds remain the same, and we’ve essentially started fresh, the draws are independent.

Hot and cold numbers are merely an attempt to create the illusion of a pattern in an otherwise completely random game. By creating a sense of logic around a game, it removes the idea of ‘gambling’ and attempts to turn the activity into a game of skill.

Hot and cold numbers in roulette

Casino Roulette - 3d render

The same logic can been applied to roulette – let’s take a look at two scenarios involving the popular table game:

Game 1: There are 37 numbers on a classic European table (1 – 36 + 0). Every time a number is chosen it is removed from the wheel. This happens until all the numbers have been selected and the game refreshes.

Game 2: The regular format for roulette. Every time a new number is chosen winnings are calculated and the wheel is spun again.

We’ll be honest – game 1 (our version of roulette) sounds pretty fun. It is, however, a good example of a game which has results that are dependent on the last.
Whenever a number has been chosen, be that one, eight, 22 or 34, it would disappear – reducing the odds of a straight-up bet downwards from 37/1 to 1/1, eventually leaving one number left on the board.

This, of course, doesn’t work for the house or the player as eventually it leads to a non-game.

As regular roulette doesn’t follow our crazy rules – fortunately – the odds stay rigid. And, so, regardless of how hot or cold a number is, it stands the same chance of winning as any other.

For that reason alone we advise you to disregard hot and cold numbers and just, like most, play for fun when you hit the tables with us. That way, if you end up landing a big win, it was all down to you!

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