Best Bets at the Roulette Table
Roulette, with its distinctive wheel, is a casino game with a high-class tradition. The table is full of different bets that carry the same long-term house edge, and players normally place their wagers at a slower pace than a game like craps. While the house edge is quite large, this more leisurely nature means you will spend a longer time at the table, which can make roulette more enjoyable for many players.
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Players choose between “inside” and “outside” bets. Inside bets are placed on individual or small groups of numbers. You can bet on a single number or a group of 2-6 adjoining numbers. These bets pay out differently according to how many numbers they include. A “straight up” number (1-36, 0 or 00) pays 35 to 1 while a six number bet pays 5 to 1.
Outside bets, on the other hand, are bets on large groups of numbers. Players can bet on whether the ball will land on a red or black number, an odd or even number or a low or high number for a 1 to 1 payout. You can also bet on a group of 12 numbers (either one of the three columns or numerically). Also be aware that if the winning number is 0 or 00, all outside bets lose.
Despite all of these wagers with very different payouts, they all carry the same house edge, except for one bet which is slightly worse.
Most players have their own preferred betting patterns and some even claim to have devised systems that give them a higher chance of success. In the long run, however, every bet can expect to lose the same on average against the house, and roulette cannot be beaten consistently.
In the short term, though, the various bets carry much different amounts of risk. The inside bets that offer the highest payouts will also win much less frequently, so a player solely making these long shot wagers could go a very long time without winning a single one. On the other hand, the outside bets will win much more often but only pay you even money or 2 to 1.
Popular roulette betting patterns often involve starting with a variety of low-risk bets. If a few bets win, then some of the winnings can go towards higher-risk bets with the potential for a huge payout. If those bets lose, then you go back to just betting the low-risk ones. While it all evens out in the long run, different betting strategies will see very different short term fluctuations.
Best Roulette Bets
Every bet except the five-number bet – 5.26%
This house edge is for American style double zero wheels. European tables have only one 0, which lowers the house edge to 2.70%. You might be able to find one of these tables in the United States, but they aren’t everywhere and often have a high minimum bet to discourage beginners with smaller bankrolls or other disadvantageous rules.
Worst Roulette Bets
Five-Number Bet – The five number bet (0, 00, 1, 2 and 3) carries a house edge of 7.89%.
Every other bet on the table has a lower house edge than this one, so never make it in any situation.
Building Your Roulette Bankroll
Since roulette has a high house edge, every additional bet you make counts against you in the long run.
If you are a player that wishes to make a lot of the high risk bets such as “straight up” numbers, you should carry a much larger bankroll to the table, because you will see much higher fluctuations. On the other hand, a player only betting low risk outside bets such as red or black and odd or even can get by with a much smaller bankroll, since there will be lower payouts but a much higher winning percentage.
A roulette player should understand that although they can’t beat the house in the long-term, that there are other factors that can add significant value. The smart player seeks out a brick and mortar or online casino that offers comps, bonuses and VIP deals, which can offset the house edge. If a player is seeking lower house edges, then craps or blackjack are solid suggestions.