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Like in most other gambling games, indeed any game that requires an element of skill and a good dose of luck, knowing math can be very handy; the same is true about Roulette. Roulette math is something that you should be aware of before you start playing. Learning about calculating the math in Roulette is simple and the benefits are manifold.
The math varies slightly for the two major versions of Roulette – European and American. This is because of the presence of the extra zero element, the double zero (00) in the American version, something that increases the house advantage slightly. Let us study how to use math in Roulette.
The American Roulette wheel, as we all know, has 38 boxes in all, one more than the European wheel. By the law of averages, you should be able to zero in on a winner after every 38 spins of the American Roulette wheel. In terms of the odds, this translates to about 37 to 1.
The odds are definitely higher than the payoff odds, which work out to 35 to 1. Based on these two numbers, you can calculate the house advantage. Basically, you get the house advantage by taking the 2 unit-difference between the odds and the payoff and dividing it by the number of boxes available, i.e. 38. The house advantage therefore works out to 2/38 or 5.26%.
So what does this mean to you as a player? In terms of placing an inside bet on two numbers, the above calculation means that with 38 spins of the Roulette wheel throwing up two wins against 36 possible losses, the true odds of your winning are actually 18 to 1 and the payoff odds are 17 to 1 or 34 to 2. These values hold for all inside bets actually except for the five-number bet.
The outside bet numbers are slightly different from those for the inside bets. In the case of outside bets the even payoff bets are almost the same unless the scenario includes a surrender or ‘en prison.’
In the case of the 18 red/black, even/odd, or high/low numbers, the chances of winning against winning are 18 vs. 20 (20 includes the green zeros as well). In the case of the three-column and three-dozen bets, you have just 12 possible ways of winning, but 26 different ways of possibly losing (the value 26 takes into account the zeros as well). What this means is that you face unhealthy odds of 26 to 12, with payoff odds standing at 2 to 1.