The Best Numbers To Play on a Roulette Table

What are the best numbers to play in roulette? If you mean the odds of winning, see the below chart. The highlighted area show the odds of winning for each bet:

Bet Payout European Roulette Odds (Chance of Winning) European Roulette House Edge American Roulette Odds (Chance of Winning) American Roulette House Edge
Reds / Blacks (colour) 1:1 48.65% 2.7% 47.37% 5.26%
Evens / Odds 1:1 48.65% 2.7% 47.37% 5.26%
Lows / Highs (1-18 / 19-36) 1:1 48.65% 2.7% 47.37% 5.26%
Dozens 2:1 32.43% 2.7% 31.58% 5.26%
Columns 2:1 32.43% 2.7% 31.58% 5.26%
6 Numbers (6 line) 5:1 16.22% 2.7% 15.79% 5.26%
5 Numbers (top line) 6:1 13.16% 7.89%
4 Numbers (square) 8:1 10.81% 2.7% 10.53% 5.26%
3 Numbers (street) 11:1 8.11% 2.7% 7.89% 5.26%
2 Numbers (split) 17:1 5.41% 2.7% 5.26% 5.26%
1 Number (straight) 35:1 2.70% 2.7% 2.63% 5.26%
  • 1:1 payout means you receive 1 chip PLUS your original bet 5:1 payout means you receive 5 chips PLUS your original bet
  • The house edge is the advantage the casino has over players. So if the house edge is 2.7% and you bet $1, you can expect to lose $0.027 every 37 spins.

What’s the Best Bet to Make?

In the above table we see the more numbers we bet on, the better the odds of winning. But does better odds mean you are more likely to profit? No, and this is a common mistake players make.

EXAMPLE 1: Consider betting $100 on red for a European wheel. You know you have around a 50% chance of winning, which sounds like good odds. But on closer inspection, you have a 48.65% chance of winning, and a 51.35% chance of losing. So there’s a slightly higher chance you will lose. Specifically, 48.65% of the time you’ll profit $100. And 51.35% of the time you’ll lose $100. This slight difference is called the “house edge”.

EXAMPLE 2: Now consider betting on all 37 numbers. Your odds of wining are 100%, which sounds great. But the payout for a single number bet is an unfair 35-1. So even when you win, you still lose money.

Understanding Why No Bet Is Better Than Another

The “house edge” basically means “unfair payouts”. And you get an unfair payout for every roulette bet. See the red columns below and you’ll notice the house edge is the same for every type of bet:

Bet Payout European Roulette Odds (Chance of Winning) European Roulette House Edge American Roulette Odds (Chance of Winning) American Roulette House Edge
Reds / Blacks (colour) 1:1 48.65% 2.7% 47.37% 5.26%
Evens / Odds 1:1 48.65% 2.7% 47.37% 5.26%
Lows / Highs (1-18 / 19-36) 1:1 48.65% 2.7% 47.37% 5.26%
Dozens 2:1 32.43% 2.7% 31.58% 5.26%
Columns 2:1 32.43% 2.7% 31.58% 5.26%
6 Numbers (6 line) 5:1 16.22% 2.7% 15.79% 5.26%
5 Numbers (top line) 6:1 13.16% 7.89%
4 Numbers (square) 8:1 10.81% 2.7% 10.53% 5.26%
3 Numbers (street) 11:1 8.11% 2.7% 7.89% 5.26%
2 Numbers (split) 17:1 5.41% 2.7% 5.26% 5.26%
1 Number (straight) 35:1 2.70% 2.7% 2.63% 5.26%
  • 1:1 payout means you receive 1 chip PLUS your original bet 5:1 payout means you receive 5 chips PLUS your original bet
  • The house edge is the advantage the casino has over players. So if the house edge is 2.7% and you bet $1, you can expect to lose $0.027.

So it doesn’t make any difference what you bet. All bets are affected by the same amount.

Putting this into perspective, let’s say we had two players betting on a European table. One player bets on a green zero for 37 spins. And the player bets on black for 37 spins. Statistically, both players will lose exactly the same amount of money after the 37 spins. Let’s look at the math:

Player 1 (bets $10 on green zero for 37 spins)

Loses 36 times, wins 1 time

Winnings: 1 x 35 = 35 units PROFIT

Losings: 36 x 1 = 36 units LOST

So the result is -1 unit in 37 spins. As a ratio, this is -1/37 = -0.027. This is the -2.7% house edge.

Player 2 (bets $10 on black for 37 spins)

Winnings: 48.65% of 37 = 18.0005 wins = 18.0005 x 1 unit = 18.0005 PROFIT

Losings: 51.35% of 37 = 18.9995 losses = 18.9995 x 1 unit = 18.9995 LOSS

So the result is 18.0005 – 18.9995 = -1 unit

-1 unit in 37 spins. As a ratio, this is -1/37 = -0.027. This is the -2.7% house edge.

Conclusion: It doesn’t matter what you bet. Statistically you are still going to lose the same proportion of what you bet.

The Difference Between The Odds and Payouts

Often the odds and payout are considered the same thing. But they are very different. If you understand my explanations so far, you’d know that:

The Odds are how often you expect to win.

The Payouts are how much you will be paid for a win.

They are very different things and must be understood.

Another example is consider a horse race, where a horse has 5-1 odds. Does this mean there’s a 1 in 5 chance the horse will win? No, it just means the payout is 5-1.

The Exception: The Best Roulette Bet

There is one type of roulette bet that is better than others. It is the only exception.

If you’ve read the page about how to win at roulette, you’d know the only systems with consistently winning bets use physics to predict the winning number. And while you can’t predict the exact winning number on every spin, you can at least predict the right wheel sector on most spins. So by increasing the accuracy of predictions, the player has increased their odds of winning although the payouts remain the same. The house edge would still exist, but it wouldn’t matter because the player has shifted the odds in their favor.

So the best roulette bet is betting on areas of the wheel. In fact it’s the only way to change the odds of winning at the table. But there’s a catch.

If your roulette system was accurately predicting the winning number (or winning area of the wheel), you will have increased your odds of winning, and would be profiting. But if particular physical factors of the wheel changed, this could make the ball land in a different area to what you predict. So instead of hitting the winning number, you would be avoiding it. So instead of increasing your odds of winning, you will be decreasing the odds. In fact your odds of winning will be worse than random bet selection.

For this reason, inexperienced players trying to use professional betting systems can have a good streak of wins. But if the wheel’s physical conditions have changed and the player’s system hasn’t adjusted, then the player will hit a bad losing streak. Again that’s because they’d unwittingly be avoiding the winning numbers instead of targeting them. So while the best roulette bet is wheel sectors, the system must be advanced enough to deal with ever-changing physical variables that determine the winning number. One example is air pressure, because air pressure can change the deceleration rate of the ball.

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