When playing roulette games, it’s important to understand the house edges and roulette odds.

I find it bizarre that many gamblers will play casino games not having a clue about the house edges of those games. And even when they do know what the house edges are, they have no idea what those edges mean in terms of money (won or lost).

In respect of roulette games, players don’t understand what roulette table odds are, or indeed how they relate to roulette’s probabilities.

So, I decided to write this roulette betting odds article in the hope of educating casino goers.

## THE ROULETTE HOUSE EDGE

Let me take a simple example first by focusing on the following roulette versions:

• The American double-zero roulette wheel game; and;
• The European single-zero roulette wheel game.

The most key factors to note are as follows:

1. The basic house edge, (the odds on roulette) for the above roulette games.
2. And how that basic edge translates into roulette wheel odds.

Addressing point one, the basic house edge on American double-zero wheels is 5.26%. And the basic house edge on European single-zero wheels is 2.7%.

The roulette wheel odds for American roulette are higher because the wheel has 38 pockets, whereas European wheels have 37.

Regarding point two, in terms of money gambled, a roulette player stands to lose either:

• 5.26 units for every 100 units wagered on the American double-zero roulette wheel; or;
• 2.7 units for every 100 units wagered on the European single-zero roulette wheel.

You can see that roulette wheel odds vary depending on what version of roulette a player decides to gamble on.

The big question is: How do those house edges figure into roulette’s probabilities—and then, how do those probabilities figure into the roulette odds of both games?

## ROULETTE WHEEL ODDS: THE PROBABILITIES

Many casino and online casino players just don’t know the math on roulette wheel odds—or express little interest in wanting to learn about the probabilities. Let’s take the American double-zero wheel first.

As I wrote above, there are 38 numbered pockets spread around an American wheel; numbers 1 through 36, along with a (0) pocket and a twin zero (00) pocket.

So let us say you bet on 17 which is supposedly the favorite number of James Bond and supposedly the most wagered upon number in the game.

With a total of 38 numbers, a bet on 17 is a wager on one number out of 38. That’s a probability of 1 in 38. So, you bet it and 17 has one chance in 38 of coming up. That one in 38 is not the odds of the bet.

### ODDS ON ROULETTE - AMERICAN DOUBLE ZERO WHEEL

I’m now going to explain roulette wheel odds on American double zero games. By betting on one number, you have one chance to win and 37 ways to lose the bet. The odds against you are 37-to-1.

So, in American double-zero roulette, the probability is one in 38. But the odds deal with how often you’re expected to win which is once. Therefore, logically, on the flip side, you’re expected to lose 37 roulette games.

How does the above roulette odds translate into money? Simply put, you need to realize that the payoff for a winner is not the 37-to-1 roulette odds, as it would be in a “fair” game, but rather 35- to-1.

The casino shorts roulette gamblers two units. The casino couldn’t make any money if it paid “fair” odds, and if it did, that would put all casinos out of business — something I’m guessing we wouldn’t want.

Divide 2 into 38 and then times 100 and like magic the house edge is 5.26% (or to be more precise 5.2631578%). Feel free to memorize this number. The bottom line is this: Roulette table odds are not in league with the actual payouts.

American Roulette Bets Payout Odds
Even 1:1 46.37%
Odd 1:1 46.37%
Red 1:1 46.37%
Black 1:1 46.37%
1-18 1:1 46.37%
19-36 1:1 46.37%
1-12 2:1 31.58%
13-24 2:1 31.58%
25-36 2:1 31.58%
Single Number 35:1 2.63%
Combination of 2 Numbers 17:1 5.26%
Combination of 3 Numbers 11:1 7.89%
Combination of 4 Numbers 8:1 10.53%
Combination of 6 Numbers 5:1 15.79%
Combination of 0, 00, 1, 2, 3 6:1 13.16%

### ODDS ON ROULETTE - THE EUROPEAN SINGLE-ZERO WHEEL

The same holds true for the European single-zero wheel roulette games. On this wheel we have 37 numbers, 1 through 36 and a single zero pocket. The probability of a hit is 1-in-37. The roulette odds are therefore 36-to-1.

Unfortunately, European single-zero wheels also pay 35-to-1 on a win — a shortage of one unit. The true roulette table odds for the game are 36-to-1; the payout is 35-to-1.

Now we just divide that one by 37 and then times 100 and we get the house edge for European single-zero wheels, 2.7% (or to be more precise 2.7027027%).

European Roulette Bets Payout Odds
Even 1:1 48.6%
Odd 1:1 48.6%
Red 1:1 48.6%
Black 1:1 48.6%
1-18 1:1 48.6%
19-36 1:1 48.6%
1-12 2:1 32.4%
13-24 2:1 32.4%
25-36 2:1 32.4%
Single Number 35:1 2.7%
Combination of 2 Numbers 17:1 5.4%
Combination of 3 Numbers 11:1 8.1%
Combination of 4 Numbers 8:1 10.8%
Combination of 6 Numbers 5:1 16.2%

## ARE THE ODDS ON ROULETTE SET IN STONE?

When discussing roulette probabilities and the odds on roulette, we do have to take a close look at another factor.

The fact that the roulette odds are 37-to-1 on American double-zero roulette wheels and 36-to-1 on European single-zero roulette wheels doesn’t mean you’ll win even just once every 38 or 37 spins.

Roulette wheel “odds” are just that, odds — a long-range figure based on math. In the short-run the game of roulette (or any casino game) can be totally crazy.

Over 20 or 40 or more decisions, a roulette gambler could win many times, or may only gain a few wins, or even no wins at all.

## TIME AND ROULETTE ODDS

As a roulette player, bets on more and more decisions, the reality of the set math — roulette odds are modeled on — will begin to show in a player’s profit/loss ratio. It will never be exact, but the results of wins and losses will emerge close to the probabilities within roulette wheel odds.

Is there a way to play roulette in the short-run different from the long-run?

No! Roulette odds and probabilities are the same, regardless of whether you’re playing one spin, or over thousands of roulette games. This is another factor some roulette players overlook. It’s impossible to out-think the math.

## ROULETTE TABLE ODDS ON PROPOSITION BETS

Roulette table odds work the same way for every bet the game offers. For example, let’s just focus on the even-money bet of roulette’s well-known “red or black.”

The bet is called even money because, a win pays one unit for every one-unit wagered. But the probability and odds of the bet are not one-to-one.

To expand on this, let’s say you bet on red. There’re 18 red numbers and 18 black numbers. You want red to hit; you don’t want black to hit. However – and it’s a BIG however – you also don’t want the green zero or, on the American wheel, any of the two zero pockets, i.e. (0) or (00) to hit. Those are also losing bets.

What follows are the roulette wheel odds for both roulette wheel variants:

• You will win 18 times and lose 20 times on American double-zero wheels.
• You will win 18 times and lose 19 times on European single-zero wheels.

Since the payout is one-to-one what are the roulette table odds here?

1. They are 20 to 18 (or 10 to 9) on American double-zero wheels. This roulette variant shorts roulette gamblers two units, which means 38 into 2 shows the edge to be 5.26 percent; and;
2. 19 to 18 on European single-zero wheels. This roulette variant shows the edge to be 2.70 percent.

## ROULETTE TABLE ODDS: Other Online Roulette Bets

There are some other roulette bets (click here for more roulette tips) that come in with greater or lesser house edges. You can read about these on this website.

### Conclusion: Roulette Odds: European or American roulette games?

It goes without saying that if you’re going to gamble on roulette games, you’re probably better off playing on roulette tables with single-zero wheels.

The roulette table odds on American double-zero wheels place roulette gamblers at a disadvantage. The structure of roulette odds — set by math (for both roulette variants)—means roulette gamblers stand to lose less by betting on European roulette games.

### Roulette Odds: Questions & Answers

What are the odds on roulette?

The odds on roulette are based on the type of roulette wheel being bet on. The chances of winning a bet placed on a single number for the two main wheel types are: 46.37% on American double-zero wheels (with 38 pockets) and 48.6% on European single-zero wheels (with 37 pockets).

What are the odds on a roulette table?

Table odds are based on the house edges which are 2.7% on European wheels and 5.26% on American wheels.

The odds of winning are dependent on what bets you place on a roulette table. If you bet on a European wheel, the odds of winning on a single number with a payout of 35:1 is 2.7%. An even-money 1:1 bet is 48.6%. The odds on winning a  2:1 bet is 32.4%. And then; two numbers 5.4%, three numbers 8.1%, four numbers 10.8% and six numbers 16.2%.

What are the odds on 0 in roulette?

The odds of winning a bet placed on green zero played on a European roulette wheel is 48.6%. And a bet on any zero pocket, i.e. 0 or 00 on an American roulette wheel is 46.37%.

What are the odds on red and black roulette?

The odds of winning an even-money chance bet, for instance betting on red or black in roulette games is 46.37% on American double-zero wheels and 48.6% on European single-zero wheels.

Should I bet on double-zero roulette?

If you want your bankroll to stand a better chance of lasting longer, you should avoid double-zero roulette wheels with 38 pockets and bet on European roulette wheels with only 37 pockets.

Is roulette a fair game when it comes to the odds of winning?

With a 48.6% chance of winning even-money bets on a European roulette wheel i.e. betting on 18 roulette numbers, that’s close to a 50:50 chance. I think that’s fair given the casino has to make a profit from its 2.7% house edge.

Red or black in Roulette vs. Player or Banker in Baccarat: What are the best odds?

It’s a no-brainer that betting on the Banker in Baccarat is the best bet because the house edge is 1.06%. But because of the commission on Banker wins, when betting on many decisions, better options are Player bets in Baccarat with a house edge of 1.24% or take advantage of the 1.35% even-money bets in French roulette with the La Partage rule.

Player bets in baccarat are not affected by tie outcomes, but a few zero outcomes in roulette can have a bigger negative bearing on the odds of winning compared to Banker outcomes having an advantage over Player outcomes, over the long-run due to the drawing rules.

Be sure to check out the Roulette Strategy Guide for even more information on the game.

Frank Scoblete grew up in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. He spent the ‘60s getting an education; the ‘70s in editing, writing and publishing; the ‘80s in theatre, and the ‘90s and the 2000s in casino gambling.

Along the way he taught English for 33 years. He has authored 35 books; his most recent publisher is Triumph Books, a division of Random House. He lives in Long Island. Frank wrote the Ultimate Roulette Strategy Guide and he's a well known casino specialist.