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What is the House Edge in Roulette?

We explain what the house edge means in roulette and how you calculate this when you play.

In basic terms, the house edge is the house’s advantage over the players. It is not rocket science to know that the house edge is no matter what online casinos you play at. Most players are not aware of it, and that can be costly.

The lower the house edge, the more likely it will be that you can win. All casino games have a house edge, so when you sit down at the virtual roulette table, you need to know what it is. You should know that the average return is different for different variants of one of the most popular casino games.

Keep reading to find out about the roulette house edge, the best bets, and which ones to avoid. You can also sign up on any of the listed roulette casinos to play for free or real money using the insights provided on this page.

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Rule #1: The House Always Wins

Gamblers have all heard the phrase the house always wins, and with good reason, as there is a house edge on all casino games. The house edge ranges from 1% to %17, and the lower the house odds, the more the player stands to make. Conversely, the higher the house edge, the more the casino stands to make.

The house edge is the difference between the winning odds and the casino’s payout for winning wagers playing specific games. The more that you play, the more likely it will be that the odds that your play will be closer to the house edge. Since that is the case, it is more likely that you will lose money. However, making smart betting decisions can help minimize losses when playing for a longer period.

Roulette House Edge Explained

American vs European Roulette House Edge

Casino games have a house edge of 1-17%. Some jackpot slots will also have one nearer to 20%, and keno has the highest house edge of 25-29%. In terms of the video roulette house edge, it is seen as a mid-range one, but that can differ. While many game variants exist, the three most popular ones are American, European, and French roulette tables. The house edge for those versions is as follows:

  • American Roulette: 5.26%
  • European Roulette: 2.70%
  • French Roulette: 2.70%

American roulette has a higher house edge, nearly double, than the other two versions because, on that roulette wheel, there are two green numbers (two zero pockets), 0 and 00, while on the other two, there is only a single green zero.

How to Calculate The Edge in Roulette

Guide to Roulette RTP

Roulette enthusiasts might feel more comfortable calculating the roulette edge without any outside help. If that’s the case, this is how you can calculate the roulette house edge.

European Roulette House Edge

The European roulette house edge is 2.70%, and the formula is 1/37 = .0270 x 100 = 2.70%. Let’s explain that formula:

There are 36 numbers on the roulette wheel, and if it were not for the one green number, the house edge would be 0% with 18 player wins and 18 casino (house) wins. The one green zero tilts the edge to the house of 19/37 (the 36 numbers plus green zero) and 18/37 for the player. You subtract 18/37 from 19/37, which equals 1/37. 37 divided by 1 equals 0.270, and then you multiply 100 to convert to a percentage of 2.7%.

American Roulette House Edge

The American roulette house edge is 5.26%, and the formula to calculate it is 2/38 = .0526 x 100 = 5.26%. Now, let’s explain it.

Again, there are 36 numbers on the roulette wheel, and if there were not the two green numbers, the house edge would be 0% with 18 player wins and 18 casino (house) wins. The two numbers tilt the edge to the house of 20/38 (the 36 numbers plus the green zero and double zero) and 18/38 for the player. You then subtract 18/38 from 20/38, which equals 2/38. 38 divided by two is .0526, and then you multiply 100 to convert to a percentage of 5.26%.

French Roulette House Edge

While French roulette is a different version of the game, it has the nearly same house edge as the European version simply because it has the same layout with 36 numbers and a single green double zero.

However, at most online casinos that offer the French version of the game, the house edge can be slightly lower because of two unique rules, which we will touch on later in the article.

Do Roulette Variants Have a Different Edge?

Double Ball Roulette

Yes, roulette variants can have a different house edge. For example, Lightning Roulette is played on typical European roulette wheels with one green zero. This game has two unique aspects, such as Lucky Numbers and Lucky Payouts, which can greatly increase wins by up to 500x.

Typically, if you hit on a single number bet, the payout is 35/1. Still, in Lightning Roulette, it is 30/1, and the casino will take that extra money with lower odds to pay for the Lucky Numbers and Lucky Payouts, which will affect the house odds. There is no question of whether Lightning Roulette is rigged compared to other variants. That’s simply how the rules of the games work.

Another example is the popular variant, Mini Roulette. No surprise that there are fewer numbers – in 12 and the green zero – with this name. As you can probably imagine, fewer numbers affect the house edge; mini roulette has a higher house edge than American roulette.

Here are a few of the more popular variants of roulette and their house odds:

Roulette House Edge
Lightning Roulette 2.90%
Mini Roulette 7.89%
Double Ball Roulette 2.70% (European) 5.26% (American)
Mini Wheel Roulette 2.70% (European) 5.26% (American)
Pinball Roulette 2.70% (European) 5.26% (American)

Best Roulette Bets To Make

While there is a roulette house edge, no matter what variant you play, some wagers are less risky and can increase your chances of winning. Here are some bets that you should make if you want to play with more than just luck:

  • Even money – Even money wagers are not the most profitable ones, as they offer an even payout, but they are safer and nearly give you a 50% chance to win. There are three even money bets in black or red, odd or even, and 1-18 or 19-36.
  • Columns – If you want a little better profit but still want to go with a rather safe bet, the columns bet is good. You can wager on the winning numbers of the boxes of the first 12 (1-12), second 12 (13-24), and third 12 (25-36), and the three columns at the end of the roulette table. This bet covers nearly a third of the table, minus the green numbers, and pays out 2:1.
  • Split and Corners – If you still want a better profit but want to increase your winning percentage by betting on a single number, then the split bet and corners bet may be your cup of tea. The odds are still not great, but they are much better than the single number wager. The split bet is betting on two numbers, while the corners bet is betting on four numbers. If the ball lands on one of the two numbers you bet on, the payout is 17:1 and 8:1 on the corners bet.
  • Play French roulette if you make even money wagers often – In French roulette, you get a second chance on even money bets if the ball lands on the green zero, which is not the case on American and European roulette wheels. In the French version, if the ball settles on the green zero, you can choose the En Prison rule or the Le Partage rule. In the En Prison rule, your even-money bet remains and stays until the next spin. For the La Partage rule, the even money bet can be split with the house 50/50; in this case, you will only lose half of the bet.

Worst Roulette Bets: What To Avoid

Roulette Game - How it Works

While there are some solid bets to make when playing roulette at online casinos, there are also some you should avoid in terms of the actual odds. Here’s what you shouldn’t place bets on:

  • Single Number Bet – Sure, the single number bet has the best payout at 35/1. It is also the hardest bet to hit, having to pick one of the 36 numbers. Again, the payout is a solid one, but the actual odds of hitting on a single number is only 0.29%. Yeah, not a good percentage to wager on.
  • The Basket Bet – The basket bet can only be played on an American roulette table and encompasses a five-number bet covering the numbers 0,00,1,2 and 3. The reason the bet is a bad one to make is that it has a whopping house edge of 7.89%!
  • Betting Patterns – While betting patterns are not specific roulette bets, they are betting based on the patterns of the previous spins. Online casinos will show you the last 10 spins, and you should avoid making bets based on the previous spins. For example, if red has hit eight times in a row, you may think it is time for black to hit. However, the odds are the same that that red will hit on the same spin. Another example is that if the winning number is 17 for three straight spins, it can’t hit again, right? Well, it can, as the odds are the same that 17 will hit any of the other 35 numbers.
  • Avoid American Roulette Tables – This is simple, as when you play roulette, you should play the European or French versions simply because they have a lower house edge. American Roulette has a house edge of 5.26%, while French and European roulette is at 2.7%, so it only makes sense to play those variants to increase your chances of winning. Skipping Atlantic City Roulette might sound un-American, but it is for the best.

How Players Can Lose More Than They Expect

One of the main reasons players can lose more than they expect is that they do not fully understand the house edge. Let’s say a person is playing the American version with around a 5% house edge. Most players believe that if they play for a few hours with $100, they will only expect to lose 5% of that amount, which is $5.

❗ However, you need to be aware that the edge of the casino is based on the amount of money bet, not the starting bankroll. Therefore, if you play for a few hours with some wins and losses and the total amount you bet in your session is $1,000, you can expect to lose $50. The longer your session is, the more likely the house edge applies.

❗ Players can often lose more money than expected by betting strategies. Many roulette strategies (Martingale, Fibonacci, Fisher) involve betting more after a loss to recoup lost money. This can be risky as if you hit a losing streak, which happens all the time, you are in a big hole rather quickly.

❗ Hedging is a double-edged sword, as you can use the strategy to diminish losses, but the payouts are often not great, and you can lose money quickly. For example, if you bet on red and then make a column bet, you can cover a lot of the table. If a winning number hits and you hit on red and the correct column, you can get a pretty good payout. However, the actual odds are not in your favor. You will likely win one of the bets but lose one for a minimal payout. However, if you lose both, you are out a considerable sum, and your bankroll will take a big hit.

The Extra House Edge

The extra house edge has to deal with the length of the playing session. It was stated before that the longer you play, the more likely the result will match up with the house edge. Also, again, the edge deals with the money you spend playing the game, not your original bankroll.

If you play for a shorter period, you can come out ahead, but the longer you play, the more likely it will be that the house edge is matched, and you will lose money. This is why land-based casinos often offer free drinks to players and do not have clocks or windows, so players can lose track of how long their session is.

You can avoid the extra edge by having shorter playing sessions. If you plan on playing for a long time, it is a good idea to take short breaks often to break up the sessions.

Is There an Edge to All Casino Games?

Most definitely. Any casino, whether land-based or online, is there to make money. All of the games they offer will have a house advantage so that they will come out ahead over the long haul. That is the base for the saying the house always wins. No matter if you like roulette slot machines, baccarat, craps, slots, or blackjack, you need to know the house odds before you start to play.

The French and European versions of roulette and blackjack are games that have a lower house edge. Games such as online scratchies, keno, and slot machines have a higher house edge.

Should I Still Play Online Roulette?

Roulette Online

If you like to play roulette, then the resounding answer is yes! Sure, so there is a house edge in the game, but there is one for every casino game. On top of that, roulette can have one of the lower house edges, especially if you play the European and French versions of the exciting game.

Keeping the house odds in mind, there are still ways to increase your chances of winning. Two keys to know are that the longer you play, the more likely the house edge will be matched. Moreover, the edge is on the money you gamble with in a playing session, not your original bankroll. Another important thing to remember is that playing French and European roulette has an edge over almost half of the American version.

House Edge & Types of Roulette Games: Wrap-Up

There are many fun versions of roulette at NJ online casinos, and while most will have the same house edge as the standard versions, some will be higher, ultimately making it less likely that you will win in the long run. Other factors that can help you win include making smart wagers, avoiding risky ones, and using good bankroll management.

You should always play by the golden rule of gambling, in that you should never play with more than you can afford to lose. If you find yourself playing with more than you should, you may have a gambling problem, and many services can be of help. Most reputable online casinos have gambling problem information; if you ever think you have an issue, you should take advantage of them.

As a key takeaway, use the info we have given to know all about the roulette house edge and always gamble responsibly.