The term ‘even money’ isn’t specific to roulette, you will hear it in relation to lots of different games that have multiple bet types.
It just means that a winning bet will get back a profit that is equal to the bet that they made in the first place.
It’s a strong sign that the bet which the payout relates to is low risk, with as close to a 50/50 chance of winning as it is possible to find in a casino where the odds are always against you.
So if you bet £1 and your bet wins, you will get £2 back: your initial £1 stake, plus £1 of winnings. If you bet £100 you would get £200 back, and if you bet £150 you would get £300 back, and so on.
In roulette there are three different types of even money bet and we will look at the both below, but first, let’s just get our heads around how payout ratios work.
A Quick Note on Payouts
Payouts at casinos are usually referred to as a ratio.
So you might see a payout ratio of 2:1, 10:1, or 3:2 in blackjack, for example. The number on the right represents your stake, and the number on the left represents the payout.
So with a ratio of 2:1, you are getting back 2 for every 1 that you bet, or two times your stake.
It helps to think of your bank roll as betting units rather than money to understand this. If you have 100 betting units and you put 1 unit down on the table at a ratio of 2:1, then you will get 2 betting units back on your wager, or two times your bet. You will then also get your stake back.
So you wagered one betting unit, won the bet, and take 3 betting units from the table. Only 2 of those units are profit though, so your new bank roll is 102 betting units.
We are looking at even money bets in this article, so the payout ratio is a much simpler 1:1 – meaning you win one betting unit for every unit you stake.
Even Money Bet Types for Roulette
Red or Black
This is probably the most famous roulette bet there is. You might have even heard people talking about ‘sticking it all on red’, or ‘putting a quick tenner on black’.
There are 37 numbers on the roulette wheel including the zero. Of those numbers, 18 are red, 18 are black, and the zero is green.
You can bet for the ball to land on a red or black number at a payout of 1:1, which is even money, and this simply means that the ball can land on any number of the correlating colour and the bet wins.
It doesn’t matter which number the ball lands on, so long as that number is the right colour.
This gives your bet a 48.6% chance of winning when playing European roulette (slightly lower at 47.7% for American roulette).
Why is it not 50%? The zero. This gives the casino their edge, because all even money bets lose when the ball lands on zero.
Even or Odd
Realistically, this bet differs from red or black in name only.
You can bet for an odd number to win or for an even number to win. The odd and even numbers and split between red and black but the colour is not important here, all that matters is whether the winning number is odd or even.
Once again your bet has a 48.6% chance of winning because there are 18 odd numbers and 18 even numbers – the zero doesn’t count as either so once again this is the casino’s edge.
You can bet on even and odd numbers by placing your chips on the corresponding area of the betting board, either side of the red and black betting areas.
High or Low
The last option for even money betting is the high or low bet, also known as 1-18 and 19-36.
This bet effectively cuts the table in half and allows players to bet on either side; the first 18 numbers or the second 18 numbers.
You will notice that the zero is not included here as, just like before, this provides the casino with its edge, so a bet on either side of the table will lose if the ball lands on zero.
There is no advantage to choosing one even money bet over the other, it is all down to luck and they all have the same statistical chance of winning and losing.
Can You Bet on Red and Black?
You can but there wouldn’t be much point as one bet would cancel out the other assuming you placed the same sized wager on each.
That goes for all of the even money bet types.
A £1 stake on both sides of an even money bet would either lose one and win the other – because the result can’t favour both options – or lose both if the ball landed on zero.
You can see what we mean in the table below:
|Bet on Black
|Bet on Red
The table applies in exactly the same with to odd/even and high/low even money bets too.
You can bet on different types of even money bet at the same time if you like, and this can help you to cover more of the table with lower risk bets, but there is no way to place bets to improve your statistical chances of winning money over the long term.
For example if you bet on red and even you would cover 28 of the 37 numbers on the board, and you would be covering 8 of those numbers twice. This means that certain numbers (like number 30 which is both red and even) would pay out twice, others once, and some not at all.