Turning up a profit is the primary concern and purpose of all businesses and gambling operators are no exception to this rule. You have probably heard the popular expression “**The house always wins**”. And this is true, albeit not for the reasons most laymen think.

Provided that you have read carefully, you probably remember we mentioned earlier the payouts (i.e. the odds at which the casino pays you for winning bets) are **smaller than the true odds against winning**. This reduction is what causes the house to inevitably win in the long run.

If casinos paid winning bets at **true odds**, roulette would have been a fair game where players inevitably break even in the long term. This translates into zero profit for the gambling operators, which is why they ensure they always maintain an edge over their players.

View more...**The house edge is built into all casino games**, roulette included, and can best be described as the long-term profit margins casinos secure from the games they operate. This is easier to grasp with the help of examples, so there you go.

In a fair game of single-zero roulette without a house edge, the player would be paid 36 to 1 for winning bets on individual numbers. You stake 1 unit and receive 36 units in net profits. Provided that you lose 36 times with a straight up bet and win on the 37th spin, **the game would be fair since it yields no advantage** either for the player or for the casino.

This is not what happens in real life, though. Casinos pay for successful straight up bets at odds of 35 to 1 instead of 36 to 1. You get 35 units plus your initial bet for a total profit of 36 units. Yet, the probability of winning straight up is 1 in 37 in single-zero games. **This one-unit discrepancy represents the house edge**.

View more...You can calculate the house edge by multiplying the difference between the true odds of losing and the casino odds by the probability of winning.

The house edge for straight up bets **in European roulette** is (36/1 – 35/1) x 1/37 = 1 x 1/37 = 0.0270 x 100 = 2.70%. The extra double-zero pocket **in American roulette** (for a total of 38 pockets) further dilutes your odds of winning while increasing the house edge as becomes evident here: (37/1 – 35/1) x 1/38 = 2 x 1/38 = 0.0526 x 100 = 5.26%.

Similarly to craps, roulette is a game of many betting opportunities. Unlike craps, however, **nearly all wagers in roulette give the house the same edge**, 2.70% or 5.26%, depending on which of the two main varieties you play.

Let’s back this statement up with a few more examples from European roulette (with 37 pockets). Suppose you wager a single unit on the street with numbers 4, 5, and 6. Your bet covers 3 out of 37 numbers and pays at casino odds of 11 to 1. Thus, **the house edge here is equal to** (34/3 – 11/1) x 3/37 = (11.33 – 11) x 3/37 = 0.33 x 3/37 = 0.0270 x 100 = 2.70%.

And another example for **bets like red/black** where the true odds of losing are 19 to 18 while the house pays you at even odds. It is pretty obvious this is not a 50/50 bet: (19/18 – 1/1) x 18/37 = (1.055 – 1) x 18/37 = 0.055 x 18/37 = 0.0270 x 100 = 2.70%.

American roulette has birthed one of the worst bets of all casino games. It is known as the five number bet because it covers specifically numbers 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3. It pays at casino odds of 6 to 1 and is **the only wager at double-zero tables that yields a house edge higher than the typical 5.26%**. You can see it here: (33/5 – 6/1) x 5/38 = (6.6 – 6) x 5/38 = 0.6 x 5/38 = 0.0789 x 100 = 7.89%.

From a purely financial perspective, this means in the long term the house gets to retain 2.70% or 5.26% out of every dollar wagered at the roulette tables. Therefore, roulette is a game of negative expectation where players inevitably end up losing money to the casino over time.

View more...Prep up for some disappointment as the short answer to this burning question is no. It is impossible to win consistently in a game that yields **negative expectation** where the odds are always against you. Moreover, roulette is based on independent trials and the odds are reset after every single spin of the wheel.

This is not to say it is impossible to score a decent win, though. It takes a huge number of trials for you to arrive at the house edge percentages we stated above. **In the short run, you can earn yourself a nice payout** despite the presence of the house edge.

Suppose you join a single-zero table, wager $10 straight up on 9 red, and your number hits on your very first spin. Although the probability of winning with any single number is 1/37 or 2.70%, winning on the very first round is an entirely plausible outcome.

In this case, you would collect 35 units of $10 each plus your original stake for an overall payout of 36 units or $360. **You are ahead despite the house edge working against you**. Provided that you quit now, you quit a winner by quite a significant margin. Even if you continue playing some more and lose the next ten spins with $10 bets, you will still walk away with $250 in net profits.

The only way to potentially beat roulette is through **applying prediction methods and exploiting wheel or dealer biases**. People like roulette legend Gonzalo Garcia Pelayo have successfully exploited biased wheels in the past, winning millions in the process.

However, it is getting progressively harder to detect biases because casinos do everything within their means to balance their roulette wheels. When a bias is present, the crooked wheel is quickly removed from the casino floor. So if you insist on playing roulette despite the negative expectation it gives you, the smartest course of action would be to **play single-zero wheels** as they give the house a lower edge.

View more...