The roulette table is spread out on either side of the wheel. This is the area where the players place their bets. The numbers are laid out in a matrix with 12 rows and 3 columns. The number 0 is placed outside the matrix and the other numbers within it. Half the numbers from 1 to 36 are red and half are black. 0 is neither red nor black.
The player first place their wagers by moving their chips to areas designated for the bets. Different types of bets have different designated areas on the layout. The bets on single numbers to groups of six numbers are known as inside bets because the chips for these bets are placed inside the block. The five inside bets are given separate names. The straight bet is a bet on a single number. The payout for this bet is 35 to 1. The player can bet on any of the 37 numbers including 0. The split bet is a bet on two adjacent numbers. These numbers may be horizontally or vertically adjacent. The payout for this bet is 17 to 1. The street bet is a bet on a horizontal row of three numbers. The payout for this bet is 11 to 1. A square bet is a bet on four numbers in a block. The payout for this bet is 8 to 1. A six line bet is a bet on six number in two adjacent horizontal rows. The payout for this bet is 5 to 1.
The bets on groups of twelve or eighteen numbers are the outside bets because the chips for the bets are placed outside the block. The bets on the three vertical columns of 12 numbers each are known as the 1st Dozen, 2nd Dozen and 3rd Dozen bets. These bets pay out at 2 to 1. In Roulette there are three ways that players can bet on groups of 18 numbers. The most common pairing is betting on red numbers or betting on black numbers. The bets are known as Red and Black and pay out at 1 to 1. Another pairing is betting on odd numbers or on even numbers. The bets are known as Odd or Even and pay out at 1 to 1. The last pairing is betting on the group of numbers between 1 and 18 or the group of numbers between 19 and 36. These bets also pay out at 1 to 1.
After the wheel comes to a stop the croupier call the number. First all losing bets are removed from the table and then the winning bets are paid out.
In European roulette all bets have the same house edge of 2.7%. Hence no matter which wager is placed the player’s mathematical expectation remains the same. Therefore no bet or wagering system can improve the players’ chances of winning. Hence from this point of view all bets are equivalent.
However players play with different objectives and these differing objectives lead to different strategies. If a player plays on a high risk-return curve then he does not mind losing his bankroll but if he wins he would like to win big amounts. Such players should place the straight or split bets. In the straight bet the player will win $35 for every $1 successfully wagered. In the split bet the player will win $17 for every $1 successfully wagered. If a player plays on a low risk-return curve then he would like to conserve his bankroll even if he is restricted to miniscule winnings at best. Such players should place the even money or the dozen bets. In the even money bets the player will win $1 for every $1 successfully wagered. In the dozen bets the player will win $2 for every $1 successfully wagered.
Another aspect of strategy is bankroll management that may be applicable for any casino gambling. When players find themselves in winning streaks they should increase the size of their wagers so as to take advantage of the winning streaks. When players find themselves in losing streaks they should reduce the size of their wagers so as to limit their losses during losing streaks. Another important aspect of bankroll management is to set aside a portion of the winnings so that players do not lose it all. Increasing wagered amounts to chase losses is very dangerous and should be avoided.
Despite there being no workable strategy that can increase the chances of winning many strategies have been devised for playing roulette. The most common of these is the doubling strategy. The player bets a certain sum on an even money bet and keeps doubling the amount after each loss. When he eventually wins he will recoup his losses and win an amount equal to his original bet. If the player wants to win something substantial at the end of it all then he must first bet that amount and be prepared to keep doubling it. Theoretically he may have to keep doubling forever but even if a practical view is taken then the total bankroll can be enormous. In the end the player may end up risking a bankroll of $1,000 just to win $1. This strategy will not work at casinos that impose an upper limit on wagers.
Another such strategy is known as the First and Third Column Strategy. The middle column has only four red numbers. Hence by betting $1 each on the first column, on the third column and on black the player covers all but four numbers with a total wager of $3. Though his expectation does not change using this system it provides a hedge against big losses.
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