Roulette Outside Bets
Learn what are the outside bets in the game of roulette. One thing newcomers soon learn about casino roulette is that no matter how lucky you feel, you can never get lucky enough to hit one of those well-paying inside bets. Players are much better off playing safe (outside bets) as much as they can, before stepping into the deep end.
Outside bets are wonderful; the odds of you winning are relatively high; and in some cases, the house edge drops as low as 1.35% (French roulette). But as likely as it is for a person to win, the payout itself is nothing to brag about (2:1 at the most; column/dozen bet). Nevertheless, outside bets are still the best deal in the game of roulette, so let’s not waste any more time, and familiarize ourselves with the system.
Looking closer at the numbers on a roulette wheel, we can see 2 alternating colours; black and red, that seem to go in a repetitive (infinite) loop. In the game of roulette, a player can bet on whether the ball is going to stop on red or if it’s going to stop on black. This is one of the simplest bets possible; and it pays the lucky winners 1:1 and has a success rate of 48.60% and 47.40% in European and American Roulette, respectively.
Just like the name suggests, the player is offered a chance to guess whether the number is going to come up odd or if it is going to come up even. Just like with Reds/Blacks, this bet pays 1:1 and has a chance of success of 48.60% when playing with a single-zero wheel and 47.40% with a double-zero wheel.
This time the layout is divided into two equal, 18 number sections, known as either high or low numbers. Low numbers would be the series of numbers between 1-18, and the high – between 19-36. Like with all even bets, the house only pays 1:1. Much like the previous wagers, you have a theoretical win rate of 48.60% in European Roulette. On the other hand, American Roulette offers a 47.40% chance of success.
Despite their dualistic nature so far, outside bets can also feature groups of 3 (as it is with Dozen and Column bets). A dozen bet refers to the first dozen numbers, starting from 1 to 12 (first dozen); 2nd from 13-25 (second dozen); and the 3rd from 26-38 (third dozen). Each one pays the lucky winner 2:1.
The win rate of this bet will once again depend on the wheel. In European Roulette, you win 32.40% of the time, while in American, this drops to 31.6%.
Column bets, much like dozen bets, aim to capture groups of 12 numbers at a time. This time the groups go up vertically through the grid of the layout; making up 3 distinct columns (hence the name). Pick the right column, and the house pays 2:1.
When you place a column bet, you can expect a success chance of 32.40% in European Roulette and 31.6% in American Roulette.
La Partage and En Prison
Some French tables will have the rule known as La Partage; which basically refers to the player getting 50% of his wager back on all even bets, should the ball land on zero. This reduces the house edge to about 1.35%.
There is one more rule relating to outside (even) bets should the balls land on zero. The player doesn’t lose his chips; rather they become imprisoned. The wheel will spin once more, while the bet will remain the same. Should the outside bet win the second time around, the house pays the player their original bet, but not his winnings. This move is what some people might call ‘insurance’, in case the ball lands on zero. If this event happens more than one time, the casino will then decide whether or not to continue imprisoning the bet, or just let the player lose with dignity.
It should be noted that only one of these rules can be featured at a table at any given time. If a roulette game has la partage it will not offer en prison and vice versa.
While on the surface the two rules might reduce the house by half, there is more nuance to them. Specifically, in how much risk is involved with either rule. La partage carries on inherent risk by itself. It directly refunds half of your bet whenever you are eligible. In this sense, it is the more stable of the two. En prison, on the other hand, is different.
When you trigger the en prison rule, your money is kept for another spin. The outcome of that spin will determine whether you receive your original bet or lose all of it. There is a 50-50 chance for a positive or negative result. Theoretically, you will win half and lose half of all spins after en prison. But that is only in theory. In reality, it can go either way. You could potentially hit a series of winning spins or a series of losing ones. There is no telling what might happen. With this in mind, you should carefully consider your options and decide whether the additional risk is worth it.
Outside Bets vs Inside Bets
So here comes the question whether you should use inside or outside bet. Actually, there is no clear-cut answer to that question. Each offers something of their own to the experience and it is up to you to decide which type is right for you.
If you like risky and uncertain outcomes, then inside bets are the clear way to go. Odds of 36:1 are inherently more thrilling than 1:1, we can all agree. What’s more, inside bets offer much better payouts to reflect the additional risk. A lucky Straight Up bet early on could set you up for the next 30 spins easily. On the other hand, you can go many spins within scoring a single win.
Outside bets are more suited for those who like a more stable gaming experience. The 2:1 and 1:1 odds will offer rewards on a relatively consistent basis and you can plan ahead with some degree of accuracy. What’s more, even-money wagers allow you to employ a betting system, such as the Martingale or the Labouchere. This is not possible with outside wagers since they are unpredictable.
If you wish to play at the best possible odds and you have access to a table that offers the en prison or la partage rules, then it only makes sense for you to take outside bets. Reducing the house edge by half is no insignificant thing and you should definitely take advantage of it whenever possible.