ROULETTE Q&A

April 15, 2017

By Henry Tamburin

Ready to tackle the roulette tables? Before you do take this short true or false quiz.

1. The house edge on a single number bet is higher than betting on any even-money wager on the outside of the layout (e.g., red or black).

2. The chance of a red or black number hitting is 50-50.

3. If an even number hit 4 times in a row, an odd number is due to hit.

4. You can cash in your roulette chips at the cashier's cage.

5. You can begin to bet after the dealer launches the ball.

6. The house edge in roulette is higher than other table games.

7. You can meet the table minimum-betting requirement by combining inside and outside bets.

8. Betting systems will allow you to overcome the house edge.

9. As soon as you win a bet and the dealer pays you, you can pick up your chips.

10. You can reduce the house advantage by playing roulette on a single 0 wheel.

Answers

1. False. The house edge is the same for bets straight up on a single number as it is for bets that pay even money like red or black. Here's the trade off. You win more frequently betting on even money wagers compared to betting on a single number. However, when a single number wins it gets paid a whole lot more (35 to 1) than the even money or 1 to 1 payoff on say red or black. When you factor in the chance of winning a bet and it's payoff, you end up that all roulette bets having the same 5.26% house edge (except the five number bet 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3 - the house has an even higher edge of 7.9%. This is a bad bet so don't make it).

2. False. The roulette wheel has 18 red and 18 black numbers and the green 0 and 00 numbers. If the ball lands in 0 and 00 all bets on red or black lose (which is why the green numbers are often referred to as the house numbers). Therefore, if you bet on a red number you would lose if either any of the 18 black numbers hit or the numbers 0 and 00. Therefore the probability of winning is not 50%, it's 18/38 or 47.4%.

3. False. The chance that an odd number will hit on the 5th spin is the same as an even number. In roulette, past wins do not effect the outcome of future spins. Each spin is an independent spin with a fixed probability. The fact that 4 even numbers happen to hit in succession was just due to random chance. So, an even number has just a much chance winning the 5th spin as an odd number even though an even number won the previous 4 spins.

4. False. Roulette chips have no value once you leave the table. Each player will get different color roulette chips and their value is determined at the time you purchase them (the dealer will place one of your colored chips next to the wheel and place a marker on top that indicates how much each chip is worth). So if you purchase a stack of 20 roulette chips for $10 each of your chips is worth 50 cents. You should always cash out your colored roulette chips at the roulette table where you bought them and you will be given the equivalent amount of regular casino chips that you can bring to the cashier's cage.

5. False. You can begin to place bets on the roulette layout immediately after the dealer removes the marker that was placed on the previous winning roulette number. Here is the sequence of events that occurs as soon as roulette ball lands in a number pocket. First the dealer will mark the winning number, then sweep off all losing bets on the layout, and then pay off the winning bets (inside first then outside), and finally remove the marker. As soon as the latter occurs you can begin to place chips on the layout for the next spin.

6. True. The house edge in roulette for an American (38-number) wheel is 5.26%. That's higher than blackjack, the majority of most craps bets, baccarat, Three Card Poker and Let it Ride. The only table game that comes close is Caribbean Stud Poker, which has a house edge of 5.22%.

7. False. If the table has a $5 minimum bet requirement this means for inside bets you can wager on several numbers straight up or groups of numbers as long as the total of your inside bets equals $5. So you could wager $1 on number 7, $1 on the split bet on numbers 2/3, $1 on the street bet 9/10/11 and $2 on number 36. You have five wagers on the inside that totals the table $5 minimum bet requirement. On the wagers on the outside of the layout (those that pay even money or 2 to 1) each individual outside wager must at least equal the table minimum (e.g. if you want to bet on red and odd you must wager at least $5 on red and another $5 on odd). You can't mix the inside and outside wagers to meet the table minimum bet requirement.

8. False. No betting system based on past wins or loses will overcome the house edge. The only way you can gain the edge is if certain numbers or groups of numbers are hitting more frequently either due to a bias in the wheel (i.e. physical imperfection) or due to an experience dealer spinning the ball and wheel with the same velocity every time (i.e. so called dealer signatures). And even if a bias or dealer signature existed, spotting it requires the observation of thousand of spins to be sure it wasn't the result of random chance.

9. False. On winning outside wagers, the dealer will stack the winning chip(s) next to your original wager. It's tempting to want to pick up those winning chips but don't do it until the dealer finishes paying off all the winning outside bets and removes the marker off the winning number.

10. True. Some but not all casinos offer single 0 wheels (usually with higher table minimums). The house edge on a single 0 wheel (with 37 numbers as opposed to 38 numbers) is 2.7% rather than the 5.26% player's face on the American double zero wheel.