6 Disadvantages of Playing Roulette

It’s perfectly fine to take a few spins at the roulette table for a change of pace, but I don’t recommend you play for long. There are plenty of disadvantages to this game that should be discussed.

I’ve narrowed it down to six awful qualities about roulette that make the game almost unplayable. You can find a few decent opportunities to play real money roulette online, but they’re usually rather hard to find.

In addition to these six disadvantages about roulette, you’re also going to learn the best strategy for roulette play if you do want to play. You’ll also learn exactly what to look for before you play the game.

1 – The Double Zero Space

The worst thing that ever happened to roulette was the introduction of the 00, or double zero, space. Roulette originally only had a single zero space and the numbers 1 to 36. This created a wheel and table with 37 spaces.

What this meant for gamblers was that no matter what bet they made, the return was 97.3%. This isn’t the best return in casinos, but it’s far from the worst. Apparently, this return wasn’t enough for some casinos, so they came up with a way to get a higher return from their roulette tables.

This is where the 00 space comes into play. By adding this space to the table and wheel, there are now 38 spaces. And the table still pays out the same amounts, except with this variation, the odds are higher against you.

If you bet on 17 on a traditional table, you have a 1 out of 37 chance of the ball landing on 17. But on a table with a 00 space you only have a 1 out of 38 chance to win. This changes the return from 97.3% to less than 95%.

The best course of action is to refuse to ever play on a roulette table that has a 00 space.

2 – European Rules Tables

The roulette table I called a traditional table, with 37 total spaces, is often called a European Roulette table or European Rules Roulette. After reading the last section, you might think that you should play on one of these tables.

A European Roulette table is much better than a table with a 00 space. But this doesn’t mean that it’s the roulette table that you should choose. In fact, this is exactly what most casinos want you to believe and do.

The casinos want you to compare a double 00 roulette table with a European Roulette table and be thankful that you get to play using European rules. But there’s a better option out there.

The Best Roulette Table Uses French Rules

A French Roulette table is basically the same as a European rules table, with all of the same numbers and payouts. But French tables have an extra rule that gives you a higher return than European rules tables provide.

When you place a bet on a French Roulette table on even or odd or black or red—in other words, one of the even money wagers—and lose, your wager is placed in holding or prison. If you win the next wager, you get your money back from the previous wager.

This makes the return on these wagers 98.65%.

3 – The Best Roulette Is Only in High Roller Areas

You learned that French Roulette is the best option, so now you’re ready to go out and start playing roulette with a high rate of return. But there’s a serious problem with this. If you’re not a high roller, the odds of finding a French Rules Roulette table you can afford to play on are small.

In land-based casinos, it’s rare to find a French Roulette table. And the few casinos that offer these tables almost always have them in high roller areas, and not on the main casino floor.

Even if you can afford to play in the high roller areas, you might still be better off playing at a European Roulette table with a lower bet amount. If you bet $50 a spin at a French table, you lose the same amount of money in the long run as betting $25 a spin at a European table. Keep this in mind when you’re looking for a place to play roulette.

The other option is to find a French Roulette table online. They’re available in some online casinos, and the minimum bet amount tends to be much lower than in land based casinos.

4 – Limited Strategy Options

I like to play gambling games that let me use strategy to influence my returns. Games like Texas Hold’em, blackjack and video poker offer the chance to use strategy on every hand. And if I use strategy well enough, I might actually win more than I lose.

The problem with roulette is that there’s not much in the way of strategy that you can use to influence your results and the return. In fact, you already read about all of the strategies that you can use when you play roulette. Just to make sure that you know what these strategies are, I’m going to list them here.

  • Only play at a French Roulette table.
  • Play on a table with the lowest bet limits you can find.
  • Always make the smallest wager possible.
  • Only make even money wagers.

I know that this sounds simple, but this is the only roulette strategy that works. And it’s not going to help you win necessarily, but it does help you limit your losses.

5 – High Wager Floor

I touched on this problem in the section about the best tables being in high roller areas. The main problem with roulette is that you can never overcome the house edge. In other words, you’re never going to be able to get the return to 100% or higher.

What this means is that you’re going to be an overall losing roulette player no matter what you do. All you can do is limit your losses as much as you can.

Even when you play roulette at a French table, you only reach a return of 98.65%. While this is a good return, it still means that you’re losing money. In fact, for every $1,000 you bet, you lose $13.50.

This is why high wager floors are terrible. A wager floor is also called a limit. The floor is the smallest amount that you can wager when you play roulette. On the regular casino floor in most places, the floor is $10 or $20. In high roller areas the floor can bet $100 or higher.

The issue with high wager floors is that it forces you to put more money in play. And as you can see by the example above, the more money you put in play at the roulette table the more money you lose.

6 – Poor Roulette Bonus Offers

The last thing I want to cover that I don’t like about roulette is bonus offers. Most gamblers think every bonus offer is great. But the fact is that most bonus offers are questionable. And it’s extremely rare to find a bonus for roulette that isn’t terrible.

The way to judge whether a bonus offer is good or terrible is to read the terms and run some simple math to see how much you’re going to lose based on the terms and the house edge. When you’re going to lose more than the bonus, it’s a terrible bonus. And almost every roulette bonus falls into this category.

Here’s exactly how to do this. Find the part of the terms which tells you how much you have to gamble. This is a multiple of the bonus amount, and often, a multiple of the bonus and the deposit.

For Example:

You might be required to play the bonus and deposit amount 100x before you can make a withdrawal. So, if you deposit $400 and get $400, you have to bet $80,000 in total.

Now you multiply the house edge for the game you’re playing times this amount to find how much you can expect to lose. If you’re playing French Roulette, you can expect to lose $1,080. 1.35% house edge times $80,000 = $1,080.

$1,080 is more than the bonus of $400, so this is a terrible bonus.


Roulette tables and wheels that have 38 spaces are the worst thing that has ever happened to the game of roulette. All of the payouts stayed the same, but the odds got worse. This has made casinos a ton of money over the years.

This might lead you to believe that European Roulette tables are the way to go, but this is just another trap the casinos put in front of you. The only roulette tables you should consider are the ones using French rules.

Always try to find opportunities to make small wagers, and look for good bonuses. Just don’t expect to find too many.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016.

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