Just a Spin of the Wheel

Roulette, little wheel in French, is a classic casino game, popular in European casinos for well over two centuries now. Game play is simple whereby players wager on a numbers or sets of numbers of their choosing, and a croupier spins the wheel. Spaces on the wheel are divided into slots (compartments) representing corresponding numbers on the felt layout. The ball spins until it lands in one of these spots, and winners are determined accordingly.

The wheel

While the felt of a Roulette game is organized to make wagering quick and easy, the compartments around the wheel follow an order that’s non-sequential. In the range of 1-10 and 19-28, odd numbers are red, and even are black. In 11-18 and 29-36, odd numbers are black, and even are red.

In case you were curious, the order of a Roulette wheel is as follows beginning with the green 0 and going clockwise, alternating red and black:

0-32-15-19-4-21-2-25-17-34-6-27-13-36-11-30-8-23-10-5-24-16-33-1-20-14-31-9-22-18-29-7-28-12-35-3-26

The speed of the web

Some may consider online Roulette to be even better than the game played in brick and mortar casinos. Players see many more spins per hour and without payout errors or nuisances from others. Clicking one’s wager on the virtual felt is effortless.

With the exception of live casinos (where a webcam records a real life wheel), players can take all the time they’d like to ponder where to place their chips before hitting the spin button. Roulette is a game which translates excellently to an online format.

Zero and double zero

Because online casinos don’t have the overhead involved in running a live Roulette game, they contently offer the single zero version more prevalently than their brick and mortar counterparts.

With single zero Roulette, sometimes referred to as European Roulette, there is only one green 0 along with 18 red and 18 black numbers 1-36. Roulette found in North America, South America, and the Caribbean has two green sports, a 0 and 00. The double zero version is sometimes called American Roulette.

The single zero type is always better to play because it has a lower house advantage, the inherent edge the casino has over the player. Why? The payouts are identical on both versions. True odds on a 36 number wheel would be 35-1 (35-1 is the same as 36 for 1 written as 36:1). Adding a zero makes 37 spots total.

How does one calculate the house advantage on single zero Roulette?

  • 1 – (36/37) = 0.027 repeating or about 2.7%

The house advantage of double zero Roulette with 38 numbers total:

  • 1 – (36/38) = 0.0526 or about 5.26%

Whether one wagers on an individual number or a set of numbers like red, black, EVEN, or ODD, the house advantage holds there same. Placing bets only on a single zero game where the casino’s expected take is 27 cents for every 10 Euros or Dollars wagered makes for happier gambling.

Bets to choose from

To summarize, a Roulette wheel has 18 red numbers and 18 black numbers 1 through 36 with the prefered single zero game adding one green 0 spot on the wheel and felt.

Even money or 1-1 bets A.K.A. outside bets:

Any / all of the below wagers lose on 0.

  • Odd – Any of the odd numbers
  • Even – Any of the even numbers (not 0)
  • Red – Any of the red colored numbers
  • Black – Any of the black colored numbers
  • 1-18 – Any number from 1 through 18
  • 19-36 – Any number from 19 through 36

2-1 bets:

  • Dozen – First dozen (1-12), Second dozen (13-24), or Third dozen (25-36)
  • Column Column of twelve numbers from 1 to 34, 2 to 35, or 3 to 36

Inside bets:

  • First four – Any or either 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4 pays 8-1
    • Place bet on the outer corner of 0 and 1 or 0 and 3
  • Trio – Any three numbers where one is 0 and the other two are 1, 2, or 3 pays 11-1
    • Place bet on the corner shared by the three chosen numbers
  • Six line – Six numbers from two horizontal rows pays 5-1
    • Place bet on the outer corner shared by the two leftmost / rightmost numbers
  • Square – Four numbers that meet in a central corner pays 8-1
    • Place bet in the center corner like the middle of a square box
  • Street – Three consecutive numbers on a horizontal single line pays 11-1
    • Place bet on the outside of a row in the middle of the horizontal line on either side
  • Split – Any two numbers pays 17-1
    • Place bet centered on the edge of two numbers
  • Single – Simply wagering on one single number pays 35-1

 All the same

The way all of the Roulette wagers are designed and paid off, each has the same house advantage. This is somewhat unique in the gambling world. Compared to a game like Craps where some wagers are better (even much better) than others in Roulette it doesn’t matter. The 2.7% house advantage remains constant.

Logical fallacy and independent events

Often casinos enjoy letting patrons know past results of a wheel’s spins. A board displays where the ball has landed for the last several spins. These displays are intended to encourage wagering and bigger bets at that.

If there’s one thing gamblers should take away from a Roulette strategy article, it’s that each spin of a wheel is an independent event. Past spins have no impact on future spins! So, if red has landed four spins in a row, the chances of black on subsequent spins are exactly the same as they were and always will be.

Sometimes it’s difficult to ignore past results, but altering bets based on a Roulette wheel display is one of the most common gambler’s fallacies. Try to ignore this part of the game. It’s all noise. Enjoy the game, place your bets wherever your heart desires, and remember to gamble responsibly.

Don’t rely on systems

Again, what cannot be stressed enough is that no system will overcome a game where the casino has an inherent and consistent edge on each independent event. One can find plenty of systems and strategies published on Roulette. None of them have any merit, and any valuable strategy article should touch on how to avoid even considering these strategies and simply have fun. Remember, you can’t go wrong, so place your bets!