Finding fault in Fibonacci

It’s time to say, “No grazie!!” to the Fibonacci Roulette Strategy, a betting system in which gamblers increase their bet every time they lose. While some believe the strategy can help salvage, or even win games with 50/50 odds, the numbers don’t always add up to success. Here’s why.

A quick lesson in classical mathematics

Before we dive in, let’s look at the numerical sequence behind the system—the Fibonacci Sequence. The sequence was popularized and published by a 13th  century Italian mathematician known as Fibonacci. (Truth be told, his real name was Leonardo of Pisa, but that’s another story.) In a classic Fibonacci sequence, each number that appears is the sum of the two numbers that preceded it.

On paper, it looks like this:

0 + 1 = 1
1 + 1 = 2
1 + 2 = 3
2 + 3 = 5
3 + 5 = 8
5 + 8 = 13
8 + 13 = 21
13 + 21 = 34
21 + 34 = 55

Interestingly, the Fibonacci sequence can also be visualized by opening your fridge or taking a stroll through the woods. Picture a pineapple or artichoke with their repeating patterns of hexagons, or a pinecone with its swirling layers—all natural manifestations of the Fibonacci sequence. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean it’s also a building block of good gambling.

At some point between the 13th century and now, gamblers theorized that if they used this sequence to guide bets in a 50/50 betting scenario (like a red/black bet in Roulette), they might be able to tip the odds in their favour. Since Roulette is a game of pure chance however, the strategy is ultimately doomed to fail, unless you’re of limitless wealth.

The “rules” of Fibonacci Roulette

To understand why, let’s look at the basic rules of the Fibonacci Roulette strategy. The system requires that you bet by unit and maintain a consistently sized bet throughout. Let’s say we’re dealing with a \$1 bet as an example. It would go a little something like this.

1. Every time you lose a bet, increase your next bet by the next number in the sequence. So, if you lose a \$1 bet, bet \$2 on your next spin, etc.

2.Every time you win a bet, move two numbers down the sequence and bet on that number of units. So, if you win a \$3 bet, you may only make a \$1 bet on your next spin.

Here’s how that looks in practice. Keep in mind, the idea is to increase your bet on every losing spin.

Bet 1: \$1 (loses)
Bet 2: \$1 (loses)
Bet 3: \$2 (loses)
Bet 4: \$3 (loses)
Bet 5: \$5 (loses)
Bet 6: \$8 (loses)
Bet 7: \$13 (loses)
Bet 8: \$21 (wins!)

Following the pattern, in theory, a gambler could win back what they’ve lost by simply betting more and more on each subsequent wager. On paper, the system is pretty easy to follow, and appears foolproof mathematically.

Doomed to failure

So, what’s the issue? The Fibonacci Roulette strategy can only guarantee a profit if you’re a gambler with an unlimited budget. That’s because there’s literally no way to guarantee you’ll hit either a red or black on any Roulette spin. Even if you hit black 10 times in a row, the likelihood of hitting a red on your eleventh spin is equal to the likelihood of spinning black, again and again and again. In other words, odds of this bet are 50/50 no matter where in the sequence you find yourself, so increasing your wager could just increase your losses. Not to mention that Roulette has a healthy house edge, thanks to the 0 and 00 slots on the Roulette wheel—the odds are simply not built for long-term profit.

Chasing losses

Since most of us aren’t billionaires with an endless stream of cash, probably the most dangerous aspect of playing the Fibonacci Roulette strategy is how easily it can grip a player into a cycle of chasing losses. After losing a few bets, a player may think that if they follow the strategy, they’re guaranteed to win back their losses, and dig deeper into debt than they’d intended.

At the end of the day, if you’re looking to have a good time playing Roulette, the best plan is to simply hit the tables for fun, with a play budget you can afford to lose. If you do win? Bonus. You can pocket those winnings for a night out or to use on your next play session. As a rule of thumb, when a gambling strategy seems too good to be true, you can bet on that being the case.