What’s the deal with roulette?
Roulette represents one of the first gambling games to be developed which are still in existence today. Blackjack is also an old popular casino game. Although the purpose and style of the game has changed marginally since it was first developed, roulette is still a relatively simple game to get to grips with, and we’ll show you how to go about that in this article. First, though, we need to look at the origins of the game itself.
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The origins of roulette
Roulette was developed entirely by accident, in a manner of speaking. Blaise Pascal, a French mathematician, is credited with the invention in the Seventeenth Century, although he was more interested in studying number patterns and probability rather than developing a gambling game. All the same, his number wheel caught out and was much appreciated by the French nobility and aristocracy.
To aid casinos in cutting down the number of wins (boosting the house edge), the zero was added, and later, Las Vegas casinos took it one step further by adding a second zero, further increasing the house edge in the game. Today, European and French roulette (with just the single zero) have proved far more popular than American roulette, although Americans still prefer their own version of the game, even though they stand a lesser chance of winning.
Like most gambling games, roulette would be one of the first to make its way from the land-based gambling world to the digital one with the advent of the internet. It was also one of the first games to cross over to the mobile and live dealer platforms when those technologies surfaced.
Online roulette games
Online roulette games aren’t really any different from their land-based counterparts, save for the fact that the games are played digitally. So, how do you play them, then? Like slots the game is played a lot online
There are 37 pockets on a typical roulette wheel (European and French roulette) including one zero pocket and 36 numbered pockets. On an American roulette wheel, there are 38 (36 numbered pockets plus two zero pockets). The objective of the game is to place a bet on which number (or sets of numbers) you think the ball will land in. If your bet is correct, you will win. If it’s wrong, you will lose.
How to play online roulette
Roulette is played with a wheel and a ball. After a bet has been placed, the croupier (roulette’s equivalent of a dealer) drops the ball into the spinning roulette wheel. If the ball lands in a favourable pocket, the player is considered to have won. Any pocket not considered desirable to a player’s bet will be a losing pocket.
The numbered pockets also come in two colours, red and black. These can help players place different types of bets, too. There is also a zero, and if the ball lands in this pocket, they lose instantly. As you can imagine, with two zero pockets, the house edge in American roulette is doubled from 2.7% to 5.26%.
The types of bets you can make in roulette vary. There are two main types of bets, known as Inside Bets and Outside Bets. If you play French roulette, you always have a third type of bet available – Racetrack Bets – and you can find information about those online.
Outside bets include those which are more likely to come good but feature lower payouts as a result.
Outside bets include:
- Even Money Bets: Bets on red or black coloured pockets, or odd and even numbered pockets.
- High/Low Bets: These are bets on groups of low numbers 1-18, and high numbers 19-36.
- Dozens: Dozen bets involve betting on sets of 12 numbers, for instance, 1-12, 13-24, or 25-36.
- Columns: Column bets also involve betting on sets of 12 numbers, but those structured in columns on the betting board.
Inside bets stand a far less chance of coming off, but because of this, they pay considerably more money to winners.
Inside bets include:
- Straight Up Bets: A bet on a single number.
- Split Bets: A bet on two adjoining numbers on the betting board.
- Streets: A bet on a row of numbers on the betting board.
- Corners: A bet on four numbers on a betting board. The chip is placed on the intersection between those numbers.
- Six-Line: A bet on six numbers, which form two adjacent rows on the betting board.
There are several roulette strategies out there you can choose to use to play roulette. None will guarantee a win, but many of them can be worked to ensure that you don’t suffer too many heavy losses.
- D’Alembert: With the D’Alembert System, every time the player losses, they double their next bet. Then, when they win, they drop their next bet by half the total. In theory, you should end up with a profit over time. However, when going through periods of sustained losses, players are required to have a sizeable balance to support them. This, obviously, isn’t going to be ideal for everyone.
- Martingale: Like the D’Alembert system, players are only going to be betting on even money bets, such as those mentioned above. When players lose, they double their bet. When they win, they revert to their original wager. In theory, the Martingale System suggests that when you win, your win should cover all your losses. However, again, this system requires players to have a significant balance to start with and doesn’t guarantee that you’ll triumph with a big payout in the end.
Of course, there other roulette strategies out there, too, and these can be studied and taken advantage of. However, as we’ve said, there is no sure-fire way to guarantee a win when playing roulette, even with strategies. Roulette, we’re afraid, really is just a game of luck.
So, now that you know a bit about the game, you probably want to know what you can win, right? The payouts for the games vary, depending on what you have wagered and what bet you have made. The payouts for Outside Bets are as follows:
- Even Money Bets: 1:1
- High/Low Bets: 1:1
- Dozens: 2:1
- Columns: 2:1
Meanwhile, players can hope to win the following with successful Inside Bets…
- Straight Up Bets: 35:1
- Split Bets: 17:1
- Streets: 11:1
- Corners: 8:1
- Six-Line: 5:1
Handy hints and top tips
If you are going to be playing roulette online, might we suggest three things which will help improve your chances of success?
First and foremost, always play European or French roulette. The reason for this, as we’ve mentioned, is that you cut the house edge down from 5.26% to 2.7%. Secondly, and thirdly, try to find a roulette game which offers the En Prison or La Partage rules. These are more commonly found in French roulette, and they can drop the house edge further, from 2.7% to 1.3%. Here is how it is done…
En Prison is a rule which means that if the ball lands in the zero pocket, your money becomes locked “in prison”. This means that if you successfully win your next bet, your bet is returned to you with no winnings. Call it a second chance to win back your money. Meanwhile, the La Partage rule can see players redeem half of their bet back if the ball lands in the zero pocket. Which rule is more favourable is down to you, but to cut down the house edge that little bit further is something every player should try to do.
Playing roulette online
Now that you know a bit about the game, what bets you can make, and what it takes to win, perhaps it is time to give online roulette a run for its money. If you’re still a bit wobbly on your feet, we recommend playing free roulette games online first. Get used to the roulette wheel, the bets and more importantly, the betting board first. Once you’re comfortable with how the game is played, you can try playing it for real money. Ultimately, though, roulette is a game of chance, so you’ve got just as much chance of winning or losing whether you are a roulette master or a novice. Also read more about other popular casino games like scratch cards or bingo.