Roulette is one of the most popular casino games of all time. It has been around for decades and is featured in some form in nearly every casino on the planet. If you are thinking about getting into this incredible game or are looking to improve your knowledge of it, in this article you will find all the information necessary to become a good roulette player.
Choosing Better Odds
When you play a certain game you naturally want to have as big of an advantage as possible. One way to make sure that you get that is to understand what you are getting into. Knowing what the bets and rules of the game are will give you a natural advantage that cannot be replicated anywhere else. Below you will find a detailed explanation of how odds work in roulette and how it affects your gameplay.
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Roulette Types Odds
Roulette is one of those casino games with a relatively low house edge. The house edge is defined as the statistical advantage that the casino has over the players. Every casino game is set up in such a way, that the player payoff is lower compared to the risk. In this sense, we have an idea what the long-term profit of the establishment is. With a house edge of 2.7%, as in European and French roulette, the casino keeps that percentage of all bets as profit and pays the other 97.3% as winnings to players. This is meant to represent the long-term gain that the casino has, while in the short term anything is possible. This is how some players can walk away with huge winnings.
In French and European Roulette there are 37 pockets on the wheel. The probability to predict a winning one is 1 in 37. So it stands to reason, that the chance for you to lose is 36 to 1, which is what you should be paid – true odds. However, the casino odds – also known as the payout – on a Straight Up bet is 35:1. This difference in risk to payout constitutes a house edge of 2.7%. This is calculated by using the following logic. A winning Straight Up bet awards 35 chips, plus the one we wagered so that makes 36 in total. The total possibilities are 37, so 37-36 is a difference of 1. Statistically, every 1 in 37 spins will be lost, 1/37 = ~0.027. Converting that to percentages 0.027 * 100 = 2.7% and that is the so-called house edge.
American Roulette, on the other hand, features 38 pockets on the wheel, due to an extra pocket for the double zero. This almost doubles the house edge to 5.26%. Following the same logic, we can see that there is a 1 in 38 probability of winning a Straight Up bet. The true odds are 37 to 1 since there are 37 instances where we can lose and 1 where we win. The payout, however, is still 35:1. The difference 38 – (1+35) = 38 – 36 = 2. The house advantage is 2/38, which is ~0.0526 or 5.26%.
A bet exclusive to American Roulette is the Five Number Bet, where we bet on numbers 0-00-1-2-3. This pays at 6:1, which ultimately raises the house advantage to ~7.89%.
The ‘la partage’ or ‘en prison’ rules in French Roulette have a significant effect on the house edge. Since you get to have a second chance at an outside bet or retain half of your original bet respectively, this reduces the house by half, bringing it down to 1.35%. French Roulette is the most favourable of all roulette versions for players due to this reason.
Bet Types Odds
Wagers placed at the roulette table fall into two categories – Inside Bets and Outside Bets. Inside Bets refer to bets placed inside the number grid, either on a single number or a group of numbers. Here are all of the Inside Bets that you can place:
Straight Up Bet – This is what you call a bet on a single number on the grid. Chips are placed inside the rectangle and should not touch the borders. You can bet on any of the 36 numbers, the zero or the double zero – if there is one. Winning a Straight Up bet pays 35:1.
Split Bet – Betting on two numbers simultaneously is called a Split Bet. To place a Split Bet you would put your chips on the line that separates the two numbers. If the ball falls on either of the two numbers you win the bet. The payout ratio is 17:1.
Street Bet – This is betting on a row of three numbers on the grid, for instance on 10-11-12. You place the chips on the outside border of the row. If any of the three numbers win this bet pays 11:1.
Corner Bet – A Corner Bet is a bet placed on a block of four numbers. You have to place your chips on the spot where four numbers meet. If the ball lands on any of these numbers you will receive a payout of 8:1.
Five Number Bets – This involves placing a bet on the first five numbers – 0-00-1-2-3. This bet only exists in American Roulette, since that is the only variation of Roulette where the double zero pocket is present. It is sometimes referred to as the Sucker Bet since the payout is 6:1. In reality, it should be 6.2:1 to make up for the double zero, but as it is the house edge on this bet rises from 5.26% to 7.9%.
Line Bet – A Line bet is very similar to a Street Bet, but it involves betting on two rows instead of one . You place your chips on the outside border where the two rows meet. This bet has a payout ratio of 5:1.
Outside Bets refer to all other betting options not found in the numbers grid.
Dozens Bet – The numbers grid, with the exception of any zeroes, are exactly 36, meaning that you can place a bet on which group the winning number will belong. Typically, the groups are as follows – 1st Dozen includes numbers 1-12, 2nd Dozen numbers 13-24, and 3rd Dozen numbers 25-36. The zero and the double zero are excluded entirely from these groups, so if the ball lands on either of them you will lose the bet. If however, you win, you will receive a payout of 2:1.
Columns Bet – Similar to the Dozens Bet, the Columns bet also involves you wagering on a column of 12 numbers. The Column Bet has a payout rate of 2:1 and does not involve the zeroes.
Color Bets – As you have probably noticed the colours on the roulette wheel come in two different colours – red and black. You can place bets on what the colour of the winning number will be. This bet pays 1:1, also called even money. The zero pockets are normally coloured green and if the ball lands in one you will lose.
Odd or Even – This bet should be pretty self-explanatory, but we will still cover it. You can place a bet on whether the winning number will be odd or even. The total numbers 36, so you have 18 odd and 18 even numbers. The zeroes, however, are neither odd, nor even, and so if ball lands on them you will lose this bet. If you win, however, you will receive even money.
Low or High – Here you place a bet on either the Low (1-18) or the High (19-36) group of numbers. Whichever group the winning number belongs to that is the winner. This bet pays even money and zeroes are, naturally, excluded.
A call bet is not something found at every casino or roulette table. They are usually reserved for the high-class establishments where high rollers are the main clientele. A call bet is when a player does not immediately place chips on the table to cover the cost of the bet, rather the casino extends credit to that person. This is not readily available in every casino, however. Some casinos may be hesitant to give a player credit directly on the spot, whereas in some countries, such as the UK, the practice is illegal.
Call bets should not be confused with announced bets. While similar at first, the main difference between the two is that when a player makes an announced bet they immediately place the chips to cover the cost of the bet.
There are several combinations of numbers that have names attached to them, commonly referred to as the “French Bets’. Each of them covers a different section of the roulette wheel and a separate bet may be placed on each one. The series of numbers are determined by the way they are placed on the wheel.
Call Bets Additional TipsVoisin de zero – this bet covers the numbers that are between 22 and 25, including the 22 and 25. The series covers 22-18-29-7-28-12-35-3-26-0-32-15-19-4-21-2-25. At least 9 chips or multiples of 9 have to be wagered in order to place this bet. Two chips are placed on 0-2-3, one on the 4-7 split, one on 12-15, one on 18-21, one on 19-22, two on the corner covering 25-26-28-29, as well as, one on the 32-35 split.
Jue zero – this bet covers the five closest numbers to zero and is relatively inexpensive to make. One chip is placed on the 0-3 split, one on 32-35 split, and one on the 12-15, as well as a Straight Up bet on 26.
Le tiers de cylindre – ‘a third of the wheel’ in French, this bet covers 12 numbers, which is as close to a third of a roulette wheel as you can get. It includes all of the numbers between 27 and 33, more specifically, the sequence is 27-13-36-11-30-8-23-10-5-24-16-33. It takes six chips to place this bet.
Orphelins – This bet translates into ‘orphans’ and it covers 8 numbers, positioned on two opposite sides of the wheel. One series is 1-20-14-31-9, the other is 17-34-6. Five chips or multiples are necessary to place this bets – one chip for a Straight Up bet on 1, and four other chips for the splits 6-9, 14-17, 17-20, and 31-34.
The neighbours – Betting on a number and the four surrounding it. For instance, when you bet on 4 and the neighbours, you wager on numbers 15-19-4-21-2. You wager a minimum of five chips or any other multiplied number.
Final bets – This a wager where you bet on specific numbers ending in X. For instance, a Final 5s bet includes numbers 5, 15, 25, and 35. You wager anywhere between 3 and 4 chips, depending on your number of choice. Final 0 through Final 6 cost 4 chips, and Final 7 through 9 cost 3 chips.
Please note, that the call bets are considered a courtesy and will only be placed if the dealer has time to do so. If the bet is accepted the croupier will announce it, if not then they will say ‘No bet!’. Arguing over your bet not being accepted is considered a sharp breach of etiquette.
Choosing a Roulette Casino
When you are choosing a casino to play roulette, there are several things that you need to consider before reaching a decision. You should look up the establishments that you wish to visit and see what they are offering. You should look for the versions of roulette that give you the best odds, these are European or French roulette. The French roulette features rules that are beneficial to you and has a house edge of only 1.35%. Furthermore, you should also ask about the betting limits on the available tables to see if they fit within your targeted budget.
Improving your Chances to win
In order to improve your chance to win, you have to play at the best possible odds. For starters, if you have to the opportunity to play at a table with a French wheel that will decrease the house edge by almost half compared to the more commonly found American wheel. The American version of roulette features an extra double zero pocket but does not change the payout ratio. As a result, the probability to win a Straight Up bet shifts from 1 in 37, to 1 in 38, but the same 35:1 payout remains. This pushes the house edge further in favour of the casino. To avoid this you should ideally play French or European roulette. Between these two versions, the French one has the lower house edge, since it often features a ‘la partage’ or ‘en prison’ rule.
Furthermore, you should keep your bets as close to the table minimum as possible. This way you can play for longer and not completely lose your bankroll if things do not go as planned.
The very nature of roulette is meant to be a money sink, especially so if you are only placing Straight Up bets. The chance to win a single Straight Up wager stands at roughly 2.7%, or in other words – very slim. Therefore, it is recommended that you stick to placing several outside bets at once. If you place one bet on Red and one of the Third Dozen, you are much more likely to win than if you just wager on a single number. Outside bets give you the chance to win a decent amount in the short term, due to their relatively high win probability. Playing for prolonged periods of time is not something that we recommend, since roulette, like all casino games, is designed to favour the house in terms of odds.
Inside vs Outside Bets
As you have probably noticed, the outside bets offer a higher probability of winning, even at the cost of lower winnings. Inside bets, on the other hand, feature lower probability and higher payouts.
Betting on multiple Numbers
In order to win more often, some player like placing bets on several numbers at the same time. There are some things that should be noted about bets such as these.
Inside vs Outside Bets Additional TipsDepending on how you prefer playing and what your goals are, you may want to stick to one particular type of bets. If you gamble for the thrill and excitement then Inside bets may be the right type for you. If instead, you prefer a more stable style of play then the even money wagers that Outside bets offer are probably more to your liking.
Betting on multiple Numbers Additional TipsBetting on multiple numbers is significantly more expensive than making a Split bet, Corner bet, or a Street bet, as you are placing a chip for each individual number. The other types allow you to place a bet for a single chip. If it is possible to bet on all of those numbers at once using a single chip it is a much more favourable option. It will be easier on your wallet in the event that you lose.
Managing your Bankroll
Playing roulette can have a drastic effect on your wallet, since at a land-based casino the game plays at least 60 spins per hour, and so you need to carefully manage your bankroll unless you want to find yourself penniless.
En Prison and El Partage
These two rules are featured exclusively in the French version of Roulette and are meant to give the player the chance to claim parts of or the whole bet when losing an Outside bet when the ball lands in the zero pocket.
Managing your Bankroll Additional TipsSince roulette is a game of chance, there is always the possibility that you may lose everything, so do not bring to the table more money than you are willing to lose. What you need to understand is that casino games are set up in a way that always ensures that the house wins in the long run. With that in mind, you should not stay at the table for too long, as that increases the risk of ruin. Furthermore, in the event that you actually lose everything do not deposit more money with the intent to win everything back. This a slippery slope that many gamblers have fallen down in the past and it rarely brings the desired results.
En Prison and El Partage Additional TipsThe ‘en prison’, meaning ‘in prison’, states that when a player has placed an Outside bet and the ball lands on zero, the bet is not lost, rather it stays on the table for the next spin. The outcome of that spin will determine what happens to the bet. If the ball lands on zero again, then the bet is lost.
The ‘el partage’ rule allows the player to keep half of a losing Outside bet when the ball lands on zero. Both rules favour the players since they bring down the house edge to a very acceptable 1.35% for even money bets since half the money is given back when losing such as bet.
The basic goal of roulette is to correctly predict where the ball will land. Depending on the version of roulette, the wheel features 37 or 38 pockets, each representing a number that you can bet on. You place your bets and the dealer will spin the ball, which will eventually land somewhere on the wheel. Once the ball has been spun you cannot change or remove any of your bets. The game is usually played by up to 8 people who play against the house.
Roulette dates back to at least the 18th century. Blaise Pascal is said to have invented a more primitive version of the roulette wheel in the 17th century in his attempt to create a perpetual motion machine. While he did not manage to break any of the laws of physics, he did contribute to the creation of one of the most popular casino games of all time. What we currently know as roulette has been played in casinos since at least the 1790’s in France. Since then the game rose in popularity, being featured in numerous casinos throughout Europe, eventually making its way to the United States. The single zero wheel became the dominant version in Europe, while the double zero one gained prominence in the Americas. Currently, roulette is featured in casinos across the world, from Las Vegas to Atlantic City, to many casinos in Europe and all the way to Macau.
If you are a new to the world of roulette there are probably questions that you would like answered. So here are several of the most asked question regarding roulette.
How are each individual player’s chips distinguished from those of other players?
Each player is assigned their own chips that are coloured differently. This way the dealers always know with certainty who made what bets. These chips are unique to the roulette table and can only be used there. Upon first coming to the table your standard casino chips will be exchanged for roulette chips, and vice versa when you leave the table.
If the ball has not landed on a certain number for a while, can I expect it to hit soon?
If you are thinking that a certain number is ‘due’, then you would be completely wrong. Each spin on roulette is independent of the previous ones. There is always the possibility that a number may come up several times in a row or never. Probability dictates that the ball may land in that pocket, it does not guarantee it.
Can the dealer land the ball in a certain pocket?
It is possible but very improbable. The ball is spinning, as is the wheel, so the chance to land the ball in a precise pocket is practically none.
Do I have a 50-50 chance of winning an even money bet?
While even money bets pay at a 1:1 ratio, the chance to actually win one is not 50-50. French and European roulette features a single zero pocket, while the American version features two. So you have an 18 in 37 chance to win an even money bet on European or French roulette, and an 18 in 38 chance in American Roulette. This difference between probability and payout is what is referred to as the house edge.
If you have ever been at a roulette table you will no doubt have heard several terms that experienced gamblers use. Like most casino games, a whole subculture has emerged around roulette. Here are some of the more popular jargon that you may encounter while playing the game.
The total amount of money wagered over a certain period of time.
Numbers that come up more regularly due a biased wheel.
A flawed wheel due to continuous use and wear.
Placing a black chip, which is worth $100.
Refers to the area where chips are exchanged for cash.
French word for Corner bet.
French word for a Split bet.
A game where neither the casino nor the players are making significant wins.
A table where no player is making significant winnings.
French word for dealer.
Any bet that pays at a 1:1 ratio.
Placing bets of the same size on every spin.
Also called a Pit Boss, is a casino employee responsible for the management of all tables.
A rigged wheel.
The long term statistical advantage that the casino has over the players, also called Casino Advantage.
A bet on numbers between 19 and 36.
The area where the table games are located.
Chips valued at $25.
A player who is betting money they cannot afford to lose is gambling with Sacred Money.
A dealer who is attempting to land the ball in a specific section.
20 roulette chips.
A feature sometimes available in American Roulette, which lets a player keep half of the wager on a losing Outside bet when the ball lands on a zero. Similar to the ‘la partage’ rule in French Roulette.
The correct probability of a bet.
Refers to the chips used specifically at a roulette table.