Roulette: House Edge

This weekend, I was on vacation in Vegas, and had a lot of fun on the Roulette Table. Roulette is a very easy game to understand, so it draws me towards it, despite the house edges.

There are two types of Roulette — the European and the American. The American Roulette has a “0” and a “00” on the table, while the European Roulette only has a “0” on the table.

You will find the American Roulette on most tables in Vegas. This is probably because the odds of the house winning any bet are higher in the American Roulette than they are in the European Roulette. This has to do with the two zeroes. If you see a table with higher minimum bets than the other tables, then it probably has the European version going on it.

The way in which your bets are placed is loaded against you and the zeroes help the house in this. Let’s take a look at the several ways in which you can bet:

1. Red or Black: You can bet on the black or red numbers. If the ball ends up on your color, you get double the money back. But the zeroes are green in color, so they give the house an edge.

2. First, Second or Third Twelve: You can bet on the first, second or third set of twelve numbers. If the ball ends up in your number, you triple the money. Again, the zeroes are not part of any twelve.

3. Odds or Even: You can bet on odd or even numbers too, and if the ball lands on your number, you get double the money back. The zeroes don’t belong to you even in this case.

4. Choose a Single Number: You can choose a single number – say 0, 00 or 13. If the ball lands on this number — you get 36 times your bet. However, the odds of any one number coming is 1/38, so here again, there is a house edge.

You can split your bets among adjacent numbers and bet in a few different other ways as well, but, whichever way you see it, the house always has the edge.

I saw some very interesting things on various tables, which I am going to talk about now.

Give Me Kobe

One guy on my table was a Kobe Bryant fan and bet on the number 24 at every roll. Eventually, 24 did come and he made a lot of money. So, on the next roll, he didn’t place a bet on 24. He said: “what are the chances of two 24s coming one after the other? And the dealer replied: “One in 38, just as they were before”.

Double or Nothing

A guy came to the table and placed a hundred dollar bet on red. This was quite a huge bet for the table and no one made any bets of more than 25 dollars on that particular table. He lost that bet and then took out 200 dollars from his wallet and put them on red again. He said “it has to come eventually”, this time the ball did end up on red, and he took his 400 and was off in a second.

What Are My Odds?

One guy was constantly placing his chips on a few numbers, splitting them and betting on odds and evens at the same time, asking the dealer: “what are my odds?” No matter what the dealer said, he never changed his bets, so  I wonder why he was asking about the odds. He lost a lot of money, very fast.

All Over the Place

I encountered this type quite frequently; there were a lot of people who just bet on a lot of single numbers all the time. Because they bet on so many single numbers — when they won — they get a huge load of chips, but, when they lost, they lost a huge load of chips as well. Looking at the general reaction of the crowd — the kick of winning a big load of chips is much more than the remorse of losing a big load of chips.

Smooth Talking Dealers

Dealers who are talkative and good looking have people stick around their tables longer than the other ones. Since, the house has an edge on every bet you make — the longer you stay — the more likely you are to lose. So I’d say stay away from such dealers.

Vegas was a lot of fun, even if, the house always wins.

2 thoughts on “Roulette: House Edge”

  1. Mr M actually won a few hundred in vegas last month, most of it on roulette. He won on the first spin and walked away! I’m not much of a gambler, I work too hard for this money.

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