Reducing Roulette House Edge: Expert Tips & Strategies

Ever wondered why casinos always seem to have an upper hand in roulette? It’s all about the ‘house edge’. This term refers to the statistical advantage that a casino has in any given game. In this article, we’ll delve into the concept of the ‘roulette house edge’.

What is a House Edge in Roulette?

If you’re a roulette enthusiast, it’s likely you’ve heard about the house edge. But what does this widely used term really mean? Understanding the house edge is vital to get a grasp of your winning odds while enjoying the thrill of the roulette wheel.

In the simplest of terms, the house edge refers to the mathematical advantage casinos hold over players. This is why they operate with the credo “the house always wins”. Technically, it’s the average gross profit the casino makes from each game.

In roulette, two versions are most popular – American and European. The standard house edge in American Roulette sits at 5.26%. It’s a bit hefty considering the European version, which comes with a lower 2.7% house edge. Reason being, the latter has a single ‘0’ in play compared to the double ‘0’ of the American wheel, thereby affecting the odds.

House edge is calculated using a simple formula. For American Roulette, it’ll be 5.26%= (2/38) x 100 while for the European version, it’s 2.7%= (1/37) x 100. This small percentage difference may not seem like much, but over time, it plays into the casino’s favor.

*Note the difference in house edge:

  • American Roulette: 5.26%
  • European Roulette: 2.7%*

To put it plainly, the longer you play, the higher your chances of leaving your money on the casino floor. No matter how well you strategize, the odds are always leaning towards the house. But that certainly doesn’t negate the fun you get from spinning the roulette wheel.

How is the House Edge Calculated?

When it comes to calculating the house edge, it isn’t complex rocket science. In practice, the house edge in roulette is the result of the payouts for the bets being lesser than the true odds. Understanding these calculations can give a clearer insight into the game’s mechanics and the odds stacked against the player.

Let’s take an instance of a straight-up bet in American Roulette. Here, a player’s probability of winning stands at 1 in 38, as there are 38 pockets in the wheel. However, if a player hits their number, they’ll only get paid out at a rate of 35 to 1. Here’s how this discrepancy creates the house edge:

  • The actual odds: 1 in 38.
  • The payout odds: 35 to 1.

Mathematically, if the payouts were perfectly fair, they’d stand at 37 to 1, instead of 35 to 1. This disparity between the actual odds and the payout odds is what gives the casino its house edge.

To calculate the house edge, the difference between the true odds and the payout odds is divided by the true odds, then multiplied by 100 to give a percentage. In this scenario:

  • The house edge: ((38 – 35) / 38) x 100 = 7.89%
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In European Roulette, the house edge is calculated similarly but comes out lower at 2.7% because of the fewer pockets in the wheel. The calculations remain analogous, dealing with discrepancies in actual and payout odds:

  • The actual odds: 1 in 37.
  • The payout odds: 35 to 1.
  • The house edge: ((37 – 35) / 37) x 100 = 2.7%

While the numbers might not look strikingly stark, they massively impact your long-term returns in the game. By keeping these calculations in mind, a player can make informed decisions about their betting strategies.

Factors that Affect the House Edge in Roulette

In Roulette, apart from the number of pockets on the wheel, there are several factors that sway the house edge.

Betting Strategy: An important factor that influences the house edge is the player’s betting strategy. For example, inside bets (bets on single numbers) traditionally carry a higher house edge due to the significant payout versus the actual probability of winning. In contrast, outside bets (bets on larger sets of numbers) bring a lower house edge because they’re more likely to win, despite offering smaller returns.

Type of Roulette: The house edge is also defined by the type of roulette played. American Roulette, with both a single and double zero pocket, possess a higher house edge owing to the additional pocket. On the other side of the spectrum, European Roulette, housing a single zero pocket, offers a lower house edge.

Roulette Rules: Specific rules can tilt the house edge in the player’s favor. Two such rules exist in European variation –

  • En Prison rule: If the ball lands on zero, the player’s stake is imprisoned and gets another chance to spin. If it wins on the next spin, the player gets the original stake back. If it doesn’t, the house takes the bet.
  • La Partage rule: When the ball lands on zero, the player immediately gets half of the stake back.

Being aware of these factors, a player can manipulate the way they bet to some extent and potentially lower the game’s house edge. It’s important to remember Roulette, at its core, is a game of chance. Having an understanding of the house edge is not about guaranteeing winnings, but rather about making informed decisions during gameplay. This information gives players the power to strategize effectively. Knowledge, after all, is power.

Different House Edge for Different Bets

When it comes to understanding the house edge in roulette, it’s important to understand that different types of bets carry different house edge percentages. This variance primarily comes down to inside bets and outside bets, which have distinct odds and payouts.

Inside Bets are located within the main number grid on the betting table. Bets placed on individual numbers or small groups of numbers fall under this category. Inside Bets, while carrying hefty payouts, are accompanied by higher house edge, thereby increasing the house’s advantage. For instance, single number bets in American Roulette have a house edge of 5.26%, indicating a significant advantage to the casino.

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On the contrary, Outside Bets are placed outside the main number grid, covering larger groups of numbers like red or black, even or odd, high or low, and the three dozens and columns. These bets come with smaller payouts but are known for their lower house edge, providing the player with better odds of winning.

For instance, when playing European Roulette, the house edge on outside bets can reduce to as low as 1.35% if the En Prison or La Partage rule is in effect, considerably enhancing the player’s betting odds. It becomes crucial for players to know the type of roulette they’re playing and the rules applied so they can accurately calculate the house edge and stake bets accordingly.

To tilt the odds in your favor, understanding the house edge associated with different bets is a strategic move. Experienced players continually analyze this aspect as part of their betting strategy and, overtime, this knowledge can increase their chances of having a winning session. However, one should always remember that roulette, like any other casino game, is ultimately a game of chance and no amount of strategy can guarantee a win.

Tips to Minimize the House Edge in Roulette

A keen understanding of the house edge in roulette is crucial for every player looking to minimize losses and possibly increase their chances of winning. House edge, the innate mathematical advantage the casino holds over the players, varies with the type of bet placed. A few guidelines can help players tactically place their bets and possibly get the upper hand.

One of the key tips is to familiarize oneself with the rules of the game. While most are aware that European Roulette has better odds than its American counterpart due to the single zero, some might not be aware of the En Prison and La Partage rules. These rules apply to even-money outside bets and reduce the house edge – so understanding them can be helpful.

Choosing the right version of roulette is also paramount. With a house edge of 2.7%, European Roulette is a more attractive option than American Roulette, which has a house edge of 5.26%. In addition, online versions can offer “no-zero” roulette further reducing the house edge.

A player should also consider lessoning inside bets, as they carry a significantly higher house edge. It’s more favorable to place outside bets like red or black, odd or even, high or low – as they come with a lower house edge. Distributing the bet across as many numbers as practical can drastically reduce the edge.

Moreover, setting a game plan is also advisable. Knowing when to walk away is vital. It’s always crucial to keep in mind that no strategy or tip can eliminate the house edge entirely. Roulette is, in essence, a game of chance – and while these tips can better the odds, the outcome remains unpredictable.

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To make the best move, a player needs to understand the game, the house edge, and their own budget. With healthy playing habits and smart betting strategies, it’s possible to derive enjoyment from roulette while minimizing potential losses. The goal isn’t just to win, but also to play smart and have fun. Practicing these tips can enhance the playing experience.


Understanding the roulette house edge and its implications is crucial for anyone looking to improve their chances at the table. It’s about knowing the game, choosing the right version, and making smart betting decisions. Outside bets are typically the safer choice, offering lower house edges. Having a game plan and knowing when to step away can also make a significant difference. However, it’s essential to remember that roulette, like all casino games, is ultimately a game of chance. Even with the best strategies, there’s no guarantee of winning. But with knowledge and a little luck, players can certainly tilt the odds in their favor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the house edge in roulette?

A: The house edge in roulette refers to the advantage the casino has over the players. It is typically represented as a percentage and varies depending on the roulette variant being played.

Q: Why is it important to understand the house edge in roulette?

A: Understanding the house edge allows players to make informed decisions and strategies to minimize their losses and increase their chances of winning.

Q: What version of roulette has a lower house edge?

A: European Roulette typically has a lower house edge compared to American Roulette. This is because European Roulette has a single zero pocket, while American Roulette has both a single and double zero pockets.

Q: What type of bets have a lower house edge in roulette?

A: Outside bets, such as betting on red or black, odd or even, or high or low numbers, typically have a lower house edge compared to inside bets, such as betting on a specific number.

Q: What is the importance of having a game plan in roulette?

A: Having a game plan helps players stick to their strategies and ensures they do not get carried away by emotions. It allows for a more disciplined approach and helps in knowing when to stop or walk away.

Q: Can these tips guarantee a win in roulette?

A: While following these tips can improve the odds and minimize the house edge, it is important to remember that roulette is ultimately a game of chance. There is no guarantee of winning, as the outcome is determined by random chance.

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