Roulette Odds and House Edge Explained
Roulette is often one of the first games a casino gambler learns. This is because it is easy, yet also exciting with multiple betting options and the opportunity for large returns relative to stake. As is the case with most casino games that are easy to learn, roulette has a relatively high house advantage. This advantage is 5.26% to the house in American Roulette and 2.7% advantage to the house in European Roulette.
Even if you’re not at all familiar with how to calculate casino game odds, the odds for roulette are easy to understand. In this roulette odds article we’ll break these down for you so at the very least you can impress your friends about how smart you are about gambling and statistics.
Roulette Odds Assume No Zero
It doesn’t matter if you’re playing European or American roulette, or if you’re betting on the inside or outside; winning roulette bets are paid identical to what the true odds would have been if no zero was present on the wheel. For example ignoring the zero(s): half of the numbers are odd and half of the numbers are even, half are red and half are black, half are 1-18 and half are 19-36. Each of these six bets we mentioned pay even money (1:1) which would be the true payout if no zero existed.
As you slice other payouts on the roulette wheel you’ll find this to again be the case. Let’s look at one number straight up. If there were only 36 numbers on the wheel, on average you’d lose one bet 35 times and on average you’d win 35 bets one time: each 36 spins. Considering the roulette payouts are 35 to 1 on single numbers, both in American and European Roulette, you’ll see again the same theme; the payouts are the same as if the zero didn’t exist. Zeros do however exist and are a betting option so we can properly restate this to say: roulette payouts are identical to what the payout would be if there we only 36 potential outcomes. This is also true of 12 number bets, split bets and any other bet you’ll find on the roulette wheel.
Now that we understand roulette payouts are identical to what the true payouts would be if there were only 36 numbers, calculating the house edge is easy. Take the total of all potential outcomes on the roulette wheel, subtract it by 36 and then divide by the same total of all potential outcomes: this equals the house edge. In American Roulette there are 38 numbers (e.g 1-36 and 0+00). The payouts are based on 36 numbers so we have two extra. This means the house edge is 2 divided by 38 which equals 0.0526 and is the same as 5.26%. In European roulette the math is the same yet there are only 37 numbers so we take 1 divided by 37 to see the house edge is 2.7%.
Bodog Roulette Odds
Bodog.com is a popular American friendly casino that offers a 10% instant cash bonus on player’s first deposit. What is quite impressive is that while most casinos prohibit access to roulette when bonus cash is involved, Bodog does not. In fact Bodog allows their bonus to be cleared at single zero European roulette.
To keep things simple if you joined Bodog and deposited $100 you’d get $10 extra free. This bonus requires you to wager your deposit plus bonus 15 times prior to cashing out, otherwise the bonus is removed. This means you’ll need to make $110 x $15 in wager which is $1650. To keep it simple let’s say you’re betting $10 per spin. Each spin is working off 1/165th of your $10 bonus which means 6 cents is being worked off per spin. We already know the odds in European roulette involve a 2.7% house edge so $10 x 2.7% = 27 cents. Take six cents of bonus cash off this and you’ll see the house edge while playing European roulette at Bodog with bonus cash is just 2.1%.
French Roulette Odds
French Roulette is played much like European Roulette except there is a special rule for when a zero is spun. The special rule only applies to even money bets, specifically: odd, even, red, black, 1-18 and 19-36, and the actual rule is different from casino to casino. Each casino uses one of the following two rules at their French Roulette table.
“En Prison” rule (in prison): When a zero is spun the bet remains on the table for another round. If it wins the bet is released. This is a chance to break even rather than an automatic loss.
“La Partage” rule (the portion): When a zero is spun half the money is lost.
In French Roulette the odds are the same as European roulette for all bets other than the even money ones. In the even money bets the house only takes half their win and therefore the odds are cut in half giving the house a 1.35% edge rather than 2.7%.
French Roulette is not offered at any online casinos which accepts American players. It is however offered for those located outside the USA at Ladbrokes Casino, their version uses the La Partage rule.
In this article we covered only standard roulette odds. To learn about online casinos offering better roulette odds than have been mentioned here read our online roulette guide.