The abundance of betting systems and casino strategies in recent years have become overwhelming, especially for roulette players who are constantly searching for the perfect strategy, a wildly speculative concept that has been refuted by experts on multiple occasions. Still, that does not mean that all systems and methods are useless – in fact, the Shotwell strategy is considered to be one of the most effective methods for winning in roulette.
Two main factors contribute to the success of this strategy, namely the relatively wide coverage of the wheel and the high payouts. In contrast with popular systems such as the Martingale, the Shotwell strategy does not involve increasing or decreasing the size of the stakes for every spin. Indeed, it is not a betting progression but, rather, a combination of bets which provides players with 1 in four chances of winning. In fact, this strategy covers approximately 26% of the roulette wheel.
So, what is the Shotwell and how it is used? The strategy was first published in Gambling Times Magazine in 1978 and was originally designed for the American version of the game, which is played with 38 numbers – 36 red and black numbers, and two green sectors on the wheel for 0 and 00. Today, it is used on both single and double-zero roulette variations and unlike most of the other strategies and combination bets that focus on the betting layout, it pays attention to the wheel.
Players who use this strategy can choose from 7 different options, each consisting of one six-line bet and four straight-up bets. The idea is to play with numbers that more or less evenly distributed on the well. When the Shotwell was first introduced, experts promised players that every winning number would be in close proximity to their numbers. You should not worry if that makes no sense to you – the truth is that the proximity of the winning numbers to your numbers is completely irrelevant to the efficiency of the strategy.
How It Works
Despite the seemingly complex structure, the Shotwell works quite simply – it represents a combination of two wagers, namely straights and six-lines. To use this interesting method, players choose one of the seven possible six-line bets on the layout. This is a bet that covers six consecutive numbers and is also known as double street, as it contains two street bets, i.e. two rows of numbers. Then, they complete the strategy with four bets on single numbers, a wager called straight.
But the four straight-up bets are not randomly picked. They should be evenly distributed on the wheel between the numbers, already chosen in the six-line. The main idea is to pick the bets that would leave no more than 3 pockets between your chosen numbers. This is quite an interesting aspect of the strategy – every time the ball lands on one lucky number, players see it is very close to one of their numbers.
This makes the Shotwell extremely exciting, even though this nearby position of the numbers has no importance to efficiency and profitability. What makes the strategy potentially profitable is the payout offered whenever the players’ chosen combination wins. The six-line bet pays 5:1, while the straight-up bet pays 35:1, which is the highest reward offered in the game. Players bet on a total of 10 numbers on each spin, which is approximately 26.30% of all numbers in the double-zero American roulette.
Note that this strategy is best used with this version of the game although the odds here are worse. It is simply harder to distribute the numbers evenly in the single-zero European and French roulette variation.
Using the Shotwell Strategy in American Roulette
As mentioned above, this strategy was originally intended for the American type of roulette, where the number of pockets on the wheel is even. Therefore, you could easily pick up your numbers in such an order so that they are placed at an equal distance between each other. When applying the strategy, players need to first choose a preferred six-line bet and place a 1-chip bet on the corner shared by the two rightmost or leftmost numbers.
Typically, there are 10 possible six-line bets that can be placed on the layout, but not all offer the same even distribution of numbers on the wheel. The payout for this bet is 5 to 1, or 5:1, as it is usually displayed. When this bet wins, the casino pays 6 chips – the original 1-chip bet is returned plus the profit of 5 chip. The next step is choosing the four straight-up numbers and placing 1-chip bets on them. As mentioned above, the payout here is 35:1. In total, players wager 5 chips on every spin and when they win, they receive either 6 or 36 chips as a payout. Below, you can see the seven options for American roulette:
- Six-line: 1 through 6 | Straight ups: 20, 26, 8, 10
- Six-line: 4 through 9 | Straight ups: 13, 14, 15, 10
- Six-line: 10 through 15 | Straight ups: 16, 17, 18, 28
- Six-line: 13 through 18 | Straight ups: 11, 12, 27, 28
- Six-line: 19 through 24 | Straight ups: 1, 2, 4, 26
- Six-line: 28 through 33 | Straight ups: 00, 22, 24, 35
- Six-line: 31 through 36 | Straight ups: 0, 00, 29, 30
Using the Shotwell Strategy in French/European Roulette
The strategy is, of course, applicable to the single-zero roulette games, as well. In fact, the French/European roulette version is always recommended due to its house edge, which is almost half of that of the American roulette (5.26%). However, due to the different arrangement of numbers here and the fact that there are 37 pockets on the wheel, the distribution of the numbers will not be even.
We will not specify all numbers that can be paired with each six-line bet as this is up to players to decide. For a better distribution and balance, you could pick 5 numbers, instead of 4. In this case, however, each spin would cost 6 units and the wins would be significantly less profitable – the 1-chip profit that we get in the American roulette would be “eaten up” from the additional straight-up bet. This is an example of the Shotwell strategy in European/French roulette:
Six-line: 1 through 6 | Straight-ups: 15, 27, 30, 9, 7, 36
Applying the Shotwell Strategy
In order to play responsibly and with the lowest risk possible, players are advised to carefully choose the amount of money they would wager with this the Shotwell strategy. As we mentioned above, each bet would cost 5 chips in total but their value can vary, depending on the player’s bankroll and the wagering limits on the table. To simplify the betting process with this system, we will replace the chips with the term betting unit – 1 unit will be the base bet amount and it could be any amount of money.
So, on each of the four straight-ups, we will bet 1 unit and another 1 unit will be wagered on the six-line. Let’s see how the Shotwell will perform in a 10 random spins – for the example below, we are betting 5 units, worth $5, on each spin. We have chosen the first six-line bet, so our wager covers the following numbers – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 20, 26.
|Total Bet Amount: $50||Total Payout: $78||Net Profit: $28|
Is the Shotwell Strategy Worth Using?
Most roulette strategies and casino betting systems cannot guarantee winnings in the long term and the Shotwell is not an exception as it does not eliminate one crucial feature of the roulette games, namely their house edge. It makes sure that casinos have an advantage over its customers as a result of the payouts, which are slightly lower than the true odds of each bet. Of course, this house edge – approximately 2.70% in single-zero roulette and 5.26% in double-zero versions, is fixed and no strategy or betting progression can reduce or eliminate it.
To the players, this means that their expected losses over time would come close to these percentages – when playing American roulette, for instance, they would lose $5.26 out of a $100 bet on average. However, players could still win big in the short term and this is where the Shotwell strategy could be quite profitable under the right circumstances. When players win any of the straight-up bets, they receive a payout of 35 times their wager. Usually, this would be enough to compensate for any previous losses.
On the other hand, the strategy does not have sufficient coverage of the table in order to win in the majority of the spins. In fact, it wins only one in four spins on average. While theoretically, this does not sound too bad, in reality, anything could happen and the bets in the pattern might not win for more than 15 – 20 spins or even more. The 35:1 payout cannot compensate for more than 5 losses in a row and, considering the mere 10 numbers we play with, such losing streaks are very likely to occur.
In order for the Shotwell method to be profitable, we will need the right circumstances. First of all, players who use this strategy should have a substantial bankroll and play with the minimum stakes allowed at the casino. They should also have patience because it may take a long time before any of the straight bets to win. Even if the six-line wager does win a few times, it brings a modest profit of only 1 betting unit. This is why the Shotwell is widely considered a high-risk strategy suitable to players who are willing to lose large amounts of money before being able to regain their losses.
For most gamblers who are prepared to expose themselves to some reasonable levels of risk, this strategy will not be worth using. The risk with it is simply too high and the potential for losing lots of money quickly is huge. In the example below, we can see the Shotwell method being used in 10 random, not particularly favorable spins. For this example, we are making the same bet.
|Total Bet Amount: $50||Total Payout: $48||Net Loss: $2|
Shotwell Strategy Additional TipsWhen using this wagering strategy, players need to know that they will have more losses than wins. They will occasionally have winning straight-up bets but most of the time, they will lose as the chance of the ball falling in any of the four straight-ups is only 2.63% in American roulette. The odds are almost the same in European roulette, 2.70%. The probability of winning for the six-line bet is 15.78% in American and 16.21% in European/French roulette.
Advantages and Disadvantages of the Shotwell Strategy
Playing roulette for many rounds can often be boring and monotonous, especially for those who prefer to play safe with outside bets such as red/black or low/high. Trying out the Shotwell strategy will certainly make the game much more exciting. In addition to its entertainment value, it has one more interesting advantage – that it can bring some quite appealing profits if given enough time.
Indeed, the strategy could turn out to be successful for high-rollers and casino players who are willing to take huge risks. Other than that, the Shotwell strategy does not have much else to offer – it is incredibly unpredictable, risky, expensive, and time-consuming. The winnings it generates can hardly compensate the losses, not in most of the time. The fact that the numbers we bet on are evenly distributed across the wheel is not useful at all – in fact, the whole concept of your numbers being close to the winning ones is pointless.
A better strategy would be for players to pick one of the Announced Bets, the Voisins, for example, which covers a large section of the wheel around the zero pocket. In fact, various other combination bets or French bets would be less risky and more profitable. As you can clearly see, the Shotwell system does not guarantee solid, regular winnings and decent profits. Moreover, it does not reduce the house edge of the game, so players will certainly lose in the long run.
The Shotwell Strategy is a relatively popular system although it is not particularly effective in providing reliable winnings. Indeed, it comes with various disadvantages, especially compared to other methods, yet it could be quite exciting for roulette players who want to try something different. The Shotwell is bold, risky, but quite fun and may teach you how to structure your betting well instead of placing your chips chaotically on the table.