All About Roulette
One of the oldest games played in actual casinos, roulette has been around for more than 300 years in various forms primarily in European casinos and remains one of the most popular table games there to this day.
There are three different types* of roulette games available in today's modern casinos (including online ones,) each of which is very similar but with minor variances that effect the odds:
* There are in fact also Triple 0 roulette wheels at the occasional table, but you won't find them at any reputable casino, online or off. When used it's likely at charity casinos or other events where patrons basically expect a significant house edge and don't mind losing to it.
This is the most popular version of Roulette available online and (obviously) across Europe in land-based casinos. The roulette wheel is comprised of the numbers 1 through 36 (each of which is either black or red,) but also has the number 0 which is green - a color which cannot be bet on. This 0 is basically what gives the house an advantage over the players bets.
This is also available at the majority of online casinos and is offered in many US land-based casinos. The roulette wheel is still comprised of the numbers 1 through 36 (each of which is either black or red,) but also has the number 0 and a 00 (Double 0) both in green, which gives the house a much better advantage than single 0 games (European and French.)
This is very similar to European roulette (why not? France is in Europe) - but actually has a couple of advantages on top of it for the player. It's hard to find online on off, but if the more favorable rules are offered it's your best options as a player. Like 'European' tables there's only one 0/green on the wheel. Unlike European roulette there's additional rules that may come into play so bettors don't necessarily lose on other bets when a 0 is spun. "La Partage" rules returns half of each players even-odd, high/low, red/black bets on a 0 being rolled, and "En Prison" freezes said bets for an additional spin - in which case it's returned to the player if it hits or lost otherwise. If a 0 comes up on that following roll the process may be repeated, the bet may be lost or won (depending on the table rules.)
We'll get into details on how to play in just a moment, but for visual learners it's probably easiest to watch the video below for a quick overview first.
Roulette is a very simple game. As a player, you simply wager on what you predict the outcome of the upcoming spin will be. You can bet on specific numbers, groups of numbers, red or black, even or odd, columns and rows. You can place as many bets as you'd like for each roll.
When the wheel lands on a number you have bet on (directly or by color, column, odds/evens, 12's, etc) you win, with the payouts varying greatly depending on the particular bets you've made.
Obviously, with as many numbers as there are roulette has a lot of betting spots available. However most of them are the same 'kind' of bets - just on different numbers - making them fairly simple to understand.
Roulette bets can be split into two different primary categories; "inside bets" and "outside bets".
- Inside bets are those on a particular number or those split between numbers that are on the 'inside' of the table; chips placed on or between numbers directly.
- Outside bets are made outside of the numbered area - for example betting on red or black, betting on odd or even, making a column bet, etc.
Again, these are bets either made directly on a number or split between numbers. These are indicated by placing chips on the appropriate spot(s) on between spots on the inside of the table where the numbers are. The inside bets you can make include:
Single Number Bets:
Placing a chip in the middle of any numbered spot is a bet on that individual number. Players can also bet on 0 (and 00 when present.) Winning bets pay 35 to 1.
Placing a chip on the line between 2 numbered spots is a bet on both of those numbers. Winning bets pay 17 to 1.
Placing a chip on intersecting lines between 4 numbered spots is a bet on all 4 of those numbers. Winning bets pay 8 to 1.
Placing a chip on the outside line of a number in the first column indicates a bet for all three numbers in that row. For example, placing a chip on the line to the left side of 1 is a bet on 1, 2 and 3 (half will be on the number, half will be outside.) Winning bets pay 11 to 1.
Top Line Bets:
These are only offered in American roulette and also referred to as a 'Five Number Bet'. It is a bet on 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3 and pays 6 to 1, usually indicated by putting a chip on the top left corner of the number 1.
Also called 6 Line Bets, the name is a little misleading either way. It is a bet on two rows of numbers (for 6 numbers in total) indicated by placing a chip on the outside line between 2 numbers. For example, to bet on 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, place your bet on the outside line half on, half off between 1 and 2. Winning bets pay 5 to 1.
These are bets made outside of the numbered area, but still relate the the number spun. These are indicated by placing chips on the appropriate spot(s) on the outside of the table with designations such as 'red', 'black', 'even', 'odd', '1st 12', etc. These outside bets include:
Indicated out the outside of the table with 1st 12, 2nd 12 and 3rd 12, these bets are on that respective group of 12 numbers. For example, 1st Dozen wins on 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 or 12. Wagers are made by placing chips on the dozens bet(s) you'd like to make, and winning bets pay 2 to 1.
Odd or Even:
A simple bet that the next number spun will be either odd or even (0's and 00's lose.) Indicated by putting your chips on either the ODD or EVEN spot. Winning bets pay even money.
Red or Black:
Another simple bet that the next number spun will be either red or black (0's and 00's are green and lose.) Indicated by putting your chips on either the Red or Black spot on the table. Winning bets pay even money.
A bet on an entire column of numbers representing a third of the board (excluding 0's.) Indicated by putting your chips on one of the three columns marked "2 to 1" underneath the 36 numbers. Winning bets pay 2 to 1.
1 to 18:
Place your chips on the spot marked "1 to 18" to make a bet on all the numbers between 1 and 18. Winning bets pay even money.
19 to 36:
Place your chips on the spot marked "19 to 36" to make a bet on all the numbers between 19 and 36. Winning bets pay even money.
While there are undoubtedly lots of supposed roulette strategies floating around on the internet and in book form, the truth of the matter is there's no such thing as a good one. The player has no control over the outcome of the spin, the house always has the same statistical average, and any attempt to game the odds offers no advantage any more so than blind luck.
As with other table games some will argue that things like the Martingale system offer the player an advantage they wouldn't have with flat betting, but it's really not worth the risk and far from lucrative even when if goes according to plan.
Keeping that in mind, what you should always do is pick a table with the best odds. This means avoiding American roulette and opting for European or French tables with only a single 0 on the wheel. While the house still has the advantage, it goes from 5.26% down to just 2.7% just by getting rid of the double 0. French tables offering "La Partage" or "En Prison" rules (if you can find one) reduce the overall house odds even further, down to 1.35%.