Roulette Tips at King's Casino

Back before James Bond learned Texas hold’em (or any other form of poker) so he could take down Le Chiffre, he played classic casino pit games like roulette. The game itself is simple: a ball rolls around a circular track until gravity drops it into a numbered slot, which can pay you varying amounts depending on the type of bet(s) you place.

When we visited the King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, for the second PokerNews Cup of 2015, we noticed that many of the players there for the tournament checked out the casino floor to look for an alternative source of entertainment.

While the official calendar of events may not leave everyone a lot of time to try all the casino games available at King’s, one bet or two at the roulette table is a good way to spend some time away from the felt and enjoy a relaxing break.

Poker is a game of constant concentration as you struggle against opponents at the table, and sometimes you need to rest the gray cells. If you’re a poker player looking for a bit of mental relaxation between bouts on the felt, here are some tips on how to approach the game of roulette, while making use of your poker prowess.

1. Know Your Game

Unlike poker — or cheese — roulette comes in just two flavors: European and American. Each version includes slots for the numbers 1 to 36, as well as a slot for 0. The American version also has an additional slot for 00. For most bets the players can make, if the ball lands in either the 0 or 00 slot, the house wins everything, otherwise players who have laid bets on one of the many combinations that overlap the winning number get paid.

The chance a 0 is rolled is 2.7 percent on the European wheel (1:36); 5.3 percent of rolls on the American wheel (2:36) will be 0 or 00. When you select your game, you need to know the odds.

2. Learn the Betting Rules

When you’re starting to play a new game like pot-limit Omaha or 2-7 triple draw, you want to learn how the betting works and how it affects the game. The actual ‘play’ of roulette isn’t particularly complicated — you’re not up against a table of human players, there aren’t multiple streets of betting, there’s no bad positioning or blinds involved, and once your betting decisions are made, you’re done — but there are a multitude of options to make for your bets, and you need to know how to place your chips for each type of bet.

3. Calculate Your Chance to Win

Every time you get dealt cards in poker, you make a decision about how much your starting hand is worth playing. It varies from game to game, but you have an idea of the probability before you make your first bet. The same is true for roulette; with the big difference being that you sort of get to pick the cards! Every roulette bet has pre-determined odds and payoffs.

Most types of bets pay back an amount equal to 36 times your bet, divided by the quantity of numbers covered by the bet. A bet of 10 on a single number pays back 360 (10 times 36 divided by 1). Betting 10 on red — which covers 18 numbers — pays back 20 (10 times 36 divided by 18).

4. Don’t Bet On the Long Shot (Unless You’re Ready for It)

Every poker player knows better than to plan on hitting a one-outer. As you play a hand of poker, you’re constantly evaluating the chance that you’ll have the best hand, and much of the time that involves things like combo draws, where you might make a straight or a flush, depending on how the cards lie. Roulette doesn’t have that type of continuous evaluation — that’s one of the reasons it can serve as a form of relaxation for poker players — but that doesn’t mean you can’t coordinate your bets to make some combinations, rather than just sticking everything on a single number and hoping to win big when that number comes up.

You can cover numbers in multiple ways in roulette. The number 19, for instance, is red and odd and high, all of which will double your money. 19 is incolumn one (covering 12 numbers) and the second dozen (ditto), both bets which triple you up. If you have bets of 10 on the first column and the second dozen, and 19 is rolled, you’ll win a total of 60 (including your original combined bets of 20).

In some ways, the outside bets (red/black, high/low, odd/even, columns, and dozens) are the equivalent of cash games in poker, while the inside bets (straight up on a single number, split covering two adjacent numbers, a street of three numbers, the corner of four numbers, or a line of six numbers) are riskier bets with higher payoffs, sort of like tournaments. You can win big, but don’t plan on winning as often.

5. Embrace Variance

Like James Bond, you want luck to be your servant, not your master. There are times in poker when you know you’re behind, but the expected value when you hit the right series of cards makes it worthwhile to stay in the hand. In the long run, you’re always slightly behind in roulette, but if you make the right combination of bets at the right time there can be opportunity to build.

The ball is impartial. It doesn’t matter which slot it dropped into on the last spin, you don’t need to try to figure out a pattern or a system; you can pick any bet or combination of bets that you calculate will give you the best chance to win the next spin on the wheel.