While Casino Royale is probably most famous for James Bond’s icy cool at the poker table, in the original book by Ian Flemming he was more of a baccarat man. But in the book, he also tried his hand at roulette and, naturally, 007 wasn’t interested in playing the game as a test of pure luck. He came up with a strategy designed to shave away the house edge and keep him winning as much as possible. But does it work? We’ve written up a breakdown of how the system fares, it’s the same whether you play casino or online roulette, and we’ll talk about how to approach the table.

To start with, the system is a flat betting system so what you wager stays the same every time (or at least, to start with) and it only works on a single 0 roulette wheel. The double 00 wheel has different odds that makes it significantly harder. What you need to do is bet £14 on 19-36, the entire 3rd 12 effectively which is a sizeable area but with a lower return of about £8 if you win. Next, you put £5 on the line between 13-16 and 15-18 which encompasses 6 numbered options. If this wins, you’ll get £10 back due to its lower frequency. The final bet is £1 on the 0 spot, which if the ball hits it will net you £16 back. If the ball lands on 1-12, you’ll lose all £20 of your stake. As your covering more than half the wheel with winnings provided those numbers come up, it looks as though the system has beaten the house edge and turned the odds in your favour, right?

Well, no, unfortunately. The problem is that the losses will hit harder than your gains and will occur with a reasonable frequency (as a hypothetical, if you play three times and the ball lands on 30, 16 and 8, you’re down by £-2). This is down to chance, of course, as you might get lucky and the ball won’t land on the 1-12 range all night. But the law of probability says that it all evens out in the end and you’re likely to end up at a loss. There are approaches you can take to try to mitigate this, such as utilising progressive betting. Essentially, you adjust your strategy based on how well you’re playing, either increasing the stake when you’re up or doubling it after a loss to recoup your losses. Neither one is flawless and both are at the whims of fate, but for the James Bond system in particular they have problems as the amount you lose can make it extremely difficult to get back on top.

The only method that might help mitigate this is if the casino offers bonuses, where you’re given money by the casino to bet solely on the games (online, they’re usually referred to as ‘sticky’ bonuses). With these in hand, you can mitigate some of the losses as you don’t have to bet with your own money and can use the casinos.

It sounds fun to gamble like James Bond, but his system is flawed to say the least. In the end, it won’t give you a huge edge over the house but it can be fun as long as you keep an eye on your bankroll.