My wife loves to play roulette. Mind you, she likes it best with low minimum bets and low chip values. She’s been in red or black heaven on trips when we’ve found tables with dollar minimums where you could break the chips down to 25-cent values. But even on a $5 table, if she can break her chips down to 50-cent denominations, she gets to spread some chips around the layout, making some single-number bets, some four-number corners and other combinations until her chips add up to the table minimum.
The second or third time she ever played, she asked, “Does it really make a difference which bets I make? I like to spread chips around on the inside (where the numbers are), but would I be better off playing outside on red or black, or odd or even?”
As it happens the house edge is the same on nearly every wager. Whether you’re betting a single number, a four-number corner, 12-number column or 18-number color, the house keeps an average of $5.26 of every $100 wagered.
They take different routes to that $5.26, though. On single numbers, you’ll win only once per 38 spins of the wheel, with a 35-1 reward when you win. On red or black, you’ll win 18 times per 38 spins, but get only even money on each spin.
So while the house edge is the same, you do get a different play experience with different bets. If you want to make your money last, multi-number combinations such as red or black, odd or even are the way to go. For a wilder ride, single numbers are a race between large wins and FAST losses.
John has been writing about casinos and casino games since 1994 through his weekly syndicated column that goes to newspapers and websites, including the Chicago Sun-Times, Denver Post and Casino City Times. He’s a regular in magazines specifically for gaming players, including Midwest Gaming and Travel and Southern Gaming and Destinations, and in the casino industry trade publications, such as Casino Journal and Slot Manager. John is the author of six books on gaming, including “The Slot Machine Answer Book” and “The Video Poker Answer Book.” If you are interested in his past work or simply want to ask a gaming-related question, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.