Casinos

The best bets in a game of roulette (or any other game, for that matter) are the ones with the best ratio of probability to payoff. This can be problematic at a casino, where the odds of winning do not always (or even often) match the amount that you stand to gain. After all, the casinos need to make a profit, while allowing enough people to win to reassure customers that nothing funny is going on…

Roulette closes the gap using the green pockets, the zero and double zero numbers that only pay when they are specifically bet on by the player. If it were not for these green pockets, the house and the player would have an even chance of winning (and the casino may as well come over to play at my place).

Therefore, when you take one of the smarter bets of roulette, the Inside Bets, you are wagering even money with the casino that your half of the wheel will come up. However, the green pocket makes your bet cover slightly less than half of the wheel (a little more slightly in European roulette, a little less so in the American version). So although the even, odd, red, and black bets have 1:1 odds, the chances are closer to 1:11…good enough most of the time, but enough so that the casino will always take more money from you than vice versa in the long run.

Note that column and dozen bets are considered inside bets, even though the odds aren’t quite as good (2:1, to be exact, and they pay off at 2.167 to 1 which is an even bigger gap than the ‘half’ bets). This is because they are still quite a bit better than even the best outside bet (namely, six line at 5:1 which pays off at 5.33 to 1).

The least likely to come up is, of course, any single number (including 0 and 00, no matter what the “house odds” theorists may say). The odds are a sizable 37:1 (which is still quite a bit better than some of those crazy craps bets you can make) and the payoff is 35 to 1. Hopefully, it hasn’t escaped your attention that the American roulette wheel is a 38 pocket wheel…