Knowing which type of bet to make is important for players who want to hodl their own at the roulette table.
Each table will carry a placard describing the minimum and maximum bets at the table. For example, it might read, "Roulette. $5 minimum inside bets, $5 minimum outside bets. $1,000 maximum outside, $100 maximum inside." Table maximums usually are lower on inside bets because of the higher payoffs offered. The odds are exactly the same as on outside bets, but most casinos are loath to risk losing $35,000 at one shot on a $1,000 bet on one number.
Though the listed minimums for inside and outside bets are likely to be the same, they don't mean the same thing. A player betting the $5 minimum on inside bets is allowed to spread five $1 chips around on different bets on the inside. However, the minimum for outside bets means the player must wager the entire $5 on each outside bet. Betting $1 on evens, $1 on red, $1 on the first 12, $1 on the first 18, and $1 on the first column doesn't satisfy the minimum.
The player may make any of the bets by placing a chip or chips on the appropriate spot. However, the size of the table may make it difficult to reach some betting areas. To place a bet you can't reach, put the chips on the table and ask the dealer to put them on the desired bet for you. If you aren't sure how to make outside or inside bets, check the information below.
Red or black: There are 18 numbers with red backgrounds and 18 with black backgrounds. A bet on red pays off if the ball stops in the slot by any of the 18 red numbers; a bet on black pays off if the ball lands on any of the black numbers. A winning red or black bet pays even money -- the player keeps the original bet and gets an equal amount in winnings.
Odd or even: Another even-money bet. The player is betting that either one of the 18 odd numbers (1, 3, 5, and so forth) or one of the 18 even numbers (2, 4, 6, and so forth) will be chosen.
1 through 18, 19 through 36: Also for even money, a bet on whether the ball will stop on any of the first 18 numbers or any of the last 18 numbers.
The house gets its edge from 0 and 00 -- they are neither red nor black, neither odd nor even, neither part of the first 18 nor the last 18. If the ball lands on 0 or 00, all even-money bets -- in fact, all outside bets -- lose.
In casinos offering a French wheel with the en prison rule, the player does not lose an even money bet when the 0 comes up. Instead, the bet is "in prison" -- the player does not lose the wager, but it remains in effect for the next spin. If the bet wins on the next spin, it is released, and the player may pull it back. The bet may not remain in prison on consecutive spins -- a second consecutive 0 makes the bet a loser. This is a very favorable rule for the player, and one that is rare in the United States.
Dozens: Wagers on the first 12 numbers, second 12, or third 12 pay 2-1.
Columns: Wagers on any of the three columns on the grid pay 2-1. Because the grid is arranged in 12 rows of three consecutive numbers (1-2-3 is the first row, 4-5-6 the second, and so on), each number in a column is three higher than the one before.
Single number: Bets on individual numbers, including 0 and 00, are placed by putting a chip or chips fully inside a numbered box. If a single-number bet hits, it pays 35-1. (Remember, however, that the true odds are 37-1.)
Split: This is a wager on two numbers, and it pays 17-1. Make a split bet by placing a chip so that it straddles the line between two numbers.
Street: A three-number bet, paying 11-1, is made by placing a chip on the line separating outside bets from the inside, indicating a row of three consecutive numbers.
Corner: A chip is placed at the intersection of a horizontal line with a vertical line inside the layout. This indicates a bet on the four adjacent numbers, and it pays 8-1.
Five-number: For the worst bet on the table, place a chip so that it lies on the line separating the inside from the outside, while straddling the horizontal line between 0-00 and 1-2-3. This bet pays 6-1 and carries a 7.89 percent house edge. The five-number bet does not exist on the French wheel because of the absence of 00.
Double street: Just as on the street bet, place a chip on the line separating the outside from the inside, but let it straddle the horizontal line between two rows. That gives you six numbers in two consecutive three-number rows, and the bet pays 5-1.
Special note: Watch for your payoffs. On winning inside bets, most dealers will push the winnings to you but leave the original bet in place. After the dealer has finished payoffs and is ready for the next round of bets, it is up to you to move the original bet if you do not want to make the same wager. Some dealers will leave the winnings on the layout, and if you do not wish to bet it all on the next spin, you must remove it. It is common for the dealer to leave the winnings on outside bets next to the original bet. It is up to you to move the chips when the dealer is ready.