The game of roulette is an iconic casino game. It is not difficult to learn to play, and you can learn how to bet on a roulette table in a matter of minutes. The trick, however, is not learning how to bet, but how to win those bets.
Understanding the Basics of Roulette
There are two primary variations of roulette: American and European. Both variations start with a wheel divided into 36 numbered slots with alternating red and black coloration. The numbers are not in numerical order. In the European variant, a green zero slot is also added, making 37 total slots on the wheel. In American roulette, an additional green slot labeled double zero is placed next to the green zero slot. Thus, in American roulette, there are 38 total slots on the wheel.
Bets are placed on a table with 3 columns 12 numbers with the same red and black colors that are on the wheel. The green zero and double zero are set above the columns. Outside of the columns are the words even and odd along with a black and red diamond. The 3 columns are labeled 2 to 1 at the bottom and are divided into 1st, 2nd, and 3nd 12’s on the side. There is also a space labeled 1-18 and another 19-36.
When the dealer, or croupier, spins the wheel in one direction, spin a small ball in the opposite direction on the inside of the wheel. As the spin slows, gravity pulls the ball down until it hits a divider between the numbered slots. Because of the conflicting spins of the ball and wheel, the ball will bounce several times until it comes to rest in one of the colored and numbered slots. The object of the game is to predict where the ball will land and place your best accordingly.
The Most Common Roulette Bets are Easy to Learn
There are dozens of variations to roulette betting, but there is only a handful of common bets. In the end, the house odds are the same for all of them, so it really does not give you any advantage to knowing all sorts of complex betting strategies, despite what many “systems” may try to tell you. We’ll explain this shortly.
The easiest bets to understand are even/odd and red/black. These are even money bets, which means that if you bet $10 and win you get $20; your initial ten and a matching ten. To place one of these bets, you simply put your chips on the words even, odd, or one of the colored diamonds.
Other easy “outside” bets (because the are on the outside of the number grid) are made by placing your chips on the 1-18 or 19-36, the 2 to 1 boxes at the bottom of the column, or in one of the “third” boxes to the side of the grid. You can also bet on the green zero or double zero.
On the inside of the grid, you can put your chips on a single number or on any intersection of the numbers. For example, on the bottom left of the board the numbers 31 and 32 sit horizontally to each other and they are directly above the 34 and 34 so that 31 is directly above the 34. You could place a chip on any single number, on the intersection of two numbers such as 28/29, 28/31, 31/32, or 29/32. You can also place a chip on the place where all four numbers meet.
Note that you do not have to limit your selections and can place as many bets as you want. For example, you could bet on reds and evens, or on the 2nd third and black. Obviously, the more bets you place the greater the chances that your number will be a winner. Unfortunately, unless the payout on this winning number is high enough to cover all of the bets that you lost, you end up losing money. Some books and systems will tell you that by mixing your bets in a particular way you can increase your odds of winning. The truth is that no combination of bets is going to reduce the house’s built-in advantage.
Learning How to Bet on a Roulette Table is Really About Understanding the Odds
You may have noticed that some of the bets are easier to win than others. This is known as the “odds” of winning. For example, you would have a 50 percent chance of winning by betting on black, red, odd, or even if there were only the 36 numbers, but because of the green zero and double zero, the chances of spinning one of these is not 18 out of 36, but 18 out of 38 or 47.37 percent. This means that the house has a 52.63 percent chance of winning. When you hear that the house has a 5.26 percent advantage, this is the difference between the house’s change of winning and yours.
The more difficult the bet, the lower the odds of winning. For example, betting on a single number gives you a 1 in 37 or 1 in 38 chance of winning depending on whether the wheel has a single zero, or a zero and double zero. Divide one by 37 or 38 and you get a 2.70 percent or 2.63 percent, respectively.
The payouts on each bet are based on the odds. The higher the odds, the less the payout; the less the odds, the greater the payout. A simple red, black, odd, or even bet will pay out even money. A single number will pay out at 35 to 1. Regardless of the odds and payout, however, the house always keeps its edge.
It’s Not Knowing How to Bet on a Roulette Table, It’s Knowing How to Win
The reality of roulette is that in its purest form it cannot be beaten without luck. Despite what the different “systems” try to convince you, the odds are the odds. Most systems are based on the “junk math” concept that one spin will influence the next. Yet, as any mathematician will tell you, the probability of spinning a number or color is the same every time regardless of what happened before. For example, if the dealer spun 28 reds in a row, you may think that it is now more likely that a black will be spun because it is “due”. After all, a black has to be spun eventually. However, mathematically, the chance of a red being spun next is the same as it was for each of the others, exactly 47.37 percent. While logic says that a black must be spun eventually, math says that the odds of it happening on the next spin are the same as for each other spin. You do not gain any advantage by spotting or tracking streaks or number patterns.
If the odds are the odds, how can you win? The secret is found in science. Roulette is a game of physical properties: a spinning wheel, a spinning ball, gravity, a human dealer. Physics is the science of studying the physical world. Through physics, predictions can be made that will increase your odds of selecting the correct number. You will still lose more times than you win, but because of the relationship between the odds and payout, if you can increase the chance of a single number selection hitting even one percent more often, you will be making huge profits.
In the end, it is not knowing dozens of fancy bets that is going to allow you to win at roulette, it is using science to accurately predict what numbers are more likely to hit so you can increase your odds of winning.