If you’re getting started with roulette, you may be wondering whether there is such a thing as a “safe bet”.
Now, because the game is designed to give the house a statistical advantage, technically there are no bets that are safe — if you keep playing, eventually you will lose.
That being said, one of the great features of roulette is that there are so many different bets available.
From splits, to corners, to columns, there are at least ten different ways to bet (not including the so-called “track bets”).
And yes, some of these are safer simply because your odds of winning are higher — as much as 48.6 percent!
What is the safest bet in roulette?
The safest bet in roulette is any even chance bet: red, black, even, odd, low numbers, or high numbers. That gives you a 48.6 percent chance of winning (47.3 percent if the roulette has a double zero as well).
Plus, some casinos have a rule where if you’ve put your chips on an even chance bet, and zero comes in, you only lose half of your bet.
So for example, if you’ve put £100 on red and the ball lands on zero, you will not lose the whole £100, but only half of it. In French roulette terminology, this is referred to as “La Partage”.
Now, if we’re thinking purely in terms of chances of winning, then the safest bet would be one in which you cover all numbers except two or three.
If you put a chip on each roulette number except, say, 34, 35, and 36 — then chances of winning would be very high.
The two main problems of such a strategy is that 1) when you do lose, you lose a lot of chips, and 2) considering that you invest a lot of chips during each spin, you actually won’t win much.
And as a casino dealer, I’ve seen this many times — players who think they’re smart because they’ve put a bunch of chips all over the layout, then 9 (or whatever number they didn’t cover) comes in and they lose everything, instantly.
Putting your chips on the outside bets is overall the safest bet in roulette because you’ll basically win one in two times (for even chances) or one in three times (for column or dozen bets).
Even chance bets
- Red or black. Not much to explain, right? Put your chips on “red”, and if any red number comes in, you’ll win the same amount you bet. On the roulette wheel, red and black numbers alternate, which means you’ll always have the same chances of hitting a certain color regardless of the section the ball lands on. Unless it’s the zero section, of course, in which case you’ll have a higher chance of losing.
- Odd or even. Same as above. For those who don’t know, zero is technically an even number, but unfortunately it doesn’t count as even in roulette. So as explained above, if you bet on “even” and zero comes in, you’ll either lose or lose half of your bet.
- Low or high numbers. If you bet on “low numbers”, you’ll win if any numbers between 1 and 18 come in — again, zero doesn’t count. If you bet on “high numbers”, you want the ball to drop on 19 or higher. Much like red and black, low and high numbers alternate on the wheel. So again, the section in which the ball drops is irrelevant.
Dozen and column bets
- First, second, or third dozen. These refer, respectively, to numbers 1-12, 13-24, and 25-36. Although this bet is not as safe as the even chance ones, you’ll still win about one in three times (about 32.4 percent chance assuming it’s a single-zero wheel).
- First, middle, or third column. The roulette layout has twelve rows and three columns. For instance, the first row would cover the numbers 1, 2, and 3. The first column would cover 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28, 31, and 34. By betting on a column, your chances of winning will be, again, 32.4 percent or 31.6 percent in American roulette.
Safest roulette strategy
The bad news: any roulette strategy that doesn’t involve some form of cheating or unfair advantage will be a losing strategy in the long run.
The good news: you can still choose to “play it safe” and use a strategy that minimizes your risk of losing, particularly losing more than you can afford.
Although outside bets typically have higher maximums (for example, you may place a minimum $5 on a number straight up, but a minimum of $20 on red), that’s one bet, and one chip.
Conversely, strategies based on inside bets will usually require you to place a bunch of chips on a certain section of the layout/wheel, and that would be a lot faster, and riskier, and almost always more expensive in the long run.
Red or black, low or high numbers, odd or even, etc. are a much more conservative bet. It doesn’t mean you can’t lose — but when you do lose, you’ll probably lose less.
Do NOT use roulette progressive strategies
Whatever section, number, or outside bet you place your chips on, if you want to play conservatively — do not use any progressive strategy.
This refers to any strategy in which you are supposed to increase the amount you bet after each spin (usually after a loss).
The logic behind it is, if you’ve put $10 on red, and lost, you can then put $20 on red, and if you win, you’ll profit.
If you lose the $20 bet, then you can bet $40 on the following spin, and still profit. And so on, indefinitely.
This is usually a terrible idea because although long series of red numbers (or whatever you’re betting on) are unlikely, they are very possible, and eventually you’ll lose a lot of money.
For instance, if you use a simple progressive strategy on even chances where you double the amount on each spin, if you start with $10 and lose ten times in a row, which does happen, you’ll be $10,000 down.
The reason so many players like the idea of a progressive strategy is because of the so-called gambler’s fallacy.
This refers to the belief that if red (or black, or anything else) has come in many times in a row, it’s less likely or more likely to come in during the next spin.
Thus the belief that by increasing your wager on each spin, eventually you will win.
And as a casino dealer, I’ve seen series of twenty black numbers in a row, zero four times in a row, you name it.
All roulette strategies that don’t involve cheating will eventually lose in the long run, but to play smarter, don’t use any progressions.
And of course, always set a limit, and never gamble more than you can afford — that itself is the best and safest strategy.