In anticipation of making bank, roulette players get a thrill out of watching the wheel spin and the ball bounce from pocket to pocket.
An average dealer gets 27 to 29 revolutions per spin. Playing at this pace, players will see an average of 55 spins per hour. Before each one, they rely on their intuition and superstition to predict the winning number. When they get it right, the dealer announces their number and color which appears on a screen, called a tote board. Each roulette table has one that displays the outcomes of the most recent spins.
The casino supplies this information for players who falsely believe recent outcomes can influence future outcomes. The casinos don’t mind providing this information because it doesn’t give players any advantage.
Types of Roulette Bets
The game starts when players place their bets and the dealer drops a ball into the spinning roulette wheel. Players may continue to wager until the dealer waves his hand over the layout and announces, “No more bets.” Roulette has a myriad of betting options, and they’re not all created equal. Bets on a number or multiple numbers are called inside bets. Bets on a proposition such as red or black or low or high are called outside bets.
Straight up bet
A bet on a single number on the layout. Place your bet on your chosen number.
Bet on two numbers when you put your chips on the line between the numbers.
A bet on three numbers that’s made by placing your chips on the border around the numbers.
A bet on four numbers that form a square. Your chips go on the intersection where the numbers meet.
Five number bet
Also called the basket bet, it’s a wager on the numbers 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3. Place your chips on the left corner of the numbers area where the one and the single zero intersect. At nearly 8%, the five-number bet has the highest house advantage in roulette.
Six number bet
Also called a line bet, put your chips on the border of the six numbers you’d like to wager on.
Made up of 12 straight-up bets of equal value, it’s called a snake bet because when you connect the numbers, it looks like an “s.” It includes the numbers: 1, 5, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 23, 27, 30, 32 and 34. Some casinos allow players to place a snake bet automatically, while others require them to place each straight up bet individually.
The column bet
A bet that any one of three vertical columns will contain the winning number. To make a column bet, place your chips at the end of the layout where it reads “2 to 1.”
The dozen bet
The numbers on the layout are split into three dozens. To make a dozens bet, place your chips on the zone marked “1st 12, 2nd 12 or 3rd 12.”
The odd or even bet
A bet on the 18 odd or 18 even numbers on the wheel. Place your chips on the words “odd,” or “even,” on the layout.
The red or black bet
Pick the color you think will hit and place your chips on that color on the layout.
The low or high bet
Put your chips on “1 to 18,” or “19 to 36,” to bet on which group will contain the winning number.
Inside bets have high returns, but low win rates. Outside bets have low returns and the highest rate of success. The player wins less than 3% of the time when he bets on a single number. When he beats the odds, the payout is massive at 35:1. A $10 straight up bet returns $360, but experts don’t advise making this or other high-risk inside bets. Instead, they recommend growing your chip stack slowly with even money bets on odd or even, red or black and low or high.
Bet type Payout American Roulette Odds
Straight up 35:1 2.60%
Split 17:1 5.30%
Street 11:1 7.90%
Corner 8:1 10.50%
Five number 6:1 13.20%
Six number 5:1 15:80%
Snake 2:1 31.58%
Column 2:1 31.60%
Dozen 2:1 31.60%
Odd or even 1:1 47.40%
Red or black 1:1 47.40%
Low or high 1:1 47.40%
How Many Zeros are on the Wheel?
The majority of roulette wheels in Las Vegas casinos are American, also called double-zero. A double-zero wheel has 36 numbers, a zero and a double zero, with a house advantage of 5.26%. With 36 numbers and one zero, a European, or single-zero roulette wheel offers the lowest overall house edge at 2.7%. Even money bets made on a European Roulette wheel have an even lower house advantage of 1.35%. High-end Strip resorts typically offer European Roulette in the high limit room. When picking a table, remember the fewer zeros on the wheel the better your odds. Choosing the right roulette wheel can make the difference between winning and losing. Players should avoid triple-zero roulette which has an excessive house edge of 7.69%.
Roulette Wheel Bias
A roulette wheel is designed to generate random outcomes. On a biased wheel, specific numbers come up more than expected. It can be the result of wear and tear or a manufacturing defect. Biased wheels are rare and difficult to detect, but they exist.
Thirty years ago, a roulette player won over one million euros betting on a biased wheel at the Casino de Madrid. He wasn’t the only one to win more than a million this way, so casinos implemented countermeasures to detect biased wheels and put them out of commission. Regular inspections and electronic monitoring make winning a million next to impossible today.
Older roulette wheels with shallow pockets are more susceptible to bias. Another indication of bias, a ball that rattles more than normal is likely to be deformed. If you think you’ve found a biased wheel, record the results of 1,000 hands, known as clocking, to verify your suspicions. Put the data into a spreadsheet to confirm or disprove the bias. When the ball favors a single number, it’s called a pocket bias. Professionals believe you need a minimum of 5,000 spins to verify pocket bias. More commonly found, section bias is when the ball favors a specific section of the wheel.
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Electronic roulette games can be found in just about every casino on the Las Vegas Strip. With a virtual wheel and no live dealer, electronic roulette appeals to gamblers who prefer to play solo. Another advantage, electronic roulette games have lower minimum bets than traditional tables. Electronic versions of blackjack, craps and baccarat have also been demanding more space on the casino floor in recent years.
Best Places to Play Roulette on the Strip
Looking for the cheapest European Roulette table on the Las Vegas Strip? MGM Grand and the Cromwell offer European Roulette with a $25 minimum bet. The table limit increases to $50 to $100 during peak hours and on weekends. European Roulette tables at Mandalay Bay have a $50 minimum bet during non-peak hours. Most Strip casinos call for players to bet a minimum of $100 a spin to play European Roulette.
MGM Grand Las Vegas (from USD $47 )
MGM Grand Las Vegas
Lowest price guaranteed
Bet as little as $5 a spin when you play double-zero roulette games at Circus Circus or slightly off Strip at Westgate or Ellis Island. Expect to see a $10 to $15 minimum bet at most Strip casinos. Casinos on Fremont Street offer $5 and $10 table minimums. Low-limit games give players the flexibility to take advantage of a variety of betting options.
Circus Circus Las Vegas (from USD $79 )
Circus Circus Las Vegas
Lowest price guaranteed
Who invented roulette?
Most believe that roulette originated in the 1700s from Blaise Pascal. The primitive form of the game evolved to what it is today?
Can you get rich playing roulette?
Like most casino games, nothing is guaranteed. Many consider roulette to be more up to luck than most, but massive payouts aren’t unheard of.
Where is the best place in Las Vegas to play roulette?
Although most casinos in Sin City offer great table games, the MGM Grand and the Cromwell are typically hailed as the top roulette spots on the Las Vegas Strip.