When you come across odds like this, it really is hard not to be blown away. You’re probably thinking to yourself, wow, that’s some amazing odds. What does that mean, exactly? It means that your chances of winning on any given spin of the wheel are less than 1 in 20. Let’s take a closer look.

## The Basics

Odds are a way of measuring the likelihood of something happening. When you see odds like -4.5, it means that the chances of something occurring are less than 50%, and you would have to spin the wheel a total of four and a half times to get a win. Four and a half times is also the number of times it would take you to get a loss. If you keep spinning, you’ll eventually end up in a draw, which means you’re neither a winner nor a loser (but you did spend some money on the ticket, so it’s still considered a losing spin).

Odds can be represented using the number 3 in some ways. Three represents a ‘threesome’, which is when two events or characters happen simultaneously. If you have three oddballs, you have a 1 in 3 chance of getting one correct, and a 3 in 3 chance of getting two correct, provided all three are independent of each other and identically distributed. Similarly, three-to-one shots are common in sporting events.

## Odds, Ranges, And Meaning

When you see odds like this, it’s easy to get carried away and think that they represent some sort of magic formula that can be applied to any situation. This is far from the case. There is a set of basic rules that apply when calculating these odds, and it’s important to understand them, or you might end up with some nasty surprises when those big numbers start adding up. Here they are.

## Basic Rule #1

Odds always lie between 0 and 1. Don’t expect to see odds above 1 or below 0, because these are really bad numbers, and you’ll end up with some strange results, which may or may not be what you were actually trying to achieve. Anything above 1 is considered ‘superior odds’ and can be represented as 1.x or 1.^{x} (where x is a decimal point). Anything below zero is considered ‘inferior odds’ and can be represented as 0.x or 0._{x} (where x is a decimal point).

So, what does this all mean in practical terms? It means that, for example, if you want to make a 20/1 shot (which is equivalent to saying that your chances of winning are 20% and those of losing are 1%) on a roulette wheel, your best chance of hitting a win is calculated using these basic rules as follows:

- Add up all the numbers on the wheel (in this case, 0, 1, and 19) and multiply by the amount you want to bet (in this case, 1). This gives you the total number of possible combinations, and the odds of getting 18 or more (in this case, 18.19) is 20/1. So, in order to hit a win with this betting strategy, you would have to spin the wheel a total of 19 times.
- If you are trying to hit a loss (in this case, you want to bet on Red), multiply the total number of combinations by 0.8, because you still have a 1/2 chance of winning even though the odds are against you. This gives you the total number of combinations for hitting a loss. Then, add this to the total number of combinations for hitting a win (in this case, 19 x 0.8 = 16). The final total is 41 possible combinations, which works out to roughly 6.6 million to one against you.
- You will always need two numbers to hit a three-to-one shot. If you add up all of the numbers on the wheel (in this case, 0, 1, and 19) and multiply by three, you get the total number of possible combinations. So, in order to hit a three-to-one shot with this strategy, you would have to spin the wheel a total of three times.
- Just like with two-to-one shots, you will always need a pair to hit a three-to-one shot. If you add up all of the numbers on the wheel (in this case, 0, 1, and 19) and multiply by three, you get the total number of possible combinations. So, in order to hit a three-to-one shot with this strategy, you would have to spin the wheel a total of three times.

## Basic Rule #2

Never, ever, ever use money (of any kind) as a measure of your chances of winning or losing. Everyone knows that the house always wins in the long run, and using money as a means of measuring your odds is a quick way to ruin any gambling experience. If money is on the line, you’re playing for keeps, which means that everyone involved needs to be committed to the task at hand. Once you start using money (or credit) as a measure of your odds, you’ll eventually find yourself in a situation where you’re desperately trying to cover your losses using credit. This is a very, very dangerous situation, and it can’t be fixed by spinning the wheel, no matter how many times you might want to try. If you want to know more, just ask the Bank (again).

## The Whole Story

So, if we apply the above information to the numbers on the roulette wheel, we can see how this all plays out. Let’s spin the wheel and see if we can hit a win.

If we bet on Red (the second digit from the left), we will hit a loss with 6.6 million possible combinations (41 + 16).

If we bet on Black (the second digit from the right), we will hit a win with 19 possible combinations (1 + 18 + 1).

There, now you know what those numbers mean, even if you didn’t believe it when you first saw them. If you keep up with these rules and apply them correctly, you will be able to accurately calculate your odds of winning or losing at any given time during your roulette journey. This might not seem like a big deal, but it gets pretty tricky when you’re dealing with large sums of money or trying to calculate the odds of something huge happening, like winning the lottery. Don’t get greedy, little guy. It’s better to keep things simple most of the time, even if it seems like a daunting task.