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single zero rather than double zero roulette game because

the casino edge is lower. I normally bet $5 to $10 per spin

but my local casino only offers $25 minimum single zero

games. Should I increase my betting level to take

advantage of the better odds?”

In order to answer the reader’s question, you need to

consider not only the difference in the casino’s edge but

also the amount bet. It’s a fact that the casino’s edge is

higher on a double 0 wheel rather than a single 0 wheel.

The casino’s edge is 5.26% on the American wheel for all

roulette bets (except the bet on 0, 00, 1, 2, 3, which is

higher). On a single 0 wheel (also known as a European

wheel), the lack of one 0 reduces the casino’s edge on all

bets to 2.63%. At first glance making a bet on a single 0

wheel appears to be the better choice than betting on a

double 0 wheel because the casino’s edge is lower.

However, comparing the casino’s edge of one bet to

another without considering the amount of the bet is

dangerous. What you must do is factor the amount of the

bet to calculate your average cost per bet. The latter is

simply the amount bet times the casino’s edge.

Let’s take the example of betting $5 per spin on the double

0 wheel. For our calculations it doesn’t matter whether you

make one single $5 straight up bet on the inside or outside

of the layout, or make five different $1 bets on the inside of

the layout. The result is the same. If your total bet per spin

is $5 and the bet has a casino advantage of 5.26% then

your average cost to make that bet is 26 cents ($5 times

5.26%). Likewise, if you had a total of $10 bet per spin,

your average cost is 52 cents ($10 times 5.26%).

What does the “average cost mean?” It’s simply a measure

of how much money the casino expects to win on every $5

(or $10) bet in roulette over time. Obviously on any one

spin you will either win more than $5 or lose the entire $5,

but over time you can expect to lose an amount of money

equal to the total amount bet times the casino’s edge (i.e.,

your cost for playing). In the short term, you could be

ahead (due to volatility), but if you continue to play roulette

on an unbiased wheel, the casino’s edge will eventually

overtake the short-term volatility. The casinos bank on this

fact every day that they are in business.

Let’s calculate the average cost for making a $25 bet on a

single 0 wheel (casino edge is 2.7%). If you do the math,

the average cost is 66 cents. This is 40 cents more

expensive than making the $5 bet on double 0 wheel and

14 cents more expensive than betting $10 per spin.

The bottom line is that on a per bet basis it will cost you

less money over the long haul if you bet $5 (or even $10)

per spin on a double 0 wheel compared to betting $25 per

spin on the single 0 wheel, even with its lower casino

edge. The comparison gets even worse when you

consider the number of spins per hour. Normally at a

crowded $5 (or $10) minimum bet double 0 table you will

average about 30 spins per hour. On less crowded $25

minimum single 0 tables, you are more likely to average 40

to 50 spins per hour. If we use 45 spins per hour as an

average, a player’s average hourly cost to play roulette for

the $5 bettor on double 0 wheel compared to a $25 per

spin bettor on single 0 wheel is: $5 per spin X 5.26%

casino edge X 30 spins per hour equals $7.89 per hour

cost; $25 X 2.7% casino edge X 45 spins per hour equals

$30.37 per hour cost

Notice the cost per hour on the single 0 wheel is 2.8 times

more than double 0 wheel. The reason is the more spins

per hour and the higher betting level. These two factors

more than compensate for the lower casino edge on the

single 0 game. Therefore, when comparing the merits of

making one bet to another in a casino don’t just compare

the casino’s edge. Factor in also the bet size and the

number of decisions per hour to get the true picture of

what the bet will cost you.

Blackjack Strategy Guide, editor of the Blackjack

Insider e-Newsletter (www.bjinsider.com), lead

instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course, and

host of smartgaming.com. For a free three-month

subscription to his blackjack newsletter, go to www.

bjinsider.com/freetrial. To receive his free Casino

Gambling Catalog, call 1-888-353-3234 or visit www.

smartgaming.com.