Oct

17

2011

# Watch Out for Roulette Bets That Cancel Each Other Out

Nearly every wager on a double-zero roulette table gives the house a 5.26 percent edge. It makes no difference whether you bet single numbers or 18-number combinations such as red or black, or anything in between. As long as you steer clear of the five-number bet on 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3, where the house edge soars to 7.89 percent, the house expects to keep \$5.26 per \$100 wagered.

That doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to hurt your chances of winning. In fact, Players can wager in a way that makes it impossible to win, but leaves a chance of losing.

A reader named David emailed me an observation after a session on a multiplayer video roulette table.

“ I was playing and watching the bets by other players on the screen,” he wrote. “I noticed that someone was betting both red AND black or they bet on odd AND even on the same spin.”

It’s a situation in which you can lose, but can’t win.

Whenever one wins, the other loses. If you bet equal amounts on both, the wins and losses offset, unless a green 0 and 00 pops up. Then both bets lose. If you wager \$5 on each per spin, you’d risk \$380 per 38 spins, and lose an average of \$20 — \$10 each on 0 and 00. That’s 5.26 percent of your total wagers.

The bad part here isn’t the 5.26 percent. That’s just the normal roulette house edge. It’s that you give yourself no chance to win, no chance at a streak that gives you a winning session despite the odds. The losses are guaranteed.

No gain. All pain.