Certainly the most glamorous of all the casino games, roulette is considered the elegant game of choice in most casino halls.
As with so many casino games, there are several legends about how Roulette came into being, with various accounts of Roman soldiers firing arrows between the spokes of a cart wheel, or even the Chinese basing a game on a method of torture.
What is known, is that in the 1600's a Frenchman by the name of Blaise Pascal devised a game called 'little wheel', which translates into 'roulette'. He also devised most of the rules which have lasted through to the modern era, but it was a few years later that Francois and Lois Blanc modified the game to include the '0', giving the casino an edge over the players.
The game became a huge hit across Europe, even becoming one of the main sources of income for King Charles III and the principality of Monaco and as millions of Europeans left for the New World, they brought Roulette with them. This would prove to be the step that made it famous around the globe.
As the western states of the USA grew in wealth, with more and more gold miners finding gambling a good way to enjoy their riches, European Roulette evolved into American Roulette with the addition of a double zero section, which instantly doubled the house edge.
Since the first online casinos opened in the 1990's Roulette has been discovered by a whole new generation of players, and many of these casinos now offer several different variations including European, American, Multi-wheel, 3D, Live and Mini Roulette
Before participating in a game of Roulette, players should get to know at least some of the terminology attached to it, with its' rich mix of French and American origins.
American Wheel: This wheel contains the numbers 0 - 36, plus an extra 00 section, not found on European wheels, to improve the house edge.
Ball: A small ball that is released into the wheel, in the opposite direction to the spin, which will lose momentum and come to rest in a single numbered section.
Column Bet: A bet placed on any of the three vertical columns which contain the numbers 1 -12, 13 - 24, and 25 - 36. Also referred to as a dozens bet. A win pays out at 2:1.
Corner Bet: A bet placed at the crossing point where any four numbers adjoin each other. A win pays out at 8:1.
Croupier: The French term for the dealer, which is still used at many American casinos, including online ones.
European Wheel: A wheel consisting of the numbers 0 -36, without the 00 section. This gives the house a smaller edge over the players.
Even Bet: A bet that covers all of the even numbers and pays out at 1:1.
Even Money Bet: Any bet that has a payout of 1;1 such as red / black, even /odd, 1 -18 / 19 - 36, and high / low.
Five Number Bet: A bet that can only be placed on American tables covering the numbers 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3.
High/Low Bet: A bet on the high numbers from 19 to 36, or the low numbers from 1 to 18 that pays out at 1:1.
Inside Bet: A bet on the section of the table that contains the numbers 1 - 36 only.
Line Bet: A bet placed where two 'streets' of three numbers each join. Example - 13/14/15 and 16/17/18.
Odd Bet: A bet that covers all of the odd numbers.
Outside Bet: A bet anywhere outside of the section containing the numbers 1 - 36.
Split Bet: A bet covering two adjoining numbers.
Straight Up Bet: A bet placed on just a single number.
Street Bet: A bet placed at the end of a row of three numbers. Example - 28/29/30.
Goal: The aim of Roulette is to correctly guess which numbered slot on the wheel that the ball will eventually come to a rest in.
Opponent: The game is played against the casino, not the other players who may be around the table placing their own bets.
- Each player makes as many bets as they wish, which can be single number, evens, odds, street, or any combination.
- The croupier spins the wheel and then gets the ball to spin in the opposite direction, whereupon it will roll around for a few seconds before coming to a rest in one numbered section with bets placed on that number winning.
- The players then receive any winnings due to them.
House advantage: In a European Roulette the game, the house edge is 2.7%, but because of the extra 00 section, American Roulette gives the house a 5.26% advantage over the players.
Straight-up bet on one number – 36:1
Split bet on two numbers - 17:1.
Street bet on three numbers - 11:1.
Corner bet on four numbers - 8:1.
Six-number bet - 5:1.
Column or outside dozen bet - 2:1
Even Money Bets - 1:1.
Roulette is a game of chance, where no mathematical system will influence the outcome of the next round. The ball has no memory of where it landed last time, and the result of each spin is completely independent of the last. There are, however, several popular betting strategies that can improve your chances of making some short term gains.
Martingale Strategy: This is the most popular betting strategy for Roulette players, and using it is simply a matter of making an even money bet, such as red or black, and doubling the bet size after a losing spin. The theory is that if a player sticks to the one bet type, say red, it is bound to appear soon, winning back all the losses from spins where black appeared. Even money bets pay out at 1:1, but have a slightly less than 50% chance of winning, due to the presence of the 0, or 00. Additionally, by the time black has appeared several times in a row, the bet sizes can increase rapidly, possibly exceeding even a big bankroll.
D’Alembert Strategy:.This is a less risky variation of the Martingale in which the player increases their stake by one unit following a losing spin, and decreases it by the same amount following a win. The idea is that the player can stop once the number of wins at least equals the number of losses, but again this does not take into account the fact that due to the 0's, losses will always exceed wins over the longer term. It can work well over a shorter run, however, and if possible players should keep going until they have recovered any losses, or cash out when ahead after a few winning spins.
James Bond Strategy: A system for high rollers only, with at least $200 to risk, this method works on European Roulette tables only. Put 60% of your money on the high numbers, 20% on the low numbers, and 10% on the 0. Hitting the high numbers or 0 will result in a win, but hitting the low numbers will leave you shaken not stirred.
- Roulette is an easy game for new casino players, as it is requires little skill, but provides lots of excitement.
- As the house edge can never be overturned, Roulette is not a good game for professional gamblers to make a living from. If you wish to make consistent money, you are best advised to become a good Poker player.
- Choose even money bets which pay out less, but are far less risky. Combine them with good bankroll management and a sensible betting system and you can make a profit on the night.
- Avoid American Roulette where possible, but by all means try some of the other varieties offered by the best online casinos.
If you have not played before, you should always look for an online casino with a free-play option that will let you practice the game so you can get to learn the rules and betting options without the need to stake any real money.