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The Mathematical Approach to Roulette in Relation to Other Casino Games

Following the rise of digitalization, digital variants of traditional casino games, such as roulette, have reached new levels of popularity. While this is somewhat down to accessibility, it’s also a testament to the table game's thought-provoking nature. Unlike many of the other casino-based games that are now available online, roulette is perhaps one of the easiest to learn. In turn, this will mean that, with practice, you’ll sooner be playing with confidence, as opposed to poker, which is more strategic.  

That said, however, it doesn’t mean that roulette lacks scientific foundations on which players can maximise their chances of success. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. While the perception of roulette is that it’s a fast-paced, social game based on probability, its mathematical outlook shouldn’t be overlooked. So, with that in mind, let’s analyse roulette odds, in addition to seeing how the game’s format compares to other casino activities. 

Roulette’s Inside Odds Explained 

Given as there are 36 numbers on a traditional roulette wheel, the sheer volume of betting possibilities is vast. One approach, of course, is to hedge your bets on a single number with an inside bet. This is known as a straight-up bet and provides odds of 35:1. The number could be selected at random or have a meaning, but history shows that this approach can have fruitful results if successful. As per a report by the Daily Mail, a Brazilian businessman, Pedro Grendene Bartelle, won approximately £2.685 million after placing a straight-up bet of around £26,850 on number 32 in 2017. 


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Generally, inside bets have more risk attached to them but are also more lucrative. Aside from straight-up plays, this style of betting also entails split alternatives, which present winning odds of 17:1. This variant of roulette odds is typically played alongside a straight-up bet, but it heightens the chances of being successful. Furthermore, other inside bets are also available, including corner, five-number, six-number, and street. Across them, the lowest odd sits at 5:1, highlighting the winning possibilities of inside approaches. 

What About Outside Odds and The Different Variants?  

On the other hand, outside odds are a little more routine and are pivotal in appearing to turn the odds in favour of the player. Generally, this mathematical approach is often taken by new players who are keen to get to grips with the traditional table game at online operators.  

Typically, this style sees prospective users opt to play some of the game’s most widely-recommended bets, including red or black. As the name suggests, this strategy involves picking one of the two colours, and, at online platforms, the house typically pays out 1:1 on this outside option. Alternatively, players can raise the stakes while remaining with an inside bet, through choosing either column or dozen bets. Each option covers 12 numbers and pays out at a rate of 2:1.  

Aside from the different betting types, other factors should also be considered, including the odds percentages across the game’s numerous variants. Regarding the chances of success, European Roulette boasts a higher percentage rate. For example, on straight-up bets, 2.70 per cent is on offer with European odds, as opposed to 2.60 per cent with American odds.   

How Does Roulette Compare? 

Compared to roulette, there is a lot more to think about and consider when playing poker. It is undoubtedly more skill-orientated than the wheel-centred game. That said, this added complexity means that poker is more challenging to win, even with various strategies to implement, including knowing the complicated mathematics.  


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Interestingly, the odds of being dealt favourable cards vary, and even surpass the 35:1 maximum total of roulette. For example, the article states that the chances of being handed an ace and a king to start with are one in 83. This is more than double the odds concerning straight-up bets in roulette. 

Ultimately, this showcases that your game of choice between roulette or poker is perhaps a question of whether you have the interest or time to learn the in-depth intricacies of the latter. If not, then roulette presents a mixture of odds in a relatively non-complex format. 

Never Ignore the Mathematics 

While, to some, learning the statistical side of traditional casino games may erode some of the thrill of high-stakes activities, the numbers don’t often lie. New players, in particular, should look to study the odds of various roulette strategies before seeking to place mathematically-unfavourable bets. Although everyone would like to win from a straight-up bet, starting with red or black is undoubtedly a lower-risk move from an odds standpoint.