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Shotwell system

Last updated: 11.25.2022 by Andrew Shepard

The Shotwell roulette system was first described in an issue of Gambling Times Magazine back in 1978. This system is quite unique as it was conceived for use with land-based American roulette wheels. The system was based on the idea that real roulette wheels have slight imperfections that have an effect on the distribution of outcomes. Even though the Shotwell system is designed for land-based roulette games, it can obviously be used for online roulette too.

How the Shotwell System Works

The Shotwell system calls for covering the roulette board evenly. This is accomplished by placing a six-line bet and four straight-up bets. This combination of the six-lines bet with four straight-ups allows you to evenly cover the numbers on the wheel at the same distance from each other. There is a limited number of these combinations. Here are some examples:

  • Six-line bet (10-15) and straight-up bets on 16, 17, 18, and 28.
  • Six-line bet (19-24) and straight-up bets on 1, 2, 4, and 26.
  • Six-line bet (1-6) and straight-up bets on 20, 26, 8, and 10.

You can refer to the illustrations below to see how that last combination looks on the wheel and on the felt.

american roulette wheel shotwell system

As you can see, the distribution of numbers on the wheel is uniform. As for the stakes? That’s up to you. Just make sure they are appropriate to your bankroll.

Using this system allows you to cover 10 of the 38 slots on an American roulette wheel. This gives us a 26.3% chance of winning. The payouts depend on the size of the bets. Let’s say that we stake 5 units on the six-line bet and then 1 unit on the straight-ups. If we win the six-line bet, then we net a profit of 21. If we hit one of our straight-up bets, then we’re looking at a net gain of 27 units.

Shotwell System in Action

Let’s go over the flow of five spins using the Shotwell system. We will stake $5 on the six-line bet and $1 on the straight-up bets.

  • Step 1

    Our wagers are on the six-line bet (10-15) and straight-up bets on 16, 17, 18, and 28. The ball lands on 34, costing us $9.

  • Step 2

    For this round, we’ll wager on the six-line bet (19-24) and straight-up bets on 1, 2, 4, and 26. The ball lands on 9, which costs us another $9.

  • Step 3

    We bet on the same numbers as we did in the previous spin. This time, the ball lands on 23, giving us a win on our six-line bet. After accounting for our $18 deficit, we are now up $3.

  • Step 4

    We once again stick with the exact same bet as before. This time the 26 hits give us a win on a straight-up bet. Now we are up a total of $30.

  • Step 5

    We make the same bets again. Unfortunately, this one’s a swing and a miss. With this $9 loss, we are still ahead by $21, and it’s time to walk away from the table.

Putting the Shotwell System to the Test

We gathered all the relevant mathematical data, such as payout ratios and probabilities and tossed them all into the proverbial blender known as Google Sheets. We will run two separate simulations. In the first, we will stake $5 on the six-line bet and $1 on each of the four straight-up bets. We will then see how it goes using $10 six-line bets and $2 straight-ups. We'll use 2 players with $1,000 bankrolls.

Here’s how the first simulation went:

Putting the Shotwell System to the Test

Our second test looks like this:

Shotwell System to the Test

These results do not reveal anything out of the ordinary. In both cases, one player made a profit while the other lost. Because of the bigger bet sizes, the bankrolls in the second test fluctuated a lot more wildly. In fact, Player 2 zeroed out after a little over 200 rounds.

Pitfalls of Using the Shotwell System

We must bear in mind that the Shotwell system originally accounted for flaws on a physical roulette wheel. As such, all of the benefits and pitfalls don’t really apply to online roulette unless it’s a live dealer game. What we have to pay attention to is the even distribution of the numbers on the wheel. In reality, the distribution doesn’t affect anything because the probabilities are always the same. Also, relying on wheel defects isn’t a good plan. Very few people have been able to benefit from it.

Conclusion

The main concept behind the Shotwell system is that real roulette wheels can be biased if they have even the tiniest of physical flaws. Of course, online roulette wheels are driven by random number generators, which negates any perceived benefits of this particular system. With that said, we are still left with a strategic way of placing our bets. This is a flexible enough system that you can easily experiment with. Try different number combinations, and stake amounts to see if the Shotwell system works for you.

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