Roulette is a classic casino table game made famous in Hollywood movies, but it has successfully made the transition to online casinos. The online roulette experience may not be not quite as glamorous as the scenes in Casablanca or Mission Impossible, but game developers and interface designers do an amazing job at creating roulette play that seems realistic, and thrilling, so you can feel your heart pounding as that little ball caroms around the wheel en route to its fateful destination.
While roulette is nominally a game of pure chance, with a clear albeit modest edge to the casino, various betting systems have arisen to beat the house. Many online variations on roulette have arisen, giving the player a challenging and entertaining selection of games from which to choose.
Below are some recommended casinos where you can explore roulette variants, either for practice play or for real money.
Rules of Roulette
In general, the game play of roulette is simple and straightforward. A wheel divided into coloured numbers from 1 to 36, and either one or two additional pockets, is spun in one direction. A ball is dropped into the spinning wheel in the opposing direction. You bet on the pocket in which the ball will stop. You can bet on single numbers, groups or ranges of numbers, red or black, odd or even. When the wheel stops spinning, the ball ends up in a specific numbered pocket, determining the winner for that spin.
There is a basic difference between European and American roulette games in that the American game has two “house” pockets numbered “0” and “00” while the European game has a single “0”. While it is possible for a player to bet that the ball will land in one of those house pockets, and win if it does, all other bets are losers on such spins. Therein lies the essential house edge in roulette, an advantage which is typically about twice as great – but not so great for bettors! – in the American version of the game.
To start a round of roulette, you must first decide how much you want to bet, and on which outcomes you want to wager. Most online casinos set minimum and maximum bets.
There are a wide variety of choices for where to place your bets on the roulette table, which lists all your betting options in a grid. You can bet on the ball landing on a specific number, which is called an “inside” bet. Or you can choose from a variety of “outside” bets, for example, odd or even, black or red, or a group or range of numbers presented as options on the online roulette table. When you are ready, just press the Spin button and hope that Lady Luck is spinning your way.
Depending on which game you play and in which casino, there may be small variations in the rules. It’s always an excellent idea to review the rules before betting with real money. Here are some of the outcomes you can typically bet on.
Odds in Roulette
The following bets have the least chance of winning, but wins pay out higher. All payout ratios assume European Roulette, where the house edge is 2.7%. (The edge in American Roulette is typically 5.26%.)
- In “Straight-up” you bet on one number. If the ball lands on it, you win. Payout: 35 to 1.
- In a “Split” you bet on two adjacent numbers, for example 29 and 30. Payout: 17 to 1.
- In a “street” bet, you bet on any of three numbers in a row, such as 7/8/9. In a “trio” bet, you are wagering on 0/1/2 (plus 00/2/3 in American Roulette). Payout: 11 to 1.
- In a “corner” or “square” bet, you are wagering on any of four different numbers that form a square: 25/26/28/29, for example. Payout: 8 to 1.
- Finally, the “Six Line” bet is like two Street bets in one, such as 10/11/12/13/14/15. Payout: 5 to 1.
Outside bets have a higher chance of winning and, not surprisingly, wins pay less. All payout ratios assume European Roulette, with a house edge of 2.%
- A “dozens bet” secures twelve consecutive numbers. If the wheel spins a 0 (or 00 in American Roulette), you lose the bet. Payout: 2 to 1.
- To make a “column bet”, look for three boxes which say “2 to 1”. Placing you chip there means that you bet the wheel spin results in a number appearing in the column above. If so, you win double your bet.
- “High or low”: At both ends of the roulette table, you’ll find a box labeled “1 to 18” and another “19 to 36”. If you place your chip in that box, and the wheel spin results in a number in the selected range, you’re a winner. Payout: 2 to 1.
- By placing your chip on the boxes labeled Odd or Even, you bet for an odd or even number outcome. 0 or 00 is neither odd nor even, and the house wins. Payout: 1 to 1.
- Red or Black: you can bet on a colour. Payout: 1 to 1.
Top 5 Playing Tips and Strategies
- Go European! Play roulette and variations based on a wheel with only one house winner. As a rule, the house edge is about half of those which use an American wheel. If you can find a French Roulette game, the house edge is half the European because if the ball lands on 0, you only lose half your bet. Vive la France!
- Play conservatively first. Many players start with outside binary bets and then boldly make inside bets, including straight up bets on single numbers when they have a little cushion in their wallet.
- Start with low limit games and work your way up. Many casinos, including those on our recommended list, offer both low and high limit games.
There are two famous specific roulette strategies, which have honoured their “inventors”:
- The Martingale Strategy is based on doubling your bets after losing a pure chance game. The first win recoups all previous losses, with a small profit for the player. There is also a Reverse Martingale, in which you increase bets after wins and decrease after losses
- The D’Alembert strategy is more moderate than Martingale: you would increase or decrease bets by adding betting amounts rather than doubling them.
Roulette strategies are covered in greater detail in this article.
Online Roulette Variations
Explore the roulette variations available in quality casinos, including all those on our recommended list. Beyond the basic American and European versions, there are the options of English, French, German, Double Ball and Double Wheel roulette. As noted, the French variation is of special importance; in the French game, if the ball lands on the 0, then you get half your bet back. We cover more about these variations in a more in-depth article. Our you can just check them out in one of the recommended casinos, and try some practise spins before you play for real money.
Roulette one of the most popular table games at online casinos. It’s somewhere in the middle in terms of the odds and the house edge. It doesn’t have the extreme jackpots of progressive slots, but anyone who wins a straight up inside roulette bet knows how good it feels.
If you’re playing a roulette games based on the single-0 European wheel, then the house edge is typically around 2.6%. Even better if you find a nice French wheel, where even the house wins have less sting. Even though the odds are not quite as good as blackjack odds, but it is far better than slots. So if you haven’t already given it a go, do give that wheel a spin!