Roulette is one of the oldest and most revered casino games in the world, so it’s definitely one you’ll want to know before you take a trip to the casino with friends, or sign up for an online casino site. Luckily, it’s also one of the easiest games to play, even if the multitude of bets in roulette might look intimidating at first glance. Here’s a quick guide to getting started with the iconic games.
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Roulette is played with a large spinning wheel, and a ball which circles the parameter of the wheel in the opposite direction, eventually falling in to a pocket. If playing at a land-based casino, or with a live dealer over the Internet, the dealer in charge of the game (the croupier), controls the spin of the wheel and the toss of the ball each round. Regular online roulette games (computer-generated), are automated and simulated by state of the art technology, kept random and fair by random number generators. The wheel contains either 37 or 38 pockets (European or American) that the ball could potentially fall in. The pockets are numbered 1 through to 36, split evenly into red and black colours, with either one single zero (Euro), or a single zero and a double zero (US), which is/are green in colour.
Before each spin, players place bets on the corresponding board/table as to what number they think the ball will ultimately land in. Betting areas include specific numbers, zones which cover multiple numbers, and categories which the numbers fall in to (such as their corresponding colours – red and black; even or odd; between 1-18 or between 19-36). The range of betting options allow players to manage their risk to their liking, as wagers which cover fewer numbers are harder to win, but hold larger payouts, while wagers which cover more numbers are easier to win, but hold smaller payouts.
When you play computer-generated online roulette, you can control the speed and flow of the game to your own liking. However, if you want to play live dealer roulette online, or in a brick-and-mortar casino, familiarise yourself with the speed at which each round is played; the time it takes for the dealer to spin the wheel after the previous round, and how long you have before the croupier calls ‘no more bets’.
The majority of land-based roulette tables own their own specific coloured betting chips which are most commonly used, but you can play with the standard casino chips, too. The specific chips for each table have their own unique colour for all the different players, and rather than actually having a denomination printed on them like standard chips, the value of one chip is usually the minimum bet amount. This helps each player (and the casino) keep track of what bets belong to what players – a process that would be extremely difficult if everyone was using the same casino chips. At an online casino, you need not worry about this, as the chips used are standard across all games.
Players may place their bets without restriction up until the point where the ball is spun in the wheel. With the ball spinning around the wheel, players may still place bets for a short period of time, until the croupier announces ‘no more bets’. Once the ball comes to rest in a pocket, the corresponding number on the table/board is covered with a marker (known as a dolly). All losing bets are removed from the table, and all winning bets are paid out. Once the marker has been removed from the table, players are free to place their bets for the next spin/round.
It’s good to know how to place a bet, but none of that means anything unless you know exactly what it is you are betting on. There are two betting categories in roulette: inside bets and outside bets, each of which covers a number of different possible selections.
Inside bets are those which cover either one individual number, or a small group of numbers in the inside section of the table layout. Inside bets are as follows:
Straight Bets: These are bets on a specific number, and pay 35 to 1 if that number wins.
Split Bets: These are bets on two adjacent numbers, paying 17 to 1 if either number wins.
Street Bets: These bets cover a row of three numbers, and pay 11 to 1 if any of those three numbers win.
Corner Bets: These bets cover four numbers in a square pattern on the layout, and pay 8 to 1 if any of the four numbers win.
Six-Line: These bets cover two rows of three numbers each (or six numbers in total), paying 5 to 1 if any of those chosen numbers win.
Outside bets, on the other hand, cover a larger proportion of the wheel/layout (12 numbers or more), and because of the higher probability of success, pay out at lower odds. Here’s a look at all the possible outside wager:
Red/Black: 18 number are red in colour on the wheel, and the other 18 numbers are black in colour. The zero/s is/are green in colour and neither a bet on red or black will win if the balls lands in the zero/double zero pocket. The wager wins if the winning number is of the appropriate colour, and pays even money (1:1).
Odd/Even: These two bets are on whether the winning number will be even or odd, and also pay out at 1:1. The zero/double zero is neither even nor odd and wagers placed on these selections will lose if the ball lands on the zero/double zero.
1-18/19-36: These bets cover all the numbers in the specified range, paying even money if a number in the ball lands on any number in the selected range. Again, the zero/double zero is not covered in either bet.
1-12, 13-24 & 25-36: Known as the “dozens bets,” these bets cover all the numbers in their range, paying 2 to 1 if the winning number is in the selected range.
Columns Bets: If you look at the image above, you will see under numbers 34, 35 and 36 that there are betting areas marked 2 to 1 (the payout). These are known as column bets, and succeed if the ball lands on any of the numbers in the appropriate column, above the selected zone.
There are two major forms of roulette played throughout the world. While both games were originally developed in Europe, they have become known for the areas in which they gained lasting popularity.
European roulette is the version of the game in which only one zero appears on the wheel. This version of the game is most popular in Europe, Asia, and in Australia. In contrast, American roulette remains popular in North and South America, and features a second “double zero” pocket on the wheel and board.
If you have the choice, play the European version of roulette. Both games pay out at exactly the same odds, but since the American roulette wheel features an additional number, it is less likely that your chosen number/group of numbers will come up on any given spin. The house edge in European roulette is 2.70%, while the American version of the game holds a house advantage of 5.26%. Additionally, in the European version, the house edge remains the same across all bets which further helps the player.