Gamblers who understand the math behind any casino game they play will make more successful bets and are more likely to have fun on the casino floor. The answers to the following questions will help casino customers calculate game odds and pick tables that favour gamblers a little more than other rule variations that may be available.
For example, a standard game played with American rules gives the casino an edge of 5.2% on all but one wager. A wager known as 5 Numbers (only available on games that follow US rules) increases the casino’s theoretical advantage to more than seven per cent.
Double zero games (another name for American rules variants) offer this bet because some players think the fact that it covers both green zero spaces (as well as the numbers 1, 2, and 3) can help them cover other bets they lay that would lose if the ball landed in a zero slot. Ten categories of bets in the traditional American rules game offer better odds of winning. The same game has a series of 6 Numbers wagers (placed on any two adjacent rows of three numbers) which pay out slightly less (5:1 compared to 6:1) but cut the house’s edge by more than two per cent.
The other common variant in roulette is known as single-zero (or European) with one fewer betting slot that cuts the theoretical house edge to just 2.7%. If you’re betting in a casino that offers both single and double zero games, choosing the American table gives you worse odds of winning.
The largest payout on standard games is the 35 to 1 win for a successful wager on any single number. The large size of the payout comes thanks to this being the least likely bet to win, at either 37 to 1 or 38 to 1 against, for Euro and American games respectively.
Gamblers have a 2.70% chance of winning on all single number wagers. That makes a successful single number wager as likely as the odds that a pregnant woman will give birth to twins.
Available on French rules games (not as common as Euro or American), the “en prison” rules have a big enough impact on player odds to justify playing the French game in casinos where it is offered.
“En prison” is French for “in prison.” The name comes from the fact that gamblers can choose to leave a wager on an even-money bet that loses because the ball lands in the zero slot in hops that it will pay off on the next spin, placing the bet “in prison,” or take back half of the original wager and cut their losses. Gamblers who leave the bet in prison can take back the entire wager if it wins on the next spin, sans any additional winnings.
The effect of this rule on roulette odds is fairly significant – playing on a French table with this rule in effect cuts the casino’s edge on all even-money roulette bets to just 1.35%. Only a few casino games (blackjack played with perfect strategy or while counting cards, for example) have odds that favour the casino that little. A similar rule on some American wheels, called “Surrender,” also cuts the casino’s theoretical advantage by about half, but that rule is not common, found mostly in Atlantic City properties or European casinos hosting US rules games.
Because of the big difference between American and European rules, the first easy way to separate tables in terms of their house advantage is to avoid American tables. At some casinos, the tables allowing the smallest minimum bets will only play on a double zero wheel to compensate for the smaller profits that come from AUD $2.50 or $5 minimum wagers.
If you play low stakes games, make sure you know if the table plays by double zero rules; avoiding the lowest stakes games on the casino floor is another quick way to pick tables that favour the house less, though gamblers should always check a table’s posted rules, since some higher stakes games are played on a double zero wheel.
Looking for French roulette, the less common variation of traditional Euro rules, is another way to quickly identify a game with friendlier odds, since most French wheels offer the “en prison” rule and all of them are played on wheels with just one green zero slot.
Roulette is not a game that advantage gamblers looking for the smallest casino edge gravitate towards. Table games like blackjack where player skill affects the outcome and some video poker machines with specific pay outs for certain hands grant the casino an advantage as small as 0.5%.
But since The Devil’s Wheel can be played on a few different wheel styles with a number of rule options that can limit the casino’s theoretical take, it is possible to find tables with an edge of less than three per cent. Finding the best odds in roulette means doing your homework before you arrive at the casino, reading all game rules before you start playing, talking to the dealer about what rules are in effect before you join a table, and placing wagers as close to even-money as possible.
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