What Is the Best Bet in Roulette?

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Gambling Table of Roulette full of bets

The game of roulette offers a broad variety of betting options. With all the possible betting methods and strategies that gamers may use in an attempt to get lucky, wagering money on roulette can become a challenging, and even a thrilling, task. The intrigue is that whatever betting decision you make before the next spin, you don’t know whether or not your bet is going to win, as you can only hope that this particular bet of yours is going to work.

Naturally, players try to come up with the best betting strategies, and that is why the idea of “the best bet in roulette” hangs quite thick in the casino air. However, the very concept of roulette bets being “good” – or even “best” – is very controversial. Maybe there is no such thing at all. Let us look deeper into this issue and try to figure out what the best bet in roulette might be.

The Odds, the Payouts and the House Edge

Although the basic rules of roulette are very clear and understandable, players often misunderstand or mix them up. It seems the whole issue of “the best bet in roulette” originates from the lack of understanding of how the math of roulette actually works. In fact, it is not even mathematics; rather, it is secondary school arithmetic that has not been given due attention in the appropriate time.

If “the best bet” is the bet with the highest odds of winning, then one of them certainly could be the red/black color bet. But don’t run too swiftly to conclusions. Yes, the odds are indeed very high: 48.65% in the European and 47.37% in the American versions of the roulette game. It is about how often you win. Let us assume you wager the same amount of money on the red for 37 spins. With the odds of 48.65%, you win in 18.0005 spins and lose in 18.995.

There are three kinds of bets in roulette that have such a high level of winning odds: red/black, evens/odds and lows/highs (1-18, 19-36). But at the same time, these bets have the lowest payouts: just 1:1. It means that for every unit you bet, you receive only 1 unit if you win. Your many wins (18.0005 out of 37 spins) bring you only 18.0005 units, while the losses in 18.995 spins take you back to 1 unit wagered in the span of 37 spins.

This is how odds vs payouts work: on average, you lose 1 bet every 37 spins. It is your 2.7% loss that is the house edge.

Then maybe the best bets in roulette are those with the highest payouts? Let us take the example of a one number straight bet. The payout is 35:1. If you win, you get your bet plus 35 units. Just a great win. But the odds are very low: only 2.7% in the European roulette and 2.63% in the American. Imagine you play European roulette and place a one number straight bet 37 times. The math is that you lose 36 times to win only once. In this case, your winning rate is 1/37, which is still the very same 2.7%.

This means that there is no difference between high and low payout bets. The odds of winning still work the same way for every bet you make, and this is how the casinos make their money.

The same relates to all the bets you could make. Take a 4 number square bet, payout 8:1 and the odds 8.11%, and, again, you are supposed to lose 2,7% in the European roulette and 5,26% in the American. In the latter version, there is also 5 number (top line) bet with a 6:1 payout rate and an even higher house edge (7,89%).

Gambling Table Games Roulette with bets on it

In practice, all the bets are only seemingly different, as odds vs payouts ratios safeguard the house edge evenly and reliably.

Some players believe that making roulette bets with higher odds is a good (i.e. less risky) betting strategy, while others think that the game of roulette is a game of chance and must be played more “adventurously,” so they prefer “riskier” high payout bets. But, in fact, the level of risk is pretty much the same, as the house edge is still the same across the range of all possible bets. Therefore, there simply is no such thing as “the best bet in roulette.”

Or maybe there is and it is precisely the bet that is going to win on any particular spin. Which is technically impossible to know until the ball lands.

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