Roulette Wheel and Chips

With so many betting options available on a roulette table it is essential to know the odds of each bet and the probability of that bet winning. Armed with this knowledge, you can make more informed decisions on how you want to bet rather than scattering chips willy nilly and crossing your fingers.

Each bet is weighted differently based on the probability of the outcome, so the odds are calculated once the probability has been determined – leaving room for the house edge of course. You will never get true odds in a casino or the casino wouldn’t make any money.

For absolute clarity then, roulette odds refer to the amount of money you stand to win on each bet relative to the stake that you put down, whereas the probability refers to the chances of each individual bet winning.

Roulette Odds

Roulette betsAlthough there are different versions of roulette such as European, French, and American, the odds don’t change between them. The probability does, but we will cover that in the next section.

Roulette odds, or payouts as they are also called, will likely be the same wherever you play unless you choose one of the themed variations with extra features, such as Multifire Roulette which reduces the odds of straight up bets to make up for the lost house edge on the extra features.

This sort of thing aside, the odds will be:

  • Even Money Bets – These are black or red, odd or even, high or low, and the payout for a win is 1:1.
  • Dozen Bets – These are the rows and columns, written on the board as 2to 1 and 1st, 2nd and 3rd twelve. They pay out at 2:1.
  • Line Bet – Six numbers included, essentially two streets next to each other, paying out at 5:1. You can also place this bet
  • Basket Bet – Only possible in American roulette because of the extra zero, this is basically a line bet that includes the zeros, covering 5 numbers instead of 6. It’s the worst value bet in the game paying out at 6:1.
  • Corner Bet – A chip placed at the cross section of four numbers is a corner bet, and pays out at 8:1.
  • Street Bet – This covers a single vertical line of 3 numbers and pays out at 11:1.
  • Split Bet – A single chip placed on the adjoining line between two numbers is a street bet, paying out at 17:1.
  • Straight Up Bet – Covering just a single number this is the hardest roulette bet to win, with odds of 35:1.

As you can see, the odds of each bet go up as the likelihood of the bet winning goes down – simple stuff really.

Remember though, the house edge is built into the odds so they don’t reflect the true probability of the bet winning. Looking at the straight up bet, it pays your stake back plus 35 betting units, so 36 betting units in total, but if we include the zero there are 37 numbers on the board (38 in American roulette), and this is where the house makes its’ money.

Roulette Probability

Roulette Risk and ProbabilityNow we are talking about the likelihood of each bet type winning on any given spin, so we can look at it as a percentage. You can also think of this as board coverage – what percentage of the wheel is covered by the bets you have made.

For example, the probability of the ball landing on black is 48.6% in European roulette. If you also placed a straight up bet on red 7 you would be covering a further 2.7% of the board (the probability of any straight up bet winning is 2.7%), meaning you have an overall 51.3% chance of winning one of your bets. You are covering 51.3% of the wheel.

Of course, the probability of a bet winning reduces in line with how many numbers each bet covers.

These percentage probabilities are different for American roulette so here is a handy table to show the probabilities for each bet type and the difference between the two variations:

Bet Type European Probability American Probability
Even Money 48.6% 47.4%
Dozens/Columns 32.4% 31.6%
Line Bet 16.2% 15.8%
Basket Bet N/A 13.2%
Corner Bet 10.8% 10.5%
Street Bet 8.1% 7.9%
Split Bet 5.4% 5.3%
Straight Up Bet 2.7% 2.6%

You can hopefully tell that American roulette players are at a disadvantage compared with European roulette players, especially considering that roulette odds don’t change between the two. That means American players are accepting more risk for no greater reward.

In general though, outside bets (even money and dozens/column bets) are the best option for those who don’t like to take too much risk and inside bets are better suited to those who are happy to take more chances.

Many players come up with systems and betting patterns that incorporate a mix of both to try and give themselves as much table coverage as possible balanced with potential winnings, but roulette is a game of chance so this is largely ineffective.

Called Bets and The Racetrack

Roulette Racetrack

One thing that hasn’t been mentioned is the called bets more commonly associated with French roulette. When playing online these can be placed on the race track, and the probability can be looked at as a whole even though they are technically a series of individual bets grouped together.

Roulette odds for called bets are no different to normal, but the bets that make up a called bet can vary so the odds will change depending on which bet wins – but obviously only one bet can win at a time so the odds can’t compound.

The numbers are arranged differently on the wheel to the board, and the groupings for called bets relate to their place on the wheel.

Neighbours of Zero/Voisins du Zero

This bet covers 17 numbers around the zero on the wheel using nine chips, and there is an overall probability of 45.9% that one of your bets will win.

The bets consist of splits, a corner, and a 3 way on the zero, so you are looking at either 8:1, 11:1 or 17:1 in terms of odds depending on which bet wins.

Zero Game/Jeu Zero

This is a mini version of the bet above made up of 3 splits and a straight up bet. It uses four chips and has a 18.9% chance of being successful.

Again, depending on the bet that wins you will be paid out at odds of either 17:1 or 35:1.

Third of the Wheel/Tiers du Cylindre

These are the 12 numbers directly opposite the zero and are covered using six chips, all of them split bets.

This means the payout will always be 17:1 if a Tiers bet ends up winning.

The Orphans/Les Orphelins

All of the numbers in the middle of the racetrack that haven’t been covered by either the Tiers or Voisins bet are known as the orphans, and they are covered with 5 chips.

There is a single straight up bet and 4 split bets, with the number 17 covered twice, so the payout will either be 17:1, or 35:1.