Most roulette strategies, including the ones already described in this guide, are mathematical systems that involve changing the bet size after a certain outcome. There are, however, physical strategies that focus on the physical, measurable features of the roulette wheels in land-based casinos and one of the oldest and most widely spread methods is called the Kesselgucken.
Its origins cannot be traced to a particular point in time or place and it probably does not have a single inventor. In fact, the Kessegucken has been practiced by almost anyone since the introduction of roulette in gambling houses several centuries ago. Players then, just like casino players nowadays, would try to predict the winning number and would place their bets accordingly. The key is to observe the wheel and to notice patterns, irregularities, and numbers that would hit more frequently than others.
In essence, this is what the Kesselgucken casino strategy is all about. Its name, as you have probably guessed, is in German and translates as “watching the wheel” or “observing the wheel”. The technique differs from the typical wagering systems used by gamblers as it focuses on the wheel rather than the betting layout or the amount of money wagered. In fact, the size of the stakes is irrelevant, as are common ways of betting such as betting on colors, dozens, columns or even and odd numbers.
The Kesselgucken strategy was popularized in the past few decades by the German professional roulette player Christian “The Saxon” Kaisan, who has perfected his skills and applied them to earn millions of dollars on roulette. The “Sachse”, as he is known among his fellow gamblers in Germany, has traveled across Europe, North America and Asia, visiting hundreds of casinos and using the Kesselgucken strategy on roulette tables. Sadly for him and his followers, however, casinos nowadays are less likely to allow such methods to be applied. In fact, Kaisan retired as an increasing number of establishments started to ban him, although he did not cheat, nor did he practice anything illegal.
So, what exactly is the Kesselgucken casino strategy? Is it effective and is it worth using in land-based and online casinos? In the sections below, we have tried to compile the most essential information about this method, how it is used and how it can help players secure decent earnings while playing a chance-based casino game such as roulette.
How It Works
Despite its German name, the Kesselgucken strategy has not been invented in Germany. In fact, players all around the world have been using it for decades without referring to it in any specific way – they have been simply watching the wheel and trying to see whether the ball landed on certain sectors more often than on others. Obviously, this method works only in brick-and-mortar casinos that use physical wheels instead of electronic ones. Whenever the spin of the wheel is regulated by software and uses the so-called Random Number Generator (RNG), the strategy is useless.
The Kesselgucken is sometimes referred to as “advantage play” but this is a mistake, though an understandable one. Advantage players would often not only observe the wheel but also write down all the winning numbers, look closely for irregularities on the table, and even use computer software to analyze hundreds and even thousands of spins. The latter is, naturally, not permitted and not part of the Kesselgucken – this method includes simply watching the wheel and predicting where the ball is most likely to fall. But are predictions really possible or does the strategy lie on unfounded claims and superstitions?
In theory, it should be impossible to predict the outcome of a roulette spin since the game is completely random. In reality, however, the wheels are not always perfectly balanced and the surface of the table may not be ideally flat. Sometimes, the wheel is biased due to manufacturing issues, poor maintenance, and regular wear and tear. As a result, the roulette wheel may be off by just a few degrees, by just a few millimeters – a small imperfection that is invisible to the naked eye, yet significant enough to cause bias.
Additional TipsPlayers who adopt the Kesselgucken strategy observe the table for some time (for as long as they are allowed by the casino) and manage to notice that the wheel is biased toward a certain sector or sectors. The ball would often land on this sector, leading the player to conclude that bets covering it would win most of the time. It is also important to look closely at the dealer – the way he or she throws the ball, the direction in which the ball is tossed, the speed of the ball and the wheel, etc.
Once all factors are considered, players place their bets but they do that right before the croupier announces “No more bets”. The more they wait, the more likely their prediction is to be correct. Such predictions are not easy to make and often, experienced players admit that they would rely on their intuition rather than on a strict strategy. It is wrong to assume, however, that it is the instinct or some gut feeling that drives decision-making when using the Kesselgucken. On the contrary, the roulette player’s intuition is built gradually over hundreds of game sessions and thousands of spins. It can be described as a kind of “inner” knowledge rather than pure intuition.
What Makes the Wheel Predictable
As explained above, those who use the Kesselgucken strategy explore biases and place their chips as late as possible. There are certain physical variables that should be observed and taken into account when playing. One of the predictable factors is the condition of the wheel – whether any wear and tear can be noticed, whether the wheel has been recently installed or moved, etc. If you play regularly in the casino, you will probably be able to take note of these. Sometimes, the wheel will have some chips and dents or the paint may have faded away in some places.
Another factor to take into consideration is whether there are “dominant” diamonds. The diamonds are small metal parts situated in several places on the wheel and their function is to disrupt the movement of the ball, which is otherwise more or less even. Of course, the diamonds make the spin even more random and unpredictable – or so they should. In reality, players may notice that the ball hits some diamonds more often but, more importantly, it then lands five or six pockets away from the pocket that is situated directly below that particular diamond, also called the “dominant” diamond.
What Makes the Wheel Predictable Additional TipsIn some cases, it bounces away from a certain diamond and hits another diamond – its opposite one, for instance, and rests on a particular sector. Such patterns can be noticed by players who pay attention to every single spin and observe a large number of spins. Usually, this will have to be at least 50 spins in order for them to have any statistical value. In fact, experienced players also consider factors such as the wheel angle, ball track damage, manufacturing defects, etc.
The other variable that should be taken into account is the so-called “dealer signature”. As roulette games are operated by croupiers and casinos usually try to keep the wheels as unbiased as possible, the weakest link in the entire system may, in fact, be the human factor. Some gamblers would try to take advantage of this by detecting the dealer signature – the speed, with which croupiers rotate the wheel, and the force, with which they toss the ball. These will affect the velocity of the ball and, therefore, its final position.
Bets to Place with the Kesselgucken Strategy
Players who use the Kesselgucken method know well that predicting the specific pocket where the ball would land is exceptionally difficult. However, guessing the correct sector of the wheel is fairly easy with this strategy, which is why players are advised to stick to the Announced Bets. Also known as Call Bets (or Called Bets) and French Bets, these are several types of bets available in most single-zero versions of the game. Typically, they are offered in European and French-style roulette where the table has an additional betting layout, called racetrack.
The numbers on this layout are positioned in the same order they appear on the wheel and its name comes from its shape – this is an oval layout that resembles an automobile racing track or a hippodrome. Unlike the regular betting layout where players can bet on consecutive numbers, rows, and columns of the rectangle-shaped grid, the racetrack is used for betting on sectors of the wheel. It is not possible, however, to bet on a certain category of numbers such as red and black numbers, even or odd numbers, low (1-18) or high (19-37), or belonging to one of the three dozens.
There are five bets that work perfectly for the Kesselgucken roulette strategy and, usually, they are displayed in French, although one of them is particularly popular in German casinos. In fact, most casinos across Europe and North America offer some version of the Announced Bets. For this article, we will focus on the most common French bets that are suitable for the Kesselgucken. Note that we are looking only at single-zero roulette games, as these bets are rarely found in the double-zero American roulette.
The bet that covers the largest section of the wheel is the Voisins du zéro, which translates as “neighbors of zero”. It encompasses the zero and the 16 numbers around it from 22 to 25. Covering a total of 17 numbers, the Voisins requires at least 9 chips to be wagered. Alternatively, players can put the chips on the following bets on the regular layout – 2 chips on 0-2-3, 1 chip on each of the 4-7, 12-15, 18-21, 19-22, and 32-35 splits, and 2 chips on the 25-26-28-29 corner.
The next largest bet includes the 12 numbers that lie opposite the zero and the Voisins. It is called Tiers du cylindre, which means one third of the wheel. The bet requires at least 6 chips to be wagered on the following splits – 5-8, 10-11, 13-16, 23-24, 27-30, and 33-36. As you can see, two small sections of the wheel are not covered by the Voisins and the Tiers and the bet that includes them is very suitably called Orphelins. English speakers know the bet as The Orphans, a combination of 8 numbers that requires 5 chips or multiples thereof to be placed on 1 straight-up and the 6-9, 14-17, 17-20, and 31-34 splits.
Players who are confident that the ball will land on the zero or very close to it can try the Jeu zéro bet (Zero Spiel in German, Zero game in English). It includes the zero, as well as 6 neighboring numbers, namely from 12 to 15. One chip is placed on 26, as well as 3 more chips on the 0-3, 12-15, and 32-35 splits. The last wager, suitable for the Kesselgucken strategy is the Neighbor Bet. With it, players wager on a specific number and the numbers on either side of it on the wheel. Typically, the bet includes at least 2 numbers on either side, which means it covers at least 5 numbers, but sometimes, players can opt for more neighboring numbers (up to 7 or 8). The bet requires at least 5 chips to be placed.
Does the Kesselgucken Strategy Beat the Casino?
Many betting systems claim to beat the odds and guarantee profits over the long term. However, no wagering system actually works in the long run because it cannot remove the house edge, which is between 2.70% and 5.26% in roulette. This is exactly what the Kesselgucken strategy does, however, allowing players to make correct predictions for the majority of spins. Some experts believe that with this method, it is possible not only to reduce the house edge but also to turn the odds in favor of the player.
As a result, the Kesselgucken is believed to bring players an advantage of between 2% and 10%. In fact, players gain an advantage over the casino even if not all of their predictions are accurate. They will be able to generate decent winnings over time if they manage to predict a little over 50% of the outcomes. The fact that you can bet on a sector of the wheel and not just on a straight-up number greatly increases your chances of success over the long run.
However, casinos are well-aware of these facts, as well. This is why they implement various policies and practices aimed at preventing or discouraging advantage play in all of its forms, including the Kesselgucken strategy. This is probably the greatest risk and weakness of this method – that in order to be employed correctly and successfully, a large number of spins have to be observed and analyzed. Most casinos do not allow bystanders around the roulette table for more than a few minutes and even if they do, they will closely monitor such customers.
Kesselgucken Strategy – Aditional TipsWriting down the winning numbers is also not permitted in most places. In fact, players who are noticed by the security to keep track of dozens of spins of a particular wheel are rarely allowed to play. If you are detected to use such methods while betting on the table, you will be probably asked to leave the premises and will be banned.
Another thing that needs to be considered by everyone who is interested in the Kesselgucken strategy is that it is applicable only when physical wheels are used. Those who play in online casinos will then need to stick to the live dealer tables but it is much harder there to observe the wheel closely. But even if you play in a land-based casino, you may not be able to apply the strategy in a proper and effective way.
Moreover, casinos are installing new and modern wheels, which are less likely to be biased, with fewer imperfections and manufacturing flaws. Modern wheels are also spinning much faster than they used to a couple of decades ago and predicting the number or sector where the ball will fall is much more difficult than it was in the past.
Advantages and Disadvantages of the Kesselgucken Strategy
Compared to most roulette systems, the Kesselgucken is much more effective because it allows skilled players to beat the casino and make almost perfect predictions for every spin. The method does not include any mathematical pattern and does not require the bet size to be adjusted, depending on the past outcomes. Instead, players who use it tend to analyze a large number of previous spins in order to notice patterns and trends related to the physical properties of the wheel and the ball.
The strategy, however, comes with a wide range of disadvantages, which is why players are advised to think it through and decide whether it is suitable for them or not. Indeed, it does allow you to make informed decisions but that means that you need to have sufficient experience, knowledge, and skill. Beginners will find the Kesselgucken extremely hard and complicated. In addition, you may need to spend a large portion of your bankroll testing the patterns you have observed and, often, you will lose if you are not extra careful.
Of course, many casinos nowadays would only frown upon players who try to apply strategies such as the Kesselgucken. Gambling establishments prefer maintaining their advantage, so they do not welcome customers who seem attentive and concentrated, let alone players who noticeably keep track of the winning numbers and the characteristics of the wheel.
While this may seem like the best strategy – and it certainly was until recently, today, it may not be particularly successful. First of all, it is based on multiple variables that have to be observed for quite some time before a bet can be placed. This may be very confusing and complicated for many players, especially for those who have little experience on the roulette table. Second, the roulette wheels nowadays are designed and manufactured in a much better way and more sophisticated technologies are used for supervision and maintenance.
Overall, the Kesselgucken is a great strategy in theory but it can be applied with success only in casinos, which use older equipment. Modern gambling facilities make using such strategies almost impossible even for professional gamblers. Still, players should know that there are always some trends and biases that can be exploited – all they need is to be alert, attentive and to be able to make decisions quickly, so they can place their bets in the last minute.