There isn’t a casino you would walk into and not find a roulette game. The simple, yet exotic game is a popular feature at casinos, both online and land-based ones. Just as popular as the game is the number of articles, guides, and books on it. However, most of the guides on roulette are either half baked, ambiguous, or with little useful information.
In this guide, we will be taking a deep dive into the exotic and ancient game of online roulette. In the paragraphs that follow, I will be sharing with you the kind of information that will give you an edge in the game. Let’s start with a quick history of the game.
A Brief History of Roulette
The origins of roulette are linked to a failed experiment by French Mathematician Blaise Pascal. In the late 1600s, Pascal was working on a machine that could run continuously without having to draw energy from an external source. He called it the perpetual motion machine and hoped it would defy the laws of physics. However, Pascal’s experiment failed. Although he was unable to invent a perpetual motion machine, his experiment birthed one of the greatest casino games the world has ever seen.
Historic accounts show that the game was first played in Paris towards the end of the 1700s. Early versions of the game had both a single and double zero. The current European version of the game (the single zero wheel) is believed to have been invented by two Frenchmen in 1843 to help casinos attract more customers by offering a lower house edge.
In the 1800s, as Europeans migrated to America, the French brought with them the game of roulette. To enhance the house edge, a double zero slot was added to the wheel. So instead of having thirty-six numbers and one zero slot, the American wheel had thirty-six numbers, one zero slot, and one double zero slot.
Over the next century, the popularity of the game surged. In Europe, the dominant version was the single zero wheel while the double zero wheel was the more popular version in America. With the advent of the internet in the 1990s, casino sites began to appear, and roulette became available online. Today, there are different variants of the game available at both land-based and online casinos.
How to Play Roulette
Basic elements of a roulette game include the roulette table, the roulette wheel, the roulette ball, and roulette chips.
There are two major versions of the game. The European wheel has thirty-six slots (slots numbered one to thirty-six) and one zero slot while the American wheel has thirty-six slots, one zero slot, and one double zero slot. Both wheels look alike with the only major difference being the double zero slot in the American wheel.
Although this might sound like a small difference, there’s a significant difference when the house edge is considered. While the European wheel has a house edge of 2.7%, the American wheel comes with a house edge of 5.26%.
The French version of roulette is the third popular variant of the game. The French game comes with rule variations that drives the house edge on the game even lower. One is the “La Partage” rule in which a player loses only half of his stake if the spin is a zero provided it was an even-money bet. The French wheel offers a house edge as low as 1.35%.
The roulette wheel is made of three basic divisions. One is the area where the ball goes round and round. This is known as the ball track. Then there is the area where the ball starts to fall when it leaves the ball track. This area is known as the base track. The third part is the area with the pockets where the ball eventually falls into. This is known as the wheel head.
The roulette ball is a core aspect of the game. The size of the ball depends on the diameter of the wheel.
The ball is the core piece of action in the game. Players have to predict the number on which the ball lands and back their predictions with accompanying bets. After bets are placed, the dealer drops the ball on the outer rim of the wheel. After the ball is set in motion, it bounces until it loses momentum and falls into a pocket after which the dealer announces the winning number and the color of the pocket.
Placing Your Bets
To place a bet, players are required to exchange cash for chips. These chips are assigned specific values and are used to place bets on numbers on the table. Chips come in different colors to distinguish the bets made by different players.
These are bets placed on outside boxes rather than on numbers. Although outside bets offer better prospects (since they come with higher odds compared to inside bets), they pay less. The following are types of outside bets in roulette.
Red/Black: This is a bet that includes all red or black colored numbers. For example, if you bet that the winning number will be black and the ball falls on a black pocket, you win the stake. To make the bet, place the chips on the red or the black box. The bet pays even money (1:1)
Odd/Even: This bet includes all odd or even numbers. If you place this bet, you are predicting that the winning number will be even or odd. To make this bet, place the chips on the odd or even box. The bet pays even money (1:1)
High/Low: The bet includes all the high numbers (ranging from 19 to 36) or all the low numbers (ranging from 1 to 18). To make this bet, place the chips on the 19 to 36 box or on the 1 to 18 box. The bet pays even money (1:1).
Columns: This bet covers twelve numbers. You bet on one of three columns all covering twelve numbers. To make this bet, place chips on one of the boxes marked 2-1. The bet pays 2:1.
Dozens: Dozens also cover twelve numbers. To make this bet, place chips on the boxes marked “1st 12”, “2nd 12”, or “3rd 12”. This bet pays 2:1.
Inside bets involve the table numbers directly. They are bets placed on numbers rather than the nature of the numbers (i.e. whether they are odd/even or red/black). Although inside bets have higher payouts compared to outside bets, they have much lower odds. Below are types of inside bets in roulette.
Straight-Up: This is a bet on a single number. To make this bet, place the chip on the specific number. The straight-up bet comes with the highest payout in the game (35:1).
Split: This is a bet on two adjoining numbers. To make this bet, place the chip on the line between the numbers. The split bet comes with a payout of 17:1.
Street: The street bet is a bet on three numbers. To make this bet, place the chip on the line at the end of the row that has the three numbers. The street bet has a payout of 11:1.
Corner: The corner bet is a bet on four adjoining numbers. To make this bet, place the chip on the common line that separates the four numbers. This corner bet has a payout of 8:1.
Five-Number: The is a bet on a group of five numbers that includes 0, 00, 1, 2, 3. The five-number bet comes with a payout of 6:1.
Six-Number: The is a bet on a set of six numbers. To make this bet, place chips on the point where two streets intersect. This bet pays 5:1.
As the name implies, call bets are bets made by “calling” what you intend to bet instead of placing chips on sections of the table. Although chips are still a part of these bets, they are placed by dealers, not players. Some of the common call bets are popular French bets such as:
Voisins du Zéro: The Voisins du Zéro or neighbors of zero bet includes seventeen numbers that lie between 22 and 25. This includes the numbers 22, 18, 29, 7, 28, 12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32, 15, 19, 4, 21, 2, and 25. The bet requires 9 chips which are placed on several splits. The neighbors of zero bet can only be played on the European wheel.
Jeu Zéro: This bet covers the seven numbers that are nearest to the single zero pocket of the wheel. This includes the numbers 12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32, and 15. Although these same numbers are covered by the Voisins du Zéro bet, only four chips are needed to place the bet.
Tiers du Cylindre: The bet extends to one-third of the wheel and covers the twelve numbers that lie between 33 and 27. This includes the numbers 27, 13, 36, 11, 30, 8, 23, 10, 5, 24, 16, and 33.
Orphelins: This bet includes eight numbers and covers the section of the wheel outside the tiers and voisins. This includes the numbers 1, 20, 14, 31, 9 and 17, 34, 6.
How to Win at Roulette
To win at roulette, you have to decide what bet to place, place it, and hope the ball lands on the slot(s) that cover your bet. If the ball lands on the slot(s) that cover your bet, you win the stake. However, if the ball lands on any other slot or on the “0” or “00” pockets, you lose the bet except in the case of French roulette where the La Partage rule is in play. In which case the player will get half of his stake provided the stake was an even money bet. The following are the payout rates for the bets in roulette:
The Most Popular Roulette Variants
Double Ball Roulette: Double ball roulette is a variation of roulette played with two balls rather than one. The use of an extra ball also alters the payout structure of the game.
Mini-Roulette: This is a miniature version of the game with thirteen slots: six red slots, six black slots, and one zero slot. Mini roulette can be found at casino sites online.
Jackpot Roulette: Jackpot roulette is a roulette game connected to a jackpot pool that grows in size as the game is played until it is triggered. Players need to make a small side bet to stand a chance to trigger the big prize.
Live Roulette: Live roulette is a roulette game streamed over the internet from a studio or land-based casino to players at home.
Multi-Wheel Roulette: As the name implies, multi-wheel roulette is a roulette game featuring more than one wheel.
Top Tips to Improve Your Roulette Skills
There are certain patterns consistent with veteran players. In this section, I will be sharing tips that will set you up for success. By following these tips that I will be sharing with you below, you will stand a better chance at having an exciting and rewarding roulette gaming experience.
Play at a Reputable Casino: Nothing else matters if a site is not licensed and regulated by a recognized gambling authority. There’s a whole tribe of scammers out there looking to rip you off and take your hard-earned money. By only playing at reputable casinos, you will avoid this web of tricksters.
Find a game with good odds: Earlier on, we talked about the two popular variants of the game. Although they bear great similarities, they come with different odds. The addition of the “00” slot in the American wheel alters the house edge of the game (5.26% as opposed to 2.7% in European roulette).
If you are new, start with even bets: Even bets are the best way to get started in roulette. They are simple, easy to understand and offer better odds compared to other bets.
Be acquainted with payout odds: It is important to know the payout odds for each betting option in roulette. Understanding the probability of each betting option can save you money by helping you focus more on odds rather than payout ratios.
Consider using strategy: Although most roulette strategy won’t help you beat the house like their proponents often claim, they can enhance your game. Using a strategy can help you manage your bets and enhance your prospects in the game.
Where to Find the Best Roulette Games Online
Roulette games can be found at casino sites online. However, ensure the site is licensed and regulated by a recognized gambling authority and has been tested by independent auditors such as eCOGRA.