Roulette is one of the most popular casino games out there, whether at brick-and-mortar casinos or online casinos. Here you’ll learn everything about the game that you really should know before you go ahead and place a bet yourself.
Roulette is a very simple game and has been around for a few hundred years. It was invented by the French (roulette does mean ‘little wheel’ in French, after all) and we know of mentions of the game as early as the mid-18th century.
Interestingly the originally French version came with a wheel that had 36 numbers, a 0 and a 00. But when the game was taken to Germany by the French brothers Francois and Louis Blanc, who opened up the first casino in Bad Homburg, they decided to drop the 00. This, then, became the official European version, much to the advantage of players.
Only when roulette conquered the US, did someone think to pick up the 00 once again, which is why this version of the game is now known as American Roulette.
The wheel and table
Unlike in many other casino games, there are no cards or dice involved here. Instead you are looking at a wheel, which has usually 37 or 38 numbers on it (0 and 1 to 36, or 0, 00 and 1 to 36). Those numbers mark so-called pockets, where the ball that rules the game may land and determine the winners.
An important feature of the wheel are the all deflectors, which make the ball bounce around in order to randomise where it lands.
The betting table corresponds with the numbers on the wheel. The surface is divided into segments that contain all the numbers and their colours as well as additional fields where you may place your bets. If you play online casino roulette, the table is replaced by an electronic interface that nevertheless looks just like the betting table at a normal casino.
How to play
Like we said, roulette is a simple game. You’re not dealt any cards, don’t have to throw dice and aside from deciding how to place your bets, don’t have to make any other moves.
So, standing at the table or playing on your computer, you are first required to place your bets. Your options here are explained in the next paragraph. At a casino the time for you to place your bets is limited. The croupier, who’s in charge, will want to move things along. That’s also true should you play at a live casino. Playing against a computer usually means you can take as much time as you want, but at some casinos a session may go into timeout, so you don’t want to waste an eternity thinking about where to place your bet.
Be that as it may, once your time is up, the croupier will traditionally announce ‘rien ne va plus’, or ‘no more bets’ and they will then get the ball spinning. The wheel spins in one direction (these days that’s automated) and the croupier will throw the ball into the opposite direction. Inside the wheel the ball will bounce around for a little while and eventually it will land in one of the pockets.
The croupier then places a little weight on the number that one on the table, also announcing the number and colour at the same time, and wins are paid out accordingly. Losses will be collected and another round begins.
Which bets can be placed
When you look at the betting table, you can see all the numbers on the wheels arranged on it, but there are also separate areas to place bets on 1st 12, 2nd 12 and 3rd 12, as well as even/odd, red/black and 1-18 and 19-36.
You can basically bet on just about any position on the table, but there’s a difference when it comes to the odds and payouts (more details in the next paragraph). You will encounter the main distinction of inside vs. outside bets. Here’s what that means:
Inside – So called because you’re placing the bet on the inside of the betting table, where all the numbers are. An inside bet means you’re betting on any of the numbers on the wheel, which includes betting on multiple numbers, vertical lines or horizontal lines.
You can make a few distinctions of inside bets:
- Straight bet – place a bet on a single number
- Split bet – place a bet on the line between two numbers, meaning you’re betting on both those numbers
- Street or Line bet – place a bet on a line of three numbers
- Corner or square bet – here you place a bet on the corner where four numbers meet, thereby betting on all four numbers
- Line or Six-line bet – you place your bet on a horizontal line comprising of two streets (essentially 2x a line bet)
- Basket bet – here you’ll place a bet on the line between 0 or 00, which shares a space with 1, 2 or 3. Generally an option only in American Roulette.
Outside – Obviously this one is referred to as ‘outside’, because you’ll be placing your bet on the outside segments of the betting table. Outside bets pay at significantly lower returns, because they are usually a lot safer and cover more options on the table.
Here we have the following options:
- 1-18/19-36 – that’s pretty obvious, because you either bet that the winning number is somewhere between 1 and 18 or 19 and 36. When that happens you win.
- Red/black – probably the easiest type of bet you make with odds of nearly 50/50. Simply bet on the colour of the number the ball will fall on.
- Odd/even – here you decide whether the number the ball lands on is either odd or even. You choose your bet accordingly.
- Dozen bet – you can decide to bet that the ball lands on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd dozen of numbers on the wheel. Payouts are higher than on 1-18 or 19-36.
- Column bet – Once again you place a bet on a dozen numbers at once, but the groups you bet on are actually divided by the columns of the roulette boar.
It’s important to note that you are able to bet on just about any combination of inside and outside bets. You could decide to place a corner bet as well as a red/black and odd/even bet – all at the same time. If you have some sort of strategy where that kind of betting makes sense, you can do just about anything you like. But placing your bets too haphazardly will out you as a rookie. Plus, try to avoid betting against yourself.
Odds and payouts
The odds and payouts depend on the type of bet you’re placing. But they are very much set in stone and can be summarised accordingly. The only distinction is whether you play European/French Roulette or American Roulette. Here you’ll want to keep in mind that the overall house edge for the European and French versions is 2.7%, whereas the American version is nearly double that with 5.26%. In other words, avoid the American version.
|Type of bet||Pay-out||Odds of winning (American)||Odds of winning (European/French)|
|Straight||35 to 1||37 to 1||36 to 1|
|Split||17 to 1||18 to 1||17.5 to 1|
|Street||11 to 1||11.667 to 1||11.334 to 1|
|Corner||8 to 1||8.5 to 1||8.25 to 1|
|Line||5 to 1||5.33 to 1||5.167 to 1|
|Column||2 to 1||2.167 to 1||2.083 to 1|
|Dozen||2 to 1||2.167 to 1||2.083 to 1|
|Even / Odd||1 to 1||1.111 to 1||1.055 to 1|
|High / Low||1 to 1||1.111 to 1||1.055 to 1|
|Red / Black||1 to 1||1.111 to 1||1.055 to 1|
You’ll note that the payout is actually slightly less than the actual odds. There is a reason why there is a house edge, after all.
Types of Roulette
As we’ve mentioned on several occasions now, there are different types of roulette. In actual fact you will encounter even more than the three we outline below. But those three types of roulette are recognised everywhere and you’ll be able to play them just about anywhere. More special types of roulette, such as multi-roulette, for instance, may not be available everywhere.
European – Based on the original French Roulette, this version has 36 numbers (pockets) and one ‘0’. The house edge here is 2.7%. By the way, it’s not possible to bet on ‘0’. If the ball lands there, the house automatically wins.
French – Not quite what it used to be, but definitely much preferable to the American version. It is almost exactly the same as European Roulette, however, you are usually allowed to play ‘last number bets’ and the croupier often acknowledges your bet by calling it back to you. The house edge is 2.7% here as well. French Roulette has the advantage that when you do make an outside bet, you will only lose half your bet in case the ball lands on the ‘0’.
American – And as you should know by now, this one comes with an additional ‘00’ beside the normal ‘0’, which gives the house a much better edge. Indeed, it’s as high as 5.26%, which means you may want to stay away from this one. And the reason for the higher edge is that the house has two exclusive fields where the ball could land and it automatically wins.
The topic is unavoidable and much discussed among roulette players. Are there strategies? Presumably, though mostly they refer to how you place your bets and how much you are actually staking.
Regardless of what anyone is trying to tell you, don’t believe that there is a strategy that guarantees you a win. Even if someone tells you that you have a chance of winning 92 to 98% of the time employing a certain strategy, you may still lose. And some strategies have actually been disproven by mathematicians and computer models.
Roulette is a game of randomness and there’s simply no reliable way to predict where the ball may end up. Whilst statistically speaking each number will eventually be hit, and there are probabilities for certain outcomes (just look at the odds above), luck is still the prevailing factor.
So what should you do to stay ahead?
- Stay your bet – there’s usually no reason to raise your bet. Set a budget and make sure you’re willing to lose it, if luck is not on your side.
- Don’t go in for the highest odds – inside bets are okay, but don’t just put down a straight bet and hope that your lucky number will hold its promise – that’s simply superstition.
- Stay sober – many casinos include drinks, but at the very least there’s always a bar. The combination of alcohol and betting is not a great one. Stay clear-headed and enjoy the game for what it is. There’s thrill in it even when you’re not buzzed up.
- Have fun!
Any form of gambling is always a matter of sheer (and often dumb) luck. Don’t play to win. Play to have fun. Sometimes luck will be on your side and when it is, take your winnings and enjoy them. Never chase your losses.
Playing roulette at land-based vs. online casinos
Once again the question is what’s preferable: playing roulette at a brick-and-mortar casino or playing it online?
That question isn’t easily answered. If you’ve never played roulette live before, you may want to check it out online first. You can learn the rules of the game and try out some betting strategies, if you are so inclined, by simply playing against the computer. You can even do so for free, which is most definitely not possible in a real casino.
Also, you can try out all versions of roulette at no risk to your wallet, if you play in fun mode only.
But the thrill of playing at an actual roulette table is definitely something else. Whilst Hollywood does have a tendency to exaggerate a lot, they do portray the casino atmosphere in a light that makes it somewhat irresistible. If you’ve ever set foot inside a real life casino, you’ll know that the feeling you get there is definitely one of excitement.
Roulette tables can be a little intimidating at first, especially if there’s a crowd or one starts to build up. You can always choose and empty table. The croupier is always friendly and welcoming. Be sure to know the rules, have some chips on the ready and then go ahead and have a little fun.
Playing roulette live and mobile
Needless to say there are plenty of opportunities to play roulette live at online casinos as well. As long as an online casino features live tables at least one of them will be a roulette table. Hopefully it’ll be the European or French version, though.
We have a separate article on the topic of live casino roulette, so you may check that out for further details on how it actually works. Suffice to say, if you want some live action but have no actual casino near you, then live roulette is definitely a good option.
Mobile roulette is also something you can experience at almost all decent mobile casinos. Not all roulette games that you play on your computer may also be available mobile. That’s simply because not every game has been made HTML5 compatible. But you should generally have at least a small selection available.
One of the downsides of mobile gambling is the small screen size. So prolonged play of games such as roulette is a little bit of a strain for the eyes and not quite as much fun as on a bigger screen. That’s true for playing live roulette via mobile as well.
Best roulette online casinos
Some online casinos are renowned for their roulette games. BetVictor is one of them. But we do quite enjoy what Mr. Green has on offer as well, especially since they also have frequent promotions running where roulette is the main game. That’s a rarity and deserves special mention.
We do feature a few online casinos that have special roulette promotions, however, and we make sure to mention whether that’s the case or not. Here we list some of our favourite online casinos that are ideally suited for roulette play as well.
If you have suggestions or questions, be sure to get in touch.
Top 5 Online Roulette Casinos
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