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Ask Frank: Odds at Roulette

16 January 2004

Hello Frank,

I would appreciate it if you could settle an argument I've been having with my friend Tom, regarding roulette. For the sake of this argument, we have taken the zeros off the table and out of play.

Tom says that if you bet on two numbers for any spin, your odds decrease from 1-in-36 to 2-in-36 or 1-in-18. If you bet all 36 numbers, your odds decrease to 1-in-1.

I say that your odds of hitting any number never change from 1-in-36, regardless of how many numbers you bet because you can only win on one number. I contend that each bet will have a 1-in-36 chance of being the right one, and that you can't add multiple bets together, thinking that it decreases the odds. My proof of this is that the casino will not pay you 18-to-1 if you bet 2 numbers. 13-to-1 if you bet 3 numbers or 1-to-1 if you bet all 36.

I agree with Tom in that your chance of winning increases with the number of bets you make, but not that your odds on that ever change. I think of placing multiple bets as going from a 1-in-1 chance of being right to a 1-in-2 chance, but that's all.

I also contend that betting on more than 1 number is essentially "betting against yourself" because you can only win on one number and that you're wagering more to collect less. Tom says there's no such thing as betting against yourself.

Can you please tell us who is right and why?

Thank you for your time.

Teresa

Dear Teresa,

You say tomato, he says tamahto. Remember that breath commercial about Certs being a breath mint and a candy mint? The two actresses were arguing over which it was and the announcer came in with, "Stop! You're both right!"

Tom is right that your odds of winning something are increased but you are right that your odds of winning on any one bet are, and will always be, the same. When you are up on all 36 numbers you must win on one and you must lose on all the others. However, you are right that your win is significantly reduced in size the more numbers you bet since the ones that didn't hit are losers. In that sense you are betting "against yourself" but in another sense you are adding to your potential to come home with some money and therefore helping yourself.

This whole thing is a matter of perspective. So if you had a bet going on this dispute, you pay him and he pays you and it's a wash.

Yours was a great letter and I am giving you a 6-month trial membership to my private web pages at The Craps Club. You will receive a separate email with your user name and password.

All the best in and out of the casinos!
Frank Scoblete

Do you have a question for Frank? Send it to slotexpert@comcast.net.

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Frank Scoblete

Frank Scoblete is the #1 best selling gaming author in America. His newest books are Slots Conquest: How to Beat the Slot Machines; Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo and Pai Gow Poker!; Beat Blackjack Now: The Easiest Way to Get the Edge; Casino Craps: Shoot to Win!; Cutting Edge Craps: Advanced Strategies for Serious Players; Casino Conquest: Beat the Casinos at Their Own Games! and The Virgin Kiss.

Frank and Casino City Times columnist Jerry "Stickman" teach private lessons in dice control. Frank's books are available at Amazon.com, in bookstores or by mail order. Call 1-800-944-0406 or write to Frank Scoblete Enterprises, PO Box 446, Malverne, NY 11565. Frank can also be reached by email at fscobe@optonline.net.

Frank Scoblete Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com

Books by Frank Scoblete:

Frank Scoblete
Frank Scoblete is the #1 best selling gaming author in America. His newest books are Slots Conquest: How to Beat the Slot Machines; Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo and Pai Gow Poker!; Beat Blackjack Now: The Easiest Way to Get the Edge; Casino Craps: Shoot to Win!; Cutting Edge Craps: Advanced Strategies for Serious Players; Casino Conquest: Beat the Casinos at Their Own Games! and The Virgin Kiss.

Frank and Casino City Times columnist Jerry "Stickman" teach private lessons in dice control. Frank's books are available at Amazon.com, in bookstores or by mail order. Call 1-800-944-0406 or write to Frank Scoblete Enterprises, PO Box 446, Malverne, NY 11565. Frank can also be reached by email at fscobe@optonline.net.

Frank Scoblete Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com