If you don’t know your roulette odds, you’ll be betting blind in one of the most exciting casino games there is.
With so many bets types on offer, you can place the same chip on different sections of a roulette table and get very different outcomes. The number of spins you may have to wait before winning will be very different too.
I’ll explain the relationship between bet types, the numbers they cover, the likelihood of a win and most important of all, the roulette odds that determine how much you win.
Roulette bets, odds and payouts
Everyone’s heard of a hot favourite in a horse race, and the 50/1 long shot that beat it too. Roulette bets aren’t that different too. This table game has odds for everyone, from red-or-black coin flips to single-number long shots, and plenty of bets in between.
One of the fundamental rules of odds is that the more likely something is to happen, the smaller the payout. The less likely and higher the risk, the bigger the reward.
How a roulette bet payout works
The simplest roulette odds to understand are so-called ‘even money’ bets like red or black, which pay out 1 to 1. This means for every 1 unit you stake, you make a profit of 1.
At the other end of the scale, a ‘straight up’ bet on a single number pays 35 to 1. If you place a £1 chip on Red 14 and the balls lands in 14, the dealer will pay you £35 worth of chips. It’s important to remember that you also get your stake back too. You will only get back the stake on your winning bet however.
Let’s say you placed a £1 chip on each of the following bets: 14, the 14-20 split and black. If 14 comes in, here’s how the roulette odds and payouts work:
|£1 on 14 @ 35 to 1||£36|
|£1 on 14-20 split @ 17 to 1||£18|
|£1 on black||-£0|
Here’s why you need to remember that you get your stake back too. The croupier will pay out your winnings and leave your original bet where it is. In the example above, the two £1 winning bets on 14 and 14-20 would be left in place for the next spin.
If you don’t want to automatically rebet them, you can take them back off the table. You can learn more tips like this and brush up on your roulette etiquette in our roulette guide.
The 3 categories of roulette odds
The 3 types of roulette bet get their names – inside bets, outside bets and called bets – because of where they appear (or in some cases, don’t appear) on the roulette table.
Inside bets are located inside the main betting board, within the grid of numbers. Outside bets are larger sections found outside the main board, while called bets (which are often called specials or exotics) are available either within the racetrack, or are not written on the table at all.
If you want to play called bets, you’ll need to know which ones are available, and ‘call’ them out to the croupier, who will place the bets for you.
The 11 most popular roulette bets at a glance
There are a range of different ways to bet on single numbers or groups of numbers. The more numbers a bet covers, the more likely it is to happen, and the smaller the payout.
Here’s the breakdown of bets you often find in the online roulette rules, and the house edge for each bet in both European and American roulette.
|Bet type||Numbers||Payout||EU edge||US edge|
|Straight up||1||35 to 1||2.70%||5.26%|
|Split||2||17 to 1||2.70%||5.26%|
|Street||3||11 to 1||2.70%||5.26%|
|Corner||4||8 to 1||2.70%||5.26%|
|Basket||5||6 to 1||N/A||7.89%|
|Six Line||6||5 to 1||2.70%||5.26%|
|Column||12||2 to 1||2.70%||5.26%|
|Dozen||12||2 to 1||2.70%||5.26%|
|High/Low||18||1 to 1||2.70%||5.26%|
|Odd/Even||18||1 to 1||2.70%||5.26%|
|Red/Black||18||1 to 1||2.70%||5.26%|
Provided you know how many numbers you’re betting on, and the total numbers on the wheel, you don’t need a roulette odds calculator to figure out the chance of winning.
But if you’re interested in the chances of zero landing twice, or 5 blacks in a row happening, a roulette odds calculator or some GCSE maths will come in handy!
The odds of inside bets
If you want to bet on between 1 and 6 numbers with a single chip, inside bets are your path to roulette glory.
Let’s see how each one works.
Straight Up AKA Single number
Return on a £10 bet: £360
One chip on one number – the purest roulette bet there is. Betting on a single roulette number carries the most risk as it has the lowest chance of coming in, but the reward is the biggest payouts odds in roulette, and the most excitement too.
With 37 numbers on a European roulette wheel (from 0 to 36), you’ll have a 1 in 37 chance of winning at roulette, and you’ll get 35 to 1 odds on your money.
Split AKA 2 Numbers
Return on a £10 bet: £180
A split bet is a single chip placed on the line between 2 numbers that are next to each other on the roulette betting board.
In European roulette there are 60 different split bets you can make, and although the numbers will be close to each other on the board and either 1 or 3 numbers apart numerically (e.g. 1 + 2, or 33 + 36), they will not usually be close to each other on the wheel.
American roulette has extra split bets for 0-00 and 2 combinations of zero and 2 (0-2 and 00-2).
Street AKA 3 Number, Line, Trio
Return on a £10 bet: £120
Placing a chip on the line between 1 (or 4, 7, 10 and so on) and the adjacent dozen area will cover all 3 numbers in that row. A street bet placed on the line between 1 and the 1 to 12 bet will cover 1-2-3.
There are 14 possible street bets – the 12 rows and the less obvious 0-1-2 and 0-2-3 bets. You’ll get 11 to 1 odds on a bet with just over 8% chance of winning.
Streets will always contain 2 red numbers and 1 black, or vice versa. Bet number distributions on the wheel are quite varied, with some numbers spread evenly in a triangle across the wheel (13-14-15), while others such as 31-32-33 are all located in the same 10-number section of the European wheel.
In American roulette, the extra double zero creates 1 more street to play. In addition to 0-1-2 and 00-2-3, you can also play 0-00-2.
Corner AKA: Square
Return on a £10 bet: £90
To cover 4 numbers in a square on the betting board, place a chip in the vertical and horizontal lines intersecting them.
There 23 possible corner bets in European roulette including 0-1-2-4 (sometimes referred to as First Four) and your chances of winning are almost 11%. In American roulette, there are only 22 corner bets, as the First Four bet is replaced by the First Five.
Basket AKA: Top Line, First Five
Return on a £10 bet: £70
This notorious 5-number bet is only found in American roulette. By placing a chip on the corner of 0, 1 and 1st 12, you can cover 0-00-1-2-3. Unfortunately for players who go for this bet, they only get 6 to 1 odds on a bet with real odds of 6.38 to 1.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to easily divide 5 numbers by the 37 numbers on an American roulette wheel, so the odds are rounded down to 6 to 1, instead of up to 7 to 1. This creates a house edge of 7.89%.
Six Line AKA: Double Street
Return on a £10 bet: £60
You can cover a block of 6 numbers such as 1 to 6 or 4 to 9 by betting a chip at the end of the group where the dozen bets are found, in between the 2 streets. There are 11 possible Six Line bets and they have odds of 5 to 1.
Outside odds in roulette
Many roulette players care less about specific numbers and simply want a good chance of winning. By choosing bets which divide the wheel into 2 or 3 groups, you slash the odds to 2 to 1 or less but improve your chances of winning to as much as 48%.
Return on a £10 bet: £30
Found at the end of each row, column bets cover 12 numbers including every third number on the wheel. For example, a bet on the top column includes 3-6-9-12-15-18-21-24-27-30-33-36.
By covering a third of the non-zero numbers on the wheel, you’ll win 32.43% of the time in European roulette and 31.58% of the time in American roulette. Your reward? A 2 to 1 payout.
Dozen AKA First 12, Second 12, Third 12
Return on a £10 bet: £30
Like column odds but don’t like the specific grouping of numbers (or can’t reach the end of a column)?
Try a dozen bet instead. Once again, you’ll cover a third of the wheel (minus the zero) and get 2 to 1 odds, but now you can choose between the 1st, 2nd and 3rd 12’s. To place a dozen bet, look for the 3 sections between the main number grid and the even money bets.
Low-High, Odd-Even & Red-Black
Return on a £10 bet: £20
If coin flips are your thing, you’re in luck as roulette has various different ways to bet on 50/50 shots. Each number is classes as red or black, high or low and odd or even, giving you 3 opportunities to bet on half of the wheel.
In European roulette, even money bets will win around 48% of the time. Because there are 2 zeroes in American roulette, your even money bet has a 47% chance of success.
In French roulette, many tables will offer a La Partage or En Prison rule which, by refunding half your stake when zero lands, reduces the 2.70% house edge to just 1.35%.
You might assume that on the roulette table, odd and even are next to each other, but the layout of most roulette tables splits up the two sides of all even money bets, so that low, even and black are all grouped together.
Because of their 1 to 1 odds, even money outside bets are the bet of choice for players who follow the Martingale roulette system, as the system relies on the almost 50% chance of success.
Special bets and their payouts
Once you’ve learned how to play roulette and are familiar with all of the main bet types, you might want to explore the more exotic bets. Don’t be put off by their unfamiliar (often French) names, or the fact that they’re either displayed in a separate racetrack area or not displayed at all!
These bets are simply another way to bet on selected groups of numbers. Some are fixed special bets, while others allow you to choose your own numbers.
A family of bets on numbers that all share the same last digit. These usually include both straight up and split bets, so the odds vary from 17 to 1 to 35 to 1, depending the number that comes up.
#2 Le tiers du cylinder
This fixed special bet covers 6 splits. With a unit stake of £1, the Tiers bet costs £6 and a winning number returns a total of £18. This means the payout odds are 2 to 1.
This 5-chip bet features 4 splits and a single number, which can pay out either £36 or £18 for a £5 total bet.
#4 Voisins du zero
This bet costs 9 chips and covers 17 numbers. However, as it includes streets, splits and a corner bet, the payouts can vary from £18 to £24. As a result, the odds of a Voisins bet fall somewhere between 1 to 1 and 2 to 1.
This is a variable type of special bet on a number of your choice and the numbers either side of it on the wheel. You can choose to bet on up to 5 numbers either side, although 2 numbers is the most popular. However, many neighbours you choose to play, you’re essentially placing a series of straight up bets, each with odds of 35 to 1.
Knowing the roulette probabilities and odds will give you extra info you can use to pick the right roulette strategy for you. Whether you’re a straight up guy or an even money missus, understanding the risk and reward of roulette bets helps you choose how much to bet, how long you might need to wait for a win, and much more.