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The roulette wheel is an iconic gambling symbol. The game of roulette has existed for hundreds of years and is one of the cornerstone table games of the entire gambling industry. It was actually invented accidentally by French scientist and mathematician Blaise Pascal in 1655 while he was trying to construct a perpetual motion machine. Everyone is familiar with the spinning red and black wheel and that little white ball, even if they don’t quite understand how to play the game.
As intimidating as a roulette table might look — especially when it’s surrounded by a group of enthusiastic players — it is one of the easiest games in any casino to actually learn and play. With the exception of European wheels having a single green zero and American tables adding an additional double zero space to the wheel, roulette is always the same from one casino to another. The game is played the same way. The bets are always made the same way. The odds given on each bet are always the same. And unlike card games, nothing is added or removed from the game during play that might change the odds.
Same Game, Different Feeling
So now you might be thinking, “If the game of roulette is the same no matter where you go, what makes playing at one place better than playing at any other?” That’s a fair question. There are several factors that can change how you feel about playing in roulette at any particular casino, online or land-based. Online casinos do offer one clear advantage, however. They give you time to look, learn, and make decisions without the pressure of a live casino environment.
So if you’re interested in learning to play roulette like a pro as well as finding the best places to play, read on as we explore and explain one of the earliest and most elegant casino table games. And why not getting started with the best online venues out there? Here we go!
Learning The Basics Of Roulette
As we said above, roulette is really a simple game to play once you understand the numbers and colours on the wheel and how to place your bets. Let’s look at the wheel first.
The Roulette Wheel
A standard roulette wheel has 36 regular numbers on it, each coloured red or black. There are 18 black numbers and 18 red numbers. There are also 18 even and 18 odd numbers. Players can bet on any of the numbers, colours, odd or even, or any combination of all of them. On European (or French) roulette wheels there is a single green zero slot. American wheels have the single zero slot plus an additional green double zero slot. (We’ll explain why this is important a little further down).
As the game is played, the wheel will spin constantly, at a consistent rate, in one direction. After each betting round, the croupier (the person running the roulette table is a croupier, not a dealer) will spin the ball in the opposite direction along the top of the wheel. The ball, of course, will naturally slow down and fall into one of the numbered slots on the wheel. The number and colour of the slot where the ball lands will determine which bets win or lose. It’s that simple.
Placing Bets In Roulette
If you look at the betting area on a roulette table, there are two basic areas where you can place wagers. The main section of the table consists of all the numbers on the wheel. Bets placed on the grid of numbers are called “Inside” bets. Then, to the side, there will be another section where players can bet on colours, odd or even numbers and a few other options. Bets placed on this section are termed “Outside” bets.
The outside bets on a roulette table offer the best odds of winning, and, consequently, the lowest payouts. There are five different kinds of outside bets, each of which covers a large portion of the roulette wheel. They are as follows:
Red And Black – Pays 1:1
The player can bet on whether the next winning number will be red or black. There are 18 numbers of each colour on the wheel. If you bet on the wrong colour or if the result of the spin is a green zero, your bet loses.
Odd And Even – Pays 1:1
The player can bet on whether the next winning number will be odd or even. Again, there are 18 even and 18 odd numbers on the wheel. If you bet on the wrong result, or the result of the spin is a green zero, your bet loses.
High And Low – Pays 1:1
The player can bet on whether the next winning number will fall between 1 and 18 or 19 and 36. Obviously, there are 18 numbers in each subset. The bet loses if you pick the wrong range of numbers or, again, if the result of the spin is a green zero.
Dozens – Pays 2:1
There are three bets on the table referred to as the dozens. The player can bet on the first, second, or third set of one dozen numbers on the table; 1 through 12, 13 through 24, and 25 through 36 respectively. Failure to pick the right set of numbers or a spin that lands on a green zero mean your bet loses.
Columns – Pays 2:1
The final three outside bets are called the columns. All of the individual numbers are laid out in three columns on the betting field. Each column contains 12 numbers on the wheel in increments of three. For example, the first column is 1, 4, 7, 11, etc., up to 34. The second column begins with the number 2 and the third column begins with the number 3. These bets also automatically lose if the result of the spin is a green zero.
Inside bets are bets placed on the main grid of numbers on the roulette table. One needs to be careful where he places his chips to make inside bets. Slight misplacement of your chips can give your bet an entirely different meaning and you most certainly won’t be allowed to change anything once that little white ball is in motion. Let’s take a look at what bets are available and how to place them.
Straight Bet – Pays 35:1
A straight bet is probably the easiest bet on the whole table to understand and place. You are betting on a single number. If the ball lands on your number, you win. Simply place your chip(s) in the centre of the box on the table that contains the number you want to bet on and you’re good to go.
Split Bet – Pays 17:1
A split bet is a bet on two numbers that are next to each other on the roulette table — not the roulette wheel. To place a split bet, just place your chip(s) on the line that separates the two numbers you want to bet on. On American tables, some casinos also allow a split zeros bet where the player can bet on both the zero and double zero.
Street Bet – Pays 11:1
A street bet is more or less the opposite of a column bet. Each row of three numbers on the roulette table is called a street. For example, the numbers four, five, and six appear in one row and form a street. To place a street bet, you must place your chip(s) on the outer line of the lowest number on the street. In our example, you would place your chips on the outer line — the line that doesn’t touch any other numbers — of the four.
Corner Bet – Pays 8:1
A corner bet covers four numbers on the table. To place a corner bet, you’ll place your chip(s) on an inside corner of the grid where the lines of four numbers intersect. An example of a corner bet would be placing a chip on the corner where the numbers 23, 24, 26, and 27 meet.
Basket Bet – Pays 6:1
A basket bet covers the numbers one, two and three, and zero on a European roulette table and covers both the zero and double zero on an American table. To place this bet, you should place your chip(s) on the outside corner where the number one meets with the zero.
Line Bet – Pays 5:1
A line bet is basically a combination of a split bet and a street bet. This bet covers six numbers on the table. To make a line bet wager, place your chip(s) on the intersection where the outside line meets the line that separates the two streets you want to bet on.
The inside bets might seem a bit complicated, but once you’ve seen them in action a few times they will make perfect sense and are easy to remember. And again, the game and the bets are the same no matter where you play, so once you have it all down it’s as easy as riding a bike.
Roulette Odds And The House Advantage
Like every other game in the casino, roulette comes with a built-in system to earn money for the casino. Here, the house edge is created by the payouts offered on the bets and the slight difference those payouts have from the actual odds of the ball landing where you want it to. It all has to do with those green zeros.
If we look at a straight bet, for example, the payout is 35 to 1 for a win. The advantage for the casino on a straight bet is that with the zero on the wheel, you only have a 1 in 37 chance of winning. On an American wheel with two green zero slots, your odds worsen to 1 in 38.
Looking at it another way, if we examine the even-money outside bets like the colours, you have very close to a 50/50 chance of winning, but still, all bets placed on the colours will lose when the ball lands on zero.
Zero: Everybody Loses
Those zero slots on the wheel create a situation on every possible bet where everyone will automatically lose, and that is how the casino makes a profit off of the roulette wheel. In the case of betting on the zero to win, the payouts are constructed as we explained above. There is always one more space on the wheel than the payouts cover, so the casino always has a slight edge.
The overall house advantage on the game of roulette is 2.7% on a European wheel and 5.26% on an American wheel. This is why any veteran player will tell you that you should never play on an American style roulette wheel if you can avoid it.
Why You Should Play Roulette At Online Casinos
Even though the game of roulette is basically the same no matter where you go, online casinos offer several clear advantages over playing at land-based casinos. Here are just a few reasons why we recommend that both new and veteran players alike make their roulette wagers online.
There Are No Time Limits At Online Casinos
When you’re playing roulette at an online casino, there is no pressure to act quickly. Especially for novice players, this means that you have time to think and decide how you’d like to bet and how much you’d like to wager.
Online You Have A Chance To Change Your Bets
Somewhat related to the imposed time limits at land-based casinos, online casinos give you the chance to change your bets before you commit to spinning the wheel. In a land-based casino, the spin is going to happen when the croupier decides so and if you have chips on the table you won’t be allowed to touch them. At an online casino, you can put your bets out and rearrange them as much as you want before you commit and start each game.
You Can Choose To Play Alone Or With Other Players
Most online casinos will have several different versions of roulette available for their players. Among those versions there are usually some that are designed to be played alone and some that are played “live” with a real croupier and other players who are also online and playing at the same table.
Online Casinos Give You A Wider Range Of Betting Options
When you play roulette at a land-based casino, each table has a fixed bet amount and there are usually only a few tables open. This means that your betting options are extremely limited. You may have to make £5 minimum bets, or £10, or maybe even £25 or £50. The point is that you don’t get to choose what you want to bet on each spin, the casino does.
Even if you’re comfortable with the betting ranges at a land-based casino if you decide you want to play for different amounts you have to switch to another table. That means you’ll need to wait and cash out your chips at one table and then wait to get new chips at the next table.
When you play at an online casino, the betting ranges are often much more liberal. In most cases, you can play for anywhere from a few cents per spin up to hundreds of dollars. Making it even more convenient, you can change the size of your bets instantly without moving or exchanging chips. You can bet a different amount on every spin if that’s what you want to do.
Let Us Help You Find The Best Online Casinos To Play Roulette
Finding the right casino to play roulette can be a bit tricky. We’re happy to help, though. We’ve done all the research and compiled lists of the top casinos in each of the major geographical areas. So no matter where you live, or if you’ve had trouble finding a casino that will allow you to set up an account, we have a few sites you should definitely check out.
If you liked this guide, you may also be interested in other guides to play the best casino games in venues that offer fast withdrawals ONLY:
- Best online casinos to play video poker.
- Best online casinos to play blackjack.
- Top Rated casinos to Play Online Slots.
Above you’ll also find our suggestions for the best places to play roulette online for players in the US, Australia and in the UK and Europe. Have fun and good luck!