Nov

02

2015

# Best Numbers To Bet In Roulette

One of the quirks of roulette games that have both 0 and 00 – the common arrangement in the United States – is that the five-number bet on 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3 has a higher house edge than other wagers. If you make that five-number bet, the house edge is 7.89 percent. On everything else, it’s 5.26 percent.

That prompted a reader to email, asking if there was something special about those numbers that caused the higher edge.

There isn’t. They come up as often as any other numbers. It’s the payoff when you bet them all together that leads to the higher edge.

Let’s say you bet \$5 on that combination for each of 38 spins of the wheel in which each number turns up once. Your total risk is \$190. The payoff on winners is 6-1, so on each of the five wins, you keep your \$5 wager and get \$30 in winnings. That’s \$35 on your side of the table for each winning spin, or a total of \$175. The other \$15 goes to the house.

To calculate the house edge, divide that \$15 by \$190 in wagers to get 0.0789. Multiply by 100 to convert to percent, and it’s a 7.89 percent house edge.

What if you bet the same numbers in a different way? Say you break that \$5 minimum down so you bet \$1 each on 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3. Now in 38 spins, you still risk \$190, but your five wins each bring 35-1 payoffs. With \$35 in winnings plus a \$1 bet to keep on each win, you’re left with a total of \$180 at the end of the trial – \$5 more than if you bet the five numbers together. The house keeps \$10.

Now if you divide the house’s \$10 by \$190 in wagers, you get 0.0526, and multiplying by 100 brings it to a  5.26 percent house edge. You’ve bet the same amount of money on the same numbers, but received more money in return and lowered the house edge.

You can do it in other ways, such as a three-number street on 1, 2 and 3 and a two-number split on 0 and 00, and the house edge will be 5.26 percent.

There’s no need to avoid the first five numbers. Just avoid betting them as a combination.