Roulette has been the face of casino gambling for as long as anyone can remember. When you imagine a casino hall one of the first things to come to mind is probably a roulette table. Watching the wheel spin has been the passion of countless players over the decades and even centuries. The game in its current form dates back to 18th century France when it was featured in many high class establishments. It gained popularity over the years and is currently one of the most beloved casino games across the world. You will find a roulette table in every casino worth its salt.
For those not entirely familiar with this classic game or are looking to brush up their knowledge of it, please read on as we explain all the important aspects of roulette.
The roulette table is pretty much identical across all versions of the game. Naturally, you can expect to find the wheel and the betting options. There is a grid of numbers from 0 to 36, often referred to as the Inside bets. Here you can bet on a single number or a small group, positioned closely together on the layout. To the side you will find the Outside bets, where you can wager on factors from a broader range, such as the color of the winning numbers or whether it is a high or a low one. A main distinguishing feature between the two types of bets are probability and payout. Inside bets tend to pay more but have a lower win probability, whereas it is the opposite with Outside bets.
Of course, we have to mention the contraption that gives the game its name – the wheel. Roulette means ‘small wheel’ in French and it is an integral part of the game. There are several fundamental differences between the wheels of the main types of roulette – the American, French and European versions.
This type of wheel is found in North and South American casinos and generally in any American Roulette game. The wheelhead features 38 pockets, 36 for the numbers 1 through 38, as well as 2 for the zero and the double zero.
This type of wheel is found at both French and European Roulette games, since they are practically identical. This type of wheel is predominantly found in Continental Europe and Asia. Unlike the American wheel which has 38 pockets, the French one features only 37.
American Wheel Additional TipsHalf of the 36 pockets are black, and the other half red, with the colors alternating between one another. The zero and the double zero pockets are both colored green. The zero pockets are always on opposite sides of the wheel. The numbers come in following sequence when counting counterclockwise: 0, 2, 14, 35, 23, 4, 16, 33, 21, 6, 18, 31, 19, 8, 12, 29, 25, 10 27, 00 1, 13, 36, 24, 3, 15, 34, 22, 5, 17, 32, 20, 7, 11, 30, 26, 9, 28. This roulette wheel differentiates itself from those of other styles since it features an extra double zero pocket. Due to this reason, this type of wheel might be referred to as a double-zero wheel. The addition of a double zero pocket causes the house edge to rise to 5.26% which relatively high compared to the other popular roulette games.
French Wheel Additional TipsThere are 36 pockets for numbers 1 through 36, colored black and red and alternating between colors, as well as a single zero pocket colored green. The sequence of numbers is unique to this wheel and it goes as follows: 26, 3, 35, 12, 28, 7, 29, 18, 22, 9, 31, 14, 20, 1, 33, 16, 24, 5, 10, 23, 8, 30, 11, 36, 13, 27, 6, 34, 17, 25, 2, 21, 4, 19, 15, 32. As you can see, there is no double zero pocket on the French wheel, which means that it has a low house edge at 2.7%. This is the main difference between the French and American wheels.
However, there are still some variables between European and French Roulette. For instance, the French version features either ‘en prison’ or a ‘le partage’ rule. This reduces the house even further to 1.35% for even money bets, making the French version the most favorable out of all of them.
Roulette is a game that features a plethora of betting options, not normally found in other casino games. As mentioned above, these fall into two separate categories – Inside and Outside bet. One of the best things about roulette is that you are not limited to a single bet. In fact, you can place as many bets as you like, regardless if they are Inside or Outside bets.
The Inside bets are those found in the grid, featuring numbers 1 through 36, as well as the zero and double zero (in American roulette only). The bets you can place here can be on single numbers, rows, columns, etc. Below you will find a full list detailing these bets and their respective payout ratios.
The Outside bets are found near the grid and feature different betting options. When placing an Outside bet you are wagering on factors such as colour, odd or even, high or low, etc. If the ball lands in a zero pocket then any Outside bets will be lost. Below you will find all of the Outside bets and their payout ratios.
Inside Bets PayoutStraight Up (single number) – Pays 35:1
Split (two numbers) – Pays 17:1
Street (three numbers) – Pays 11:1
Corner (four numbers) – Pays 8:1
Basket (0-00-1-2-3) – Pays 6:1 (only featured in American Roulette)
Line (six numbers) – Pays 5:1
Outside Bets PayoutHigh or Low – Pays 1:1
Red or Black – Pays 1:1
Odd or Even – Pays 1:1
Dozen (one group of 12 numbers) – Pays 2:1
Column (a column of 12 numbers) – Pays 2:1
There are several versions of roulette that have become popular over the years. The most significant difference is in the wheel layout and the number of pockets. The roulette layout is basically the same, as are the betting options. Due to the difference in the wheels, the probability of each game also differs from the others. In some versions of roulette, there are specific rules not found in their counterparts. These factors may seem to be small, negligible differences to new players, but to an experienced one, they have a significant effect on how the game plays. Below you will find a detailed explanation of each of the popular version of roulette currently featured in land-based and online casinos.
American Roulette is perhaps the most played version of roulette in brick-and-mortar establishments. This type of roulette emerged in the United States during the 19th century as the country was expanding westwards. Currently, American Roulette is predominantly played in the Americas, whereas French and European enjoy a lot of popularity in Europe and Asia.
French Roulette is nearly identical to European roulette in all but a slight change in the rules. The French version of roulette features ‘la partage’ or ‘en prison’ rule. ‘La partage’ literally means splitting and this rule is applied in the event that you have placed an outside bet and the ball lands on zero. If that happens then half of your bet is returned to you, with the other half being claimed by the house.
European Roulette is one of the most popular versions of roulette in the world. It is featured in many land-based casinos throughout the world, as well as in online ones. This version of roulette features 37 pockets, for the number 1 through 36 and the zero. Unlike American Roulette, this version features only a single zero pocket, making the odds much more favorable.
American Roulette Additional TipsAmerican Roulette differs from other versions by featuring a double zero pocket. This pushes the house edge further in the favor of the casino. The numbers sequence on the wheel is also slightly different from that of French and European roulette wheels. In some American casinos, you are likely to encounter the ‘Surrender’ rule. It is practically identical to the ‘le partage’ in French Roulette, where you get to keep half of your wager if you had placed an Outside bet and the ball landed in a zero pocket.
French Roulette Additional Tips‘En prison’ is French for ‘in prison’, and this rule is applied when the ball lands on zero and you have placed an outside bet. If that happens, then according to the ‘en prison’ rule you do not lose your money immediately, rather it stays on the same outside bet for the next spin, which determines whether you will win or lose the bet.
These bets are very beneficial to the player since they allow for at least a portion of a losing bet to be reclaimed. This makes French Roulette the most favorable roulette variation in terms of odds.
With the emergence of online casinos in the last 20 years, roulette was naturally one of the games to be ported over to a virtual format. As of the time of this writing, roulette is one of the most played games in online casinos. It is one of the main attractions and is featured on nearly every website of this kind. The software provider companies have developed many roulette games in the classic styles – American, European and French – as well as some more exotic ones such as Double Ball Roulette, Multiple Wheel Roulette, Monopoly Roulette, and many more.
Live Casinos have become a major part of online casino gambling in recent years, and roulette is part of the usual selection. Live dealer games are the most immersive type of casino games that you find on the Internet. They are hosted by real professional dealers and streamed directly to your device. Roulette is an obvious choice for this type of play. Apart from being among the most played games, it can theoretically accommodate an infinite number of players simultaneously and at most online casinos it is available 24/7. The game plays exactly as it would at a land-based establishment, though it is slightly faster since the croupier does not have to take bets and distribute winnings. Overall, live dealer roulette is the perfect mix of Internet and brick-and-mortar gambling.
Roulette Misconceptions and Superstitions
It is common fact that gamblers are some of the most superstitious people in the world. Every popular casino game has several nonsensical rituals and misconceptions about their games. In the case of roulette, which is a game of pure chance, players have invented factors to justify their wins or losses and to entice fate to bring them good luck. Naturally, these have no real effect on the game so you should by no means take them seriously and avoid them whenever possible.
Whenever the ball has not fallen in a specific pocket for a long time you may hear people saying that it is ‘overdue’ and that it will come up soon. This is also called Gambler’s Fallacy. The idea that something has to happen because it has not happened in a while. There is no logical reasoning behind this.
This is a similar situation as the previous one. When certain numbers are coming up more often than others, some players may say that they are ‘hot and that you should bet on them. Disproving this argument is pretty simple. Just like with the ‘overdue’ number, the ‘hot’ ones are not influenced by any previous spins.
Overdue Numbers Additional TipsWhile it is true that it is improbable for the number never to hit, one must also understand that how probability works in casino games. The truth of the matter is that casino games hold no memory, regardless if you play them online or at a brick-and-mortar. The previous spin has no effect on the next, as each is independent from the other. While very improbable, it is possible for a number to hit several times in a row. This has happened in 1959, where in a Puerto Rico casino the number 10 came up 6 consecutive times. The odds of this happening are ridiculously low – 1:3,010,936,384. The point is that no one spin is influenced by previous ones and no number is ‘overdue’ at any point in the game.
Hot Numbers Additional TipsThere are set odds for the ball to land in a certain pocket and these do not change. If the results are the same or similar on several consecutive spins, then that is the product of chance and nothing else. There are simply no other factors involved.
You have probably heard this before, even outside the world of casino gambling. How a person has a lucky number. As nice as it would be for this to hold any truth, in reality, things a quite different.
Cursing at the Ball
In some gambling circles, the idea has flourished that cursing at the ball will cause it to land in your winning number’s pocket. This is ridiculous and in a way amusing.
Lucky Numbers Additional TipsWhether you are betting on the date of your anniversary, your grandmother’s birthday, or the number of kids that you have, this will have no effect on the outcome of the game. The only good thing about lucky numbers is that they give you an immediate choice what to bet on if for some inexplicable reason you cannot decide.
Cursing at the Ball Additional TipsThe ball is obviously an inanimate object, so regardless if you plead with it, swear at it, or talk kindly to it, the result will not be any different.
Differences between Virtual and Physical Roulette
The emergence of online casinos in the 90’s also brought with it roulette into the virtual world. Users could now play their favorite game from the comfort of their home and gamble for real money, without having to physically visit a casino. Some purists, however, shun the practice, claiming that the game can only be experienced properly at a brick-and-mortar establishment. Clearly, there are several key differences between virtual and physical roulette.
A major factor in any casino game is how fast the game progresses. Virtual roulette is much faster than the traditional type, as there is no wait time between each spin. At a brick-and-mortar establishment, you have to wait for the croupiers to pay winning bets, exchange chips, etc., whereas at an online one you can just place your bet and spin the wheel. This means that playing a virtual game will result in a lot more spins per minute.
Additionally, the results of a virtual roulette game are calculated using RNG (Random Number Generation) software. This means that they are completely random and fair. At a proper online casino, the software will be audited and tested on a regular basis to guarantee the randomness of the results. At a land-based casino, however, if the wheel has not been changed in some time it may develop a bias. As the equipment ages and is constantly in use it will start to wear down. It may take some time for the casino staff to notice the change, leaving a chance for someone to exploit the defect and somewhat predictable results.
A virtual game of roulette is much more convenient to play, as you can just load your favorite online casino and start betting. If you do not have a land-based establishment in your area this may be the only way for you to play. Still, the true casino atmosphere cannot be matched by any virtual game. Many gamblers hold the belief that the setting plays a huge role in their enjoyment of the game. For such people, there is always the live dealer version.
In a game like roulette players naturally, want to win and make the most amount of money in the process. To achieve this goal many gamblers utilize betting systems to regulate their bets and get as much of an advantage as possible. The strategies have been received mixed responses from the general public. For every person that swears by them, there is another one who claims that they hold no value. Whatever the truth may be, it is clear that betting systems are quite popular among gamblers and they are likely to stay that way.
There are basically three types of betting strategies – flat betting, positive progressions and negative progressions. Flat betting, in reality, is not so much a strategy as a way to keep your sessions consistent. It is the way most people play without even realising, basically, placing the same bet over and over again without alteration. By choosing this style of play, you can effectively predict the minimum amount of spins that you can play. It is relatively safe and consistent.
Progression systems are completely different, in that when using one you are required to constantly change the size of your bets depending on the previous outcome. A positive progression has you placing larger bets after each winning spin, whereas a negative progression will have you increasing your bets after losses and lowering them after winning. Both systems have different philosophies associated with them. Negative progressions have you placing higher bets in order to win back what you have lost and to generate a decent profit. Positive progressions, on the other hand, imply that any losses can be overlooked when you take into account the massive payoff from a winning streak. Basically, each system has its own pitfalls and shortcomings, but neither is completely without merit. If utilized properly both strategies can give you the desired outcome, but what you have to consider is that roulette is inherently a game of pure chance. There are no outside factors that can help you manipulate the game to play in your favor.