Playing roulette is quite a simple process and that is what attracts so many players to the game. It is a game that can be played with friends or on your own. However, you need to remain practical when playing, especially in relation to the odds. The ‘house’ (the Casino, whether online or in a real one) always holds the advantage – on an American roulette wheel this can sometimes be as high as 5.26%. This shouldn’t deter you from playing the game though and there are few simple tips which can help you play and potentially, increase your pot.

The house holds an advantage for one key reason – it doesn’t pay out on what the bets are actually worth. With numbers 1-36 on the wheel as well as 0 & 00, there are 38 numbers which someone can bet on. The odds of hitting one of these single numbers are 37-1. However, the house only pays 35-1 which is where the house holds the advantage.

Understanding the fundamentals

Having a strategy may seem like a serious way to approach a game of roulette but what it will do is to help your chances of winning. Because of the house advantage, as explained above, many players tend to spread chips around. Doing so obviously gives the player more action to follow, which sometimes can be tricky. To combat this, there are two ways to play a more simple game –

  • Keep to minimum the table allows and play outside bets – This means betting on either red or black. This will return a pay-out of 1 to 1 and crucially, covers 18 of the potential 38 combinations.
  • Place two same size bets on two outside bets: one bet on an even-money play and the other on something which pays 2 to 1 – This could entail, for example, placing one bet on red and one bet on column 2 which as eight black numbers. You now have 26 numbers which could yield a win

As mentioned, the American roulette wheel does not hold good odds for the player but one wheel which does improve your odds is a single-zero European wheel. By playing this game you have reduced the house advantage down to 2.63%. However, the house isn’t stupid and they realise that this game will probably attract the majority of the players. This means that if the casino does have this game it is either a high end casino or the wheel is in separate room for invited guests only.

If you want to play the European wheel then be prepared to place larger bets than usual but due to the reduction of the house advantage, this wheel is a better game to play if you can afford it.

Some casinos, to further entice players into playing roulette, actually reduce their advantage even more by using a roulette rule called ‘en prison’. This rule only applies to even bets and essentially means your money could be tied up for two spins of the wheel. If you have, for example, £10 on red and the ball lands on 0, then your even money bet remains locked into the next spin. If the ball, the following spin, then lands on red the house returns your original £10 bet but you don’t claim any winnings. Obviously should it land on black then you lose.

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