The casino always holds a certain advantage over the player in roulette, known as the house edge. The house edge is no secret, as it is present in most casino games, but its presence has raised the question: is it possible to beat or reduce the house edge in roulette?
In this article, we dive into the intriguing world of roulette, exploring the house edge, betting strategies, and the role of mathematics and physics in the game.
What Is The House Edge On Roulette?
The house edge in roulette is a built-in advantage that benefits the casino (the house). It's given as a percentage and represents the casino's expected average profit on each player's bet in the long run.
For instance, in American roulette, which features two zero pockets (0 and 00), the house edge is approximately 5.26%. This means that in the long run, the casino averages out as earning around £5.26 in profit for every £100 wagered. Conversely, European roulette, which only has one zero pocket (0), has a lower house edge of about 2.70%.
However, the house edge is integrated into the game, and no strategy or system can alter it. While it may seem small, the house edge can accumulate over time, and this is how the casino makes money. Thus, understanding the house edge can enable players to make more informed betting decisions.
Why Does The House Have An Edge In Roulette?
The house edge in roulette is established through the game's design and how bets are structured. Let's explore the two types of bets: inside and outside.
Primarily, the house edge is due to the presence of the zero pocket(s) in roulette. European roulette has a single 0 pocket, while American roulette has a 0 and a 00 pocket. These pockets are neutral in terms of the outside bets - i.e. they are not covered by any of the outside bets, such as red/black, high/low, odd/even, columns or dozens. So, if the ball lands on a zero, all bets are lost unless the zero is specifically bet on. This gives the house an advantage, as it reduces the odds of winning for players.
Inside bets offer a higher payout but have a lower probability of winning. On the other hand, outside bets have a lower payout but a higher likelihood of winning. This is because inside bets cover fewer numbers and are less likely to hit, whereas outside bets cover more numbers and are more likely to hit.
The best example is the straight-up (single-number) bet. If you place a bet on a single number, it has a 1 in 37 or 1 in 38 chance of landing in European and American roulette, respectively. However, the payout for a successful straight-up bet is 35:1.
Can Players Use A Strategy To Put The Odds In Their Favour?
Unfortunately, there are no strategies that can eliminate or reduce the house edge in roulette. The only way to have a lower house edge is to choose European or French roulette over the American version. As mentioned earlier, European roulette and French roulette offer a lower house edge, reducing the casino's advantage.
Sticking to outside bets like red/black or even/odd, which have a higher chance of landing, may also be a good option. They cover more numbers, so they have a better chance of landing than inside bets, but they offer lower payouts to balance this.
Although it doesn't affect the odds at all, the best strategy is effective bankroll management. This means setting a predetermined budget for your gambling sessions and sticking to it, regardless of whether you're on a winning streak or a losing one. It's crucial to remember that gambling should be enjoyed in moderation, and you should play within your means.
Can Physics or Mathematics Give You An Edge In Roulette?
There's a common myth that knowledge of physics or mathematics can be used to gain an advantage in roulette. However, this isn't a feasible approach for several reasons.
Firstly, there are too many uncontrollable variables in roulette that are impossible to account for. These are things like imperfections on the roulette wheel and ball, the speed of both of them, the air pressure and more. In online roulette, Random Number Generators (RNGs) are used to ensure fairness and unpredictability, further thwarting attempts to beat the game using physics or mathematics.
Most importantly, each spin is an independent event. The chances of the ball landing on any given number are the same on every spin; previous results mean nothing.
Will Your Bet Size Affect The House Edge In Roulette?
Contrary to some beliefs, your bet size does not affect the house edge in roulette. The house edge is calculated based on the odds of the ball landing in the neutral zero pocket(s). Therefore, regardless of how much you bet, the house edge remains constant, as these pockets are still present.
However, while your bet size doesn't impact the house edge, it does affect your potential winnings. Of course, the flip side of this is that the more you bet, the more you stand to lose. Thus, it's crucial to play responsibly and only bet money you are comfortable losing.
Is Roulette Fixed?
One of the most persistent myths about roulette is that the game is rigged. However, this is a widespread misconception with no supporting evidence.
The truth is that the house edge is designed to give the casino a mathematical advantage over the player and ensure their profits in the long run, but this doesn't mean that the game is rigged. In fact, the house edge is the reason casinos have no need to fix roulette.
Instead, some roulette games operate on a Random Number Generator (RNG), a computer program that randomly selects the winning number to ensure fairness. Moreover, reputable casinos are subject to strict regulations, and the RNGs are audited regularly to ensure fairness.
Additionally, brick-and-mortar casinos are also audited regularly, with their roulette wheel subject to regular maintenance and testing to ensure they generate fair and unpredictable results - i.e. they operate as intended.
If a casino (online or land-based) was found to be fixing their roulette games, they would lose their licence to operate. Combining this with the fact that the house edge ensures their profits, it's plain to see that there is no need for the casino to fix the game of roulette.
*All values (Bet Levels, Maximum Wins, etc.) mentioned in relation to this game are subject to change at any time.