Roulette keeps alive a centuries-old gambling tradition that dates back to well-to-do drawing rooms of the Bourbons and Capets of France. Online Casino Gems vetted and approved these casinos that offer huge bonuses to play roulette online.
Everything You Need to Know About Playing Roulette Online
Few games on the casino floor have the same kind of “old-world” classic appeal as roulette. Just the sight of the wheel carved from rich wood, dark-stained and polished with its red and black pockets, and attended by a tuxedo-clad croupier, awakens the nostalgic dandy in all of us, and puts that dandy in the mood to gamble!
Roulette is the kind of game where you can make your own odds. You could wager on a likely outcome for a small payout, or on an extremely unlikely outcome for the chance of a huge payout. Either way, nothing beats the thrill of the spinning wheel.
Online casinos also love the roulette wheel because on the most even odds, the mathematics of the wheel all but guarantee that the casino will come out ahead on the aggregate of all spins of the wheel.
Roulette: A Brief History
The invention of the roulette wheel is usually attributed to Blaise Pascal, the 16th-century French mathematical wizard who experimented with spinning wheels in an attempt to create a perpetual-motion machine—a wheel that spun and never stopped. Pascal never discovered his perpetual motion machine, but his theory of fluid dynamics (known as “Pascal’s Law”) forms the basis of hydraulics and aeronautics to this day.
None of that mattered in opulent pre-Revolutionary French parlours, where Pascal’s invention became popular as a game of chance. A description of the game as played in the Palais Royale in La Roulette, a 1796 novel by Jacques Lablee, confirms that French Roulette existed in its current form as early as that date. The word roulette itself is simply French for “little wheel.”
Roulette became popular all over Europe. When Germany outlawed gambling in 1860, the gambling elite absconded to Monte Carlo, where the game evolved into European Roulette. The game also spread throughout the Americas, where it evolved into American Roulette until gambling was mostly abolished.
At the beginning of the 20th centuries, there were two major casino towns in the world—Las Vegas, the center for American Roulette, and Monte Carlo, the hub of European Roulette. As restrictions relaxed and casinos popped up the world over, all forms of roulette popped up on the casino floors with it. And nowadays, pretty much every new land-based or new online casino wants to offer roulette.
How to Play Roulette: Know the Rules
A roulette wheel consists of a perimeter track into which a metal ball is tossed, adjacent to pockets, either red or black in colour, and marked by a number. The numbers range from 0 to 36, with some wheels including a 00.
The wheel is spun, and the ball is tossed into the perimeter track in the opposite direction of the spin of the wheel. The casino employee who spins the wheel and tosses the ball is called the croupier.
Before the spin, players may wager on the outcome of the spin—i.e. In which pocket the ball will land. There is usually a table with the different betting options printed on it so players can place chips on the bet they wish to make, formally announcing their wager. Once the ball is tossed into the wheel, the croupier typically announces “No more bets,” closing the window for players to place bets on the spin.
Tables usually have both minimum and maximum bets.
Roulette wagers are grouped into two broad categories:
These bets pay out when a certain broad outcome manifests. Since many outcomes on the wheel could result in a win, outside bets tend to have lower payouts.
One important thing to note about Outside Bets is that a result of 0 or 00 always loses. Therefore, even if the odds are even or close to even, there is a slightly higher chance that the player’s luck will be out and (s)he will lose the bet. The casino pays out on winning bets as if there were even odds, however, so it pays slightly less than the true odds.
This results in a house edge over the course of all spins at the wheel, since the house will win slightly more often than the player wins, but will only have to pay out even money on a win.
The different Outside Bets a player could place include:
- Red or Black. One of the most basic bets a player can place is whether the ball will land in a red or black pocket. Since there are roughly the same number of red pockets as there are black pockets, the player has roughly even odds of winning this bet. As such, wagers on red or black pay out 1:1.
- Odds or Evens. The player can also choose to bet that the ball will land in an even- or odd-numbered pocket. Again, there are roughly the same number of even pockets as there are odd pockets, meaning the casino will pay out even odds of 1:1 on either bet.
- Low or High. This bet divides the numbered pockets into 1-18 and 19-36. Players can bet on a number in the low range or the high range. Naturally, since as many outcomes win as lose, the casino pays out even odds, 1:1.
- Columns. The betting table is organized into three columns. A player can bet on one of the columns. If the outcome of the spin is a numbered pocket indicated in the bet-upon column, the player wins. This gives the player slightly less than one chance out of three in winning, and therefore the casino pays out 2:1 on a Columns bet win.
- Dozens. Resulting in similar odds to the Columns bet, Dozens divides the results into three groupings—1-12, 13-24, and 25-36. Betting on one of these three Dozens results in slightly lower than a 1-in-3 chance of winning. The casino similarly pays out 2:1 on a Dozens bet win.
An “Inside Bet” is a high-flier. A player is betting on a far smaller selection of possible winning outcomes, meaning the player is far more likely to lose the wager than to win it. However, if the player does win the bet, the payout is much bigger.
In typical fashion, however, the payout, despite being generous, is slightly less generous than the actual odds would indicate. The casino does this to maintain its house edge, even in the unlikely event that a player wins big at the wheel.
The different Inside Bets a player could place include:
- Six-Number. This is sometimes called a “line bet.” The three vertical columns of numbers on the betting table result in eight horizontal rows of three numbers each. A Six-Number bet is a bet on two of those rows of three, adjacent to each other. With six possible winning outcomes, a win on a Six-Number bet pays out 5:1.
- Five-Number. Players may indicate a Five-Number bet by placing their chips between one and zero on the outside corner of the betting table. Available on wheels with a 00, a Five-Number bet wins on a result of 00, 0, 1, 2, or 3. The payout is 6:1, but it should be noted that this bet has a higher house edge compared to the payout of any bet on the roulette wheel. Mathematically speaking, it is the worst roulette bet.
- Corner Bet. A Corner Bet is a bet on four numbers—specifically, four numbers within the three columns of the betting table that form a square. A win on a Four-Corner bet results in an 8:1 payout.
- Street Bet. A Street Bet is like a Six-Number bet, except it is a bet on only one of the three-number rows on the betting table. The payout for winning a Street Bet is 11:1.
- Split Bet. A player can place a “Split Bet” on any two adjacent numbers on the betting table by placing chips between the two numbers. If the ball lands in one of these two numbers, the resulting payout is 17:1.
- Straight-Up. A “Straight-Up” bet is the highest-flying roulette wager of them all—a hail-Mary bet on a single number. In the unlikely event that the player calls that number exactly, (s)he is rewarded with a scales-tipping 35:1 payout. Of course, since there are 36 or 37 possible outcomes, we see the casino guarding its house edge … but still, 35 to one!
Now you know all about roulette bets, give it a go. As with any other casino game, it takes practice but you really can beat the odds at a casino if you persist.
The Major Types of Roulette
Roulette developed into three distinctive flavors over its centuries of development. The rules and the wheels themselves closely resemble each other, but the structure causes slight variations in the House Edge.
Roulette evolved in France, and “French Roulette” is the oldest and purest form of the game. The wheel has thirty-seven possible outcomes (only one “0”). This is similar to “European Roulette,” which evolved separately, except that in the earlier version of the game, you have fewer betting options. As such, French Roulette is preferred by “purists.”
European Roulette evolved from French Roulette deeper into the continent. It was carried by Germans, refugees from strict gambling laws enacted by the German Government, to the gambling haven of Monte Carlo, a luxe city that dominates the tiny sovereign nation of Monaco on the French Riviera. European Roulette has thirty-seven pockets on the wheel (again, only one “0”) but features the full menu of betting options described above.
American Roulette evolved in betting parlours in the United States and was adopted by early casinos in Las Vegas, before spreading to casinos across the continent and around the world. American Roulette has the same wagering options as European Roulette, but this wheel adds a “00” pocket—in other words, another chance for bettors to lose on almost any bet, and another pocket to muddy the odds of a Straight-Up bet. As a result, American Roulette has a slightly higher house edge than French or European versions of the game.
Some roulette games offer the same menu of betting options, but more than one wheel is spun for each session, giving players more than one chance to achieve a win. This may up the excitement, but it also reduces the payout.
Roulette Tips and Strategies
Like many casino games, roulette is a game of chance, and it’s very hard to slug odds in your favour. However, you can certainly learn to avoid the worst gambling mistakes, and if you want to have a long gaming session with the best odds of coming out ahead, here are some tips to try:
Pick European Roulette, Not American Roulette
While the payouts are the same, the odds at European or French Roulette are better than the odds at American Roulette, because, with an extra 00 pocket, American Roulette gives you more chances to lose and a higher house edge. Statistically speaking, your bankroll will last longer at a European Roulette table.
Don’t Place Five-Number Bets
This bet has the worst odds of any bet on the roulette table. It’s considered a “suckers bet,” only placed by players who love the self-destructive thrill of long odds. Not conducive to coming out ahead.
Consider Combination Bets
You can place more than one bet on each spin. One little-known way to make the math work for you is to place equal bets on the top or middle rows and on the colour that appears most frequently in that row. If you lose the row bet, you still have a 47% chance of breaking even by winning the colour bet.
Bet the Martingale System at Even Odds
The “Martingale” system of betting is a negative-regressive betting pattern where you double your bet after each loss. The math of this betting system works out such that even one win at even odds puts you ahead, even after a string of losses. Since you have several options to bet at close to even odds (red or black, evens or odds, high or low), this betting system is applicable to the roulette wheel.
The downfall of this strategy is the table minimum and maximum bets. You can’t double your bets forever—you will hit that table maximum. If you start at the minimum but fail to win before you reach max bets on all even-odds outcomes, there’s no way for you to come out ahead … and you will have quickly depleted your bankroll.
Where to Play Roulette Online
Roulette is available at most online casinos. To see if an online casino you are considering offers roulette, look in the section of the game catalogue called “Table Games.” You can usually peruse the catalogue before joining. An online casino may offer video versions of any or all of the popular forms of roulette—European, French, American, and Multi-Wheel.
Other considerations apply when selecting an online casino. Consider the following:
- What is the reputation of the online casino? Is the parent company well-established with a long history of reputable online offerings? Is the casino on the “blacklist” of a watchdog organisation? Does it have negative reviews in online forums, particularly in the form of warning that they don’t pay out on their winnings? Where is the casino licensed? Is the licence in good standing? Does the licensing authority have a reputation of taking player complaints, especially international player complaints, seriously?
- Does the casino have an appealing sign-up bonus? Most online casinos offer bonus cash to new players, tethered to strict Terms & Conditions like wagering requirements to keep that bonus cash in the casino. Pay attention to the Terms—the bonus cash may not be usable on table games like roulette, or table games may contribute only minimally to the wagering requirement.
- Is the casino available in my country or state? Not every online casino is available in every country or state. Check the list of countries that allow access to the online casino and make sure your jurisdiction is on the list.
- Does the casino have banking methods I prefer? Online casinos usually include a menu of deposit and withdrawal methods, including credit or debit cards, mobile wallets like PayPal or Skrill, eChecks, or cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Note that many banks and payment card issuers decline online gambling transactions, even if the transaction is legal. (Note, the UK is imposing a ban on credit card gambling from April 2020).
- What is the maximum withdrawal? Many online casinos cap the cash you can withdraw from your bankroll and winnings on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Make sure you can stomach any imposed withdrawal limits.
Once you have chosen your online casino and opened your account, you will find that most of the roulette games are “video casino games.” While animation and graphics show a roulette wheel spinning, there is no actual roulette wheel anywhere in cyberspace.
Rather, the outcome of the “spin” as depicted in the graphics is actually determined by a type of software called a “random number generator” (RNG). You are essentially betting against a calculator, programmed to replicate the odds of an actual roulette wheel. Whether or not that decreases—or increases—the fun of the game is for each player to decide.
Multiplayer Online Roulette
Some online casinos offer a “Roulette Room” where multiple players can bet on the same digital spin of the wheel. This replicates the feeling of casino roulette, where multiple players can gather around the table and bet on the outcome of the spin. Players can enhance the social vibe of the game by interacting with each other in group chats.
Live-Dealer Online Roulette
Roulette is also one of several casino table games popular as “live-dealer” online offerings, further boosting the realism of the online casino experience.
A live dealer game of online roulette is powered by an actual roulette wheel and a live croupier, installed in a sound studio on the grounds of a casino and live-streamed to the world by cameras.
Players can view the wheel spin by live-stream video and place bets in an online environment. In addition to group chat among the other players, bettors can interact with the live croupier and even tip the croupier, as is tradition on the casino floor.
Note that you’ll pay a price for this excitement. Live-dealer games tend to have a higher house edge than software-based roulette games.
In either its in-person or online forms, roulette keeps alive a centuries-old gambling tradition that dates back to well-to-do drawing rooms of the Bourbons and Capets of France. Want to join the tradition? Dress to impress, step up to the croupier, put your chips on the table, and let the wheel dictate your fortune.