Six things to remember when playing roulette

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Nothing beats the excitement of spinning a roulette wheel and wondering where it will land. It’s no surprise then that roulette is one of the most popular forms of gaming – both in land-based casinos and as online roulette. Make sure to check out Lucky Nugget’s handy tips on playing roulette before giving it a whirl!

1. Always bet on the European wheel

If you’re given a choice between a European wheel and an American wheel, by far and away your best shot at winning will be playing the European wheel. But why?

The European wheel has 37 possible slots that could be chosen, whereas an American wheel has 38. Both wheels have numbers from 1 to 36 which can be bet on, but the European wheel has a single house slot – 0 – whereas American wheels have both 0 and 00.

Despite the extra house slot, payouts from both of the wheels are given at 35-to-1. This means that American roulette wheels have a slightly higher house edge of 5.27%, compared to the European roulette wheel’s 2.7%. So for every $100 you bet, you’ll lose slightly more on average playing an American game. There’s no reason to opt for American roulette wheels if you can find a European wheel in the same establishment!

2. You get better odds if you can play partage

Some casinos offer you “partage” (French for “sharing”) or “en prison” when playing on European wheels. If you ever find these, you should always take them up on their kindness: it cuts the house edge in half, down to a mere 1.35%.

Partage and en prison bets are offered on the furthest outside bets, or the ones that have an even chance of winning if you ignore the house edge: high or low, even or odd, or the classic red or black. With a partage bet, the wheel landing on 0 results in you getting half of your winnings back. While this is still obviously a loss, it’s less severe than losing it all.

En prison is a little different: instead, your bet will be left on from the previous spin but with a special marker showing its imprisoned status. If you win the next spin, your stake is returned, but you’ll forfeit the wager if you lose.

Finding a casino that offers partage or en prison rules can be tricky, as it varies around the world. Las Vegas casinos, for instance, almost never partake in it, whereas UK casinos tend to favour it.

3. There are more bets than you’d expect

Don’t be fooled into thinking you have to put it all on black, or on 19! You can place all kinds of bets on a roulette wheel, and many are shown by the table itself.

As well as even-chance bets, less common outside bets include a dozen numbers, a vertical column of numbers, or a winding “snake bet” of numbers across the board (each of these pays 2 to 1 for victories). And inside bets have even more choices, ranging from a split (betting on two adjacent numbers like 19 and 20) up to Six Line bets (like 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24).

And then call or announce bets diversify this even further, allowing you to place bets based on sectors of the roulette wheel as opposed to the linear number layout. You can bet on part of the wheel next to 0 (“voisins du zero”), the third of the wheel opposite 0 (“le tiers du cylinder”) or on the eight numbers excluded from these two options (“orphelins”).

Or, if you have an inkling of the physical position of where the ball may land, you can call “8 and the neighbours”. A neighbours bet covers five numbers – the announced one, and two on either side. So 8 and the neighbours would be a bet on 11, 30, 8, 23 and 10.

4. Avoid this bet on an American roulette wheel!

By far the worst bet you can make is a “top line” bet, sometimes called a “basket”. Unlike every other bet on an American roulette wheel – which has a house edge of 5.3% – this one bet has an edge of an eye-watering 7.9%. This is because it’s paid out at 6 to 1 odds, but the true odds are 6.6 to 1. This is a higher difference between true odds and paid odds than any other bet, and as such raises the house edge for this wager.

A top line bet covers the lowest numbers of a roulette wheel: 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3. It might be an appealing choice for a maverick, looking to profit from the increased chance of a house win on an American wheel – but the odds are that the true loser will be whoever places this bet.

5. High rollers can make maximum bets

Roulette by ys*, on Flickr
Roulette” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by ys*

If you’re really looking to splash your cash, you can make a maximum or “full complete” bet. This involves making every inside bet concerning a given number, as well as making each of these bets at the maximum possible level.

So, betting on 17 to the maximum means making 12 separate bets which are each placed at their maximum possible value. It covers 17 (1 chip), splits of 14-17, 16-17, 17-18 and 17-20 (2 chips each), a street bet of 16-17-18 (3 chips), the four corner bets 17 appears in (4 chips each), and the six-line bets of 13-14-15-16-17-18 and 16-17-18-19-20 (6 chips each). In total this comes to 40 chips, and covers numbers 13 to 21.

17 winning in this scenario would earn the player 392 chips. Different numbers have different maximum bets and different winning levels, depending on their location on the table and thus how many inside bets they’re included in.

6. Don’t get stung by the Gambler’s Fallacy

It is literally impossible to predict the next outcome of a roulette spin based on previous outcomes. Every time you spin a roulette wheel, it has exactly the same chance as coming up on each number as it did previously. So, while it is unlikely for a roulette wheel to land on red six times in a row, that doesn’t have any impact on what it will spin the seventh time.

Each time you spin a roulette wheel, it has the same chance of landing on red or black – around 50%. So, if you had started betting right at the beginning of the spins, you have a very small chance of it being red every time: it’s around a 50% chance for it to be red the first time, 25% chance twice in a row, 12.5% chance for three times, and so on. Six times in a row is slightly under 1.56%, or 1/64 (given that house edge shaves a bit off each of those odds). But each of these spins, taken on its own, still had an 18/37 of being red.

So, just because the roulette wheel has spun red six times in a row, it’s not more likely to land on black now. Number are never due to come up, and you can’t go on hot or cold streaks of luck: it’s all superstition. Don’t be that person insisting that their number “has” to come up and getting frustrated when it never does.

As long as you remember these handy tips, you’re going to have a great time playing the roulette wheel. Always play the European wheel when you can, and try and get partage; spice up your bets and if you’ve got the dough, feel free to bet a maximum – but don’t try the top line bet, or assume you’re due a win. The most important thing is to have fun though, and hope luck is on your side!