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Roulette House edge

Why the House is bound to win

The first thing you need to know about bets on a roulette table is that they all payout with the same house edge. To demonstrate this imagine you placed two chips on the 23,24 split, and your friend placed one chip straight up on 23 and one chip straight up on 24, you would both have an equal chance of winning but when one of the numbers comes up you would win 35 chips and your friend would win 34 chips BUT you only have one chip left on the table and your friend would have two chips left on the table.

Both bets would return a total of 36 chips - this is the same for all chip positions on the table including the outside bets e.g. one chip placed on all red numbers (18 in total) would return the same as putting all eighteen chips on the even money red bet.

Single Zero Roulette Wheels

Tables using a single zero wheel have a total of 37 numbers, as your return from a single straight up bet is 36 (including your original bet) you can see that the casino takes a cut of 1 chip in 37:

Total percentage return is (36/37) * 100 = 97.2972973

Therefore the house edge is = 2.7027027

When the casino uses the en prison rule (even money bets are halved when zero is spun instead of being lost), the percentages are reduced as follows:

Total Percentage return is (36.5/37) * 100 = 98.6486486
Therefore the house edge is = 1.351351

Double Zero Roulette Wheels

Tables with double zero wheels have 38 numbers, as the payout is the same as a single zero wheel the casino takes a cut of 2 chips in 38:

Total percentage return is (36/38) * 100 = 94.736842
Therefore the house edge is = 5.263158

When the casino uses the en prison rule, the percentages are reduced as follows:

Total Percentage return is (37/38) * 100 = 97.368421
Therefore the house edge is = 2.631579

*The five number bet that covers 0, 00, 1, 2, 3 on a double zero wheel is the only bet that does not follow the rule that all bets return the same payout (it returns 35 chips not 36), the percentages for the five number bet are:
Total Percentage return is (35/38) * 100 = 92.105263
Therefore the house edge is = 7.8947368

Double zero wheels have a house edge that can quickly eat into your bank roll which is why roulette is not very popular in the USA (which uses mainly double zero's), and it should be avoided.

Single zero wheels have a fairly low house edge, which is why they are so popular in Europe, and with the inclusion of en prison they offer one of the best bets in the casino. Roulette is a fun game and it is rare to find a game offering such high odds (35-1 for a straight up) with such a low house edge - generally the higher the odds the higher the house edge (i.e. Keno, lotteries).


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