Unlike bets such as red or black, columns, splits, and corner bets, the snake bet is simply a pattern that is created on the board by betting on a particular sequence of numbers, so it is named after the way it looks rather than for what it does.
It is essentially a large number of straight up bets placed on individual numbers, which means that even if one of your numbers does come up, you are going to lose the rest of your bets for that round.
Believed to have become popular in China before making its’ way over to Western shores, the snake bet is a fairly expensive way to cover almost a third of the table, but it comes with big rewards if you hit a lucky streak.
How Do You Place a Snake Bet in Roulette?
It’s not a bet you can make in a single move unfortunately, so you will have to manually place each chip during betting time, which means you need to be quick if you are playing in real life.
So where do you need to place your chips?
Well, a traditional snake bet is placed on red numbers, starting from the number one, and snaking across the board in a zig zag until reaching number 34.
The numbers it covers are:
- 1, 5, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 23, 27, 30, 32, 34
Each number should have the same value chip placed on it to create a proper snake bet, so that regardless of which number wins (if any of them do), your return will be the same.
This requires the player to place a single chip on each individual number in the sequence, amounting to twelve different straight up bets.
It won’t take long once you know the pattern, but if you plan to place this bet in a real casino perhaps practice a few times so that you don’t get flustered in the moment and mess it up.
Although very rare, there is the odd online roulette game which has this option set up for you, so you can place the snake bet with a single click, but in real life you are extremely unlikely to find this option anywhere.
What is the Difference Between a Snake Bet and a Column Bet?
You may have noticed that this bet includes a total of 12 numbers, just like a column bet, so in terms of board coverage it is exactly the same, but the odds if you win are 35:1 instead of 2:1.
So why, you may be asking, would anyone ever place a column bet if they can get much higher returns for the same board coverage?
Well, a column bet is a bet in and of itself, whereas a snake bet is 12 different bets that create the snake; so you can place a single chip on a column bet, but you need to place a minimum of 12 chips to make a snake bet, so it’s higher risk as well as higher reward.
Even though your chances of a win are the same (it’s around 32.4% in European Roulette), your cost per game is much higher, so it wouldn’t take too many losses before you fell way behind.
A snake bet will return 35x your stake, but only your stake on the winning number, your 11 other bets are lost.
So, assuming we place £1 per bet:
|Total £ Staked
So it’s deceptive, because a winning snake bet still costs you money. You need to win 50% of your bets just to stay even, but your chances of a win are only 32.4%.
A column bet is therefore a more cautious bet than a snake bet, because if you lose you have only lost a single chip or betting unit, rather than twelve.
Of course, a column bet win will only get you a fraction of the payout of a snake bet, but anyone with a limited bank roll will get many more cracks at the whip using column bets over snake bets.
This all applies to the Dozen bet too, which is just another way of covering 12 numbers with a single bet.
Is the Snake Bet a Roulette Strategy?
Although it is a type of bet (in a way), the snake bet is essentially just a collection of bets grouped together and given a name, so it couldn’t be considered a strategy.
The only real way to strategise a game of roulette is with the size of your bets in relation to your bank roll, rather than by placing specific bet types.
It’s more of a way to have fun with your bets, or perhaps a way to get the sort of table coverage you are interested in without using any of the pre-existing bet types.
Where did the Snake Bet Come From?
There doesn’t seem to be any official record of the origins of the snake bet, but it’s universally agreed that in all likelihood it came from China.
This is because the snake is one of the animals on the Chinese zodiac, and the colour red is seen as lucky over there too.
It’s probably one of those things that no one person really ‘invented’. It’s more likely that several people started doing it and the idea spread naturally as others watched and they told their friends.
It’s just a betting pattern at the end of the day; you could just as easily create a smiley face with your bets if you wanted to – it wouldn’t change the chances of your bet winning or losing, and the house edge would remain the same as it always does in roulette.
Is There a Black Snake Bet?
You could place a black snake bet, although this isn’t really a recognised bet, and the layout of the board means it wouldn’t look the same either.
The four corners of a roulette table are taken up by red numbers, and both the midway points are covered by red numbers too, so a black snake bet would look a bit bunched up and also have to stop mid zag in the middle of the table.
Still, you can do what you like when it comes to creating shapes with your bets, the casino won’t mind so long as you are putting chips on the table.