Roulette has a rich history dating back to the 17th century. The French mathematician Blaise Pascal was trying to create a perpetual motion device, but his attempt fell flat. Instead, he accidentally invented the roulette wheel. The classic red-and-black design of the wheel has turned into a casino symbol.
The game quickly gained large-scale popularity throughout Europe and the United States. As time passed by, different variations of roulette were introduced to keep players engaged. The rise of the Internet has significantly changed the landscape of the gambling industry. However, roulette remains the top pick of casino fans.
Roulette’s popularity can be attributed to its straightforward rules. The outcome of every spin is in the hands of Lady Luck and players do not have to bother with learning complicated strategies. What further adds to its appeal is that roulette is a social game. In addition, roulette fans pit their wits against the house, not against each other. This means that there is no competition between players.
Introduction to the Roulette Table
The roulette table is designed to carry the weight of the wheel. It is usually made of solid wood. The circumference of the roulette table is about 80 centimeters to ensure enough space for all players. Next to the wheel, the roulette table also features a betting layout. All roulette tables are subject to stringent tests ensuring the randomness of each outcome.
At first glance, there is nothing complicated about the roulette wheel. However, many of our readers might be surprised to learn that it consists of 14 different elements. The bowl and the wheelhead are the ones that have the most important role. The bowl represents the outer section of the wheel. It is made of solid wood and it includes a ball track, a lower ball track with ball deflectors, and a spindle that supports the rotating wheelhead. The bowl is where the ball spins.
The wheelhead is the inner section of the wheel that is settled into the bowl and rotates. The numbers and the pockets are positioned on the outer part of the wheelhead. The number pockets have the same size and are evenly distributed throughout the roulette wheel. The cone is the central part of the wheelhead and it directs the ball in the playing section of the wheel.
Often referred to as “the pill”, the roulette ball is an integral part of the game. It is usually made of acetal or other phenolic materials. Depending on the material it is made of, the roulette ball can bounce more or less erratically. This is also known as the “liveliness of the ball”. Gambling establishments prefer livelier roulette balls to ensure the randomness of the outcome.
Over the years, many players have tried to manipulate the outcome of the game by using magnets. To prevent such actions, casinos use balls of different sizes. Croupiers can change the roulette ball whenever a given player wins regularly.
The betting area on the roulette table is also known as the layout. Green cloth with betting areas covers the layout. Players have to position their chips on the layout to place a bet. The layout is divided into two sections – one for the inside bets and one for the outside bets.
The layout can be either single-zero or double-zero depending on the roulette variation. Generally speaking, American and European Roulette have similar table layouts. The only difference is the addition of a double-zero square on the American Roulette table.
In European and American Roulette, the outside bets are placed on one side of the table. On the French roulette table, these are positioned along both sides of the layout. French and some European roulette tables feature a racetrack – a betting tool that allows roulette fans to place call bets.
The online gambling business is highly competitive. As a result, Internet-based casinos offer a wide range of titles to retain their existing players and attract the attention of newcomers. When it comes to online roulette, you will come across many different variations of the game. However, they are all based on one of the three major roulette variants - European, French, and American Roulette.
The main difference between European, French, and American Roulette is the number of green pockets on the wheel. In European and French Roulette, the wheel has only one zero pocket whereas their American counterpart is played with a wheel that contains two zero pockets (0 and 00). The sequence of numbers on single-zero and double-zero roulette wheels also differs.
American roulette wheel: 0, 28, 9, 26, 30, 11, 7, 20, 32, 17, 5, 22, 34, 15, 3, 24, 36, 13, 1, 00, 27, 10, 25, 29, 12, 8, 19, 31, 18, 6, 21, 33, 16, 4, 23, 35, 14, 2
European/French roulette wheel: 0, 32, 15, 19, 4, 21, 2, 25, 17, 34, 6, 27, 13, 36, 11, 30, 8, 23, 10, 5, 24, 16, 33, 1, 20, 14, 31, 9, 22, 18, 29, 7, 28, 12, 35, 3, 26
The addition of a double-zero pocket on the American roulette wheel gives the house a significant edge of 5.26%. Hence, many roulette fans prefer playing the French or European variation of the game as the house edge is 2.70%. French Roulette features two special rules, the “La Partage” and “En Prison”, decreasing the game’s house edge to 1.35% on even-money bets. These rules can also be found on some European tables.
“La Partage” Rule
The “La Partage” rule comes into play when you place an even-money bet and the ball lands in the zero pocket. Thanks to this rule, you automatically receive half of your wager back and the house takes the other half. Even-money roulette bets are the ones that pay out at odds of 1:1, including Red/Black, Even/Odd, and High/Low.
“En Prison” Rule
The “En Prison” rule is less common but it is just as beneficial to players as the “La Partage” rule. It allows roulette aficionados to win their wagers back provided that the outcome of the round is zero. The rule applies only to even-money bets.
In a nutshell, your stake is “imprisoned” in the same position on the table layout for the next spin. If the bet wins, you will get your full stake back. But if it loses, the house will keep your wager. Some casinos allow players to leave their wagers on the same betting position for one or two more spins if the ball lands in the zero pocket again.
To make American Roulette more appealing to players, some casinos offer the so-called surrender rule. It is very similar to the “La Partage” rule – players who place even-money bets receive half of their stakes back should the ball land in one of the zero pockets. The surrender rule halves the house edge from 5.26% to 2.63% on even-money bets.
Roulette Basics for Beginners
Playing roulette is all about guessing where the ball will come to rest. Casino fans have the opportunity to choose from all kinds of betting areas. The outcome of the game is based on pure chance. You can increase the odds of winning by placing a bet that covers more numbers at the same time. However, the more numbers your bet covers, the lower the payout is.
The first thing you have to do once you join a roulette table in a real-life casino is to exchange your regular casino chips for roulette chips. Every player receives a stack of uniquely colored chips. It is important to mention that the roulette chips are valid only on the specific table and cannot be used to play other casino games.
Wait for the dealer to clear bets from the preceding spin before joining the betting action. To place a bet, you have to position chips on the table layout before the dealer announces “No more bets”. Please note that you are allowed to touch the chips on the table unless you are placing a bet. Once you decide to leave the table, ask the croupier to convert your roulette chips into casino chips.
Playing Roulette at Online Casinos
We kindly advise novice casino enthusiasts to play online roulette before visiting a land-based casino. First of all, many gambling sites allow their users to play for fun. This is a great opportunity to season your skills. Secondly, you can determine the pace of the game according to your skills and preferences. Furthermore, online roulette variations come with some useful features such as statistics and charts.
In addition, when playing online roulette, there are little-to-no distractions. The outcome of the game is determined by a computer algorithm also known as a random number generator (RNG). Independent testing agencies are responsible for auditing the RNG and ensuring its randomness.
Once you master your skills, you can try your luck on a live dealer roulette variation that will provide you with an immersive gambling experience. Since live dealer games replicate the real-life casino ambiance, this is the best way to prepare yourself for playing roulette at a land-based gambling establishment.
Regardless of whether you play roulette at a gambling site or land-based casino, you have to comply with the table limits. These vary greatly between the different roulette tables and casinos, pleasing the preferences of all kinds of players.
If you play roulette at an online casino, you can find tables with a minimum bet limit starting from $0.10. High rollers are advised to play live dealer roulette or visit a brick-and-mortar casino as the upper ceiling on table limits is relatively higher compared to software-based roulette variations.
Types of Bets
As we already explained above, roulette provides its players with the opportunity to place various bets. Occasional players will be most likely familiar with the classic roulette move of placing betting on red or black, but this is only a drop in the ocean.
To be able to place any of the available bets, you have to know where to position your chips on the table layout. Stick with us to learn more about the different types of roulette bets and their payouts.
Inside bets are placed on the inner section of the table layout. These usually offer high payouts but low odds of winning. We can outline several bet types that belong to this category:
- Straight-Up Bet – it covers a single number, making it the riskiest bet of all. To place a straight-up bet, players have to put their chips on the selected number on the table layout. The payout is 35:1.
- Split Bet – it is placed on two adjacent numbers on the table layout. Chips are placed on the line between the selected numbers. Winning bets are paid out at odds of 17:1.
- Street Bet – it covers a row of three numbers (for example, 1, 2, and 3). Players have to place their chips on the outer line bordering the first number in the row. The bet has a payout of 11:1.
- Corner Bet – it covers four neighboring numbers. Chips have to be placed on the intersection point of these numbers. The corner bet has a payout of 8:1.
- Six Line Bet – it covers a total of six numbers. Generally speaking, it is a bet on two streets. Chips are placed on the point that connects the two rows. The payout is 5:1.
- Basket Bet – it is available only on the American roulette table. The basket bet covers a total of five numbers, including 00, 0, 1, 2, and 3. However, it is also known as the suckers bet as it is the worst bet you can make.
If you insist on placing a basket bet, you have to position your chips on the line between the two zero spots that is shared with the other three numbers. If you win the basket bet, you will collect a payout of 6:5.
Outside bets cover more numbers and are placed outside the number grid. These are less risky but the payout is low. There are several types of outside bets as described below:
- Column Bet – it covers 12 numbers in a column. There are a total of three columns on the layout. The payout associated with this bet is 2:1.
- Dozen Bet – a bet on one of the three dozens of numbers on the table layout. This bet covers 12 numbers and its payout is 2:1.
- Red/Black – a bet on the color of the winning number. It covers all 18 red or black numbers. This bet pays out at even odds (1:1).
- Odd/Even – there are 18 odd and 18 even numbers on the roulette wheel. The bet has a payout of 1:1.
- High/Low – the numbers from 1 to 18 are low, while the numbers from 19 to 36 are high. The bet covers either all high or low numbers. Winning bets are paid out at odds of 1:1.
- Voisins du Zero – this bet covers all 17 numbers that are close to the zero pocket on the wheel. These include 22, 18, 29, 7, 28, 12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32, 15, 19, 4, 21, 2, and 25. Players need at least 9 chips to place this wager. They have to place two chips on 0/2/3, two chips on the corner 25/26/28/29, and one chip on each of the following splits: 4/7, 12/15, 18/21, 19/22, and 32/35. The maximum payout is 17:1.
- Orphelins – it is a bet placed on the following numbers: 9, 31, 14, 20, 1, 17, 34, and 6. The Orphelins bet is a composition of one straight-up bet on 1 (1 chip), and four split bets, including 6/9, 14/17, 17/20, and 31/34 (1 chip on each of the splits). Depending on the winning number, players can collect a payout of 35:1.
- Le Tiers du Cylindre – a bet placed on 12 numbers or ⅓ of the roulette wheel. The numbers this bet covers include 5, 8, 10, 11, 13, 16, 23, 24, 27, 30, 33, and 36. It requires a total of six chips, one on each of the splits 5/8, 10/11, 13/16, 23/24, 27/30, and 33/36. Winning bets are paid out at odds of 17:1.
- Jeu Zero – it is a bet placed on the following numbers: 12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32, and 15. It requires one chip on each of the splits 0/3, 32/35, and 12/15 and one chip on 26. The maximum payout associated with this announced bet is 35:1.
- Les Finales – a bet that covers all numbers ending in the same digit. It is a combination of straight-up bets and requires 3 or 4 chips. The payout associated with this bet is 35:1.
- Neighbors – this is a variable announced bet. It allows players to bet on a number of their choice and two more numbers located on both sides on the wheel. Hence, the bet covers a total of 5 numbers. It is a combination of five straight-up bets, meaning that this bet requires 5 chips. The payout is 35:1.
Common Roulette Myths
Roulette has been around for decades but the emblematic wheel is still shrouded in mystery. Players’ attempts to find the key to winning at roulette birthed out many myths, making inexperienced players victims of their own naiveness. Here are some of the most widespread roulette myths:
2You can predict future outcomes based on recent spins.
This common belief among rookie roulette enthusiasts is also known as the Gambler’s fallacy. It is proven that the human brain is always trying to figure out patterns. That explains why some casino fans believe that if a given outcome comes out more frequently, it is more or less likely to occur in the future.
Casinos did not miss the opportunity to benefit from this erroneous thinking. That is why roulette tables usually feature information about the numbers that have come up most (hot) and least (cold) often over previous spins. The reality is that roulette is a game of chance, meaning that the outcome of every spin is random.
3Croupiers can land the ball in a pocket of their choice.
This myth was most likely created by unlucky players who claim that casinos train their croupiers to land the ball where they want – the dealer’s signature. Whether croupiers really have such skills or not is a matter of heated discussions. Players who believe that the dealer’s signature exists argue that spinning the roulette wheel and tossing the ball is a habit.
On the other hand, roulette croupiers do not manage the same table every time and each roulette wheel has unique characteristics. In addition, dealers can change the size of the ball, so identifying a dealer’s signature is nearly impossible.
4Roulette betting systems work.
If you are looking for roulette strategies, you will certainly find plenty of them. But if you are looking for successful roulette systems, better give up right away. All roulette systems help players adjust the size of their bets depending on the outcome of preceding spins. The most important thing to remember is that no betting strategy can beat the house edge. In addition, these are designed to work only in the short term.
5The roulette wheel is rigged.
You may have heard multiple times that the house always wins but that is not because the roulette wheel is rigged but due to the built-in house edge every game has. We are not saying that rigging the roulette wheel is not possible. However, reputable casinos do not cheat their players simply because they risk having their license revoked.
6Hedging the board improves your odds.
Many roulette fans place multiple bets at once in an attempt to cover a larger section of the wheel. They believe that by covering more numbers, they have better chances of hitting a win. However, every bet you place is exposed to the house edge of the game, meaning that you are bound to lose in the long haul. Let us use an example to illustrate why hedging is not a successful strategy.
If you place a high bet (covering the numbers from 19 to 36) and a 1st dozen bet (covering the numbers from 1 to 12), you cover a total of 30 numbers. If the outcome of the spin is 21, you win the high bet, but you lose the other one. What is more, if any of the numbers from 13 to 18 comes out, you lose both bets. Hence, hedging the board is not an efficient strategy.