Many players ask if Roulette can be beaten? Read our guide for a truthful answer and learn about the odds of online Roulette before you play.

Roulette Odds and Probability

The game of Roulette dates back 300 years and ever since its invention, gamblers the world over have been trying to beat the odds and bring down the casino.

Our mission is to bring you the facts about this classic casino game and to show you what the odds are of winning at roulette.

We'll also compare the differences between the European, French and American variants of this game, so you know which is the best version to play.

Two Golden Rules of Roulette

Before jumping in too deep, when considering the probabilities and odds of Roulette, it's worthwhile considering the following:

  1. The law of large numbers.
  2. The roulette wheel has no memory.

Why are these important factors? Firstly, the casino (thanks to the zero placed on the wheel) maintains an overall advantage against the player. However, this only truly applies when using the principle law of large numbers.

For instance, the house edge for European Roulette is 2.70%.

This means, on average, for every €100 wagered on the table, the casino will pocket €2.70. Yet, a player approaches the wheel and places his first bet (€1). He will either win or lose, which means he'll be -100% or +100% in profit.

As you can see, it's dramatically different from the 2.70% house edge. But, throughout hundreds and thousands of spins, the percentage will be drawn to its rightful edge.

Secondly, a Roulette wheel has no memory. Each spin is totally independent from the one it preceded and the one following. This means that the probability of winning remains constant.

A common gambler's fallacy is the belief that if a string of red numbers win, the next spin will be black. This simply isn't true on such a micro scale, but as the law of large numbers implies, the correct average will balance out over an infinite amount of time.

Basic odds for winning

As touched upon above, there are three main variants of Roulette: European, French and American.

Both European and French ones use an identical wheel. It contains 37 slots/pockets which are numbered from 0 - 36.

On the other hand, the American variant wheel has 38 slots/pockets with the extra one being a double zero (00). This makes a big difference to the house edge, as shown below:

European/French:

  • A bet on a single number means the chance of winning is 36 to 1.
  • The payout is 35 to 1.
  • Therefore, on average, for every €37 wagered, you win €35 + €1 stake returned (€36).
  • The net result is winning €97.30 for every €100 bet.
  • A house edge of 2.70%.

American:

  • A bet on a single number means the chance of winning is 37 to 1.
  • The payout remains at 35 to 1.
  • Therefore, on average, for every €38 wagered, you win €35 + €1 stake returned (€36).
  • The net result is winning €94.74 for every €100 bet.
  • A house edge of 5.26%.

It should be noted that traditional French Roulette games use the La Partage rule for even money bets (Odd/Even, Red/Black and High/Low numbers). This returns half of the player's stake back to them if the ball lands on zero. This dramatically reduces the house edge to a generous 1.35%, making French Roulette the best variant to play.

Roulette offers players the chance to place a wide variety of bets which results in different probabilities of winning. These are some of the most common bets and we have also included their payouts.

Bet Name Numbers covered Payout Probability of winning (European) Probability of winning (American)
Straight Up 1 35 to 1 2,70% 2,63%
Split 2 17 to 1 5.40% 5.26%
Street 3 11 to 1 8.11% 7.89%
Corner 4 8 to 1 10.81% 10.53%
Double Street 6 5 to 1 16.21% 15.79%
Columns or Dozens 12 2 to 1 32.43% 31.58%
Odd/Even, Red/Black or High/Low 18 1 to 1 48.65% 47.37%

More complex Roulette coverage bets

Roulette allows you to place your chips wherever you please, a player isn't restricted to one bet per spin. There are some famous special bets such as Voisins du zéro (neighbors of zero) which covers 17 different numbers and Le tiers du cylindre (third of the wheel) that covers 12 different numbers.

For these, the player has to place a predetermined amount of chips on certain numbers to balance out the wins and losses.

Another popular cover bet is "red & the middle column". The reason for choosing this particular column is because it contains only four red numbers and eight black numbers which means you cover 26 out of the 37 numbers (just over 70% of the wheel).

But, does this swing the odds in your favour? Let's find out:

If we place €10 on red and €10 on the middle column = €20 total bet.

We spin the wheel 37 times and each number appears once (illustration purposes only - it's unlike to happen like that in reality)

  • 14 red numbers pay out at 1 to 1. For each of these, we break even. The win from the bet covers the loss on column bet.
  • 4 red numbers overlap in the middle column so both bets win. That means 4 x €10 (1 to 1) and 4 x €10 (2 to 1) = €120 total profit (4 x €30).
  • 8 black numbers pay out at 2 to 1 but we lose the red bet = €80 total profit (8 x €10).
  • 11 numbers we lose both bets = total loss of €220.

As you can see, the odds remain consistency to the average of the game and the casino wins.

Betting systems

Hundreds if not thousands of betting systems have been devised throughout the years in an attempt to crack the game. Some will claim that they have found a way of beating Roulette. As we have shown you on this page, any such claims are false over the long term.

Betting systems can be effective over short periods of play when luck is on your side. But the longer you play, the more likelihood there is that the law of large numbers will catch up to you and the house edge will take back the casino's profit.

With that said, there are some entertaining systems and strategies available. Several of which are good for preserving your bankroll so you can enjoy playing for longer. Be sure to check out our roulette strategies page for more details.

Conclusion

An interesting aspect of this game is that the odds and payouts are balanced for the entire selection of main bet types described above to produce the same expected value over the long term. This means if you only bet on odd/even and another player only bets on a single number, you will both lose approximately the same amount of money based on the law of large numbers.

Where players tend to go wrong when playing Roulette is by changing their bet types. If you are playing a game betting on the outside numbers (high/low, odd/even, red/black), it is advised to maintain these bets because the odds against winning are the same. An incorrect method would be to place one bet on red/black, then the next on a dozen and then the one after on a straight-up number. These all have different odds which creates a higher house edge, which is something you don't want.

Last update: 30-09-2019