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Roulette house edge explained

Dan-Louis Kvalstad
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  • Roulette House Edge Explained
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Roulette house edge explained

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In this article, we will explain the Roulette house edge, how it differs depending on which Roulette game variant you're playing, and how the edge makes it impossible to beat the game in the long run.

Table of contents

What is Roulette house edge

All casino games, including Roulette, are made so the house will win in the long run. The term "house" refers to the casino. The term "edge" refers to the casino's mathematical advantage over you if you play. This advantage varies depending on the type of bet placed, and the Roulette variant played.

Continue learning: All roulette bets explained

In simple terms: Roulette house edge is the difference between the odds of you winning and what the casino pays for a specific type or group of bets.

European Roulette house edge

In European Roulette, the house edge is 2.70%. The European variant has a single-zero wheel, with 37 pockets, of which one pocket is for the Zero, and the 36 others are for the numbers 1-36, and payouts for hitting a single number is 35:1.

American Roulette house edge

In American Roulette, the house edge is 5.25%. The American variant has a double-zero wheel, with 38 pockets, of which two pockets are for the 0 and 00, and the 36 others are for the numbers 1-36, and payouts for hitting a single number is 35:1.

How to calculate house edge in Roulette

You can calculate the house edge for all bets in Roulette if you know the expectation of the bet placed. The expectation is a mathematical term that tells you your long-term expected losses or winnings of a bet.

Here's how you do it: Expectation = (Loss x Probability) + (Win x Probability)

**To proceed with the calculation, you'll need to answer two questions: **

  • What is the probability of winning, and the amount of a win?
  • What is the probability of losing, and the amount of a loss?

Example of calculating the house edge of a bet on Black in European Roulette

For example, we're placing a €10 bet on "black," which pays even money. If we win, we get our bet back + €10. If we lose, it's a €10 loss.

To calculate what edge the house has over us when we place this bet, we work out the total number of possible outcomes and then split these into the winning and the losing ones.

The European Roulette wheel has 37 pockets, 1-36 numbers, and one Zero (green). Eighteen of these pockets are black, and nineteen of these pockets are not.

  • Win probability: 18/37 (black pockets)
  • Loss probability: 19/37 (red pockets + green pocket)

Now that we know the probabilities for winning and losing, we set up another equation to calculate the house edge.

  • (Loss x Probability) + (Win x Probability)
  • (-€10 x 19/37) + (€10 x 18/37)
  • (-€5.13) + (€4.86)
  • Expectation = -€0.27

Our expected long-term losses from placing a bet on black or any other "even money" bets on the Roulette table is minus €0.27 per €10 wagered, and €0.27 of €10 is 2.70%, which is the house edge of European Roulette.

Keep exploring: The ultimate guide on how to play Roulette

Frequently Asked Questions about Roulette house edge

How does the house have an edge in Roulette?

The house has an edge in Roulette due to the single and double-zero pockets on the Roulette wheel.

Why does the house always win in Roulette?

The house always wins in the long run as the game is structured to give the house a minimum mathematical advantage of 2.70%.

How do you beat the house edge in Roulette?

In the long run, you can not beat the house edge in Roulette (or any other casino game) because of the single or double-zero pockets that make up 37 or 38 pockets on the wheel and the 35:1 payouts for a 1:1 bet.

Can the house cheat at Roulette?

The house has no incentive to cheat in Roulette due to its mathematical advantage over its players, and regulation ensures that all results are truly random and fair to both the casino and the players.

What numbers hit the most in Roulette?

Although some numbers are "hot," meaning they come up more frequently, this is a short-term and random result. Over time, all numbers, including the Zero-pockets, turn up just as frequently; 1/37 or 1/38.

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