Roulette Bets and Odds

The roulette wheel has dozens of different slots, so it's natural for such a game to have a lot of wagering possibilities. Depending on the name of the game you're playing, these betting options can become complicated. Whatever the case, the odds of the game are static for the most part. Once you get past the roulette myths and start analyzing the game, you'll find it's a straightforward proposition. That's good to know, because those studying roulette are likely to come across a handful of self-appointed gambling experts who might try to con them into trying alternative strategies. These tips make more of the game than they should, hoping beginners will assume they have the secrets to the game. The fact is, the odds of roulette are stacked heavily against you, so you should play the game for its entertainment value--not to beat the casino. In this article, I'll take a look at the various bets and explain the probabilities underlying them. This should put you in the mindset for a relaxing game of roulette.

Roulette Odds

Despite the great number of wagers offered at a roulette table, the odds of the game don't change much from one play to the next. Standard European roulette has a house edge of 2.7%. American roulette has a house edge of 5.26%. If you play using special la partage or imprisonment rules, the odds are halved: down to 1.35% in European single-zero roulette and 2.63% in American double-zero roulette. La partage double-zero games are found in Atlantic City in the United States, though Euro casinos have the rule. In online casinos, you might find all these games offered alongside one another, so it pays to know the probabilities of each. In any case, your strategy research on roulette should involve which games to play, instead of which bets to place. The various betting options are the same from an odds perspective, except for one or two betting options I'll get into later.

Inside Bets

The inside wagers are those placed inside the number grid. This includes a straight bet, which is a simple wager on one single number. This offers a 35:1 payout against 37:1 odds. The split bet is a wager on two numbers which are adjacent to one another--you indicate the split wager by placing chips on the line between the numbers. Street bets include three numbers across a row. Corner wagers are placed on four adjacent numbers, with your chips straddling the four corners between them. The box and sixline bets involved 4/5 or 6 numbers, respectively, in the American game.

Outside Bets

Outside bets are placed outside the number grid. These wagers tend to include larger blocs of numbers, including 12-number and 18-number wagers. Outside bets include options which are depicted often in movies, including even/odd bets, black/red bets, and 1-18 or 19-36 wagers. In all of these cases, players should know that the house edge is the same, regardless of whether you bet on 1 single number or 18 at a time. The only wager which is legal, yet inadvisable, in Las Vegas roulette is the box bet, which is a 5-number combination ranging from 00, 0, 1, 2, and 3. This offers significantly lower odds from a player's perspective.

Bet Type - Odds against Winning - Payout

Straight - 37:1 - 35:1
Split - 18:1 - 17:1
Street - 11.667:1 - 11:1
Corner - 8.5:1 - 8:1
Top Line - 6.6:1 - 6:1
Six Line - 5.33:1 - 5:1
Column Bet - 2.167:1 - 2:1
Dozen Bet - 2.167:1 - 2:1
Odd/Even - 1.111:1 - 1:1
Red/Black - 1.111:1 - 1:1
1-18 Bet - 1.111:1 - 1:1
19-36 Bet - 1.111:1 - 1:1

Called Bets - French Roulette

The called bets, more accurately referred to as announced bets, are found in French roulette. These wagers can be found in any game of European roulette in land-based casinos, but in the online casino industry, you'll almost always find bets like jeu zero, voisins de zero, and orphelins under the heading "French roulette". Most of these wagers are going to have the same 2.7 house edge, so they don't change you chances of winning so much as give you different ways to keep the game interesting.

Best Bet in Roulette

As you can see, no single best bet exists in roulette. When it comes time to decide which wagers to make, ask yourself what you want out of the game. If your intention is to play a low-stakes game with few strategy considerations at a slow pace while the spouse is sitting on slots row, then place small wagers on the outside bets, because these hit more. If your intention is to play for thrills and you have a high tolerance for losing streaks, then place high-dollar wagers on the inside bets. These don't hit very often, but when they do, it's a big thrill--especially if you hit the prize before the 35th spin. Many gamblers sit somewhere in-between these two extremes, so tailor your wagering strategy on the combination of thrill-seeking and loss tolerance you have. Whatever the case, don't bet more than you can afford, preserve enough of your bankroll for your whole visit to the casino, and don't be surprised if you lose a little more than you win.