There are many strange beliefs and superstitions attached to casino table games, and roulette is no exception. Some players believe that dealers can control where the ball lands (spoiler — they can’t), others think that 7 is lucky, others still say that 13 is unlucky. Similarly, many players harbor the belief that the zero pocket is somehow unlucky. The fact is, that the number 0 is no more lucky or unlucky than the rest. If you understand the potential risks and rewards, zero can be just as rewarding as any other number. Keep on reading to find out when to bet on zero and when to avoid it.
Why Is There a Roulette Zero Pocket?
On a European roulette wheel, the green zero pocket is between black number 26 and red number 32. Why is there a zero pocket in the first place? The simple answer is “house edge.” Consider the so-called outside bets you can place on the betting grid: Red or black, odd or even, high or low (1–18 / 19–36). These bets pay even money, and the odds of winning them are exactly even — or they would be, if it weren’t for the green zero pocket. That’s because all even money bets lose if the ball lands on zero. As a result, the zero pocket tilts the odds slightly in the favor of the house. It’s not a massive adjustment, but it’s just enough to make even-money bets marginally profitable on average. After all, casinos are in the business to make money.
House edge also features in discussions about European versus American roulette. That’s because an American roulette wheel has two zero pockets (0 between black 28 and black 2 and, 00 between red 27 and red 1). This raises the house edge on even-money bets and straight up bets. At the same time, it makes it possible to place bets that aren’t possible on a European wheel.
Betting on Green
Many online casino players equate the green roulette zero pocket with kryptonite — the glowing green emerald that robs Superman of his power. The most likely reason is the association with losing money on even money bets. But the green pocket can actually win you a lot of money if you bet on it.
So what bets can you place on green? The most profitable bet you can place on the zero pocket is a straight up bet. This bet pays if the ball lands on the specific number you selected — and it pays handsomely, with odds of +3,500. In fact, it’s the biggest payout you can get from a single bet at the roulette table. The color green and the number zero have no influence on the outcome of this bet. You have exactly the same odds to win if you place your chips on zero or any other number on the wheel. The only downside is that the odds to win are low, which is why roulette zero payouts are so high.
Zero Splits and Other Bets
Straight up bets aren’t the only way to gamble on green. Another kind of bet you can place — but only on an American roulette table — is a split. Also known as a row bet, a split is an inside bet where you cover two numbers with one chip. The numbers have to be adjacent on the grid so that you can place your chip on the line between them. On an American layout, the two zeros are adjacent, so you place a zero-zero split. The payout odds for a winning split bet are +1,700, and the odds to win are twice as good as the odds for a straight up bet.
Another exclusively American bet is a basket bet. This lets you cover five numbers with a single chip: 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3, all at the same time. Be aware, though, that the basket bet has a notoriously unfavorable house edge. The majority of players would probably tend to avoid it.
A zero-related bet you can place on both European and American tables is a trio bet. In this one, you cover a zero pocket and two other adjacent numbers. To place a trio bet, you put your chip on the intersecting point of the zero box and the first row of numbers containing 1, 2, and 3. In European roulette, you can place a trio on 0, 1, and 2 or 0, 2, and 3. In American roulette, you can place a trio on numbers 0, 1, and 2 or 00, 2, and 3.
Trio bets pay out +1,100, and their odds to win are somewhat more favorable than any other zero bets.
A final way to bet on zero in roulette is the 007 system. Also known as the James Bond, this is a flat betting system in which you wager the same amount on a specific combination of numbers every round.
To work the James Bond, you have to think in units of 20 chips. If you have $20 in chips, you would place $14 on the 19–36 outside bet, $5 on a line bet covering 13–18, and $1 straight up on 0.
This gives you 25 numbers where you can win and 12 where you can lose. If the ball lands on 19–36, you win $8 net. If it hits 13–18, you win $10 net. If the ball lands on 0, you win $16 net. But if it lands on 1–12, you lose all $20.
From Zero to Hero
Beginners can find roulette betting overwhelming at first, but all it takes is a little practice, and online roulette casino games are the perfect introduction. Virtual RNG (random number generated) roulette games allow you to play at your own pace, and you can also explore them in demo mode. When you’re more confident, live dealer casino games give you the chance to place bets on proper roulette tables with genuine roulette wheels operated by live human dealers in real time.
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