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Apr 20th 2007
Ever wondered what your odds are when playing roulette and how to win at roulette? Not only will we tell you what your odds are, but we will also teach you how to calculate them yourself. With a little bit of information you should not have any problems figuring out the odds for yourself.

When playing an American wheel you are facing a greater house advantage than by playing a European wheel. This is because the American wheel has an extra slot, the 00. The house advantage is 5.26%. In this article we will be discussing what are the odds when playing an American wheel.

Let's take a look at the math behind roulette odds. In order to make the learning process as simple as possible, we will use an example. Let's say that you have bet $1 on one number, any number. Since there are 38 numbers in total (1 to 36, 0 and 00), the odds of the ball stopping on your number are 38-to-1. You should be paid out according to these odds. Instead the casino will give you a payout of 35-to-1 on any single winning number.

This is known as a "negative expectation bet", and it is also the main reason why you roulette systems do not work. Because the house does not payout according to the true odds, you will lose $2 every 38 spins (keep in mind that you are betting $1 per spin). As it happens that $2 is 5.26% of the $38 you have used in these 38 spins.

Here is the mathematical formula that is used to calculate the expectancy:
Expectancy = [probability of you winning your bet X the amount you stand to win] + [probability of you losing your bet X the amount you stand to lose]

The formula is actually quite easy to understand and makes sense. You will find out what your expectancy on a certain bet is by combining what you expect to win and what you expect to lose on that particular bet.

Here is how you calculate your expectancy for the example used above, the bet of $1 on a single number:

E = [1/38 x 35] + [37/38 x (-1)]
= 0.921 + (-0.97368)
= -0.0526
= -5.26%

Just as before the result is 5.26%. For every 38 bets of $1 you will lose 5.26% of that betting amount, which amounts to $2. We do not use the negative value -5.26% because it does not refer to the player's demise. 5.26% is the casino’s advantage on every bet that you make. No matter how you mix your bets and how much money you bet, you will always be facing a 5.26% house advantage.

Remember that the "Five number bet" has an even higher house advantage. When placing such a bet you are wagering on 5 numbers at the same time, but those numbers are 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3. The house advantage is a high 7%.

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