All casino games are played with real money.
This means there must be very strict and clear rules that define what and when you can and cannot bet on each game.
Roulette, just like any other casino game, has a minimum bet and a maximum bet.
These can be negotiated with management, which is why occasionally you see high rollers playing on private tables with much higher maximums.
But a roulette table with no min/max bet — no such thing.
Minimum bet vs minimum chip value
In the US, the minimum bet usually refers to the minimum per spin.
For example, if the roulette minimum bet is $10, then you must place at least $10 on the layout on each spin, or else your bet won’t be accepted.
In the UK, the minimum bet usually refers to the minimum chip value.
For example, if the roulette minimum bet is £5, then you must place at least £5 on each inside bet (such as a straight up) or your bet won’t be valid.
In this example, the minimum chip denomination will also be a fiver, whether you’re playing with cash chips or color chips.
Inside bets vs outside bets
I always say roulette is such a great game because you can bet on so many different numbers and combinations of numbers, including call bets and track bets.
The main distinction, however, would be inside bets and outside bets. In other words, betting on the central part of the layout or the outer part.
Inside bets are:
- Straight ups (a chip placed on a single number, pays 35 to one)
- Splits (chips placed on the line between two numbers, pays 17 to one)
- Corners (chips that cover four numbers, pays 8 to one)
- Streets (chips that cover three numbers, pays 11 to one)
- Six-lines (as the name says, a chip on six numbers, which pays 5 to one)
Outside bets are:
- First/second/third dozen, pays 2 to one
- First/middle/third column, pays 2 to one
- Red/black not including zero, pays even
- Even/odd not including zero, pays even
- Low/high not including zero, pays even
Because outside bets have a much lower payout, their minimum will usually be much higher compared to single inside bets.
For instance, you may be able to put only $1 on a single number, or split, but you definitely won’t find roulette tables with a $1 minimum on even chances.
This applies to both US and UK casinos regardless of how the minimum bet is calculated (per chip or per spin).
Example of roulette min and max bets (UK)
|Bet type||Min bet||Max bet|
Why does roulette have min and max bets?
1. Minimums guarantee profit
Imagine playing roulette with $0.01 chips.
All casino games have a house edge, so the casino is guaranteed to make a profit in the long run.
But if there were no minimums, a big percentage of customers would play just a few dollars a go, and that simply wouldn’t be enough for the business to survive.
In other words, the casino would probably lose money if the tables did not have minimums.
Sure, there would still be high rollers wagering thousands per spin.
But without a min bet, the games would become too accessible and this would cause problems both in terms of profit and logistically.
2. Protecting the players
In this case I’m talking about the table maximums.
Imagine going to the casino and being allowed to bet whatever you want on number 8 black, or a single blackjack hand.
Imagine being able to bet literally everything you own on a single roulette spin, or roll of a dice, or draw of a card, without having to worry about maximums.
This would make gambling much more dangerous.
I’m aware that pathological players tend to gamble more than they can afford, and that minimum bets can’t always address this issue.
However, being forced to bet only a certain maximum amount helps the players stay in control, especially if they’ve had one too many drinks before going to the casino.
Technically, the lower the minimums, the lower the risk.
3. Protecting the casino
Similarly, casinos need to protect the business itself.
What if a customer places ten million dollars on a single roulette number, and it comes in, and the casino then has to pay 350 million at once?
Unlikely, I know. But if you think of all the possible implications of not having maximum bets at the table, you can clearly see how risky it would be, not just for the players, but for the casino as well.
Whereas minimum bets aim to guarantee a certain level of profit each month, maximum bets put a ceiling on winnings and losses.
Therefore, the casino will never run the risk of having to pay a huge sum if a “whale” gets super lucky.
4. Progressive systems
If you’ve read my articles about roulette systems, you know I always warn against the so-called progressive systems.
Typically, this means betting on the same numbers or combination of numbers, and increasing your bet until you win.
For instance, with the Martingale, you double your bet each time you lose; this would, in theory, guarantee profit in the long run.
Now, if you had an infinite bankroll, and if there were no min and max bets, then I guess that would be true.
Without a maximum bet, you could place $100 on red, then if you lose, place $200 on red, then if you lose bet $400, then $800, $1,600, all the way up to millions and billions until a red number comes in.
Now, not many people would be able to actually do that. But that’s one more reason for casinos to always implement maximum bets.
5. Different types of players
Some customers enjoy gambling as part of their night out, without spending too much — they’ll get a drink, gamble a few hundreds on the roulette, eat something, and call it a night.
Then you’ve got the high rollers — customers who gamble ridiculous amounts, often regularly.
In this sense, casinos need to target different types of players.
Because the rules of the games do not change, the easiest way to do this is to simply have different tables with different minimums and maximums.
A $10 minimum roulette is more accessible, and ideal for those who want to kill time at the casino. A $1,000 minimum roulette is better for those who want to gamble, and potentially win, large amounts.
6. Private tables
Additionally, some regulars don’t like to play with four or five other customers, and prefer to play on their own.
As a casino dealer, I’ve seen this many times, especially at the blackjack table.
The easiest solution to this, again, is to open a private table with much higher minimums, so that the average player will basically be forced to play at the other tables.
Most people can afford to bet $10 per spin on roulette. Most people cannot afford to bet $500 per spin on roulette (or whatever the minimum would be).
For those who like to play alone, whether it’s blackjack or roulette, it makes sense to request a private table, or simply play on tables with higher minimums.
Online roulette has lower min bets
Although online casinos do have expenses, they’re definitely lower than those of real casinos.
No dealers, no tables, no rent. And so on. This makes it possible for online platforms to offer games with much lower minimum bets.
For example, on some online casinos you can play roulette where the minimum inside bet is only $0.10.
This is ideal for those who are new to the game or don’t want to spend too much money, but still want to enjoy the experience.
Changing bet size won’t give you an advantage
Blackjack card counters often change their bet depending on the probability of being dealt a high card.
In this case, going from, say, a $5 bet to a $200 bet makes a lot of sense if you know what you’re doing.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for a game like roulette.
Some methods and strategies suggest you increase or decrease the amount of chips you put on the layout, and for the sake of the strategy itself, it can be fun to experiment with it.
But in terms of chances of winning (or losing), changing the bet size will not affect or alter the house edge in any way.
For single zero roulette, chances of hitting a number straight up will always be one in 37.
And a wider range of minimum and maximum bets won’t change that.