[toc]Roulette is arguably the most heart pumping table game spread in Atlantic City. Just the mere anticipation of where a tiny white ball will land can cause the average casino fan to break out in sweats.
Victory is met with jubilation, and defeat with frustration and second-guessing.
Well get ready for even more thrills, because New Jersey gaming regulators have approved a roulette side bet that effectively doubles the excitement associated with everyone’s favorite wheel-based casino game.
What is Spread-Bet Roulette?
The approved product up for discussion is called Spread-Bet Roulette.
Players will immediately know if they’re playing at a Spread-Bet Roulette table, as the wheel will feature two concentric number rings (as opposed to one normally). That, and there will be seven different colored spots on the felt to place the optional side wager.
The outer ring is the one roulette players are accustomed to seeing, and it will still determine the outcome of all regular roulette wagers. By contrast, the inner ring is used exclusively to determine the spread-bet outcome.
Here’s a breakdown of how a round plays out:
- Players may place wagers on one of seven spreads, indicated by clearly defined betting areas on the felt. They cannot bet on more than one spread at a time.
- The dealer kicks the off the round by spinning the ball on the wheel, as normal.
- The outer ring and inner ring will spin in opposite directions.
- Once the ball stops on a number in the outer ring, the number is added to the adjacent number on the inner ring.
- The resultant sum is the Spread-Bet outcome.
- Winners are paid out according to the Spread-Bet Roulette payout table in use, while losing wagers are swept away.
So on a standard roulette wheel with 37 or 38 slots (depending on whether it’s a double- or single-zero wheel), the numerical value of the outcome can range from anywhere between 0 and 72.
Not your average roulette payouts
Under normal circumstances, the most a player can win on a single round of roulette is 35 to 1. However, the Spread-Bet side wager increases volatility dramatically, and the payout tables reflect that.
Depending on the paytable used — there are five listed for double-zero roulette and four for single-zero — players can win up to 1275 to 1 on their initial wager.
Listed below is one of the more aggressive tables for double-zero roulette:
- 0-00 spread: 320 to 1
- 1-11 spread: 12 to 1
- 12-18: 9 to 1
- 19-39: 1 to 1
- 40-57: 2 to 1
- 58-71: 10 to 1
- 72-72: 1275 to 1
One might wonder why the payouts for a larger spread like 1-11 are sometimes greater than for a smaller spread such as 12-18. Shouldn’t it be the opposite?
Not necessarily, as the payouts are based on the number of unique possible combinations within the spread, not the size of the spread itself.
Similar to craps, the most common Spread-Bet Roulette outcomes will be heavily weighted toward the middle of the numerical range.
In craps, 7 is the most common outcome out of a range of 1 through 12. Likewise, in Spread-Bet Roulette, the low and high numbers are outliers while sums in the 30s and 40s are much more common.
That’s why the 19-39 and 40-57 ranges payout so little, and also why the 12-18 range pays less than the larger, but much harder to hit, 1-11 range.
Be wary the house edge
As is the case with virtually every table game side wager, the house edge on Spread-Bet Roulette tends towards the high side.
For double-zero roulette, the house edge is 5.26 percent. Knock off a zero and the house edge dips to 2.7 percent — generally a good bet at far as table games that involve absolutely no skill go.
Unfortunately, Spread-Bet Roulette wager favors the house by a significantly greater margin, ranging from 8.3 percent all the way up to 16.3 percent, depending on the payout table and spread.
Worth noting is that there is a correlation between bigger payouts and a higher house edge. That’s probably by design, as casinos envision more players will go for gusto, and skip the safer (less profitable) bets.
We advise the opposite: If you must place this wager — and admittedly it does add a fun dynamic to roulette — than go for the middle spreads. At least that way, you’ll stand a reasonable chance of winning, and won’t get completely overwhelmed by the house advantage.