The Roulette Wheel ... and how to worry the casino! *

* See the bottom of the page


Roulette is a game of chance. It uses a spinning wheel with either 37 or 38 numbered pockets. The wheel is spun one way and a ball is sent round the other way.

Before the wheel is turned, players bet on where the ball will land. There are lots of different ways to do this, and the chances of winning and the payouts vary.

The first recognisable roulette game was played in a Paris Casino in 1796. The game is designed to give the casino an edge - in other words, over a long time players should lose slightly more than they win. That's how casinos can afford to have lots of smart people in suits standing around saying "Good evening Mr Bond".

Here's how the sums work:

EUROPEAN TABLES (single zero)

Most European tables have 37 holes numbered 0-36. The 0 is coloured green, the other numbers are red or black (18 of each).

One bet is to pick any single number. This pays out 35/1. Therefore if you put £1 on it and your number comes up, you will receive your winnings of £35 plus your original £1 = £36 in total.

However the chances of winning are 1/37 because there are 37 numbers and only one winner. This means if you play 37 times, it will cost you £37, and on average* you should win once which will give you £36. In other words, if you play for years and years, for every £37 you bet, you'll get back £36.

The simplest way to show this is to put £1 on every number, so that's £37 in total. Spin the wheel. The winning number will give you £36 back, the rest all lose, so you're £1 down.

The house wins £1 out of every £37 bet which is 2.7%. It might not sound like much, but when big money is flying around, it soon adds up!

* There is NO guarantee you will win one time every 37 games! You might not win any, or if you're very lucky you might win two or more. It's like throwing a dice six times. On average you should get one six, but you might get more, or you might get none.

Another common bet is Red/Black. This pays out 1/1 (or evens), so if you put £1 on red and it wins, you get £1 plus you get your original £1 back = £2 in total.

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Your chances of winning are 18/37 because there are 18 red numbers out of the total 37. If there was no ZERO hole, then the chances would be 18/36 = 1/2. It would be an even bet and you should win exactly as much as you lose. However the ZERO will come up about 1/37 times, so neither red or black win. Once again, this gives the house a 2.7% profit.

Not everyone can work out the odds of winning at casino games, but if you put the maths aside and just play for the fun element and hope Lady Luck is on your side, then you will be able to enjoy a wealth of exciting online casino games right here.


Players put their bets on a cloth known as the layout.

Here we've put a selection of markers out. The table shows the chances of winning, and the payout.

What's the bet? Win chance Payout
Single bet on number 6 1/37 or 2.7% 35/1
Split bet on 26 and 29 2/37 or 5.4% 17/1
Triple bet on 13,14,15 3/37 or 8.1% 11/1
Triple bet on 0,2,3 3/37 or 8.1% 11/1
Four-way bet on 19,20,22,23 4/37 or 10.8% 8/1
Six-way bet on 28,29,30,31,32,33 6/37 or 16.2% 5/1
Bet on all numbers 1-12 12/37 or 32.4% 2/1
Bet on all numbers in centre column (not zero) 12/37 or 32.4% 2/1
Bet on all numbers 1-18 18/37 or 48.6% 1/1
Bet on all black numbers 18/37 or 48.6% 1/1
Bet on all odd numbers 18/37 or 48.6% 1/1
ZERO is not odd or even, and is not black or red!

AMERICAN TABLES (double zero)

If the European tables didn't have the green zero pocket, then there would be no profit for the Casino. American tables have a second green pocket, the double zero. This doubles the profits!

Some places do play special rules regarding these zero pockets, e.g. if you bet on all the odd numbers and zero or double zero comes up, they only take half your money.

How nice of them!

Let's see what the chances are on a double zero wheel:

What's the bet? Win chance Payout
Single bet on double zero 1/38 or 2.6% 35/1
Single bet on number 13 1/38 or 2.6% 35/1
Split bet on 34,35 2/38 or 5.3% 11/1
Triple bet on 4,5,6 3/38 or 7.9% 11/1
Four-way bet on 26,27,29,30 4/38 or 10.5% 8/1
Six-way bet on 10,11,12,13,14,15 6/38 or 15.8% 5/1
Bet on all numbers 13-24 12/38 or 31.6% 2/1
Bet on all numbers in right column (not zero) 12/38 or 31.6% 2/1
Bet on all numbers 19-36 18/38 or 47.4% 1/1
Bet on all red numbers 18/38 or 47.4% 1/1
Bet on all even numbers 18/38 or 47.4% 1/1
ZERO and DOUBLE ZERO are not odd or even, and are not black or red!


Answer: You don't - well not for certain!

There are stories of people who have won at Roulette but for everyone that wins, there are lots more who lose! Of course, there's fun to be had in trying a "system", so even if you lose a little bit, you've enjoyed yourself.

In the old days, some gamblers used to watch the same roulette wheels week after week, and very occasionally would notice a "bias" which made the wheel favour some numbers slightly more than others. By continually betting on these numbers, the gamblers turned the odds in their favour and started to win - until the management realised and mended the wheels!

The main rule about winning or losing is that you must set yourself a limit of how much you're happy to lose, and if it all goes then STOP!


That's what we put at the top of this page, and there is a method!

Imagine you're going in to play with £100. You have two choices...

  • You bet £1 every time, putting it on red/black or odd/even.
  • You put all your £100 on one number for just one turn of the wheel.
Which is better?

If you play £1 a time for ever and ever, very slowly and surely your money will go, but if it's a nice place, then maybe it's worth it. And the casino will love you because even if you do happen to get ahead and then stop, it won't cost them much.

Of course if you put all your £100 on one number, you will probably have a very short visit... but the Casino will worry! That's because if you DO win it'll cost them £3,500. They won't like that!

So if it makes the Casino worry, then it has to be better for you!

If you donít want spend a lot of money you can get quite far with only casino bonuses money. Each casino offers you a nice welcome bonus to try them out so you can practice your skills without losing any money.

There are more stats and facts about games at

Chances of Card Hands

How many ways can you put a pack of cards in order?

The National Lottery Odds