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How to Play Roulette Online 

Roulette is a casino that is loved by many around the world and is prominently featured in almost every live and online casino. It has a place in the hearts of both rookies and seasoned gamblers for good reason. The aptly named “devil’s wheel” is deceptively simple, but easy to play and master.

While newcomers may view roulette as a game of pure chance, it's actually a game of strategy. Players can use certain strategies and tactics to win the game of roulette.

At first glance, roulette may look simple, but the devil’s wheel isn’t exactly easy to beat. The deeper you delve into the gameplay and rules of roulette, the more you will realize the game’s hidden complexities. Does playing roulette, simply involve a spinning wheel and small ball? Does winning simply involve luck? You might be surprised by the answers.

While you can play roulette without possessing understanding or even knowing the rules of roulette. However, smart players know there is a smarter, more strategic approach to playing roulette.

Similar to Baccarat, Blackjack, and Craps, roulette can only be beaten using a well-defined winning strategy. You also need to have a strong understanding of the rules and become acquainted with the finer details of the game. That’s why we’re here and you’re in good hands. 

Whether you’re a novice player trying to immerse yourself into the world of roulette or a seasoned player looking to brush up on your gaming strategy, we’ve got you covered. In this extensive guide, you will learn the ins and outs of roulette from its long journey to the best way to play it, and all things in between.

A Brief History of Roulette

Roulette is one of the oldest casino games, probably even older than the gambling industry itself. Roulette means “little wheel” or “small wheel” in French.

It has been widely thought that the wheel was accidentally invented by mathematician and physicist, Blaise Pascal in Paris. Inventing the perpetual motion machine was Pascal's goal. However, the spinning wheel he came up with which would later transform into the game we know as roulette.

However, the true origins of roulette are subject to debate. A few gambling historians think that the beginnings of roulette could date back to the 8th century BC. There’s also a mounting pile of evidence that more than one ancient civilization played some elementary version of roulette.

For example, Liubo is the most notable example. During the Han Dynasty, an ancient Chinese board game was played by arranging 37 animal figurines to determine the winner. Dominican monks later unearthed this game and allegedly altered its layout and gaming rules by adding classic double zero and zero slots.

It's believed that a game much like roulette was played by ancient Roman to relieve their boredom. The soldiers would spin a shield or a chariot wheel and wherever it stopped determined the winner.

There’s an ancient Greek gambling game that also resembled modern-day roulette. Greek soldiers would draw symbols on the inside of a shield, and place it upside-down on the ground. An arrow was then placed on the ground, pointing towards the shield. The shield was spun and whatever symbol the arrow pointed to when the spinning stopped determined the winner.

With so many rudimentary examples of roulette from ancient times, how exactly did modern roulette come to be? As it turns out, an anonymous person came up with the idea to make pockets in a wheel fashioned after Blaise Pascal's design. A dug-out Sloot was added to hold a marble or a small ball, which then shoots down to bounce around the wheel. Later, numbers, colors, and the table were added.

The game of roulette has presented itself in many different forms across the world throughout the course of human history. However, in 1842, two clever Frenchmen, Francois, and Louis Blanc take the credit for popularizing the game we know today.

The pair revamped the game eliminating double zero slots and in essence, invented European roulette. Because gambling was largely outlawed in France, they took their invention to Hamburg, Germany.

Two decades later, the pair was summoned by Prince Charles III of Monaco to bring the game to his kingdom. In 1863, Louis Blanc premiered the legendary Monte Carlo Resort prominently featuring roulette. From Monte Carlo, the game spread across Europe like wildfire.

Over the next ten years, roulette gained immense popularity among casino players. Charles Wells, a well-known con man, became the first person to profit from playing the game. He walked away with almost half a million dollars at the Monte Carlo in 1873 and ironically, without cheating.

It wasn’t until the early 20th century that the game of roulette made its way into the United States. The Cajuns, French settlers who came to Louisiana via Canada, are often credited for bringing and popularizing the game in America. 

Today, there are many different renditions of roulette available in both live and online casinos. In 1994, Microgaming – one of the largest casino game developers created the very first online casino.

Common Types of Roulettes: An Overview

As we’ve touched on before, there are countless variations of roulette. This especially holds true in the online casino world. French, European, and American Roulette are the most common types. Read on for an overview.

French Roulette

French roulette is the version that’s recognized to be the closest to the original version that emerged in France in the 17th century. In the beginning, the wheel only had the numbers 1 through 36 but later, a zero slot was added. This upped the numbers you can bet on by one, making it 37.

There are two rules that differentiate French Roulette from the other versions: 1) La Partage: Even money bets such as black/red, high/low, and so on will get half of their wager back, and 2) En Prison, players who place even money bets on red/black can either get half of their bet back or leave their money on the table for the next spin.

French Roulette is set up cuts the traditional house edge in half, from 2.7% to 1.35%. Interestingly, the origin of French Roulette traces back to the United States, not France.

European Roulette

European roulette, also known as classic roulette features red/black numbers on both the wheel and the table. Red spaces contain the odd numbers 1-9 and 19-27. Red also contains the even numbers 12-18 and 30-36. Black spaces contain the even numbers 2-10 and 20-28. Black also contains the odd numbers 11-17 and 29-35.

Both European and French Roulette feature a zero slot in green but European roulette doesn’t have La Partage and En Prison rules. This is why European Roulette has a higher house edge at 2.7%

American Roulette

The thing that distinguishes American Roulette from its European counterpart is the order of numbers. American Roulette features an extra slot for double zero. 0 and 00 are added in addition to the regular numbers (1-36), making it a total of 38 numbers you can bet on.

The Rules: How to Play Roulette

The roulette wheel, by design, usually has 37 or 38 partitions around the outer edge of a spinning wheel. They are marked with numbers 1-16 as well as 0 and 00 depending on which version. Half the numbers are black and half are red. The zeros spaces are usually colored in green.

The table is marked in the same way as the wheel. The basic rules of roulette are actually quite simple and intuitive. If you think that the ball is more likely to land on a number or set of numbers, simply put your chips on the corresponding numbers on the table.

Once the bets are placed, the croupier will toss the ball onto the spinning roulette wheel. You can keep placing bets as long as the wheel is spinning, or until the dealer announces, “No more bets!” Once this happens, no additional wagers can be placed at the table, and bets that are already made are locked in.

The ball will spin around the wheel until it lands in a numbered slot. At that point, the winners are declared. In a perfect world, the odds of the ball landing on any of the 37 or 38 numbered slots are equal. But, when it comes to wagering on roulette, the bets can go beyond those numbers. (More on this later.)

The Most Popular Roulette Bets

Before you can place a bet, you'll need to buy chips and bring them to the roulette table. But how can you bet? Let's go over the most popular bets you can make in a game of roulette:

Split Bet: If you're low on chips, and can't bet on all of your numbers, the split bet is for you. This bet lets you split your wager equally on two neighboring numbers. To place a split bet, place your chips on the line dividing the two numbers.

For example, you can place a split bet on the line separating the numbers 7 and 8, or the numbers 9 and 12. The odds on this type of bet is 17:1.

Corner Bet: This is similar to a split bet, but instead of two numbers, you can bet on four adjoining numbers. As the name of the bet suggests, you place your chips on the cross where all 4 numbers meet.

For example, you can place your chips on the cross connecting 1, 2, 4, and 5. The odds on this are slightly lower-paying 8:1.

Street Bet: This is sometimes called a side bet, the trio bet, or a three-number bet. This is a bet on all 3 numbers in a single row. For example, you can bet on 34-35-36 street. This type of bet pays 11:1.

Straight Up Bet: Placing your chips on a single number is straight up. The odds on this bet are a whopping 35:1.

Five-Number Bet: This is among the most challenging wagers you can place on an American Roulette table. Essentially, you're betting on the five numbers at the front end of the table, 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3. The house edge is nearly 7.90% and the payout is 6:1.

Line Bet: This is a cousin of the street bet. Here, you are placing bets on the six numbers from two adjoining rows. For example, betting on the 4/7 line means that you are betting on numbers 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. The payout is 5:1, and depending on the type of roulette you’re playing, the house edge ranges from 2.7% or 5.76%.

Dozens Bet: You can bet that the ball will land on any of the 12 numbers within one of the three rows. You can wager on the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd row. A winning dozens bet pays 2:1.

Color Bet: You simply bet on whether the ball with land on a black or red number. The payout for a color bet is 1:1.

Low/High Bet: The low numbers are 1-18, and the high numbers are 19-36. The payout for a winning high/low bet is 1:1.

Column Bet: This is much like a dozens bet. Instead of betting on a row of 12 numbers, you can bet on the First Column, Second Column or Third Column. These large columns are comprised of four columns each, for a total of 12 numbers. The chips are placed at the bottom of each column. This bet pays 2:1.

What Are Minimum and Maximum Bets?

The minimum and maximum bets are set by the casino. If you're playing at an online casino, look at the terms and conditions for the roulette games for the bet limits. Outside bets, such as column, color, dozen, or high/low bets, usually have a higher minimum bet than a straight-up bet or inside bets.

The size of the chips usually determines the minimum and maximum bet requirements for a straight-up bet. The maximum stake for a pair of numbers is two times the maximum for a straight-up bet. The maximum bet allowed for a street bet is 3x a straight-up, and a corner bet is 4x the straight-up bet maximum. This applies to all other bets.

Tips and Strategies for Winning at Roulette

Tip #1: Take the Table Limit Into Consideration

It is critical for all roulette players to take note of the betting limits set at each table. At a minimum, you always choose a roulette game with a table limit matching your budget and betting style.

Another factor to consider when choosing table limits is your playing strategy. Most top-quality online casinos allow you to choose from a wide range of table limits.

In general, the table limits for roulette at most online casinos range from just 10 cents to an astronomical $10,000 for high-rollers. With that said, whether you’re a casual player or a high roller, there’s a roulette table for everyone. High-stakes roulette players will be happy to know that there are high roller tables set aside just for them.

Tip #2: If You Want to Experience the Feel Live Casinos, Stick to Live Dealer Roulettes

A nice feature of live-dealer online casinos is that they often offer players a lot of flexibility. This is especially true if you want to try both high and low-stake roulette tables. You might be shocked to find that some live-dealer casinos let high rolling roulette players bet as much as $250,000.

A few roulette tables will limit certain bets within the games played on the table. This is because the online casino doesn’t want to be at risk of having to pay out a massive amount to a player who placed a bet with a huge payout ratio.

With that in mind, if you want to get the real roulette experience it's essential to stick with live dealer roulette. You can even ask the croupier, in real-time, your burning questions. You can even ask if the casino can raise your betting limit while you're playing.

Tip #3: Have a Strategy

Most players do a lot of guesswork when playing roulette. If that sounds like you, then that means you go by your intuition and gut feelings. However, this isn’t always the best approach.

Fortunately, there are a few tried-and-true betting strategies that can be used to cut down the casino’s house edge by a lot. Nearly every tactic and strategy used by veteran players to win at roulette follow these three gambling systems:

MARTINGALE: This is the most popular casino gambling strategy, especially when applied to playing table games. In fact, a few players may have unknowingly used the Martingale system. 

There are two variations of this gambling system, the Straight-up Martingale, and the Grand Martingale. However, the basic betting strategy is the same for both.

To use the Martingale system, you begin by placing a small bet, typically the minimum for that table. Let’s say that is $1. You'll bet that same amount over and over until you lose. When you lose, you double the amount of your bet.

For instance, if you are betting $1 per spin and you lose on the third spin, your fourth wager should be $2. If you follow this pattern, you will recover your previous losses plus a little more if you win. Remember that you need to double the bet size every time you lose. When you finally win again, you then set the bet back to $1.

D’ALEMBERT: Also known as the “Gambler’s Fallacy”, this betting system goes off the “fallacy” that if one outcome comes up more than it should, then the opposite outcome will come up sooner than later. That’s why this strategy is very popular with roulette players who make both even-money and outside bets. For instance, if black has come up 7 times out of the last 10 spins, then red has a strong likelihood of coming up next.

LABOUCHERE: This is an old betting system, invented in the 19th century by Henry Labouchere. In essence, Labouchere is a betting cancellation system. With Labouchere, you begin with a series of potential numbers you want to wager on. Let's say, your numbers are 1,2,3,4, and 5.

To begin, you bet on the combination of the first and last numbers, 1 and 5. If you win, you need to stick with the same numbers and bet. But, if you lose, you need to add a number; so, you would keep 1 and 5, and maybe add 3. Like the Martingale system, if you're on a losing streak, you'll probably burn through all of your money pretty quickly.

REVERSE MARTINGALE: This is exactly the opposite of the standard Martingale system. You begin with a low bet, typically the table minimum. But, every time you win, you must double your bet. And when you lose, you go back to the original low bet. It’s simple and can help you safeguard your bankroll.

Tip #4: Stick to Prudent Bankroll Management

Generally, it's very important to closely monitor your bankroll when roulette or other playing table games. If you don’t, you’ll easily spend the money you need to pay your bills. The following tips will help you manage your bankroll and avoid bankruptcy:

Set win/loss limits – This should be among the first things you do before you play. Tabulate your bankroll and your personal finances, and then decide how much you want to win and how much you can afford to lose. You can't just set a win/loss limit, you also have to stick with your plan.

Take advantage of free spins, bonuses, and cashback bonuses. However, these can be good and bad. If the minimum wagering requirement is too high, you can easily lose money. When playing roulette, the trick to using promotions is to place low-stake, low-payout bets. These could be dozens, color, and other even-money wagers.

Know when to quit – if you can't seem to get off a losing streak, don’t be afraid to take a break from the roulette table. This will give you an opportunity to regroup yourself and come back focused, with a winning mindset.

Don’t stick with one table or betting system, If things don't work out. Don't be afraid to switch things up by changing your table, or trying a new strategy.