ball landing on green zero

Roulette: what happens when it lands on green?

Ah the dreaded green… the bane of any roulette player’s existence, why is it there, what does it mean and is there a way to take advantage of it?

Read on for some insights into this infamous aspect of roulette.

What Is It?

“The green” specifically refers to the number zero on the roulette wheel, which unlike every other number is neither red nor black, but green. If the ball does land on green what basically results is a total annihilation of every single other bet on the table. Bet on a specific number. Bet on a row. Bet on odds or even. Bet on red or black. None of it matters. If the ball ends up on green, the entire table is taken by the house. 

All, that is, except for any bets actually placed on the green. Like all other numbers on the roulette wheel, you can place a bet on zero. In fact, if the ball lands on zero you can expect a very decent payout as it sports odds of 35 to 1. In other words, if you bet a dollar on zero, you will get a payout of 36 dollars (your original dollar plus $35). If you bet $5, you win $175 – plus your original $5, of course.

roulette wheel

Why Is It There?

Simply, the green is part of roulette for the simple reason that it is the one thing that creates an advantage for the house. Without it, placing a bet on red or black (or odds and evens), you would have a 50% chance of winning. With it, your chance of winning goes down to the more complicated fraction of 18/37, which is just, just below 50/50. It seems a very small difference, and technically it is, but by knocking down a player’s chance of winning by just that slightest margin on every single spin, the casino ensures that the odds are forever on its side – even if just slightly.

Fair? Not even a little bit. But it’s how casinos stay in business. Plus, as house advantages go, it’s actually significantly better than some other famous casino games.


How to Work With It.

That green zero is there to put players at a disadvantage by its nature, but does that mean there’s no way to work with it? Not at all, as it turns out. 

Betting on zero is no better and no worse than betting on any of the other 36 numbers in terms of odds. Now, obviously, placing a bet only on a single number is generally not the smartest way to play roulette, which is why most players either spread out their bets across a few different numbers, bet on rows of numbers or take those even-steven bets of red/ white or odds/ evens. 

The green zero by definition can’t be won in a red/ black or odds/ evens bets and it can’t be won by betting on a row or a corner. But a strategy that does work for it is to bet on it along with whatever other bet you make. Chances are quite high that you will lose that bet, but you will be covered in the rare case that the ball lands on it by getting a very good payout while every other bet on the board is a wash. 

This ensures that even though that green zero is still a pesky nuisance, it need not be that soul-crushing defeat that it is designed to be.

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