Pivot Strategy for Roulette

Since the introduction of roulette games across gambling houses in Europe and North America, players have tried to come up with a way to beat the game. As a result of this relentless endeavor, dozens of strategies and betting systems have been invented over the past two centuries and while some of them are long refuted by experts, others are widely believed to possess huge potential for success. Standing somewhere in between, the Pivot Strategy is currently among the most popular and controversial methods for playing roulette.

The origins of the scheme remain unknown to this day but most gamblers and experts believe it was created sometime in the second half of the 20th century. Similar methods, however, had been in use long before that. The strategy exploits the highly debatable concept of “hot” numbers in roulette, according to which once a particular number hits twice within a few spins of the wheel, it becomes “hot” and is more likely to win once again in the following few rounds. Alternatively, the “cold” numbers are those numbers that have not appeared in a while, so they are due to hit in the near future.

Players using the Pivot method simply observe the wheel until they notice a hot number, so they can start betting on it. Sometimes, they rely on specific patterns caused by biased or flawed wheels, as well as on patterns created by the croupiers and their individual style of rotating the wheel or tossing the ball. As roulette wheels today are manufactured in a much finer and more precise way, imperfections are quite uncommon, while bias towards a certain number or a group of numbers is much more difficult to notice.

Much more often, the approach associated with using the Pivot Strategy includes the idea of repeating numbers and the so-called Law of the Third. Unfortunately for roulette players, many experts question the truthfulness of these principles and warn against the use of methods such as the Pivot. So, is this an effective and reliable strategy for playing roulette or yet another misconception devised by people who fail to understand the fundamentals of roulette? In the sections below, we have made an attempt at presenting all the facts related to this strategy, so that casino players can make an informed decision before spending all their money on a method they do not comprehend.

What Is the Pivot Roulette Strategy

What Is the Pivot Roulette StrategyUnlike most casino betting systems, the Pivot method does not involve increasing the bet size after a loss (or sometimes, after a win). It also does not rely on increasing players chances for winning by betting on the majority of numbers. Instead, players who use the Pivot need to keep track of the numbers and once they notice a repeating number, they make it the “pivot” of the strategy.

From that point on, they start placing flat bets on the pivot number until it hits again or until 36 spins are played. As the straight-up bet pays 35:1, players would turn a profit only if their number wins within the 35 spins. If the ball lands on the pivot on the 36th spin, players will break even as the payout will be equal to the money they have lost in the previous 35 spins. If the number emerges later, in the 36th spin or after that, the gaming session will end in a net loss.

Pivot Roulette Strategy Gameplay


Basic Concept

roulette betting systemsThe Pivot Strategy is very similar to the so-called Makarov-Biarritz method and derives from an interesting idea, called the Law of the Third. The supposed “law” was first described in the 1960s by an Italian researcher who observed a huge number of spins and noticed a pattern. If we spin a 37-pocket roulette wheel 37 times (or 38 times in American roulette where the wheel has 38 pockets), the following three consequences can be observed:

  • 1/3 of the numbers never come out
  • 1/3 of the numbers occur just once
  • 1/3 of the numbers win multiple times

In other words, the strategy states that approximately 24 numbers will come out in 37 or 38 spins. Indeed, it is unlikely that all 37 numbers hit during the 37 spins – some numbers will come out twice, thrice, or even more often, and some numbers will simply not appear at all as the game is completely random. The Pivot Strategy takes this even further dictating that once a specific number appears more than once, it will continue coming out as it is a hot number.

Applying the Pivot Strategy on the Roulette Table

roulette tableThe strategy works well in land-based casinos but before using it, players should take a few things into consideration. In order to determine their pivot number, they need to observe multiple spins of the wheel and write down the winning numbers without placing bets. However, many casinos do not allow using pen and paper around the roulette table – using a phone is an alternative, but the same rules may apply. This is why players may need to try to memorize all the numbers, which could be a difficult task, especially if there are no repeaters in, let’s say, 10 spins.

Once they manage to spot a hot number, they can join the other gamblers around the table and place a straight-up bet on their pivot. To avoid spending their entire bankroll in a single gaming session, they should stick to the minimum wagering limits determined by the casino. This could be $5, $10, or $1 in some cases, so we will be using 1 betting unit to refer to the basic bet size. Players should also be prepared that their number simply does not appear in the 36 spins determined by the strategy. If that happens, they will lose all 36 units they have wagered, so the value of the unit should be kept as low as possible.

When they choose a suitable bet size, they need to wager it on their chosen number until it hits or until the end of the 36 spins. There are three possible outcomes:

  • The pivot number comes out on the 35th spin or sooner and the player makes a profit of at least 1 betting unit. The sooner it hits, the bigger the profit.
  • The number comes out on the 36th number and the player breaks even when getting the 35:1 payout plus the original 1-unit bet.
  • The number does not appear at all and the player loses all 36 betting units.
Spin Bet Outcome Payout Profit
1 $5 on 13 24, lose $0.00 -$5.00
2 $5 on 13 17, lose $0.00 -$10.00
3 $5 on 13 12, lose $0.00 -$15.00
4 $5 on 13 7, lose $0.00 -$20.00
5 $5 on 13 18, lose $0.00 -$25.00
6 $5 on 13 15, lose $0.00 -$30.00
7 $5 on 13 24, lose $0.00 -$35.00
8 $5 on 13 22, lose $0.00 -$40.00
9 $5 on 13 31, lose $0.00 -$45.00
10 $5 on 13 13, win $180.00 $175.00
Total Bet Amount: $50 Total Payout:$180 Net Profit: $130

Applying the Pivot Strategy in Online Roulette

online rouletteNowadays, the possibility of finding a biased wheel is incredibly low, while identifying a dealer signature is more difficult than most people would imagine. Still, the Pivot Strategy is widely being used by online players, as well. There are two things that have to be taken into account here, however.

First of all, the virtual versions of roulette use a piece of sophisticated software, called Random Number Generator (RNG). It constantly generates thousands of random results, one of which is eventually picked and used to determine the winning number in every single spin. As a result of the RNG, the games are completely random and fair.

Second, players who want to try the Pivot Strategy when playing a virtual roulette online will have to place even-money bets until they determine a pivot number. There is no option to simply observe rounds without actually playing, so to minimize the risk, players are advised to stick to safer bets such as red/black, low/high, and even/odd numbers. With a little luck, they can turn a decent profit even before they start playing with the strategy.

Once they identify a hot number, they can start the system and hope they win within the first 35 spins of the wheel. Of course, everything else with the Pivot strategy remains the same.

Does the Pivot Strategy Truly Work?

online roulette betInterestingly, roulette players are divided when it comes to the authenticity of the Pivot Strategy and this is mainly due to its fundamental concept of hot numbers and the Law of the Third. While there have always been fans of the game who believed in these ideas, most experts today, i.e. mathematicians, have dismissed them as simply wrong.

Below, we can see the two basic concepts of the Pivot Strategy and why they are widely considered a form of the gambler’s fallacy.

The Law of the Third

The Law of the ThirdMany gamblers believe the so-called Law of the Third to be true but in reality, the evidence for its existence is purely empirical. Gamblers have occasionally observed it but it cannot be proven mathematically according to experts. In reality, roulette is a completely random game and each spin of the wheel is an independent event, not related to past or future spins.

Whenever the Law of the Third has been tested by players, it comes true in only some series of 37 spins. If tested in millions of spins, this concept does not hold up because eventually, the numbers will balance out. The reason for this is very simple – all numbers on the roulette wheel, including the zero (or zeros), have the same probability of occurring each time.

Hot and Cold Numbers

Hot and Cold NumbersThe same logic can be applied when discussing the idea of hot and cold numbers in roulette. The ball has no memory, so the more frequent occurrence of certain numbers cannot be ascribed to their “hotness”. As we have explained above, each spin is independent of the previous one and cannot be used as a base for predicting future outcomes.

In addition, hot or cold numbers are impossible to predict – they can be spotted only in retrospect. In psychology, this phenomenon is well described and researched and it is known as the hindsight bias – the tendency to consider past events to be more predictable they truly were when they took place. It is clear that in roulette (if not rigged or biased in some way), it is impossible to predict where the ball will fall.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Pivot Strategy

Advantages and DisadvantagesFor many roulette players, the Pivot Strategy seems completely logical and based on undeniable truths but as explained above, these concepts have long been refuted by mathematicians. Even though the statistics seem legitimate, they represent a small sample of events that cannot be representative. The fact that the game of roulette is random means that the Pivot Strategy, as well as any other strategy based on gambler’s fallacies such as hot and cold numbers, losing and winning streaks, or the Law of the thirds, is ill-founded.

But this is not the only weakness of the strategy. Debating theory is one thing but betting money with the Pivot Strategy is another thing entirely. When using this method, players should know that in each session, they can actually lose all 36 bets. This makes the Pivot Strategy potentially more costly than the majority of systems out there. Even if played safely with minimum bet size, it could be detrimental for players with lower bankrolls.


rouletteMany gamblers claim they have won money while using the Pivot Strategy but before adopting it, every player should know that there are similar claims for all betting systems, including the most preposterous ones. Of course, if you do observe the Law of the Thirds or believe in hot numbers, you should try the strategy – it can be successful under certain circumstances. In fact, it may be profitable in most instances, which is why it is so often recommended by some roulette players.

This does not mean that the Pivot Strategy is a certain way to generate winnings. On the contrary, it is completely unreliable when it comes to making a profit. Still, it is an interesting way to structure your betting instead of placing random bets on the roulette table. Now, this is an almost guaranteed way to lose your money.