Roulette Odds, Payouts & The House Edge

Understanding your roulette odds and payouts is crucial when playing real money games. Before making a bet, you should always consider you chances of winning and the potential payout would your bet be successful. Since roulette is a fairly simple game, there is fortunately not too much calculation involved in deciding your odds and it is even simpler to understand your roulette payout. We will go through the odds and payouts of all the different roulette bets, both for American and European roulette tables. We will also teach you a bit about the house edge and why the roulette odds and payout aren’t exactly equal.

Roulette Odds & Payouts

If you just want a quick overview of different roulette odds, read no more! Take a look below at a range of different bets, the odds of winning and potential payout.

American Roulette BetsChance of WinningPayout
Single Number2.63%35:1
Combination of 2 Numbers5.26%17:1
Combination of 3 Numbers7.89%11:1
Combination of 4 Numbers10.53%8:1
Combination of 6 Numbers15.79%5:1
Combination of 0, 00, 1, 2, 313.16%6:1 
European Roulette BetsChance of WinningPayout
Single Number2.7%35:1
Combination of 2 Numbers5.4%17:1
Combination of 3 Numbers8.1%11:1
Combination of 4 Numbers10.8%8:1
Combination of 6 Numbers16.2%5:1

Roulette Odds

On every roulette wheel there are 36 red or black slots numbered 1-36. In European roulette there is one additional number, the zero (0), which is green. Similarly, in American roulette there are two green slots, the zero (0) and the double zero (00). The roulette odds of winning will always be calculated from the total number of slots on the wheel. For a European table, this means that the probability for the ball to land on any single number is 1 in 37, about 2.70%. That means that the odds are 36 to 1, there are 36 outcomes that will lose you the bet, and 1 that will win.

Roulette Payouts

When calculating the roulette payout you will never include the green zero(s), and the calculation is fairly straight-forward. There are 36 red or black slots on the wheel, and if you would bet on a single number that wins, you would get 36 times the money in return. Subtract your initial bet and you get your profit of 35 times the bet you made. Your roulette payout is therefore 35:1.

Roulette Odds:

(No. losing outcomes) : (No. of winning outcomes)

Roulette Payouts:

(Your potential profit) : (Your initial bet)

The House Edge

The most classic bet in roulette is the red or black bet. This means that you can bet on on of the colors, let’s say red, and if the ball stops on any of the red numbers you win, and any other color will lose. The roulette odds is seemingly 50-50 for both of the outcomes, and the bet payout would be 1:1, you get double your money back. However, when you look closer at the roulette odds table, you see that while the payout is 1:1, the probability of winning the bet is only 48.6%, where did the other 1.4% go?

This is what is called the “House Edge”, the casinos fee for running the game, employing dealers and entertaining guests that aren’t gambling at the moment, and it exists because of the green zero on the roulette wheel. You see, since we don’t include the zero in the calculation of payouts, the will always be a small difference in the roulette odds and the roulette payouts. In the case of the red or black bet, the payout on either outcome is 1:1, but the different chances on the respective outcomes are 48.65% for landing on a red number, 48.65% for landing on a black number and 2.70% for landing on the green zero. The roulette house edge is therefore 2.70%

Probabilities vs. Roulette Odds In Depth

Mixing up the roulette odds and roulette probabilities is a very common. Let’s take an example of the American double-zero wheel first. This wheel consists of 38 numbered pockets that are perfectly spread around the wheel. These numbers are 1 to 36, along with the 0 and 00. Assuming that you bet on 17, with a total of 38 numbers, a wager on 17 is a bet on one number out of the total 38. That is the probability; 1 out of 38. If you bet it, it means that the number 17 has got one chance in 38 chances to show up. That one out of 38 is actually not the odds of your bet.

Roulette odds in the American double zero wheel(s)

When it comes to the American double-zero wheel(s), a player has got one chance of winning and 37 ways of losing the bet. In short, the odds are against a player as they are 37 to 1. In this case, the probability is one in relation to how many numbers exist in the wheel, though the odds deal with how often a player is expected to win, and in this case, it is just once while losing is 37.

Translated into money, the payoff for winning bets is not 37 to one roulette odds but 35 to one. Looked from another perspective, a player gets shortchanged two units by the casino. If the casino paid “fair” odds (37 to 1), it would not make money and probably close down. Such a move would end the life of all the casinos globally. In other words, roulette odds are not playing in the same league with the real payouts.

Roulette odds on the European single-zero wheel

The above scenario replicates itself here also. With the European wheel, there are 37 numbers (1 to 36) and a single 0. Here, the probability of a hit is one in 37, meaning that the roulette odds are 36 to one. Sadly, the European single-zero wheels also have got a payback of 35 to one on any winnings. In short, it means a shortage of one unit. Real odds are supposed to be 36 to one. However, the payout here is 35 to one.

Will Roulette Odds Always Pay Out On Time?

There’s something that requires close attention when looking at roulette odds and probabilities. The fact that these odds are 37 to one and 36 to one on the American double-zero wheel and the European single-zero wheel respectively doesn’t mean that on every 38 or 37 spins, a winner is found. Gamblers would really wish for this, but sadly, this is not the case. Roulette odds are just long-range figures based on math. A game of roulette can be crazy as there may be many winners or no winners. You may find yourself facing losing streaks or winning and winning streaks every time you place bets.

As a player continues to place bets the real roulette odds start to take shape. Though it will not be perfect, the calculations are based on the winnings and losses. Unfortunately, roulette probabilities and odds are all the same regardless of whether you play a single spin or thousands of spins. And this is what some gamblers think that they can out-smart the math. They can’t.

Roulette Odds On Proposition Bets

Roulette odds work in the same manner as every other bet in a game. Let’s take the example of an even-money bet of red-black. This bet is referred to as even money since a win pays a gambler one unit for every one unit wagered. However, odds and probabilities aren’t one-to-one.

Let us assume that a player X decides to bet red. As you are aware, there are 18 red numbers and a similar count for black numbers. Now, player X wants red to hit and not black. However, the player also hopes that 0 or 00 on the American wheel to also hit. These are losing bets.

Here come the odds: You will win 18 times and get to lose 20 times when playing on the American double-zero wheels. On the other hand, if you are playing on the European single-zero wheels, you are assured of 18 wins, but sadly, 19 loses.

The roulette odds here are 20 to 18 –or 10 to 9- while playing on double-zero wheels while the odds will be 19 to 18 when playing on the European single-zero wheels. Of importance to note is that the American wheel shorts a player two units since the payout on winning bets is one-to-one. Also, the house edge here is 5.26%. On the European single-zero wheels, the house edge is 2.70%.

Remember that there are some bets that come or rather consist of either greater or lesser house edges. Such was covered in previous sections.