Ever wondered why people say, ‘No matter what happens, the house always wins’? This saying has been around for years, and there is no example where it holds more true than for casino roulette.
The roulette game has been around for nearly 300 years and since then has changed very little. In fact, the name roulette comes from a French word meaning ‘spinning wheel’.
Whether you play American Roulette or its European variant the odds are always skewed in the casino’s favour, i.e. 5.26% or 2.7% depending on which version you play. Appreciating that this is a fact can actually help beginners go a long way in online roulette.
A lot of people play the game without understanding the math and science behind the odds and believe that if they place a bet on red or even, they’ll still have 50% odds of winning. However, as we mentioned earlier, this isn’t the case.
You might be wondering why and how the odds are skewed in favour of the casino? Let us try and explain.
In the American Roulette game, the wheel consists of numbers ranging from 1 to 36. These numbers are placed in a random manner on the wheel such that there is a vast difference in value between consecutive numbers.
In addition to the 36 numbers, there are two slots marked 0 and 00 respectively. It is because of these 2 slots that the casino always has the advantage. To help you understand what that means, let’s use an example.
Say, you decide to place a bet on odd numbers. There are 18 odd numbered slots and 20 slots that are NOT odd (18 even + 0 & 00). If you came to the casino with a large stack of Rs 100 notes and decided to play an indefinite number of games, this is how the math works out for each wager.
P(odd): Probability of getting an odd number is = 18/38
P(not odd): Probability of not getting an odd number is = 20/38
Looking at this you can tell that there is a higher chance of not getting an odd number than there is of getting one. Since odd or even slots pay 1:1, i.e., 100 if you win, -100 if you lose then the expected return can be figured out to
Expected return = 100 * (18/38) – 100 * (20/38) = Rs. -5.26
That means for every Rs 100 bet, in the long run, you can expect to lose up to 5.3% on average. In European roulette games, there’s no ‘00’ slot, so your expected return becomes
Expected return = 100 * (18/37) – 100 * (19/37) = Rs. -2.70
Whether you play a game of casino roulette or online roulette player’s need to come to peace with the fact that the odds are not really in their favour. Many amateur players believe that they have a 50/50 chance of winning or losing and in fact this is the main reason they go bust in the first place.