The most popular roulette table game in today’s casinos is played at a table with a house dealer, a wheel with 38 pockets, 18 red, 18 black and 2 green colors containing the numbers zero and double zero. A single zero wheel also exists and is popular in European Casinos. The table has a felt betting layout with numbers and colors corresponding to the wheel.
Let us first consider how the casino advantage (house edge) is calculated. The popular double zero wheel has 38 numbered positions that include:
0, 00 and 1 through 36. The payout for a single number win is 35 to 1. Assume there are 38 $1.00 chip bets on all the numbers. The casino will collect 37 losing wagers and pay the winner 35 chips. The casino retains a $2.00 profit, therefore 2/38 = 5.26%.
Basic Table Roulette
Here are the bet(s) combinations that players can make at the basic table:
a) Straight Up – Chip(s) placed on a single number. Example: # 17. A winning payout is 35 to 1.
b) Split Bet – a Two number bet vertical or horizontal. Example: Chip(s) placed on the line between the 5 & 8. Pays 17 to 1 if either of the two numbers win.
c) Street Bet – A bet on three consecutive numbers. Example: Chip(s) placed on the line of a bottom row number such as 19, will cover 19 -21. Payout is 11 to 1 for the win.
d) Corner Bet – A bet on four numbers. Example: Chip(s) placed at the corner intersection of 25, 26, 28 & 29. Winning payout is 8 to 1.
e) Line Bet – A six consecutive number bet. Example: chip(s) placed on a line between two numbers at the bottom such as 31 & 34 will cover 31 – 36, the payout is 5 to 1 for the win.
The above examples are known as Inside Bets. There are other betting options on the felt called Outside Bets with more desirable odds but less desirable payouts. They are:
Column Bet – Betting on twelve numbers in a column such as 1 – 34. Winning payout is 2 to 1.
Dozens Bet – Betting on the first twelve, second twelve or third twelve. Winning payout is 2 to 1.
Red or Black – A bet on either color. A winning payout is even money at 1 to 1.
Odd or Even – A win also pays even money.
1-18 or 19-36 – Pays even money for the win.
21st Century Roulette
Enter the 21st Century and technology has added some competition with virtual reality. Three variations are currently available:
The Rapid Roulette pit has a live dealer and wheel surrounded by twelve player stations, each with a video screen containing a virtual table. Players have the option of selecting their own virtual chip denomination and can change their value any time. Increment amounts are: $.50; $1.00; $2.00; $5.00; $25.00 and $100. The minimum bet is five dollars. All buy in’s and cash outs are handled by the dealer. Once you purchase your credits, select your chip amount. When the screen displays “place your bets” you will have exactly 40 seconds to “touch screen” your wages on to the virtual table. If you make an error you can clear and reset or drag the chip(s) into the desired position with your finger. The dealer then spins the ball. All wins and losses are resolved instantly on the credit meter.
An interesting feature is the “neighbors” bet. For instance, if you bet #8, press the neighbors tab and the two numbers on each side of the #8 on the wheel will be bet for you. Your bet will cover #8, 12, 19, 29, and 31. Winning payouts are the same as table roulette.
The Electronic Roulette cell has eight player stations with video screens containing wagering options similar to Rapid Roulette. The minimum bet is two dollars. Virtual chip values are: $1.00, $5.00, $20.00, $50.00, $100. Each unit has a bill acceptor for credit purchases and a slot for your player’s card.
In the center, is a real wheel, which is continuously rotating. Once the “place your bets” single appears on the screen, the players have exactly 50 seconds to make their wagers by touch screen. When time expires, a small ball is catapulted onto the wheel. After the ball lands on a number, credits are automatically added or deducted from all player stations. A cash out button will deliver the ticket when players are ready to move on.
This option has a virtual display of the wheel and table, in a unit similar to a slot machine. You may wager for as little as five cents and play at your own pace. Various amounts can be incrementally increased up to ten times by touching the screen to wager and then pressing spin when ready. Although this seems convenient, you pay a price for the benefit. All winning payout amounts are reduced. For example, if you play at the twenty-five-cent level, the winning payout is 34 for 1 instead of the traditional 35 to 1. This return doubles the house edge to 10.53 %. Playing at the five or ten cent level, the payout is 32 for 1. The house edge is now 15.8%. This is the price you pay for betting small and slow.