Roulette is one of the most well-known gambling game ever made, and each year, millions of players enjoy the thrills of spinning the wheel, picking a number, and hoping to get lucky! The game is very straightforward to play, requires little knowledge to begin playing, and can offer decent payouts of up to 35/1, so it’s easy to see why players all over the world enjoy this casino-classic each day!
How to Play Roulette
Roulette has primarily been a player-favourite due to the ease-of-play; it requires no mathematical knowledge to bet on Roulette, and it can be as simple as choosing a colour – red or black – to begin betting. While the game is designed to be as simple as possible, those who haven’t played before may find it a little intimidating, so the following guide will help ensure that you can approach a Roulette table – both online AND offline – confidently, knowing you are ‘doing it right’!
First of all, let’s look at the Roulette Wheel itself. (We’re covering European Roulette – the most common type you’ll encounter). The wheel itself contains 37 numbers: 1-36, and zero. The numbers 1 through 36 are either red or black, alternating, with 1 being red, 2 black, 3 red, four black, and so on. Zero is green. When Roulette is played, a small ball is spun around the wheel, which, after a few seconds, will land in a specific number’s ‘area’ – the number the ball lands in is the outcome of the game, and it’s as simple as that!
There are a number of different betting options available to you, and we’ll cover some of the most common of these below:
- Even-Money Bets: An even-money bet is a bet where you are basically trying to double your money. In theory, an even-money bet is a 50:50 chance, although playing Roulette, you’ll have to contend with the casino’s house edge – the ‘zero’ – which slightly lowers your chances. That said, even-money bets are a great way to start playing, and there are a few different even-money bets available…
- Red/Black: Simply choose a colour, and place your chips on the colour you want to back.
- Odds/Even: The same as red/black, choosing odd/even simply requires you to guess whether the number the lands will be odd or even.
- 1-18 & 19-36: This bet allows you to bet on whether the Roulette Wheel will land a number that’s between the numbers of 1, and 18, or 19, and 36.
- ‘Thirds’ or 2/1 Bets: For those who like the idea of even-money betting, but want a little more gamble, betting on the thirds of the Roulette Wheel is a great way to alter the odds. Here, you simply bet on either one of three columns or one of three rows. Regardless of the column or row you bet on, the return is 2/1, meaning a £10 bet, when won, would return £30.
- Individual Number Betting: Ideal for those who like to take a real gamble, and aim to win BIG, betting on individual numbers is a great way to gamble on Roulette, and you can place individual chips on all numbers 1 through 36, and zero. All the numbers return a pay-out at 35/1, meaning a £1 bet on a number returns £36. You can choose to bet ‘straight up’ on a number, which means one chip on one number, or you can choose to bet on a ‘split’ or ‘corner’.
- Split: A split is where one chip is placed between two numbers – the value of the chip is then spread equally on the two numbers – so, for instance, a £5 chip on a split would put £2.50 on each number. Similarly, a corner bet is split between 4 and means a £5 chip would stake £1.25 on each number.
- Tier Bets: There are three Tier bets available in Roulette, and this allows you to bet on specific sections of the wheel. The three Tier bets available are the Les Vousins du Zero bet, the Tiers du Cylindre bet, and the Orphelins bet. These betting options all cover different numbers, and are for more advanced players who like to customise their Roulette Experience.
- Neighbours Bet A neighbours bet is one of the more complicated Roulette bets available, and basically splits your stake amongst five numbers. For example, if you placed a £100 neighbours bet, on ‘zero’, one fifth of the stake – £20 – would be placed on Zero, and the two numbers either side – so, in this case, 32, 26, 1, and 3.
Best and Worst Bets
As with any casino game, the house edge – the mathematical ‘edge’ the casino game has, over time – will play into dictating how you should bet, and the higher the house edge, the less-likely you are to win (although the payouts when you do win will be significantly higher).
In standard European Roulette, the best bets to make are always those that mirror a 50:50 shot as much as possible – so, this would include betting on red or black, odds and evens, or 1-18/19-36.
There’s no real ‘worst bet’ on a general Roulette table, although certain side bets can become a very negative mathematical percentage, due to the large house edge (sometimes as high as 34%!). A side bet is a ‘separate bet’, different to the general betting options listed above, which is sometimes offered by a software provider as a perk of playing Roulette. For instance, playing a progressive Roulette jackpot game, where you must pay £1 each spin to have a shot at the progressive would be a negative bet, as the odds of it coming in are very slim.
With Roulette commanding such popularity with players around the world, it’s only natural that online casinos offer a multitude of different versions to suit different player tastes. The main game variants are the ‘country specific’ types, and while this guide has covered European Roulette, you can also find French and American Roulette. Both offer a very similar gaming experience, with small differences found with the game layout, notably American Roulette, that features two ‘zeros’, instead of one. American Roulette gives worse odds than European Roulette, so it’s recommended you stay clear, unless you have no alternatives available.
Other popular variants of Roulette focus on enhancing the player experience, and below, we cover a few of the most common Roulette Variants today:
- Multi-Wheel Roulette – Multi Wheel Roulette allows you to bet on more than one Roulette wheel at a time. Usually featuring three wheels, you place your bets on a single screen, but when it comes to spinning the wheel, you’ll see three wheels’ spin (or one wheel, with three levels), meaning you can hedge your bets. When you place your bets, either 3X the unit stake will be applied to the board, or, in certain versions, the stake you wager will be split in three, to give each wheel an equal stake.
- Mini Roulette – Mini Roulette is seen as mainly a novelty game, but is enjoyed by more players, particularly on mobile devices (due to its smaller game-board). As the name suggests, Mini Roulette is just a cut-down version of regular Roulette, generally featuring between 9 and 15 numbers. The odds remain the same as regular Roulette, and are scaled down, so playing a Mini Roulette wheel with the numbers 1 through 9, and zero, would offer 1/3rd of the odds you’d find on regular Roulette.
- Progressive Roulette – Progressive Roulette is essentially ‘Roulette with a jackpot’, and while different operators award the jackpot amount in different ways, the most common way is by landing the same number on a certain number of spins in a row.
If you are new to Roulette, it’s probably easiest to stick to traditional Roulette – the variants can be fun, but generally, they offer worse odds, and the house-edge is higher, so always be aware of this before playing.
History of Roulette
The exact origin of Roulette remains somewhat a mystery with varying accounts citing the game with being created by different people at different times. The most common, and widely-recognized theory, however, is that it was created by a French scientist in 1655, by the name of Blaise Pascal. While it’s unlikely the true origin of the game will ever be known, the game’s transformation through history is well documented, and the game – while adapting to modernizing society – remains similar to the versions found in casinos hundreds of years ago.
In fact, the 18th century is where Roulette appears to have begun really gaining traction in the gambling world, and many French paintings exist with socialites and other high-class citizens enjoying the game at local member’s clubs and casinos. Originally known as ‘Roly Poly’, the original Roulette wheels likely used different numbers, layouts, and structures, and it’s accepted that French Roulette was the first format of ‘modern-day’ Roulette, followed by European Roulette, and American Roulette.
It’s also interesting to note that American Roulette – despite the name – wasn’t created in America at all (the general consensus is that the Americans added the extra 0 to the wheel to increase house edge), and while it’s true the added zero does increase the casino’s advantage, it was actually based on a form of French Roulette, which then became popular over shores in the United States.
European Roulette – the game variation you are most likely to have played before – was supposedly created in 1842 by Francois and Loius Blanc, who set out to create a new Roulette variation that provided a slightly better return to player, while ensuring it still remains profitable for the casinos offering the game. Since then, Roulette has remained largely unchanged, with the only differences in land-based casinos being more well-balanced wheels; it was common knowledge certain parts of the Roulette wheel were heavier than other parts, making it more likely for the ball to land in a certain area.
The online gambling world, however, has put a totally new spin on Roulette, and software providers have created game-types old-school casino players would never have imagined possible. 100/1 Roulette… Multi-Wheel Roulette… Mini-Roulette… there’s a plethora of game variations available, and you have a near-unlimited amount of choice when it comes to finding a game that you enjoy!
Remember, Roulette is a game of chance, and there are no systems, strategies, or ‘ways to beat the house’ – only play with what you can afford to lose, and make sure to check out our Betting Systems post to see exactly why you should avoid buying into systems, or thinking you can make money long-term.