How to Play Online Roulette

Online casinos have gained huge popularity in the past decade as more players wish to enjoy real-money slots and table games from the comfort of their homes. The virtual forms of casino games are easily accessible, more affordable and, often, easier to play than their physical, real-life counterparts. At the same time, they are just as enjoyable and exciting to most players. Online roulette is a great example since the game features simple rules, classic design, and betting limits that would suit both novices and experienced high-rollers.

The rules of online roulette are the same as those found in brick-and-mortar establishments but there are certain features and aspects of virtual play patrons should be aware of when playing in an Internet-based casino. Moreover, there are dozens of modern, innovative variations of the classic game that are available only online. Before gambling with real money, online players may also practice different strategies and betting systems for as long they wish with a demo version of the game.

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How Online Roulette Works

1Random Number Generation

Just like all other virtual games in casino websites, online roulette works by relying on randomly generated outcomes to create a fair game that is as close to the real-life randomness of physical wheels as possible. Software developers use random number generator programs and complex algorithms, while the video players see on their screens is simply a visual representation of a ball and a spinning wheel.

2Similarity to Slots

In this regard, online roulette is more similar to slot machines than it is to the physical game of roulette. Unlike the game in a land-based casino setting, online roulette is played against a computer and there is no need to employ casino staff to observe the process, host the game, throw the ball or announce the winning bets. In its simplest form, virtual roulette is available in single-play mode and all the bets are made with the help of a mouse, a keyboard, or a touchscreen.

3Probability and House Edge

Unlike physical roulette where players may notice flaws and irregularities in the work of the wheel, which leads to some numbers being hit more often than others, online roulette is virtually flawless. The outcome of each spin does not depend on physical characteristics such as wheel mechanics, ball weight and velocity, etc. Instead, the outcome can be explained with probability – some bets are more likely to win than others.

For instance, a straight bet on 7 can win only if the ball lands on 7 – it will lose in any of the other 36 possible outcomes (for European roulette). The probability of 7 winning is then 1 divided by all possible numbers or 1/37, which is equal to 0.027027 or 2.70% of the time. If we bet on red, however, we have 18 winning numbers against 19 losing ones, so the probability would be 18/37 = 0.4864. In other words, this bet will win almost half of all spins on average or 48.64% of the time.

We can then calculate the casino’s advantage, also known as the house edge, by considering the probability for each bet and its payout. Interestingly, the house edge of each bet in single-zero roulette games is exactly 2.70%, which means that over time, players are expected to lose 2.70% of the money they wager on this game.

4Convenience and Customization

Another difference between physical, land-based games and online roulette is that players get their own gaming table in online casinos. They do not have to wait for a seat to become available to join the game – they simply choose their preferred version of roulette, load the game, and place their bets.

Moreover, they can control all aspects of the game, including the speed, when the wheel will start spinning, the sound effects, and the appearance of the table. This allows them to change or remove their bets, which is typically determined by strict rules in land-based casinos.

5Online Casino Bonuses

Last, but not least, online players have the opportunity to check the rules and payouts as often as they wish. They can claim different bonuses and use bonus funds to make their bets. Overall, online roulette gives casino patrons more freedom, flexibility, and convenience compared to the gaming experience in a brick-and-mortar setting where the casino has complete control over the game.

Real-Money and Demo Roulette Versions

Gambling, whether online or in a land-based casino, is always associated with the risk of losing money. This applies to all types of casino games but it is particularly true for chance-based games such as roulette where the outcome is, indeed, random and cannot be influenced by players’ skills and knowledge.

Playing Roulette for Real Money
Demo Roulette Games

RNG vs Live Roulette Games

RNG Roulette
Live Dealer Roulette

Most online casinos offer at least several types of virtual roulette - American, European, or French rules, low-limit tables, high-roller versions, etc. These types of games are based on the above-mentioned Random Number Generator, which is a highly specialized software that ensures every spin of the game is completely random and independent of past or future outcomes.

In contrast, live roulette is a combination of technology and real-life casino setting. Some online gambling operators add Live Casino sections to their websites where the games are hosted by professional casino dealers and croupiers. Thanks to the use of multiple cameras and fast Internet connection, the entire game is video streamed in real-time to players’ computers where they see the croupier spinning the wheel and announcing the winning numbers.

As we have already explained, virtual roulette is played independently by each player standing on their computers or mobile devices. The entire interface of the game is designed to replicate the real-life appearance of a spinning roulette wheel and a gaming table.
The video stream is combined with a betting interface, which allows players to place chips on the table layout. Each bet is recorded by the casino system and winnings are paid out immediately. However, live roulette does not provide players with the freedom of virtual gameplay - players have limited time for making their bets and even more importantly, they cannot play the game in fun mode.

Online Roulette Rules and Gameplay

Placing a Bet


Additional Buttons and Sections

The rules and gameplay of virtual, online roulette are very similar to the way the physical game is played. To start a game, players need to choose a bet size – usually, chips are offered in multiple denominations from $0.10 to more than $100. Once they make their bets, they need to click the Spin button and they will be presented with animation of a spinning wheel and a ball that eventually falls into one of the colored pockets on this wheel.

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Game Features and Settings

With thousands of online casinos existing nowadays, the demand for new, better and innovative variations of roulette is huge. As a result, most casino software providers have developed their own versions of the traditional game and players now can choose from hundreds of different types of roulette.

Often, they differ mainly in the design and layout, as well as in specific features that do not affect the house edge at all. These features and settings could significantly improve the individual gaming experience, however, since they allow players to personalize the appearance and function of the game.

Autoplay and Quick Spin
History and Statistics
Called and Special Bets Option

Multiplayer Roulette

Multiplayer RouletteAnother interesting thing players should take into consideration when playing online roulette is the multiplayer mode of certain games. It is typically available on live tables and live roulette tournaments and although it does not differ much from the standard single-player roulette, it comes with a few details we should pay attention to.

Most importantly, some live roulette variations have limited seats just like in land-based casinos. This means that players will need to look for a free seat on a table with suitable stake limits. This is not always possible, though, and may be quite frustrating, especially to new players who happened to visit the online casino during its busiest hours.

There are also multiplayer versions of roulette where the seats are unlimited and this is a more convenient alternative. Players do not need to wait for a seat to become available – they simply open the game and start betting real money. In addition, some versions of the game feature live chat, which allows players to communicate with each other and make the game even more interesting and enjoyable.