Chinese readers, please look away now, as we are going to be talking about the number 4 in roulette. Why does it have such a bad reputation in Asia?
Well, just as the number 8 sounds similar to the word for prosperity in China (and it is seen as lucky because of that), in China the word for number 4 sounds a bit like the word for death (死). And that´s not a very lucky word to the superstitious!
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You could say that the number 4 is to China what the number 13 is to the West. But more on that later, as it doesn´t have the same connotations in the West, in fact it has some positive things about it, not least in popular culture (the Fab Four, the Fantastic Four).
How to Play 4 in Roulette
The number 4 is a black number between red 18 and red 21 on a European or a French Roulette wheel and between red 16 and red 23 on an American Wheel, so you could just make a single number roulette bet of course, although it wouldn´t get you much table coverage. Increase your odds (and decrease the pay-off) by placing one of the other inside bets like a Split Bet, a Six Line Bet, a Corner Bet or a Street Bet for example, covering the number. The more numbers you cover, the lower the pay/out.
You can also cover it with a bet on black, the low numbers or the even numbers for a 1:1 even money pay-off. try this on the Betfred roulette tables.
The other obvious outside bet is on the 1st column (bottom column) or the first dozen. This give you a 2:1 pay/off if you win the bet. Many players cover 2 dozens or 2 columns to get even more table coverage, or even overlap them.
Other ways of covering black 4
You could play a 007 Bet, or a Finale 4 en Plein. We also quite like playing the Neighbours of Zero bet which covers 4. The whole bet covers 15 out of 37 pockets or just over 40.5% of the table. A Number Combo bet on 5 would also cover 4.
All About the Number Four
4 is the second squared number (after 1). The next in line is 9. There´s an interesting trick you can play with numbers involving 4. Any number whose last 2 digits are divisible by 4 is also divisible by 4. So 4,567,648 is divisible by 4 because 48 is divisible by 4. (The answer is 1141912). The number four is the first number you skip in a Fibonacci sequence.
The number has great symbolism and features highly in the world´s great religions: there are 4 Nobile Truths in Buddhism, for example, there are four gospels in Christianity, 4 stages of life in Hinduism and 4 books in Islam.
Four crops up a lot in the natural world, if you think about it.
So there are 4 seasons, 4 points of the compass, 4 winds, many animals have 4 legs, mammals have hearts with 4 chambers, most insects have 4 wings.
The number 4 is is the atomic number of Beryllium (which is relatively rare in the Universe). And in the West, we have 4 elements: earth, air, fire and water
The Four Leaf Clover and Other Stuff
It’s not all bad for four- in Irish culture, the Four-Leaf Clover is believed to bring luck to the finder, especially if you find it by accident. The four-leaf clover is a variation of the common three-leaved clover. It´s a rare beast!
The first leaf represents faith, the second hope, the third love, and the fourth luck.
The number 4 is supposed to be lucky for Leos and Scorpios (don´t ask me why). Another thing- did you know that there ar four castes in Indian culture: Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras. July 4th is also “Independence Day” in the US.
The Number 4 in Chinese Culture- Tetraphobia
The number 4 n(四) gets a bad rap in China as we mentioned above. Play at the Grosvenor roulette tables in one of their casinos, and you´ll figure out that most land-based casino companies take this fear of 4 pretty seriously as well, especially in Macau.
It is considered unlucky because it sounds very much like the word for “death” (死). Many companies steer clear of the number on their products, and many buildings in Asia simply do not have a 4th floor. This fear of 4 is particularly prevalent in Cantonese culture and in Hong Kong in particular. So for example, The Alfa Romeo 164 is a executive saloon from the 1990s that was renamed the 168 for the Hong Kong and Malaysian markets. There are countless examples of this, from Nokia phones- a practice known as Tetraphobia. It´s a practice that is common in China, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Korea and Vietnam.
In many buildings in Hong Kong, they also skip the numbers 14, 24, 34, 44 etc when naming the floors. So if you are following strict Chinese superstition, you wouldn´t bet on 4, 14, 24 or 34 in roulette!
Is Number 4 Unlucky in Roulette?
These are all just superstitions of course- and they are also beliefs that are regional. The odds of the number 4 coming up in roulette are exactly the same as the odds for number 8 coming up of course. See for yourself on the free roulette at Betfair Casino. But does that stop people avoiding the number? No! That´s superstition for you. If you are worried about it, you could always place 2 bets on the number 4. 2×4 is 8 and that´s a really lucky number in China.