Understanding Roulette Odds and Payouts

Despite multiple betting options it offers, Roulette is a pretty simple game to play once you learn its rules. However, if you are new to this casino game, certain terms may strike you as perplexing. They include terms like odds, payouts and betting probabilities. What makes these terms difficult to understand is the fact that they are sometimes used interchangeably. Stay with us to learn all you should know about Roulette odds and payouts so that you can understand the game fully.

Roulette Odds vs. Probabilities

These are two terms that are commonly used interchangeably. In order to understand them, you should know that the term probability refers to the likelihood that a certain outcome will occur compared to all other outcomes. The probability of a certain outcome can be expressed as the division of the number of wanted outcomes by the number of all outcomes. For instance, when you play a Straight Up bet, you predict that the ball will land in a certain number. That means that there is a single desirable outcome. If you play European Roulette, the probability of winning is 1/37 whereas in the American version of the game it is 1/38. The probability of winning in the European version of the game is 0.0270 while in the American counterpart is 0.0263. Since the probability of winning is typically given as a percentage rate, we will multiply these results by 100 and get 2.70% in European Roulette and 2.63% in American Roulette.

Here is the lowdown of probability of winning for other types of bets at European and American Roulette tables:

Bet Type European Roulette American Roulette
Red/Black 48.64% 47.36%
Odd/Even 48.64% 47.36%
High/Low 48.64% 47.36%
Column 32.43% 31.57%
Dozen 32.43% 31.57%
Double Street 16.21% 15.79%
Five-Number N/A 13.15%
Corner 10.81% 10.52%
Street 8.10% 7.89%
Split 5.40% 5.26%

Although both probability and odds are sometimes used to express the probability of winning, these two represent totally different things. As a matter of fact, odds represent the statistical relationship or correlation between the possible number of ways to win and to lose on the same bet. For example, if you play a Straight up bet, the odds are 1:36 or 1:38 depending on the game variant you play.

True Odds vs. House Odds

In this paragraph, we will introduce another potentially confusing term. It is so-called true odds. To understand it, you should visualise a Roulette wheel with 37 pockets, in case you play European Roulette. If you play a Straight Up bet, there are 36 ways to lose as opposed to a single way to win. So, your true odds of winning are 1:36. On the other hand, your true odds against success can be expressed as 36:1. This is a rate you should be paid when you win on a Straight Up bet – 36 units plus the original unit you have placed as a bet. However, it is not so, as Straight Up bets can earn you a payout of 35:1. That simply means that you win one unit less and that the casino keeps one unit for providing you with this service.

The same applies to even-money bets, which come with the biggest winning potential. When you play any of even-money bets such as Red/Black or Odd/Even, the true odds of winning at European Roulette are 18:19 while the true odds of losing are 19:18. Yet, if you win on these bets, you are paid only 1:1. Here are true odds against winning when you play other types of bets at European and American Roulette tables and the house odds, that is payouts:

Bet Type True Odds

European Roulette

True Odds

American Roulette

House Odds


High/Low 1.056 to 1 1.111 to 1 1 to 1
Column 2.083 to 1 2.167 to 1 2 to 1
Dozen 2.083 to 1 2.167 to 1 2 to 1
Double Street 5.167 to 1 5.33 to 1 5 to 1
Five-Number N/A 6.2 to 1 6 to 1
Corner 8.25 to 1 8.50 to 1 8 to 1
Street 11.334 to 1 11.667 to 1 11 to 1
Split 17.5 to 1 18 to 1 17 to 1
Straight-Up 36 to 1 37 to 1 35 to 1

As you can see, true odds are based on math while house odds represent a rate at which the casino pays you for a win on a certain type of bet.

Closing Thoughts

The house always wins, says the proverb and we could not agree more. Understanding the probability of winning and true and house odds is key to understanding the way the game of Roulette functions. Although it may not seem right, you should not give up on playing it though, as it can be highly exciting and entertaining. What you should do is to play bets that will provide you with the best odds of winning. Here are the best and worst bets you can play at a Roulette table.

Another thing you can notice from the rates given above is that the American version of the game comes with a higher house edge or lower odds of winning. That’s why you should avoid playing this game variant. If you still want to give American Roulette a try, here are some tips and tricks that can help you beat the wheel.

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