Minimum bets at live table games continue to increase. The spread of 000 roulette tables creates a higher bet minimum for 00 roulette in many casinos. Single zero and European roulette are mostly located in high limit areas with $50 to $100 minimum bet requirements.
Roulette is often available as an electronic table game. Most roulette machines have an automated wheel with a surrounding bank of gaming stations. A screen is located at each player’s seat where individual bets are placed. Some have an individual wheel at each seat. Other upright machines have a video wheel on the screen.
Vegas Advantage Newsletter: We released the second edition of the Vegas Advantage Newsletter on March 7, 2022. It includes every live and electronic table game at all Las Vegas Strip and downtown casinos. An optional add-on covers more than 20 locals casinos. More details: Vegas Advantage Newsletter
Electronic table games offer players options with lower minimum bet requirements. However, these lower minimums sometimes come with a higher house edge. Short pays are commonly found on Bally’s upright single zero and some double zero machines. On these machines, straight and split bets may have lower payouts.
A standard roulette game pays the following:
- 35:1 for a straight bet
- 17:1 for a split bet (two numbers)
- 11:1 for a street bet (three numbers)
- 8:1 for a corner or first four bet (four numbers)
- 5:1 for a six way bet (six numbers)
- 2:1 for numbers 1 through 12; 13-24; or 25-36 (12 numbers)
- 1:1 for numbers 1 through 18, numbers 19 through 36, odd, even, red or black bets (18 numbers)
Depending on the number of zeros, the house edge is the same for all bets with the above payouts. A single zero roulette game has a house edge of 2.7%, double zero has an edge of 5.26% and triple zero roulette has a house edge of 7.69%. A five-number bet on a 00 roulette table has a 7.89% house edge. In Atlantic City, even money bets on a 00 roulette game only have a 2.63% house edge.
Higher house edge
Most short-paying roulette machines only pay 31:1 for a straight bet and 15:1 for a split bet. For a single zero game, this increases the house edge of these bets from 2.7% to 13.51%. The advantage of a single zero on the wheel is lost for these two bet types. For comparison, a roulette wheel with five zeros and the standard pay table would have a house edge of 12.2% on a straight bet.
On a double zero game, the house edge increases from 5.26% to 15.79%. For comparison, a triple zero machine with a standard pay table only has a house edge of 7.69% on the same bets. A roulette wheel with six zeros would have a house edge of 14.29%.
For machines with multiple denominations available, the pay table may change for each minimum. During our latest Las Vegas survey, I came across a 00 roulette machine with a middle-tier pay table of 32:1 on a straight bet and 16:1 for a split bet. This increased the house edge to 13.16% for these bets.
Although the payouts for the straight and split bets are decreased, the others remain the same. Roulette players looking for lower limit action on the other bet types will find a lower house edge with a single zero machine when compared to a live double or triple zero game.
Misleading pay tables
The pay table on most electronic roulette machines is under a settings or help menu. On some machines, including Bally’s upright roulette games, the pay table is displayed on the main screen. Many times these pay tables include the original bet in the payout amount.
One way to quickly spot these misleading pay tables is to pay attention to even money bets. When betting on half the set, excluding zero(s), the bet should pay 1:1. A pay table that includes your original bet will have a payout of 2 for 1-18, 19-36, odd, even, red or black bets.
This does not mean the pay table is incorrect, just that every payout value includes the original bet in addition to winnings earned.
To be a traditional pay table on these machines, the payouts should read:
- 36 for a straight bet
- 18 for a split bet (two numbers)
- 12 for a street bet (three numbers)
- 9 for a corner or first four bet (four numbers)
- 6 for a six way bet (six numbers)
- 3 for a set of a dozen numbers
- 2 for numbers 1 through 18, numbers 19 through 36, odd, even, red or black bets
When noticing the games that short-paid straight and split bets, all the ones I discovered had this misleading style of pay table. The machines that have a 32 for a straight bet are actually only paying 31:1 when the number hits. The split that pays 16, really only pays 15:1.
Every spin of the roulette wheel, like all table games, is in the casino’s favor. Understanding where to look, allows gamblers to play their favorite games with the lowest house edge.