Roulette: the House Edge Explained

Casino games are all about risk and reward. Players win or lose money by betting against the House. However, games are structured so that the casino ultimately comes out on top. This is how casinos make money. The house edge, or house advantage, describes how often players will lose on a single bet. It is a percentage built into every casino game, and roulette is no different. 

roulette wheel

The house edge can range from less than 1% to more than 17% on some games. Roulette is more moderate in terms of the casino’s advantage. The house edge for European Roulette is around 2.7%, while American Roulette has an inflated average of 5.26%. Still, players must realize that even a moderate or low house edge can slowly deplete their money.

To understand the concept of the house edge in roulette, consider that there are 37 numbers on the roulette wheel labelled from 1 to 36. These numbers are either red or black. However, there is also a green space that is zero. This zero creates the house edge because players are only paid as if there are 36 spaces. In other words, players are paid 1/37 or 2.7% less than they should be.

For example, when a player bets a black chance, they are betting that the ball will land on one of 18 black numbers. Yet, the chances here are not even. There are 18 black numbers, 18 red numbers and 1 zero. In this case, the odds are 18/37, which equals 48.7%. There is not an even 50% chance of winning, and this difference represents the house edge in roulette.

In American roulette, the house edge is different because there is an additional zero on the roulette wheel. There are two green numbered spaced: zero and double zero. This means that the calculation for the house edge is different. While there are 38 spaces on the wheel, players are paid as if there are only 36. In other words, players are paid 2/38 or 5.26% less than they should be.

It is important to consider the house edge when playing any game including roulette. While the margin may seem insignificant to some players, it affects how likely players are to win. This is especially true in the long run. The longer someone plays a game of roulette the more likely they are to lose. Of course, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for players to make money. Rather, casinos consider wins and losses in the long run and in terms of thousands of players. While the casino will ultimately come out on top, players can win in the short term, especially skilled players who approach the game with certain strategies.

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