Roulette was the first game I ever played in a casino. I had no idea how high the house edge for the game was – in fact, I didn’t even know what the term “house edge” meant.
I don’t play roulette much anymore. It’s a little more slow-paced than I like. I prefer craps now.
But for beginners, roulette can be a perfect way to learn how to play casino games in general.
It’s also a great laboratory for demonstrating the limits of betting systems.
Here are the seven most important questions about roulette that you could ask, answered:
How Does the Game of Roulette Work?
Roulette is one of the oldest and most famous casino games in gambling history. It’s an example of a “spinning wheel” game. Imagine the wheel from Wheel of Fortune, but with numbers from 1 to 36 on them (plus a 0 and 00, for good measure.)
Now imagine half those numbers are black and half red.
Further imagine that there’s a pocket where a ball can land when it’s spun around the rim of the wheel.
Casino gamblers bet on where the ball’s going to land. You can bet on propositions like red/black, odd/even, or high/low. You can bet on single numbers, too. Or you can bet on combinations of numbers.
Here’s the gimmick, though:
A bet on red wins if it lands on red, and there are 18 red numbers on the wheel. But there are also 18 black numbers.
That sounds fair, until you consider this:
The 0 and 00 are green, and they’re additional.
So, if you bet on red and the ball lands on black, you lose. And you also lose if the ball lands on green.
Those two green zeroes are what make the house its money in the long run playing roulette.
2 – What Is the Best Bet in Roulette?
If you measure the various bets in roulette by their house edge, you have a multi-way tie:
ANY bet that’s not the 5-number bet in American roulette is the best bet.
What’s the house edge?
That’s how you measure the casino’s statistical advantage.
The roulette house edge for all the bets at the table – assuming a standard American game – is 5.26%.
The 5-number bet is an exception. The house edge for that bet is 7.89%. Never make that bet.
If you want to know what the best bet is in terms of which one offers the biggest payout, it’s the single-number bet. That bet pays off 35 to 1. The house edge is still 5.26%, though.
If you want to know what the best bet is in terms of which one is most likely to win, it’s any of the even-money bets. Those bets win 47.37% of the time, but they only pay off even money. And the house edge is still 5.26%.
Defining which bet at the roulette table is the best one has as much to do with deciding what your goals are as anything else.
My goal at the roulette table these days is to hit two single-number wins during a session.
I also limit the number of bets I make at a roulette table to 40 bets. I might bet on the same number every time, but I might not – it doesn’t matter.
If I’m betting $5 per spin, I’m going to bring $200 with me.
If I win twice, I’ll win $175 each time, or $350.
Depending on when during the 40 spins I win that, I might make a large or a small profit.
I might also show a small loss.
But I’m limiting my exposure to only making 40 bets. That’s about an hour’s worth of play, which is plenty for me anyway.
3 – Can You Really Win at Roulette?
Sure, anyone can win at roulette. It’s a game of chance. People win at roulette every day.
You can find all kinds of roulette betting systems and strategies. They’re all equally worthless, and I’ll explain why shortly.
How Do Roulette Payouts Work?
All the roulette payouts are designed to offer a break-even bet if the 0s weren’t on the wheel. No matter which bet you place, the payout is such that it would be a fair game – IF only the zeroes weren’t on the wheel.
This means that the payout for a single number bet is 35 to 1. (The odds of winning that bet are 37 to 1.)
The payout for a bet on two numbers is 17 to 1. The payout for a bet on three numbers is 11 to 1. And so on, until you get to the bets on 18 numbers at a time.
The lower the odds of winning, the higher the payouts.
But the house edge doesn’t change.
What Is the Best Roulette Strategy?
The best roulette strategy is to find another game to play. I’m only half-joking about this. I always suggest that gamblers stick with games where the house edge is lower than 1.5%. Roulette is way outside of that range.
All other roulette strategies are equally worthless, although they can be fun to try. The first thing you should do if you’re devising a roulette strategy is decide how much money you want to gamble with. That’s your gambling bankroll.
Then decide what percentage of your bankroll you want to win during your gambling session. Decide, too, on how much of it you’re willing to lose during that session, too.
Those are called win goals and loss limits.
Let’s say you have a $200 bankroll, and you decide you’d be satisfied winning $100 for the session, and you want to quit if you lose $100.
You could place single-number bets for $5. You’d have to lose 20 times in a row to lose your $100 loss limit, so you could play for quite a while.
If you hit a single number, though, you’ll win $175. Depending on how long it takes you to hit a win, you could easily hit your $100 win goal.
As long as you quit when you hit $300 or $100, you’re golden.
That’s called a money management technique. It won’t make you a winner in the long run, but it can ensure that you sometimes walk away a winner. A lot of gamblers stay at the roulette table until they’re broke.
Don’t be that guy. No one respects that guy.
How Do You Win Big Money at Online Roulette?
Real money online roulette offers the same house edge as traditional roulette in a brick and mortar casino. Winning big in the long run isn’t really an option. Of course, your definition of winning big money and mine might differ.
One piece of advice I can offer you about winning money at online roulette is this, though:
All the online casinos I’ve done business with had both American roulette and European roulette available. When that’s the case, ALWAYS play the European version of the game.
What’s the difference?
American roulette has two zeroes on the wheel, which makes the house edge 5.26%.
European roulette, though, only has a single green zero on the wheel, which lowers the house edge dramatically – to 2.70%.
Those still aren’t great odds, but if your hope is to win big money at online roulette, you need to play the game with the lowest edge.
Also, if you want to win big money, you should probably go with the bets with the biggest payoffs. Those are the inside bets. They win less often, but when you do win, you get a bigger payout.
The best of these is the single number bet. It pays off at 35 to 1.
If you have the bankroll to stand it, bet $100 on a single number repeatedly until it hits.
You’ll get a $3500 win when you do.
You’ll sustain some losses before you hit, but this is still a better strategy than trying to grind out small wins on the outside bets with a betting system like the Martingale.
Another option is to bet the max on a single spin and walk away with your winnings when you’ve doubled your money.
This works less than half the time, by the way – around 47.37% of the time, in fact.
But it’s another potentially good strategy for winning big money at online roulette.
How Can You Win at Roulette on Every Spin?
You can’t win at roulette on every spin – that’s patently impossible.
The only person who would ask this question doesn’t understand how roulette works.
Having read this post (and some of my other posts about roulette), you already know how roulette works, so you won’t even worry about trying to win at roulette on every spin.
Inexperienced gamblers often have many questions about roulette, but it’s a slow-moving game that’s easy to understand. And if you stick with the outside bets, the volatility is low. You’ll win even money slightly less than half the time.
A lot of gamblers like that aspect of the game. It makes roulette an especially good target for betting system fans.
The bottom line is that if you understand the answers to these seven questions about roulette, you’re way ahead of the game when compared to other novice casino gamblers.