Roulette offers several betting options for the player. The typical roulette layout consists of forty-nine boxes-one for each of the numbers on the roulette wheel, and colored red, black, or green to match the number’s color on the wheel, plus eleven boxes around the perimeter for special bets such as red/black, odd/even, and high/low. Bets on specific numbers are called “inside bets.” Other bets are called “outside bets.”
Each bet has its own payout. Outside bets typically pay even money for even/odd, red/black, and high/low, and 2 to 1 for column or dozen bets. Inside payouts range from 5 to 1 on a six-number bet to 35 to 1 on a straight bet.
The most important thing to remember is that, no matter what you do, and with very few exceptions, the house has an advantage of at least 5.26 percent on every bet you make on a double-zero wheel. On a single- zero wheel, the house edge is about half that, or roughly 2.7 percent. So, unless you are clairvoyant or incredibly lucky, chances are you’ll lose at roulette more than you’ll win.
The house edge in roulette comes from the difference between true odds and casino odds, or the amount of each bet the casino keeps. On a standard American roulette wheel (one with zero and double-zero pockets) the true odds of hitting any given number are 1 in 38, or 37 to 1. But virtually every casino pays only 35 to 1 on a straight, one-number bet. If you bet $1 on the number 10 and you win, the house will pay you $35-not the $37 you would get if the house paid true odds. The house keeps the $2 difference, which works out to 5.26 percent.
Type Of Bet Description Payout
Straight-up Choose one number. Any individual number or 0 and 00. 35 to 1
Column Choose 12 numbers in a column. Wins on any number in that vertical column 2 to 1
Dozen A twelve-number bet. Bet on numbers 1-12, 13-24 or 25-36. Wins on any number in that dozen. 2 to 1
Even-Money An 18 number bet. Wins when a number hits on 1-18/19-36, Red/Black, Even/Odd. 1 to 1
Split Bet on two adjacent numbers. Wins when either one of your two numbers hit. 17 to 1
Trio Betting on three numbers. Wins when any one of your three numbers hit. 11 to 1
Corner Betting on four numbers. Wins when any one of your four numbers hit. 8 to 1
Five # The only five-number bet. Wins when any one of your five numbers hit. These numbers include 1,2,3,0 and 00. 6 to 1
Six # Bet on six numbers. Wins when any one of your six numbers hit. Chip I covers numbers 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 and 27. 5 to 1
How to improve your odds at Roulette
Serious players usually prefer to play outside bets because, although the payouts are smaller, the probability of winning is higher. But the easiest way and really the only sure way to improve your odds at roulette is to play European wheels, or single-zero wheels. The single zero drops the house edge to about 2.7 percent on every bet and eliminates the extremely bad (for the player) five-number bet. Payouts are the same on European wheels as they are on double-zero wheels, which makes them even more attractive to the player.
Aside from that, the one other thing that will improve your odds at roulette is playing at casinos that offer the “surrender” rule. It applies only to outside, even-money bets-that is, red/black, high/low, and odd/even. If you have placed one of these bets and the ball lands on 0 or 00, you lose only half your bet. This variation cuts the house edge on these bets in half, to about 2.7 percent. The surrender rule is extremely rare on single- zero wheels, where the house edge is already 2.7 percent. Before you start playing, ask the dealer whether the house offers the surrender rule.
There are quite a lot of books and web sites that claim to have work- able systems for winning at roulette. The truth is, roulette is a game of chance, not of skill, so no system can guarantee a winning outcome. This sheer randomness is part of what makes roulette stimulating and enjoyable. Sit down at the table with that in mind, and you’ll be able to revel in the elegance and relaxation of the game that made Monte Carlo famous.