Roulette is a game you’ll find at basically every casino in the world. Whether it’s on live terminals, gaming terminals, tombola roulette terminals, or at the classic roulette live tables we all know and love. But is this classic casino game one that you can make money playing? Fear not, we’re here to answer this very question.
First of all, get yourself acquainted with the basics of roulette. Without knowing how to play roulette, you’ll never understand how to make money playing this classic casino table game.
How does roulette work?
Roulette is a game played on a felted table numbered from 0-36. (Sometimes there is also 00 or even 000 – watch out for these!) The numbers are coloured in alternating red and black colours, while 0, 00, and 000 are coloured green. The game is played by betting on a single number, or a range of numbers, with chips that represent monetary bets.
When the bets have been placed, the croupier will spin a metal ball into a spinning wheel with corresponding numbers around the edge. The ball will eventually land on a number, and that number is the winning number. Anyone who has bet on that number will win and be paid.
The bets you can make in roulette are straight up (a single number), a row of numbers, a column of numbers, a dozen numbers at once, or “even odds” bets such as red/black, even/odd, or high/low. The amount you win for a bet is loosely based on how likely it is that you will win a bet – with the most unlikely bets paying the most.
What are the odds in roulette?
The odds of hitting a number and winning in roulette for a straight up bet are 37 to 1 on a single 0 table. However, the house (the casino) only pays out 35 to 1 on a straight up bet. This means that if you continue to place bets, over time, you’ll lose out.
You’ll win the most on a straight-up bet at 35 to 1, but it also has the slimmest chances of winning. The bets with the highest likelihood of winning are those bets with even odds, such as black/red, even/odd or high/low. These bets have a 47.4% chance of winning (the missing 2.6% is because of the presence of the 0 of the table.)
If a roulette table has a double-0 or worse, a triple-0, the house edge will increase on all even odds bets, because there are more chances of the ball landing on a 0. If you want to make money playing roulette, you need to avoid tables with multiple 0s on it at all costs, as they’ll quickly eat into your chances of winning.
What is the house edge in roulette?
The house edge in European roulette is 2.7%, however, the house edge in American roulette is much higher, at 5.26%. The reason for the difference between the European and American roulette house edge is that American roulette tables have two, or even three 0s on them, meaning that your chances of winning a straight up bet decrease from 37 to 1 to 38 or even 39 to one – but your payout doesn’t change.
American roulette also doesn’t abide by la partage or en prison rules, which further shaves down your bet. (You can find out more about these rules by clicking the roulette basics link above.)
Does the martingale roulette system work?
The Martingale Roulette System is the most popular roulette strategy, and many people swear by it – but does it actually work?
The Martingale Roulette System works by doubling your bet after each loss. You place an even money bet, such as a bet on high/low numbers, red/black or even/odd, and if you lose, then you double your bet and place the same bet again.
The idea works flawlessly, in that if you keep doubling your bet you will eventually win and get paid off, but there are a few things playing against you that means that no, the martingale strategy does not work.
First up, that pesky 0 pocket on the table. The 0 wears away at your edge, and means that your bet is not a straight-up 50-50 bet (47.4%, remember).
Secondly, all roulette tables have a minimum bet and a maximum bet. Although the existence of a maximum bet seems to work against a casino, the fact is that the martingale roulette system won’t work if you need to double your bet after you reach the maximum bet amount.
You only need to double your bet a few times before you hit a maximum bet threshold, so it actually isn’t that unlikely.
Thirdly, casinos can stop you from playing at any time. They’re under no obligation to allow you to keep placing more and more bets at a roulette table, so although it’s unlikely that they’ll stop you from playing, you don’t want to be $500 down and then moved away from the table.
Although the Martingale Roulette System doesn’t work in the long run, it’s still your most likely chance of making a profit playing roulette in the long run – or at least losing the least amount of money.
So, can you make money playing roulette?
Of course, you can make some money playing roulette, but this is down to sheer luck. If you play roulette for long enough, you will win some of your bets. However, over an infinite amount of time (or even just a single evening), you will always lose money in the long run.
The best strategy for playing roulette is to bet an amount that you’re comfortable with losing, and pocket that money back if you win your first bet, and then continue to play with your winnings if you want to. Quit while you’re ahead – and never ever chase your losses!
So, play roulette for fun – but don’t give up your day job.