Roulette is one of the simplest games in casinos but, at the same time, it is also one of the most elegant and exciting games to watch and bet on. What makes it so appealing is the vast choice of bets players can make on the table – they can pick their lucky number, bet on red or black, or on any other combination of numbers. The variety of options is immense and learning how to use them can certainly enrich players’ gaming experience.
Betting is among the fundamental aspects in every casino game but in roulette, it plays an important role when it comes to players’ winning chances. Not all bets are the same and not all of them are associated with the same risk or reward. There are several main types of bets that most people would be quite familiar with, whether they have played roulette before or not. Other bets are known to seasoned players only, while another group of bets can be found in just a small number of casinos.
Before plunging into the types of wagers, their odds and payouts, we should explain in very simple terms how and when bets are placed. Players are allowed to bet once the game has started – they do that by placing chips on a specific part of the roulette table, called a layout. The layout is the rectangular numbered grid where all the numbers from the roulette wheel are accommodated in consecutive order. Multiple bets can be placed at once and usually, each field on the layout has certain betting limits, determined by the casino.
Players can put their chips even after the wheel started spinning – betting stops once the croupier announces “No more bets” or the ball lands on one of the pockets on the wheel. Of course, casinos never accept bets that have been made after the ball had settled in one of the numbered pockets. When the ball stops moving, the winning number is announced and the dealer places a win marker – all losing chips are swept off, while players who won receive their payouts.
So, what are the types of wagers that could be made in roulette and are some bets better than others? That is up to every player to decide, depending on his or her style of play, bankroll, and temperament.
Basic Roulette Bets
Players can wager on a single number, as well as on different groups of numbers. The more numbers included in the bet, the greater the odds for winning. But at the same time, the payouts decrease, so the game could be more balanced. Players should know that all bets favor the house and even the so-called “even bets” are not actually even but come with odds less than fifty-fifty.
The two main categories of bets that could be seen in any type of roulette, physical or a virtual one, are the “inside” and “outside” bets. The two terms have nothing to do with how numbers are positioned on the wheel; rather, they refer to the main betting layout on the roulette table. When placing an inside bet, players place their chips on the numbered grid and within the separate cells, corresponding to the 37 or 38 numbers in the typical European/French or American styles of roulette. The outside bets are made by placing the chips outside this main grid where the fields for columns, dozens, red/black, even/odd, and high/low are located.
It should be noted that the zero or zeros do not fall under the following categories – red or black, high or low, and even or odd, so typically, these bets lose if the ball lands on 0 or 00. In some casinos in the United Kingdom, however, players lose only half of their stake in this scenario. Of course, the zeros are in neither column of the grid and in neither dozen numbers, as well.
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- Straight – This is a bet on a single number and in order to make it, players place their chips within the square that corresponds to their chosen number. The straight (or straight bet) pays out 35 to 1.
- Split – A split is a bet on two adjacent numbers on the grid (horizontally or vertically) and its payout is 17 to 1. Chips are placed on the line between the two squares.
- Street – This a bet on any row of the numbered grid or in other words, on any three consecutive numbers on a horizontal line. To place this bet, players put their chips on the outer line on either side of the row. The winning street bet pays out 11 to 1.
- Corner – Also known as a square bet, the corner covers four adjoining numbers that form a square. The chips are put on the common corner of these numbers and if the bet wins, it pays 8 to 1.
- Basket – This bet comes with many names, a base bet, a basket, or a sucker bet being some of them and it is featured only in some games. In single-zero roulette games, French or European, it covers the first four numbers on the grid, i.e. 0, 1, 2, and 3, and has an 8 to 1 payout. More often found in American-style roulette, it encompasses the two zero fields, 0 and 00, as well as 1, 2, and 3. In this game, it pays 6 to 1. The chip for this bet is placed on the corner shared by the zero (zeros) and 1 or 3.
- Six Line – Also known as double street, this bet covers 6 consecutive numbers that form two rows. Players make this bet with chips on the corner shared by the two rightmost or leftmost numbers. The payout is 5 to 1.
- Colors – Players can bet on either all black or all red numbers with this bet. It includes 18 numbers and the chips are placed in the red and black squares on the layout. The payout is even, i.e. 1 to 1.
- High/Low – This bet also includes nearly half of the numbers on the wheel – 18 to be exact, and players bet that the winning number will be either in the low (1-18) or high (19-36) range. Once again, the bet is made with chips within the high/low squares and the payout is 1 to1.
- Even/Odd – With this bet, players bet on either all even numbers (2, 4, 6, etc.) or on all odd numbers (1, 3, 5, etc.) by putting their chips within the corresponding fields on the layout. Just like the rest of the outside bets, this bet does not include 0 and 00. If it wins, it pays evenly.
- Dozens – Players can also bet that the winning number will be in the first, second, or third dozens of numbers with chips in the respective fields – 1-12, 13-24, or 25-36. The payout is 2 to 1.
- Columns – On the opposite side of the zero fields on the numbered grid, we can see three squares for the first, second, and third columns of this grid. Players bet on one of these columns by placing their chips in their chosen square. If they win, they receive a payout of 2 to 1.
- Snake Bet – This bet is offered only in some land-based casinos and its name comes from the snake-like line of numbers players wager on. The bet includes 1, 5, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 23, 27, 30, 32, and 34. These are 12 numbers, all red, and the payout for a winning snake bet is 2 to 1.
Racetrack and Call Bets
Some roulette tables, usually the so-called French and European roulette types, have an additional betting section called a racetrack due to its elliptic shape. Unlike the main betting grid, where the numbers are positioned in consecutive order, here, they appear in the same order they are on the roulette wheel. This gives players the opportunity to bet on certain sections of the wheel, which is especially popular in land-based casinos where players hope to exploit the natural wear and tear of physical roulette wheels.
This is often referred to as “advantage play” and some players believe they have gained an advantage over the casino by noticing that the ball tends to land more often on certain numbers or groups of numbers. Of course, today, wheels are manufactured much more finely and the wheels are monitored by casino staff, so this advantage play is nearly impossible. Still, for those who wish to try such strategies, the racetrack is a better option.
Racetrack and Call Bets Additional TipsMoreover, by betting on large sections of the wheel, players increase their statistical odds of winning. This is a much more realistic and reliable reason to place your chips on the racetrack rather than on the standard grid. The bets, available on the racetrack layout, are usually called French bets, although this is not entirely true as some of them are offered in German casinos. Still, their names are often displayed in French. A much more accurate term is “announced bets” or “call bets” – in land-based casinos, players call or announce their bets and either place their chips on the racetrack, or the croupier does this for them.
Voisins du Zéro (Neighbors of Zero)
This bet covers a large section of the wheel and its name translates as “neighbors of zero”. It consists of 17 numbers, namely 0 and its neighboring numbers from 22 to 15. This range of numbers applies to single-zero wheels, while in American-style games, the Voisins may cover a different set of numbers due to the different arrangement and design of the wheel.
Voisins du Zéro Additional TipsPlacing this bet in a virtual roulette game is quite easy by choosing the Voisins section on the racetrack. When playing roulette in a land-based casino, players need to place at least 9 chips on the following combinations – the 0-2-3 combo, on the splits 4-7, 12-15, 18-21, 19-22, and 32-35, and on the 25-26-28-29 corner. The payout varies, depending on the winning number. It is 17 to 1 for any of the splits, 11 to 1 for the trio, and 8 to 1 for the corner.
Le Tiers Du Cylindre (Third of the Wheel)
As its name implies, this bet covers approximately one third of the wheel – the 12 numbers situated opposite the zero and the Voisins du Zéro bet on the wheel. This section is between 27 and 33, and in order to make this bet, players need to put at least 6 chips on six splits, namely 5-8, 10-11, 13-16, 23-24, 27-30, and 33-36. Here, the payout is fixed at 17 to 1.
This bet covers the two small sections of the wheel left out from the Voisins and Tiers bets. It includes the numbers from 17 to 6 and from 1 to 9 or 8 numbers in total. Players can make this bet with at least 5 chips – one chip on 1, as well as one chip on each of the 6-9, 14-17, 17-20, and 31-34 splits. Usually, the payout is 35 to 1 for the straight-up 1, but if the winning number is one of the others, it pays like a split, 17 to 1.
Jeu Zéro (Zero Game)
This is a four-chip bet on the zero and the six numbers that are closest to it on the wheel. Obviously, this bet is included in the Voisins but Jeu Zéro gives players the opportunity to wager fewer chips so that they can decrease their exposure to risk. They need to place 1 chip on 26, as well as 1 chip on each of the 0-3, 12-15, and 32-35 splits. This bet has the same payout as Orphelins – if the ball lands on 26, the bet pays 35 to 1 and if any of the other numbers come out winning, the payout is 17 to 1.
Neighbor bets are quite popular bets, especially in French and European-style roulette games. With them, players typically bet on a particular number and the two numbers on either side of it on the wheel. For instance, a bet on 7 and neighbors means straight bets on 7 and the four numbers around it.
Players would place 5 chips on straight 7, 12, 18, 28, and 29, and if their bet wins, they would receive a payout of 35 to 1 for the winning number. Some online roulette games, including double-zero variations, allow choosing a number and up to 7 or 8 of its neighbors on both sides.
Final Bets (Finales)
The Final Bets or Finales in French allow players to bet on all numbers ending in the same digit. There are two main types of Finals – Finale Plein and Finale Cheval. With Finale Plein (or Finales en Plein), players can bet on all numbers ending in 0, for example, and these would be 1, 10, 20, and 30. A straight 1-chip bet is then placed on each of them. If the digit is 9, however, the bet would include three straights, namely 9, 19, and 29.
Final Bets Additional TipsThe other type of Final Bets is called Finale Cheval and it lets players pick 2 digits and bet on all numbers ending on these two. This is a more complex bet and may not be available in all casinos. A Finale Cheval 3/6 bet, for instance, would include 3, 13, 23, 33, 6, 16, 26, and 36. To make this bet, players need to place four chips on the following splits – 3-6, 13-16, 23-26, and 33-36.
Depending on the specific numbers players choose, this bet may require 3, 4, 5, or even 6 chips to be placed. The payout for Finale Plein and Finale Cheval is either 35 to 1 for straights or 17 to 1 for splits.
This is quite a straightforward bet and its name clearly shows which numbers it includes. Players can bet on either all red splits or on all black splits on the layout. The Red Split covers 8 numbers divided into four splits, namely 9-12, 16-19, 18-21, and 27-30. Therefore, a minimum of 4 chips needs to be wagered.
The Black Split, on the other hand, requires at least 7 chips to be placed because there are 7 black splits on the grid. These are 8-11, 10-11, 10-13, 17-20, 26-29, 28-29, and 28-31. The payout for both types is 17 to 1.
Bets Probability and House Edge
Many roulette players, both in land-based and in online casinos, tend to pay no attention to one very important aspect of the game, namely the mathematics. It may sound complicated and the specific calculations may be quite overwhelming for some but at the same time, the basic principles are very simple. Mathematics is one of the fundamentals of roulette and an essential part of every successful strategy.
We usually say that roulette is a game of chance and while this is true, in general, it does not mean anything in particular. The spin of the wheel, unless it is rigged or biased in any other way, is a random event. So, a more correct expression would be that the game of roulette is based on probability – the extent to which a certain outcome is likely to happen. It is measured simply by the ratio of favorable outcomes to the total number of possible outcomes.
Bets Probability and House Edge Additional TipsThe red and black sectors on the layout are considered by many people to be even bets but that would suggest that the odds for each of them winning is fifty-fifty. But that is not true – in fact, the red/black, high/low, and even/odd bets are even money bets. The probability that the ball would fall on either red or black, however, is not – it is less than 50% when we take into account the presence of one or two zero numbers, which are green in color. We can calculate it very easily – in single-zero roulette, for instance, there are 18 winning out of 37 possible outcomes. If we divide 18 by 37, we get 0.48648 or 48,65%.
The probability or winning odds could be calculated in the same manner for each different bet. The house edge, on the other hand, is the built-in advantage of the casino and can be calculated when we divide the probability by the number of winning outcomes. Let’s take the red/black bet as an example, once again – the probability divided by 18 favorable outcomes equals 2.70%, which is the house edge of this bet. The house edge remains the same for almost all bets and for the entire game, it is 2.70% in single-zero roulette or 5.26% in double-zero versions.
Common Myths about Roulette Bets
For centuries, people have had little understanding of the concept of randomness and they have come up with their own explanations of why someone wins while someone else loses in gambling. Roulette is the casino game that is probably associated with the most myths and superstitions, many of which have gradually spread among the gambling community. There are many tips and even strategies that claim they would guarantee winnings to those who base their play around them.
In reality, these superstitious believes can only have negative effects on players’ long-term success in casinos and this is why it is so important for both novices and experienced roulette players to know the true facts behind them. Below, we have listed the most common myths about roulette bets and why following unproven strategies should be avoided.
Hot and Cold Numbers
As explained above, roulette is a game of chance and every spin has the exact same odds as the spin before it. However, a surprisingly large number of gamblers believe that some numbers are more likely to win than others and that there are patterns to be spotted. According to superstitious players, there are times when certain numbers come out as winning much more frequently and in these instances, they become “hot” numbers. If the ball has not landed on other numbers in a long time, however, these are thought to be “cold” numbers.
Some would use this “knowledge” to make predictions about the next spins – which numbers are more likely to win and which ones would be a losing bet. Of course, this is a fallacy and in reality, the ball has no memory, neither does the wheel. As long as the roulette wheel, a physical or an electronic one, produces random results, all numbers are equally likely to win. Even if the ball landed ten consecutive times on black, this does not mean it would now stop on red. In fact, the odds of it landing on black or red are exactly the same.
Roulette players tend to favor some numbers and the most famous example for this is the number 17. It is believed to be a preferred choice by many gamblers for some reason or another but according to psychologists, it is simply because 17 is in the middle of the betting layout and almost in the middle between 0 and 36. There are plenty of legendary stories, surrounding the number, including a particularly interesting one about actor Sean Connery who won today’s equivalent of £160,000 with his favorite 17.
In 1963, he went to the roulette table in Casino de la Vallee in Saint-Vincent, Italy, and placed a straight bet on 17. He lost several times, but then, he won and decided to leave the bet on the table. Surprisingly, the ball landed on 17 three times in a row and the odds for this are 1 in 50,653. Lucky, wasn’t he? Of course, there are several other numbers that enjoy quite the popularity among roulette players and these include 7, as well as 23 and 24, which are, once again, around the middle of the table and many people are naturally drawn to them.
As you can imagine, there is another group of numbers that are equally unpopular. Obviously, this includes 13, which is universally believed to bring bad luck, as well as 6 probably due to its connection to the devil in popular culture. Two other numbers that are often avoided by players are 0 and 34.
What Is the Best Roulette Bet?
Many roulette players believe they have a successful strategy to play the game and win most of the time. Often, such strategies include not only hot and cold numbers or lucky numbers but also a certain type of bets. Some players, especially less experienced ones, would place bets that cancel each other so that they could guarantee a winning. However, this is a bad idea – imagine you bet on red and black at the same time (if such bets are allowed by the casino at all).
If the chips on the two fields are of the same value, you will neither lose, nor win, and if they are worth different amounts of money, you would still face the same odds and house edge. However, there is also the chance that the ball will land on the green zero and if this happens, you will lose both of your bets. Covering the table with as many bets as you can is also not a successful long-term strategy as every time, you will need to bet large amounts of money and still take some risk.
The Best Roulette Bet Additional TipsIn reality, there is no such thing as “the best” roulette bet. This is not the same as saying that some bets are better than others. Indeed, when playing roulette, gamblers should understand the theory of probability, which would suggest which bets are more likely to win or which bets are less likely to lose. As demonstrated above, the bets that have the highest probability of winning are the outside bets – red/black, high/low, even/odd, dozens, and columns. Therefore, they are the best bets in roulette.
But to keep the game exciting, it is always great to occasionally make some riskier bets. This could be one or more favorite numbers such as birth dates, for instance, but players should keep in mind that such wagers are mainly for entertainment.