The Red Bet in Roulette

Roulette School

You have a choice of many different types of bets you are allowed to make when you play roulette. One of the bets offered is a bet on the color red. As a roulette player it is important that you understand that the red bet is considered to be one of the best bets in roulette and this article will elaborate on why this is so.

What is the Red Bet?

When playing single zero roulette (European roulette) you will notice that the roulette wheel has 37 numbered slots. The numbers used in single zero roulette are 1 to 36 and the number zero.

In double zero roulette the roulette wheel has 38 numbered slots containing the numbers 1 to 36, a zero and a double zero.

On both types of roulette wheels the numbers 1 to 36 are divided into two color groups. Half the numbered slots are painted red and the other half is painted black. Zero and double zero are always pained in green.

Players are allowed to make bets on predicting whether the roulette ball will land on a number that is painted red or a number that is painted black.

Why the Red Bet is considered an Outside Bet?

The different bets in roulette offer different payouts and probability of winning. The bets are divided into two groups of bets; high risk bets and low risk bets. The high risk bets are called inside bets and the low risk bets are called outside bets.

Inside bets are made on a single number or a small group of numbers. The probability of generating a win is very low and to compensate for the low probability these bets offer very tempting payouts.

Outside bets are player-friendly bets as they offer a low level of risk with a reasonable payout.

The red bet belongs to the outside bets group since in a single bet on the color red the player covers almost half the numbers offered for betting in roulette.

The Probability

The easiest way to explain the probability of winning the red bet is to first imagine that the roulette wheel did not have a zero or a double zero on it, and only had the numbers 1 to 36. In this scenario exactly half the numbers on the roulette wheel would have been red numbers.

If you were to make a bet on the color red under these conditions you have a chance of 50% to win the bet since the probability to win will be calculated as 18/36 = 0.5.

Sadly this is not the case and in games of single zero roulette there is one more number to contend with and in double zero roulette games there are two additional numbers that lower the odds of winning the red bet.

Therefore when playing single zero roulette games with 37 numbered slots the probability of the red bet is calculated as 18/37 = 0.4864 which gives a chance of 48.64% to win the bet.

When comparing the odds to the payout, you can see that the odds are 1.01-to-1 and the payout offered is an even-money payout of 1-to-1. As you can see the casino has a very small advantage over the player.

In the case of double zero roulette, the game is played with 38 numbered slots so the probability of winning the red bet is calculated as 18/38 = 0.4736 which gives a 47.36% chance of winning.

The payout for the red bet in double zero roulette is identical to the payout offered in single zero roulette and stand on 1-to-1. However the true odds of the bet are 1.11-to-1 so in double zero roulette the casino has a slightly bigger edge over the player than in single zero roulette.

Therefore when you are faced with the choice between playing single zero roulette and double zero roulette, it is recommended to opt for single zero roulette. However that is not always possible as some casinos always offer one and not the other.

The “En Prison” Rule

Sometimes the casino offers a roulette game with an added rule. This rule is called “En Prison” and it literally means “in prison” in French. This rule is only valid when making even-money bets such as the red bet.

Under this rule any player making an even-money bet can leave their bet on the table for another spin in case the roulette ball falls on zero. You basically get two spins for the price of one. This rule also lowers the house edge.

In Conclusion

The red bet provides the player with a good chance of winning at roulette. Although it does not offer a big payout, considering the amount of risk involved the payout is reasonable.

A player that focuses on making outside bets such as the red bet, have a better chance of making their bankroll last longer and therefore will be able to play roulette for longer.

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