Understanding the Odds in Roulette

Roulette is a longtime casino staple. Its main selling points are simplicity, the elegance of gameplay, a large number of bets, and winning potential. However, some people aren’t familiar with roulette rules regardless of the game’s popularity. Sure, you just need to guess which pocket the ball will land in, but there’s much more to it.

New players may struggle to differentiate between the game’s variations, the different roulette bets, and the odds and payouts that come with each bet. This guide will help you get a grasp on the main technicalities of roulette:

  • Types of roulette bets
  • Roulette odds and payouts
  • How to increase the chances of winning

Different types of bets in roulette

Roulette bets fall into two categories — outside and inside bets:

What is an outside bet?

Outside bets in roulette represent all wagers that don’t relate to a specific number but rather a larger group of numbers. These groups contain 12 or 18 numbers, divided by colour, number type, or their position on the betting table. We call them outside bets because you make wagers by placing the chips on the outer section of the table.

Here is an explanation of outside bets in roulette:

  • Red/black — Each number that isn’t zero or double-zero will be either red or black. There are 18 red numbers and 18 black ones. For instance, by betting on “black,” you win if the number the ball lands on is black. The bet loses if the ball lands on a red number or on zero or double-zero.
  • Odd/even — You’re betting on an odd number or an even number. Again, zero or double-zero are a loss for either of these bets.
  • Low/high — This time, the numbers don’t have anything to do with colour or odd/even functions. Instead, you’ll be betting on numbers 1 through 18 (low) or 19 through 36 (high).
  • Dozens — There are three dozen numbers on a roulette table, not counting the zeros. You can bet on the first (1-12), second (13-24) or the third dozen (25-36).
  • Columns — Just like the previous bet, this one contains three groups of 12 numbers, only in a different order, and you can bet on each group independently.

Outside bet odds

The table below shows payouts for outside bets and their odds on American roulette and European roulette.

BetPayoutEuropean Roulette OddsAmerican Roulette Odds

What is an inside bet?

Players can take inside bets by placing their chips on the bets on the inner section of the table. These are more long-shot bets, as they involve betting on one or just a few numbers. There are six inside bets, with a few of them being a bit different depending on the roulette variation:

  • Straight —You select one number and win only if the ball lands on that specific number.
  • Split — A split bet allows you to place a wager on two adjacent numbers by putting the chips on the line that separates the numbers.
  • Street — This is a bet on three numbers in the same row. For instance, this could be 1-2-3 or 10-11-12. Another way to bet on three numbers is to place your chips on the corner shared by zero and its adjacent numbers.
  • Square — A square or corner bet is a wager on four numbers that share a corner.
  • Six line — A six line is a double street bet that you place on a corner where two rows of numbers intersect. For example, this could include numbers 28-29-30-31-32-33.
  • Top line — Also called a basket, this bet considers zero and all its adjacent numbers. If you play European roulette, these would be 0-1-2-3, while the top line on American roulette features 0-00-1-2-3.

Inside bet odds

Here’s how much you stand to win on each inside bet, together with the probability of them succeeding.

BetPayoutEuropean Roulette OddsAmerican Roulette Odds
Square (corner)8:110.8%10.5%
Six Line5:116.2%15.8%
Top Line (European)8:110.8%N/A
Top Line (American)6:1N/A13.2%

What are call bets?

A call bet in roulette can refer to several things. In some cases, call bets simply refer to credit bets by high-profile players whom the casino knows and who want to keep betting while not having enough chips. Instead, the croupier will make a bet for them for the time being. This is most common at high-stakes tables, although these bets are illegal in some parts of the world.

Nevertheless, the term “call bets” is more often tied to French roulette, essentially a version of European roulette with a few added rules and bets. More specifically, call bets refer to so-called French numbers or group bets based on arranged numbers on the wheel. There are five call bets, fitting into two categories — fixed call bets and variable call bets:

Fixed call bets

  • Voisins du zero (neighbours of zero) — Includes zero and the 16 numbers closest to it on the wheel. A player must make a bet totalling nine units, including two units on one basket bet (0-2-3), two units on one corner bet (25-26-28-29), and one unit each on five split bets (4-7, 12-15, 18-21, 19-22 and 32-35). The odds of winning are 45.9%
  • Jeu zero (zero game) — This is a smaller version of the voisins du zero bet, involving zero and six numbers closest to it on the wheel. A player must make a bet totalling four units, one on a single straight bet (26) and one on each of three split bets (0-3, 12-15 and 32-35). The odds of winning are 18.9%.
  • Tiers du cylindre (thirds of the wheel) — This bet includes 12 numbers located roughly on the opposite side of voisins du zero. It consists of a wager of six units on six split bets (5-8, 10-11, 13-16, 23-24, 27-30 and 33-36). The odds of winning are 32.4%.
  • Orphelins (orphans) — Orphans are all eight numbers not included in the two above-mentioned groups. You need to wager five units on one straight bet (1) and four split bets (6-9, 14-7, 17-20, 31-34). The odds of winning are 21.6%.

Variable call bets

  • Neighbours — A neighbour bet is a straight bet on any single number, along with four other straight bets on two numbers on each side. For instance, if you place a neighbour bet on the number 6, it will also include numbers 17 and 34 (left) and 27 and 13 (right). The probability of this bet succeeding is 13.5%.
  • Final — A final bet involves a group of numbers that have the same final digit. For example, this could be 0-10-20-30, 6-16-26-36 or 9-19-29. The odds are 10.8% or 8.1%, depending on whether you’re betting on three or four numbers.

How to improve your odds at roulette

Online roulette is a pure game of chance, meaning that you can’t do anything skill- or strategy-wise to improve your chances of winning. However, how you approach the game can make a difference. In that regard, here are a few tips on how to increase your odds when playing online roulette games.

1. Always opt for European roulette

If you have a choice between American and European roulette at your local or online casino, you should always choose the latter. That extra double-zero slot on the American roulette wheel extends the house edge to 5.26%, almost doubling the one on European roulette, which clocks in at 2.7%.

2. Understand your odds

Make sure to fully grasp your chances of winning each roulette bet and how that relates to your potential payout. This guide contains all the numbers you need and differences in odds between American and European roulette.

3. Choose outside bets

Outside bets may have smaller roulette payout odds, but they also have a much larger chance of hitting, ranging between 32.4% and 48.6% on the European version of the game. Comparatively, inside bets have a probability of between 2.7% (straight) and 16.2% (six line).


Does roulette have decent odds?

Roulette is not exactly the most generous of games in terms of odds and payouts. Even the European version, with a house edge of 2.7%, is less generous than games like blackjack, baccarat and video poker. When played with the optimal strategy, some of those can have a house edge lower than 1%.

What is the best bet to place in roulette?

What you consider the best bet in roulette generally depends on your goals. If you like playing it safe, you should go for bets like red/black, odd/even or high/low. If you’re looking for bigger roulette payouts, you should consider inside bets.

What are the odds of hitting black or red in roulette?

The odds of hitting black or red are 48.6% each in European roulette and 47.4% each in American roulette.

What are the best odds in roulette?

Even-money bets have the best probability of hitting. These are red/black, odd/even and high/low. The chances of hitting on any of these bets are 48.6% and 47.4% in European and American roulette, respectively.

Do roulette betting systems improve your odds of winning?

There are no unbeatable roulette strategies that can help you win in roulette. It is a game of chance, and everything depends on luck. The only thing you can do is learn how to play and understand the odds.

What is the highest payout in roulette?

The highest payout in roulette is 35:1. You have the potential to win that on a straight bet, choosing a single number.

What is the safest bet in roulette?

The safest roulette bets are the ones that pay even money — red/black, odd/even and high/low.

What number hits the most in roulette?

The myth of so-called hot and cold numbers in roulette is just that — a myth. Each number on the wheel has an equal probability of hitting, and there’s no way of determining which number is going to hit the most during your session.

Is there any skill in roulette?

Regrettably, no. Regardless of the variant, roulette is a game of chance.

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