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Playing Roulette Online

Roulette is one of the world’s most beloved casino games and is conspicuously featured in virtually every land-based and online casino. It’s an all-time favorite for both new and seasoned gamblers for good reason. The so-called “devil’s wheel” is deceptively simple, but it is easy to play and easy to master.

What ultimately makes roulette so appealing is the fact that it’s a game of strategy, which means it’s not entirely a game of chance. You can use certain tactics and strategies to win at the game of roulette.

On the surface, roulette may look simple, but the game is not exactly easy to beat. The more you study the gameplay and rules, the more hidden complexity you will discover. If you think playing and winning at roulette is all about the small ball, a little luck and a spinning wheel, think again.

True, you may play roulette without having in-depth knowledge or understanding of the rules of the game. Smart and savvy casino players will tell you that there’s a wrong approach and there’s a right way to play roulette.

Just like other table games such as Baccarat, Blackjack, and Craps, roulette is a game you can only beat with a clear-cut winning strategy. You also need to study rules and familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of the game. That’s why we are here.

Whether you are a rookie trying to get your feet wet in the world of roulette or a seasoned player wanting to brush up on your strategy, we have got you covered. In this comprehensive guide, you’ll find all the roulette essentials, from its long journey through history to how to play it and everything in between. 

A Brief History of Roulette

Roulette is one of the oldest casino games, perhaps older than the casino industry itself. The game has its roots in France. Roulette is a French word that means “little wheel” or “small wheel”.

The wheel is thought to have been accidentally invented during the 17th century by math geek and physicist Blaise Pascal in Paris. Pascal stumbled upon the spinning wheel while trying to create the oft-evasive perpetual motion machine, which was later fashioned into this fantastic casino game.

Some scholars, however, argue that the original concept of roulette can be traced as far back as the 8th century BC. There’s also a heap of evidence suggesting that several ancient civilizations may have played some rudimentary forms of the game.

The most notable example is Liubo, an ancient Chinese board game. In the Eastern Han Dynasty, this game was played by two or more players who arranged 37 animal figurines to determine the outcome. This game was unearthed by Dominican monks, who are alleged to have altered its gameplay and layout. More specifically, they are said to have added the classic double zero and zero slots.

It is believed that soldiers in ancient Rome passed time playing a game that’s quite similar to roulette. They spun a chariot wheel or shield, and where it stopped was the winning result.

One gambling game in ancient Greece also resembled today’s roulette. Soldiers placed a shield in an upside-down position. Symbols were drawn on the inside surface.  The shield was spun and whatever symbol was adjacent to an arrow when the spinning stopped was the winning symbol.

So, how did modern roulette come to be? It turns out an unnamed person had the idea to punch small holes or make pockets in a movable wheel (the kind that Blaise Pascal devised). This way, the dug-out slot would hold a small ball or marble. Later, they added colors, numbers, and the game-table.

The credit for popularizing modern roulette, however, falls in the lap of two ingenious Frenchmen, Louis, and François Blanc. The two are responsible for getting rid of the double zero slots, and basically coming up with what we now know as European roulette in 1842. They had to take their invention to Hamburg in Germany because, at the time, gambling was largely illegal in France.

The duo was requested by Prince Charles III of Monaco to bring back the game of roulette about 20 years later. In 1863, Louis Blanc opened the famous Monte Carlo Casino Resort, where roulette was the order of the day. From then on, the game spread across France and Europe at an incredible pace.

In the next decade or so, roulette attracted a huge following among casino players. Charles Wells, a well-known crook, became the first person to make bank playing roulette. He made away with almost half a million dollars at the Monte Carlo Casino in 1873, all without having to cheat.

It was not until the early 20th century that the game of roulette crossed the pond. French settlers who came to Louisiana are often credited for bringing and popularizing roulette in America. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Today, there are myriad versions of roulette available in both brick-and-mortar and online casinos. Microgaming – one of the biggest casino game developers – is responsible for creating the very first online casino in 1994.

Common Types of Roulettes

It’s no big secret that there are several variants of roulette, especially in the online casino universe. The most common types, however, are American, French, and European Roulette.

(i) French Roulette

This is regarded as the version closest to the original 17th century roulette game that was played in France. The wheel initially had only 36 numbers, ranging from 1 through 36. However, a zero slot was later added to create the famous French Roulette. This essentially upped the numbers you can bet on from 36 to 37.

What makes French Roulette unique is a pair of rules related to an outcome where the ball lands on zero: 1) La Partage: players who made even-money bets (black/red, high/low, etc.) will get 50% of their wager back, and 2) En Prison, whereby those who made even-money wagers on red/black bets will choose to either get 50% of their money back or leave their bets on for the next spin.

The setup of French Roulette reduces the traditional house edge from 2.7% to 1.35% because of the two rules. Interestingly, the origin of modern French roulette can be traced to the US, not France.

(ii) European Roulette

This is the classic roulette, with black/red-colored numbers on the table and the wheel itself. Reds include odd numbers 1-9, even numbers 12-18, odd numbers 19-27 and even numbers 30-36. Blacks numbers include even numbers from 2-10, odd numbers 11-17, even numbers 20-28 and odd numbers 29-35.

Both European and French Roulette have a zero slot (appearing in green), but the former doesn’t have En Prison and La Partage rules. That’s why the house edge for European roulette is higher at 2.7%.

(iii) American Roulette

The order of the numbers in the American Roulette is far different from that of European Roulette. The distinguishing feature is that American Roulette as an extra slot occupied by double zero. So, it has the regular 36 numbers (1-36) plus 0 and 00, bringing the total to 38. That means the house edge is more than double, at 5.76%.

How to Play Roulette – Gameplay and Rules

By design, a roulette wheel comprises 37 or 38 divisions around the diameter of a spinning disk. They are accordingly marked with numbers 1 through 36 as well as zero (0) and double zero (00) depending on the version. Half of the numbers are colored red, while the other half are black. The zeros are usually green.

Accompanying the wheel is a similarly numbered and colored table. The basic rules of the game are quite simple and intuitive. If you fancy that a certain number or numbers are more likely to win, all you have to do is wager on them. The bet is made by placing your chips on top of the number(s) of your choosing on the betting table.

The dealer, also called the croupier will then throw a ball into the curve of the spinning disk. You can continue placing your bets as long as the wheel is turning, or until the croupier declares “no more bets!” At this point, no additional wagers can be placed on the betting mat, and those already made are locked in.

The small ball will spin its way around the roulette’s wheel as you wait for it to determine the fate of your stakes. The outcome will be decided by where the ball eventually lands. Ideally, there are uniform chances of the ball landing on any of the 37/38 possible numbers. When it comes to wagering on roulette, however, bets go beyond the numbers (more on this ahead).

Popular Roulette Bets

You need to buy and bring chips to your side on the roulette table. But which bets should you wager? Here are the most popular types of roulette bets:

Split Bet: If you are running out of chips to cover all of your numbers, the split bet will come in handy. This allows you to wager equally on two neighboring numbers by placing chips on the line that divides them.

For example, you can place a split bet on the line separating numbers 13 and 14, or numbers 17 and 20. This type of bet pays 17:1.

Corner Bet: This is just like a split bet, but instead of two, you are wagering on four adjacent numbers. As such, you place your chips on the corner where all the 4 numbers touch.

For instance, you can place a chip on the corner connecting 20, 21, 23 and 24. This pays 8:1.

Street Bet: This is sometimes referred to as the trio bet, the three-number bet or the side bet. It’s just a fancy way of betting on all 3 numbers in a specific row.

For example, you can wager on 13-14-15 street. This pays 11:1.

Straight Up Bet: It’s what it sounds like – you place your chips directly on a single number. This pays out a whopping 35:1.

Five-Number Bet: This is one of the most ambitious bets you can make on an American Roulette table. You are essentially betting on only five numbers at the beginning of the table – i.e., 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3. The payout is 6:1 and the house edge is 7.89%.

Line Bet: This is the street bet’s cousin. In this case, however, you are betting on six numbers on two adjacent rows. Betting on 7/10 line, for instance, means that you’re wagering on numbers 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12. The payout is 5:1, which brings the house edge to 2.7% or 5.76% depending on which type of roulette you’re playing.

Dozens Bet: You are betting that the ball will land on a number within one of the three dozens. You can wager on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd dozen. It pays 2:1.

Color Bet: With this bet, you are wagering on whether the ball with land on a red or black number. The payout is even.

Low/High Bet: Low numbers range from 1-18, while highs range from 19-36. Like color bets, high/low bets pay 1 to 1. In other words, it’s an even-money bet.

Column Bet: This is more or less like the dozens bet. Instead of wagering on the dozen, you can bet on First Column, Second Column or Third Column. The chips go to the very end of each column. This bet pays 2:1.

Minimum and Maximum Bets

The maximum and minimum stakes are dictated by the casino. For online casinos, all you have to do is check out the terms and conditions attached to the roulette game. Outside bets (column, dozen, color, high/low, etc.) typically have a higher minimum stake than inside or straight-up bets.

The maximum and minimum stake requirements imposed on the inside bets are usually determined by the size of the chips. Of course, the maximum stake permitted for a pair of numbers is twice the maximum for straight up bets. Similarly, the maximum bet allowed for corner and street bets is quadruple and triple the straight up max respectively. This goes for all other bets, too.

Tips for Winning at Roulette

(1) Consider the Table Limit

It is crucial for gamblers who want to play roulette to note that each table has a betting limit. At the very least, you should choose a roulette room with a table limit that best matches your wagering style and budget (read: bankroll).

Another factor to keep in mind when thinking about table limits is your playing strategy. The good news is that most top-quality online casinos allow you to choose from a wide range of table limits.

Generally, the table limits at the majority of casino sites range from $.10-all the way up to $10,000 for high-roller tables. So you can find a roulette casino that offers something that fits your needs, whether you’re an occasional or casual player. Moreover, players who like to place high stakes will be glad to know that there are table limits especially designed for them.

(2) Stick to Live Dealer Roulettes if you want to Experience the feel Brick-and-Mortar Casinos

The good thing about live-dealer online casinos is that they tend to provide players with wide flexibility. That is especially true if you want to try both low-stake and high-stakes tables. Don’t be surprised to discover that some live-dealer casinos allow high rollers to wager on roulette with table limits that can rise as high as $250,000.

Some roulette tables include an internal wagering limit on certain bets within the game itself. The reason for this is that online casinos don’t want to put themselves at a huge risk of having to pay out a humongous amount of money to a player who wagered on a bet with an equally big payout ratio.

That said, it is important to stick to live roulette games if you want to get the full land-based casino experience. This will allow you to ask these essential questions in real-time. You can even request the casino to increase your bet limit while you are playing.

(3) Have a Strategy

Most players use guesswork when playing roulette. If you belong to this group, then you are known as a YAN, which means you play by your intuition. This isn’t always the best strategy.

Luckily, there are several tried-and-true betting systems you can use to cut the casino’s house edge by a huge margin. Nearly all strategies and tactics used by advanced players to try to beat roulette borrow a leaf from the following three betting systems:

MARTINGALE: This is the most popular casino betting system, particularly when it comes to table games. Some players may have used the Martingale system without knowing it. There are two versions – the Grand Martingale and the Straight-up Martingale – but the basic strategy is the same for either case.

With Martingale, you start your gameplay with a small wager, usually the table minimum. Let’s say $2.5. You will wager on the same bet amount over and over again until you lose. When you do, you double the amount of your wager.

For example, if you are betting $2.5 per spin and you lose on your fourth attempt; your fifth bet should be $5. When you do this, you will recoup your previous losses plus something on top if you win. Note that you have to double the bet size every time you lose. When you win after a loss adjustment, you then bring the bet size back to $2.5.

D’ALEMBERT: Coyly referred to as the “Gambler’s Fallacy”,  the D’Alembert strategy is based on the “fallacy” that if one outcome is coming up more times than it should, then the opposite will appear sooner than later to catch up. That’s why this betting system is very famous with players who make outside and even-money bets. For example, if red has appeared 8 times in the last 12 spins, then (by the Dálembert logic) black is more likely to come up next.

LABOUCHERE: This betting system was devised by Henry Labouchere in the 19th century. In a basic sense, Labouchere is a cancellation betting system. That’s because you start with a string of possible numbers you want to bet.

At first, you wager on the combo of the last and first numbers. If you win, you will have to keep going with the same bet. However, if you lose, you are required to add a number to the top one and keep the rest the same. Like Martingale, if you are on a losing streak, you will probably run through your bankroll like crazy.

REVERSE MARTINGALE: This is the exact opposite of the Martingale betting system. You start with a certain bet, usually the table minimum. For every win you make, you have to double the bet amount. Once you lose, you come back to the original bet amount. It’s that simple, but can help you safeguard your bankroll.

(4) Stick to Prudent Bankroll Management

As a general rule, it is super important to keep an eye on your money when playing table games like roulette. If you don’t, you must dip into your personal finances. The following tips will help you stay on top of money management:

Set win/loss limit – This should be the first thing you do. Take a close look at your bankroll, and decide how much you want to win and how much you are willing to lose on a given roulette table. Don’t just set the win/loss limit; you also have to stick to it.

Take advantage of bonuses, free spins, and cashback bonuses – These can be both a blessing and a curse. If the wagering requirement is too high, you can end up losing money. The trick is to place low-stake, low payout bets such color, dozens and other even-money bets.

Know when to quit – if the losing streak has persisted, don’t be afraid to step aside from the roulette table. This will give you some time to collect yourself and come back focused and ready to win.

Don’t die with one betting system or table – If things keep going south when you are using a given betting strategy, be sure to change it or go to another table.