Roulette is a game of many opportunities in terms of betting as there are over twenty different types of wagers players can make. Most of them yield the same house advantage with very few exceptions.
The two main groups comprise the inside and the outside bets which are accepted at all single-zero and double-zero tables. Call bets make up a separate category and are supported only at tables with French and European wheels. Additionally, there are casino-specific wagers you can make only at the roulette tables in certain establishments.
The following article includes detailed information about the two main groups of roulette bets, inside and outside, including their true odds, the casino payouts, their probability, and the chip positions on the layout for the different wagers. We also explain which bets roulette players should avoid and which ones offer them the most decent odds.
Outside Bets in Detail
Let's start with the outside bets because they are the simplest to understand and make. These are made on the perimeter of the layout outside the main grid that contains the 37 or 38 numbers. Outside bets stand better chances of winning but offer small payouts, either even money or 2 to 1. Here players bet on the numbers' characteristics rather than on individual numbers. Each of these wagers is described below.
|Outside Bet||Casino Payout||True Odds in Single-Zero Games||True Odds in Double-Zero Games||Probability of Winning in Single-Zero Games||Probability of Winning in Double-Zero Games|
|Red/Black (Rouge et Noir)||1 to 1||11⁄18 to 1||11/9 to 1||48.65%||47.37%|
|Even/Odd (Impair et Pair)||1 to 1||11⁄18 to 1||11/9 to 1||48.65%||47.37%|
|High/Low (Passe et Manque)||1 to 1||11⁄18 to 1||11/9 to 1||48.65%||47.37%|
|Dozens (Douzaine)||2 to 1||21⁄12 to 1||21/6 to 1||32.43%||31.58%|
|Columns (Colonne)||2 to 1||21⁄12 to 1||21/6 to 1||32.43%||31.58%|
With red/black bets, the player tries to guess the color of the winning number. The bet is posted in the center of the outside betting area where you can see one red and one black diamond-shaped box. These may contain the words “red” or “black” depending on the casino.
You stand almost even chances of winning or losing since there are 18 red and 18 black numbers on the roulette wheel plus the green zero, which gives the house its edge. Bets on color lose when the zero hits. This slightly tips the odds in favor of the house.
The probability of winning with a bet on black, for example, is 48.65% because there are 18 winning pockets on the wheel and 19 losing ones. The payout for winning color bets is even money or 1 to 1.
Even/odd are even-money bets on the winning number’s parity. The chips for them are placed in the boxes on either side of the red and black diamonds. They are easy to spot by the “Even” and “Odd” markings.
The wheel includes 18 odd and 18 even numbers. In mathematics, the parity of the number 0 is even but this is not the case in the game of roulette. Here the 0 and 00 are neither odd nor even, which causes even/odd bets to lose when the zero(s) hit. The house pays you 1 extra chip for every chip you wager or 1 to 1.
High/low bets are placed either on 18 low numbers (1 through 18) or the 18 high numbers (19 through 36). You post your chips in the boxes marked with 1-18 or 19-36, depending on which half you want to back. The zero is included in neither of the two groups, so these bets automatically lose when 0 and 00 show. Winning high/low bets pay 1 to 1, or even money.
Dozen bets comprise three groups of 12 numbers each. These are designated as 1st 12 (1 to 12), 2nd 12 (13 to 24), and 3rd 12 (25 to 36) on the outside section of the layout. You win if any of the 12 numbers from your selected dozen hits. Dozen bets also lose to 0 and 00 since the zeros are not included in any of the three dozens. The probability of winning with a dozen bet on a single-zero wheel is 32.43% and the payout casinos offer is 2 to 1.
Column bets also feature three groups consisting of 12 numbers from each of the three columns on the layout. You post your chips in the betting boxes labeled “2 to 1”. The numbers in the columns are not numerically ordered on the layout like those for dozen bets.
Thus, the first column includes numbers 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28, 31, and 34. The second column comprises numbers 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 23, 26, 29, 32, and 35 and the third column features numbers 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33, and 36.
As you can see, the zero is not part of any of the three columns. These bets also lose when the ball settles in the green pocket. The payout for column bets is the same as that for dozen bets – 2 to 1.
Inside Bets in Detail
Inside bets are the second major category of wagers you can make in roulette. They cover either single numbers or groups consisting of 2 to 6 numbers. This category derives its name from the fact players post their chips on the inside section of the table layout where numbers 0 through 36 are listed. Inside bets are riskier because they comprise fewer numbers but compensate with juicier payouts.
|Inside Bet||Casino Payout||True Odds in Single-Zero Games||True Odds in Double-Zero Games||Probability of Winning in Single-Zero Games||Probability of Winning in Double-Zero Games|
|Straight up bet||35 to 1||36 to 1||37 to 1||2.70%||2.63%|
|Split bet||17 to 1||171/2 to 1||18 to 1||5.40%||5.26%|
|Street bet||11 to 1||111⁄3 to 1||112/3 to 1||8.11%||7.89%|
|Corner bet||8 to 1||81/4 to 1||81/2 to 1||10.81%||10.53%|
|Double street bet||5 to 1||51/6 to 1||51/3 to 1||16.22%||15.79%|
|Basket bet||8 to 1||81/4 to 1||81/2 to 1||10.81%||N/A|
|Five number bet||6 to 1||61/5 to 1||63/5 to 1||N/A||13.16%|
|Snake bet||35 to 1||36 to 1||37 to 1||32.43%||31.58%|
Seasoned dealers in larger landbased casinos rarely make mistakes when paying off the winning wagers. Still, we suggest you memorize the payouts of all available roulette bets just to protect yourself against any potential dealer errors.
Of course, you will experience no such issues if you play the game online. Unlike humans, the accredited casino software is immune against errors and automatically pays at the correct ratio depending on the type of bet you win with.
Unlike other casino games of chance like craps, all roulette bets put you at the same disadvantage against the house. It stands at 2.70% in variations that play on single-zero wheels unless the La Partage or En Prison rules are in place.
The extra 00 pocket at the American tables almost doubles this percentage to 5.26%. The only exception is the five number bet, which pays at poorer casino odds and puts you at a dreary disadvantage of 7.90%. Don't be a sucker and refrain from posting this bet!
Straight up bet
Straight up bets are those made on one individual number. To place one such bet, you need to put your chips in the betting box that contains your desired number. The chips should not touch any of the borders of the box, though. You win a payout of 35 to 1 if the ball lands on the number you selected. The actual probability of 1 out of 37 numbers hitting is rather small at 2.70% when you play a single-zero game.
The split is a combination bet that covers two numbers in adjacent positions on the table layout, for example, 3/6, 9/12, and 22/23. You put the chips on the line that separates the two selected numbers. A payout of 17 to 1 is awarded if one of the two numbers hits.
The street bet is a combination wager that includes a row of three sequential numbers on the layout. You make it by placing your chip or chip stack on the border of the first number in your selected row. For example, if you are betting on the street with numbers 4, 5, and 6, you should put the chips on the line that separates the 4 from the box for the 1st 12. You win 11 chips for every chip you wager if the ball lands on any of the three chosen numbers.
The corner bet is a combination of four consecutive numbers that share a common corner on the layout like 16/17/19/20 or 23/24/26/27. Some people refer to it as square or four number bet. It wins at casino odds of 8 to 1 when the ball settles on one of the four chosen numbers. When making this bet, you put the chips in the center of the four boxes where their vertical and horizontal lines intersect.
Double street bet
The double street bet, also known as a line or a six line bet comprises a combination of six sequential numbers, positioned in two adjacent rows like 1 through 6 and 7 through 12. The chips for this one are posted on the intersection between the two streets. If one of the six selected numbers wins, the player is paid at odds of 5 to 1.
Here is it important to remind you that the six numbers are numerically ordered on the table layout but are not spread sequentially on the wheel. You can read more about the wheels’ number sequences in our next article.
The basket bet covers four specific numbers, 0, 1, 2, and 3. This one can be made only at single-zero tables and earns you a payout of 8 to 1 when one of the four numbers wins. The chips for the basket bets are placed on the intersection that separates the 0, the 1, and the box for the first dozen. It has the same house edge as all other bets at the single-zero table, or 2.70%.
Five number bet
The five number bet is similar to the basket bet but this one can only be made on the American layout with the double zero because it comprises numbers 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3. This is the sucker bet in roulette. It pays at terrible casino odds of 6 to 1. The poor payouts boost the house edge for this bet to 7.90%. The chips are positioned on top of the intersection that separates the single zero and the 1.
The snake bet is a combination wager that comprises 12 red numbers, covered by individual chips, i.e. you are betting straight up on each of the 12 picks. It is recommended to use the same betting unit for each bet.
The numbers in question are 1, 5, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 23, 27, 30, 32, and 34. When you post your chips on the layout, you will quickly notice they form a zigzagging pattern shaped like a slithering snake. This is where the bet borrows its name from. You win at odds of 35 to 1 if one of the numbers hits but lose the chips you posted on the other 11 numbers. The higher payout is more than enough to offset the losses you incur.
Call Bets in Brief
This category comprises a variety of special bets that include specific combinations of numbers the way they are positioned on the different sections of the roulette wheel. These wagers are posted on an oval section on the layout that resembles a racetrack.
Call bets are accepted at single-zero roulette tables that follow the European or French rules. The double-zero wheels utilized at the American roulette tables use a different number sequence, making it impossible to place call bets on the same wheel sections.
You are probably wondering where the name of this category of wagers is derived from. Well, these are more complex and require multiple chips. Players at landbased casinos would verbally call the name of the bet they want to make but without immediately posting chips on the layout to cover the cost of the wager.
In some jurisdictions like the UK, this is seen as betting on credit and is strictly prohibited. The dealer would accept a call bet but only on condition the player has enough chips on the rail to pay in case they lose. Below, we feature brief explanations about the three most popular types of call bets. You can find more exhaustive information in our article on how to diversify your roulette game with call bets.
Tiers du Cylindre
Tiers du Cylindre translates as “one third of the wheel” from French. Respectively, this wager covers a total of 12 numbers on the wheel, namely 27, 13, 36, 11, 30, 8, 23, 10, 5, 24, 16, and 33. The 12 numbers are covered with 6 split bets and pay 17 to 1.
Voisins du Zero
Voisins du Zero means “neighbors of zero” in French. This type of special bet includes a total of 17 numbers in adjacent pockets on the wheel – 22, 18, 29, 7, 28, 12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32, 15, 19, 4, 21, 2, and 25. Players need at least 9 chips to make this complex wager. You post a chip on the 4/7, 12/15, 18/21, 19/22, and 32/35 splits, 2 chips on the trio comprising 0, 2, and 3, and two chips on the corner of 25/26/28/29. The payout depends on the type of bet you win with.
Orphelins is the French word for “orphans”, which perfectly describes this type of call bet. It comprises the “orphaned” numbers that fall neither in the Tiers nor in the Voisins sections. The orphans sit in the two sliced wheel segments between numbers 22 and 33 and numbers 25 and 27.
The group includes a total of 8 numbers, namely 9, 31, 14, 20, 1, 17, 34, and 6. Players can cover this bet with a minimum of 5 chips. One of these is posted straight up on number 1 and the other four chips are placed on each of the following splits – 6/9, 14/17, 17/20, and 31/34.
Bet and Table Limits in Roulette
The minimum amount you can stake for outside and inside bets usually coincides at most roulette tables. Let’s assume you are playing at a table where the minimum is $3 and the minimum chip denomination is $1.
If so, you need three chips of $1 to cover the minimum with one outside bet on red. The same goes for inside bets where you also need three $1 chips to meet the table minimum, even if you have already made an outside wager of $3.
2Spread the action
When playing with the inside bets only, you can spread the action to several numbers or combinations. For example, you can post $1 on number 9, another $1 on the split of 25/26, and $1 more on the street with numbers 19/20/21.
The maximum limit for outside bets is usually lower than that for the inside bets. You can make as many bets on the same spin as you want but the cumulative amount you put on stake should not exceed the overall maximum of the table. Of course, each bet must fit into its designated limits as well.
The Best and the Worst Bets in Roulette
So what is the best bet one can make at the roulette table?
You are fighting the same house edge regardless of what you bet on at single-zero tables but stand better chances of registering a win with any of the five types of outside bets.
These give you a better shot at winning because you cover larger sections of the wheel with them. For instance, if you bet on black or even, 18 numbers result in a win while the other 19 lead to a loss. Needless to say, the higher probability and frequency of winning are compensated for with smaller payouts.
As for the worst possible bet in roulette, the answer should be quite obvious at this point, or at least, if you have read the article carefully. This title goes to the notorious five number bet, which consistently tops the charts of the worst bets you can make in a casino in general.
This bet is not worth the bother due to its huge house edge (7.90%). What's more, it is available only in American roulette where you are fighting a high house edge, to begin with. You better stay away from the five number bet and the double-zero wheels altogether.