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We’ll just tell you right at the start that roulette is one of the simplest games to play in the casino. That said, there’s a lot of action going on during each spin, and all of the different bets available to players can be confusing to those who have never played before.
That’s why we created this page. Here, you’ll find a full explanation of how roulette works, from the basic rules to the insider tip that most gamblers never bother to learn. Once you’ve read this page, you’ll know everything you need to play at any roulette table with confidence.
At its heart, roulette is an easy game to enjoy. The action of the game revolves around a croupier spinning a wheel, and then placing a small metal ball spinning around the outside edge of that wheel. When the wheel and the ball begin to slow down, the ball will fall into one of a number of different pockets, each of which contains a number and a colour.
For players, the object is to correctly guess what number the ball will fall into. The numbers on the roulette wheel range from 1-36, with the addition of either a single zero or two zeroes (0 and 00) depending on the type of wheel being used. Any zeroes are coloured green, while the other numbers are evenly divided between red and black.
Before each spin, players have the option of betting on any numbers they like. There are also lots of bets that cover multiple numbers at once, with some covering nearly half the table at a time. If any number that is covered by a particular bet wins, that bet pays out at the listed odds.
A lot of players get intimidated when they first see how many bets are available in roulette. However, each of these bets is very simple, and once you learn the basics of how they work, you shouldn’t have any trouble following along with every spin.
For instance, you can bet on a single number. If that number is the winner on the next spin, you’ll win at odds of 35-1. If you’d like a better chance of winning, you can bet on two, three, four, or six numbers at a time, though these bets pay out at appropriately lower odds since you’re more likely to win. These bets are all known as “inside bets,” as they are made on the inside part of the roulette table layout.
There are also “outside bets,” which cover large portions of the wheel and pay out at lower odds. For instance, you can bet on “dozens,” such as all of the numbers between 1-12. If any number in that range wins on the next spin, your bet will win at 2-1 odds. There are a lot of even money bets as well, such as odd/even or 1-18 (or 19-36). The colour of the pockets is important here too, as you can bet on the ball falling into a red or black pocket (also at even money).
Players are required to meet a minimum betting amount on each spin. The minimum bet applies to each individual outside bet, or to the total of all bets made on inside bets. You can make both inside and outside bets on the same spin, but you’re not required to do so.
There are two major forms of roulette offered around the world, and while both play very similarly, they also have some very important differences. First, there’s American roulette, which is commonly played in (appropriately) the Americas. This version of the game contains a wheel with both a single zero (0) and double zero (00). The other form of the game is known as European roulette. This version is popular throughout most of the rest of the world, including Australia, and features only a single zero.
From the player’s perspective, European roulette is definitely the better game. Both versions feature the same payouts for every bet; since the European wheel has one less pocket on it, it’s slightly more likely that any given number will come up, reducing the house edge.
At live casinos, it’s usually the case that only one of these two games is offered to players. However, online casinos like Platinum Play typically offer both, allowing players to determine which version of the game they’d enjoy more.
All bets in roulette (with one exception on the American roulette table) pay out with odds that would be fair if there were only the 36 numbers pockets on the wheel. However, the presence of the zeroes gives the casino a slight advantage, since there are actually 37 or 38 numbers on the wheel, depending on the version of the game being played.
European roulette has the lower house edge, as the casino has only a 2.70% edge on each bet. Meanwhile, American roulette gives the house a 5.26% edge, almost double that of the European game. It’s also worth mentioning that the bet that covers the top five numbers on the American roulette layout (both zeroes along with 1-2-3) has an even higher house edge of 7.89%.
Online roulette uses the same rules, payouts and procedures that you’d find in a live casino. However, the mechanisms used to get these results are a little different. There’s no physical wheel or ball involved; instead, players follow the results of each spin through a graphical interface that simulates the look and feel of a roulette table. The results are produced using a random number generator, which ensures that the results are both fair and unpredictable for all parties.
While this is the way that traditional Internet roulette games have worked, there’s a newer type of online roulette available at many casino sites that’s known as live dealer roulette. In these games, players watch a real casino employee spin a physical wheel to get the results of each spin. These games are great for those who prefer the atmosphere that comes with a live casino venue.
While there are a number of popular roulette systems available today, none of them will help you win at roulette in the long run. That doesn’t mean that using a system can’t be fun, or can’t help you structure your wins and losses in a way that’s better for you; just understand that these systems won’t help you overcome the house edge.
The only “system” that has been used to beat roulette in the past is the identification of biased wheels (or just flat out cheating, which we don’t recommend). By figuring out which numbers come up more often than others, gamblers have historically been able to get the best of casinos, sometimes winning small fortunes in the process. Unfortunately, this is impossible in online casinos, and the higher equipment and monitoring standards used by live casinos in the modern era have made it extremely difficult to identify biased wheels in recent years.