Millions of gamblers around the world regularly enjoy roulette hoping to make easy and quick profits. The only thing they need is their numbers to come up on the next spins. Learning the rules is easy, but roulette is a simple game, which means the house has a greater advantage in practice.
Understanding how roulette odds work can help players in the long run. Although there’s no sure way to predict which number will be hit on the next spin, it’s vital to be familiar with odds, as this piece of information can help you make better decisions about which type of bets to make. So stay with us as we discuss the concept of roulette odds.
Knowing Your Odds
The first thing you have to keep in mind is that casino table rules always work in favour of the house. That’s why roulette players need to know how to calculate the odds for each type of bet.
The term “odds” refers to the ratio between the number of possible ways to win and the number of ways you can lose. Typically, odds are displayed as pairs of numbers.
The odds for a roulette spin, or any other random event, describe the likelihood of the said event happening in the first place. When calculating the odds for winning a particular roulette bet, the first thing you’ll need is the bet’s probability. This term denotes the likelihood of a random event occurring. You’ll get this value by dividing the number of ways to win by the overall number of available outcomes.
Now that you know the probability of winning, you can easily calculate the odds:
- Probability of Winning / (1 – Probability of Winning) = Odds for Winning
Let’s see how this works in practice. If the probability of heads when flipping a coin is 0.5, then the odds of getting heads is:
- 5 / (1 – 0.5) = 1 /1, or 1 to 1. It means the odds are even.
Odds for Roulette Bets
Calculating odds for winning when it comes to roulette bets is even easier. All you have to do is divide the number of ways you can win by the number of ways to lose. We’ll take a Straight-Up bet on 32 red as an example. The number of winning ways is one since there’s only one winning number. Let’s say you’re playing European Roulette, where there are 37 numbers in total. In this case, 36 of them will result in a loss. Therefore:
- Odds for Winning = 1/36, or 1 to 36
The odds for winning are often confused with the odds against winning. In many cases, the ratio will be written wrong. The odds against winning denote the probability of an event not occurring. You can calculate these odds in the following way:
- Odds against Winning = Ways to Lose / Ways to Win
In the case of a Straight Up bet, that would be 36/1, or 36 to 1.
The reversed odds are usually used by casinos when listing the payouts for winning bets. The smaller the likelihood of winning a specific roulette bet, the bigger the house’s return will be. The reason for this is simple, as roulette players are playing against the house. And since the house competes against its own customers, the odds paid are the odds against players scoring a win, which is why casinos use an inverted ratio.
Odds for Consecutive Numbers
Some players believe that past winning numbers can influence the results of subsequent spins. They wrongfully clump two (sometimes even more) consecutive outcomes together. This line of thinking couldn’t be farther from the truth, as the probability of hitting an individual number doesn’t change depending on how many times in a row this number leads to a win.
The good news is you can calculate the combined probability of winning with a specific roulette bet in consecution. Again, we’ll use the Straight-Up bet, this time on 9 Red, while playing European Roulette.
To calculate the combined probability of winning with 9 Red two times in a row, multiply individual probabilities:
- 1/37 x 1/37 = 1/ 1369
The probability of this happening three times in a row:
- 1/37 x 1/37 x 1/37 = 1/50653
Odds for Streaks
Steaks typically happen with even-money bets, when the chances of winning and losing are nearly the same. If we follow the same line of reasoning, we conclude that winning an even-money bet on Black is 18/37. This, of course, applies to European Roulette, where we have 37 pockets in total and 18 winning ones.
If you hit Red three times in a row, the likelihood of Black coming up afterwards is still 18/37. This works for every even-money bet. It doesn’t matter if it’s High/Low, Odd/Even, or Red/Black, the probability is always 18/37, provided you’re playing European Roulette.
We’ll use the same formula as in the previous section to calculate the likelihood of a winning streak with even-money bets. So, the odds of winning three times in a row with Black are:
18/37 x 18/37 x 18/37 = 1/8.68
You can also calculate a losing streak. The probability of losing on Black is 19/37 (the green zero pocket included). The formula is the same as with a winning streak:
19/37 x 19/37 x 19/37 = 1/7.38