Roulette Bankroll Management Guide

Bankroll management for roulette is based largely on the fact that the different wagers available in the game have different payouts and levels of volatility. As a result, you have to pick your bet sizes differently for each type of wager, which also requires you to know how to figure the payouts of these betting options on the fly.

Getting Started With Roulette Bet Sizing

Roulette as a genre is one of the most interesting types of casino games overall because of the ability to get different sizes of payouts for a wager of the same size depending on how you decide to bet.

Being able to switch payouts based on which betting option you take is why you have to know bankroll management for roulette in terms of having your own strategy for handling these payout differences.

In what follows, we’re going to give you the things that you need to think about when coming up with your own bet sizing guidelines. Instead of giving you a lazy type of “one size fits all” recommendation, we’ll show you what to think about and how to customize your roulette bankroll management strategy to fit your own situation and what you’re looking for as an individual.

Note: For the sake of this guide, we’re going to assume that we’re playing European roulette, which is generally the best roulette option in any casino. A very important component of this game is that every single one of the available wagers has the same house advantage, so house edge will not be a factor in our decision-making process.

How Betting Options Affect Volatility in Roulette

There are a ton of different ways to bet in roulette, and this creates a pretty wide range of available volatility levels for each of those types of bets. Here are some examples:

  • Straight-up Wager – Pays 35:1, High Volatility
  • Split Wager – Pays 17:1, Medium-high Volatility
  • Row Wager – Pays 11:1, Medium Volatility
  • Corner Wager – Pays 8:1, Medium Volatility
  • Double-row Wager – Pays 5:1, Medium-low Volatility
  • Column Wager – Pays 2:1, Low Volatility
  • Even Money Wager – Pays 1:1, Very Low Volatility

This isn’t a list of all of the available individual bets in the game, but it’s most of them, and this list will be more than sufficient for our purposes here.

What you see here with the payouts for these bets is that the higher the reward, the higher the risk and the higher the volatility. However, you also have several shades of grey in between the two extremes of 35:1 and 1:1 payouts.

This is the basic nature of the game. You can place a wager of the same exact size on any of these types of bets and come away with different levels of risk, different levels of reward and tremendous differences in the volatility in the specific bets. Our goal is to normalize the volatility by choosing different bet sizes for the different types of wagers as a part of one cohesive overall roulette bankroll management strategy.

A Note on Figuring Payouts

Many online roulette games will list out the available payouts on the table in some place, but not all will, and you often won’t have a list of those pays on the table at all if you play in a live environment (live dealer games online or otherwise).

To this end, we want to share a quick mental trick that will tell you the payout rate for any European roulette wager:

Divide 36 by the number of wheel spots that win for your wager. Subtract 1, and you have the payout for that bet.

For a quick example, you can have a corner wager that wins on four wheel spots. Divide 36 by 4 to get 9, and then subtract 1 to get a payout rate of 8x or 8:1 for the corner bet.

This works with every single available wager in the game, and it’s handy for when the game you’re playing with doesn’t give a list of payouts for reference. It’s also really useful while you’re trying to figure out your own personalized European roulette bankroll management strategy.

Developing a Cohesive, Practical Strategy

In a perfect world, we would have a specific bet size available for each individual type of wager. However, because there are so many wager types available in the game of roulette, this isn’t really practical at all because it’s too much to remember.

To this end, we are going to recommend a tier-based approach where you have a given bet size available for four different tiers of volatility. We define those tiers as follows:

  • Low-volatility Tier – Even money bets, column bets, dozens bets (pays from 1:1 to 2:1)
  • Mid-volatility Tier – Double-row bets, corner bets (pays from 5:1 to 8:1)
  • High-volatility Tier – Row bets, split bets (pays from 11:1 to 17:1)
  • Straight-up Tier – Straight-up bets only (pays 35:1)

We have a special tier for the straight-up wagers by themselves because their volatility is so much higher than everything else that is offered that it doesn’t really make sense for them to share a tier with any other available bet.

Defining Your Strategy

For each tier, we’ll have our own individual strategy to find a bet size that’s different from the other tiers so that there’s some matching with the respective volatility levels.

We’ll define each strategy in terms of how many individual bets of the given size we’ll have in our bankroll. For example, if we have a strategy of 300x, that will mean that we want 300 bets of equal size. We would then divide our bankroll by 300 to determine an approximation of what that bet size should be.

In this case, we could have a total bankroll of €600 with a 300x strategy that results in a bet size of €2.00 for each wager.

Relative Strategies for Each Tier

With each of these tiers, we recommend a scaling approach so that each tier has a bankroll management guideline that is a multiple of the others. For example:

  • Low-volatility Tier – 100x
  • Mid-volatility Tier – 200x
  • High-volatility Tier – 500x
  • Straight-up Tier – 1000x

These scale in proportion to each other, so if you doubled one to account for your own risk tolerance, then you would need to double all of the others as well.

This type of scaling approach helps to maximize the practicality of adjusting to the different levels of volatility without having a roulette money management strategy that’s so complicated that it’s not really practical.

A Practical Example

For a practical example of how this could work, let’s say we have a small starting bankroll of €100. For the low-volatility tier, we would divide by 100x to get a bet size of €1. The mid-volatility tier would get a bet size of €0.50, and the high-volatility tier would be assigned a €0.20 bet size. Finally, our wager would be €0.10 for the straight-up tier.

We can increase or decrease these based on our own risk profile, deposit schedule, and so on. If we wanted to take on a higher level of risk with bigger swings, for example, then we could double the size of the recommended bets used with this strategy.

Putting It Into Action

Roulette is a pretty straightforward game with a lot of room for customizing your own strategies. The bankroll management approach that we have listed out here allows you to customize everything based on which wagers you’re making and what your own tolerance for risk happens to be.

It’s this level of personalization that makes it so much better than the “one size fits all” approaches that you’ll often seen recommended online and elsewhere.