x

Nov

29

2010

Betting the Zeroes at Roulette

Every roulette player has a system, ranging from complicated combinations to playing family birthdays. One player told me that since the house gets its edge from the zero and double-zero, his system was to bet on red or black, then make a two-number split wager on the zeroes and make them work for him.

“I feel like I’m betting with the house,” he said. “The count on the zeroes, and so do I.”

Problem is, the house gets its edge from the zeroes only in the sense that payoffs are made based on odds with 36 numbers, and there are actually 38 on the wheel, with zero and double-zero added to 1 through 36.

The house makes its money by paying less than true odds. That’s as true on the zeroes as it is on any other number. A single-number bet on 7 or any other number pays 35-1. A single-number bet on 0 pays 35-1. There are 38 numbers on the wheel, so the true odds are 37-1. It’s the same deal if you play a two-number split, placing your chips on the line separating 0 from 00. A winner pays 17-1, the same as on any other two-number split.

Using the zeroes in a combination doesn’t make the house’s advantage work for you. It just gives you another bet that faces the same 5.26 percent house edge as nearly every other wager on the wheel.

There’s nothing wrong with betting on 0, or 00, or both. The zeroes are as good as any other roulette bet. But they don’t transfer the house’s advantage to you.

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