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House edge when playing roulette

Perhaps the most 'romantic' and exciting of casino games, roulette is what we tend to see in the movies, with fortunes won and lost at the spin of the wheel.

House edge when playing roulette With so many betting options and such a busy table the game also looks good on screen, being quite an entertaining and popular way to try our luck online. There are a few important attractions from the customer's perspective, the most important being that it is rather easy to play, with no need to invest time and energy learning the complicated strategies that might be appropriate if we are to improve our chances of success with some of the other casino games. We can simply place our money on the chosen bets and wait to see what Lady Luck has in store.

 Depending on our budget and how long we intend to play, the host of betting options affords considerable flexibility compared with Blackjack, for example. Going for glory with a bet on a single number can be a relatively inexpensive way to try for the 'jackpot' - albeit a little boring, perhaps, while the even-money bets such as red or black and odd or even lead to more wins but at obviously single unit paybacks. As is so often the case the House edge is a major factor with roulette.

 With the 38-number US wheel the house has a big 5.26 percent edge thanks to the zero and double-zero additions, while the 37-number European version is much more player-friendly as the house advantage is therefore reduced to 2.7 per cent. There is also the so-called en prison rule which allows the player, in the event of a zero coming up, to keep half the (even money) bet or, alternatively, let the bet ride on the next spin - effectively producing a possible 1.35 per cent house advantage. But this is where the 'good' news ends and, from a purely expectation point of view, we are dealing with generally poor odds for the player.

 Of course this is all relative given that it is what we are used to, and it is quite within the realms of possibility that we beat these odds, but making a habit of playing roulette should lead to only one long-term result - the wrong one. Nevertheless, if this is the kind of fun game you prefer to invest your bank roll in, then all that matters is that you are aware of the house edge and prepared for it to take its toll somewhere along the way.

 Note that despite the relative simplicity of roulette it is worth spending some time taking in the layout and nature of the betting options before playing for real, so here is another example (like craps) of trying out the casino's 'play money' facility in order to become properly acquainted with how the game works.


Published on 08/04/2007

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