Roulette, although not one of the best games with the house advantage (particularly if you are playing the American version with both a zero and a double zero) is one of the most popular games in the casino because the action is mesmerizing. Even at an online casino, the various cameras will produce an almost 3D effect, and you can virtually “feel” the players willing the ball to drop on their favourite numbers or combinations. But what are the real odds in playing roulette?

Start by choosing European Roulette

You don’t exactly have to be a rocket scientist to understand that European, one zero games is the better game to play than American, two zero roulette. Why? because odds are significantly less. If you bet a single number at a European casino, you have a 1 in 37 chance of winning. However, if you play a single number on an American casino, you have a 1 out of 38 chance of winning. That seems like such a small deviation, but the odds amount to a 2.7 per cent house advantage playing at a European Roulette wheel vs 5.6 per cent with an American roulette table. So do yourself a favour and choose the European variety if you have a choice.

What are the house odds on various roulette bets?

For sake of simplicity, we’ll assume you are playing on a European table. And let’s assume you are playing with chips of 1 euro each. The first thing to know is that different casinos have minimum and maximum house limits. Typically in Las Vegas, for example, your minimum bet would be $10 per roulette spin. Be sure to read the minimum and maximum benefits at any casino you bet on, particularly online. Why are there limits? One reason is to encourage a minimum level of playing. On the other hand, maximums are there to encourage responsible gambling as well as to prevent people from profiting by using Double-up Martindale systems. Usually, there are minimums for both inside and outside bets. Many people prefer to gamble on one number or choose several numbers of bets. For a single number, you have one in 37 chances of winning but the casino pays you only 35 chips for being right. This two number variation between the actual odds and what the house pays is known as the house edge. And as we said, the odds of hitting a single bet is 1 in 37.

Another popular number of the combo is choosing two numbers. Here the actual odds for two numbers are 18.5 to one. but your winnings are 17 chips. So your chance of hitting a number are greater doing a 2-combo bet, but the actual chips you receive are less. The overall house edge on two numbers is 5.4 per cent, (2.7 per cent twice,) The odds of winning a 3 number bet are 12.3 to 1, but you only get 11 chips for winning this bet. And so it goes. the greater the maximum number of combo bets (up to 6) the fewer chips you receive and the greater the house odds. What about betting on red or black. Here the house advantage is only 1.4 per cent, which seems like a good bet, but remembers, it only pays 1 to 1 Also remember that outside bets like red and black, odd or even, 1 through 18 or 19-36 will definitely have a house limit on how much you can bet and win. And bets of 1-12, 13-24 and 25-36 pay two to 1. However, the odds are 67.6 per cent that you will lose.

So how do you win at roulette?

Realize, first of all, that the odds or house edge, applies to really big numbers, like several million rolls of that silver ball. The house doesn’t necessarily win every time you play, otherwise, nobody would play roulette. Just like flipping a penny, heads or tails, while the odds are that over a million throws that the number of heads and tails will wind up equal, in the short term red or black, or a single number may come up several times in a row. It is said that in 1943, a roulette table broke a record when red came up 32 times in a row. The bottom line is that the only way you can win money at roulette is by

  • 1. Getting lucky and hitting a hot streak
  • 2. Quitting while you are ahead.

As for getting lucky, even though many people sell roulette strategy systems that don’t work, unless you from another planet and have X-man-type mental powers, or have spent 20 years studying under a Tibetan Lama, pretty much you are out of luck and being lucky. On the other hand, before playing, we sincerely suggest you play a game of what-if with yourself. What if I lose today. How much will I be willing to lose before I will quit? At the same time, as yourself, what if I win? How big a win is enough to feel satisfied. If the answer is $200, don’t spend a lot of money trying to boost your winnings to $1,000. Be satisfied with what you have acquired and have the discipline to quit. People who do not either set limits on their winnings or losings tend to wind up big losers. Related to that is the size of your bets. If you bet $50 or euros per roll of the dice, you have a fairly higher chance of winning or losing by betting 10 times and then quitting than you do if you make 100 or more bests. No, it’s more fun to keep playing, but not necessarily more profitable.

What about betting systems

No known betting system on earth is truly practical and will guarantee winnings. A well-known system is the Martindale or double-up system, where if you bet units of 10 euros each and lose, your next bet will be 20 euros. If you lose again you build your bets up to 40 euros. Why doesn’t it work? First, because if you lose enough, by the fifth or 8th bet, not only will you typically need to bet more than your total bankroll, but you will also be bumping up against table maximums.

The bottom line

If you are going to play roulette, play European roulette whenever you can, and be cautious that you know your maximum winnings and losings before you play. Then play a few hands as possible to possibly win a profit.