Inside the Roulette wheel: Understanding the mathematics and odds

Inside the Roulette wheel: Understanding the mathematics and odds

Do you understand the mathematics of Roulette?

Don’t worry if not, as you don’t need to know the complete ins and outs, but it may be nice to gain a brief understanding of the inner workings of the wheel.

Carry on reading to get to know this iconic casino game and see if you can identify any deeper meanings during your next game at or at a land-based casino…

The numbers and arrangements of the Roulette wheel

The best way to delve further into the Roulette wheel is to understand the numbered arrangements that make up a traditional wheel.

The wheel usually features 36 numbered pockets that are alternately coloured in red and black. Aside from the numbers 1 to 36, the wheel also includes either one or two green pockets.

You would see a single zero pocket in European Roulette, whilst American Roulette would feature both zero and double zero pockets.

The numbers on the wheel are arranged to follow a specific pattern that ensures randomness and equal chances of success.

The numbers may seem like a random mess, but the design is intricately calculated to ensure that all results are unbiased and fair.

Probability and payouts

The probability of a certain number being landed on in the game is determined by the number of ways it can succeed, divided by the total number of possible outcomes.

As there are 37 possible outcomes in European Roulette, the probability of success with a straight bet would be 1 divided by 37, which is approximately 2.70%.

Bets with lower odds, like betting on colours, have even-money payouts, so you will get the same amount as your original bet.

Whereas, a straight bet would have significantly larger payouts, at about 35 to 1.

Betting types

Of course, probabilities and payouts depend on what you’re betting on, and within Roulette, there are a variety of betting types.

There are two main categories of betting types – inside and outside bets. Inside bets are on specific numbers or small groups of numbers, and outside bets encompass larger groups of numbers.

As inside bets are more specific, they have lower odds of success but higher payouts, which is the opposite of outside bets.

The role of the house edge

To maintain the running of casinos, casino games incorporate what’s known as a house edge – a mathematical concept ensuring that in the long run, casinos will profit from gamers’ wagers.

In Roulette, the house edge is influenced by the zero and the double zero in American Roulette, which are the only green-coloured sections on the wheel.

These zero pockets don’t correspond to red or black nor are they included in any specific groups of numbers, so when the ball lands on them, all outside bets lose, which gives the casino an edge.

Strategies and myths

Like in any casino game, various strategies have been created over time to try and get an edge over the game.

The Martingale is an example of a Roulette strategy where players double their bet after they lose, but this does not change the underlying probabilities, as the game is – and always will be – entirely chance-based.

Each Roulette wheel spin is independent of previous spins, so it’s impossible to predict future spins based on past spins.

After taking a deeper look into the Roulette wheel, will you be watching it spin any time soon within a traditional casino or live casino?