What You Need to Know
Online Roulette is a spinning wheel game played in casinos around the globe. It is a considered a table game, like blackjack, baccarat, and craps. Online Roulette has been around at least since the 1600s. 17th-century French mathematician Blaise Pascal designed a roulette wheel, in an attempt to invent a perpetual motion machine.
While Blaise Pascal failed, he did invent a device useful to centuries of gaming operators. The game is thought to have been played by French gamblers throughout much of the 18th century. Roulette was being played in the palace of Versailles during the reign of Louis XVI. French novels of the 1790s also mention the game.
In the past two centuries, roulette has achieved global prominence. Several variants of the roulette game are played in casinos. House rules have been devised on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, leading to vastly different games. In real money online casinos, the different versions of online roulette are offered. Because some offer better odds than others, it’s important to know which to play. Before we discuss the variants, let’s look at the rules that are the same in all versions.
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Rules of Online Roulette
The rules to play online roulette are simple. A dealer called a “croupier” sets a small metal ball spinning on a roulette wheel. Eventually, the ball drops into one of dozens of pockets (or “slots”) on the wheel.
Each pocket is marked with a number between 0 and 36. If the ball drops into a pocket with a number which the gambler has placed a wager on, the player wins their bet. If not, they lose their wager.
Online Casino Roulette has many types of bets, which are the main part of the rules. Below is an explanation of the roulette bets.
Online Roulette Bets
First of all, there are two major types of wagers: inside bets and outside bets. The casino roulette table is a large felt area with a box full of numbers. Wagers which are made inside that box (on the numbers) are called inside bets. Wagers made outside the box are called outside bets. The terms help differentiate the type of wager because bets placed outside the numbers are made on a larger range of numbers.
The outside bets have better chances of winning but pay out smaller amounts. The inside bets are less likely to win but pay out larger amounts.
A variety of outside bets exist. If you want to wager on big blocks of numbers, you want to place chips outside the number box. You either bet on 12 numbers or 18 numbers at a time. Since these are more likely to hit, the payouts are smaller.
In certain types of online casino roulette, house rules allow better odds on the even-money wagers like hi-lo, black-red, or even-odd. When those house rules are in-effect, it’s best to wager only on the even-money propositions.
- Dozen Bet – This bet is made on 12 numbers at a time. You have three options: 1 through 12, 13 through 24, or 25 through 36.
- Column Bet – The column bets are made on 12 numbers at a time, too. In this case, you’re wagering on one of three sets of columns in the number box. The options here are wagering on the 1-4-7-10-13-16-19-22-25-28-31-34, the 2-5-8-11-14-17-20-23-26-29-32-35, or the 3-6-9-12-15-18-21-24-27-30-33-36.
- High/Low Bet – The high/low or hi/lo bet is considered an even-money wager. You have two options. Either you can wager on the 1 through 18 or the 19 through 36.
- Black/Red Bet – This is another even-money wager. Half of the numbers on the wheel are red while half are black. You are wagering on whether the ball lands on red or black. It should be noted that the “0” and “00” are green slots, so the ball landing on zeroes produces a losing bet on either proposition.
- Even/Odd Bet – This is the third type of even-money wager. You are wagering on whether the ball lands on an even number or an odd number.
- Serpent Bet – The serpent bet is a 12-number wager made on a set of numbers which snake through the column of numbers. The wager is placed on the 1, 5, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 23, 27, 30, 32, and 34.This wager is used in some casinos to max out the betting potential for high rollers, as it allows the wager to be made as 12 separate straight bets. Watch out to make sure the right odds are offered on this bet, because some casinos change the odds, turning this into a sucker bet.
Those are the outside wagers. Many people prefer inside bets because they pay out the most. From the largest payouts to the smallest ones, here are those wagers.
The inside bets are made on three columns of numbers, which contain the 1 through 36. At the top of the columns, the “0” is found. In American roulette, a “00” is also located there.
- Straight Bet (Single) – The single bet is a bet on a single number. To make this wager, place your chip inside the number’s box.
- Split Bet – This is a wager on two numbers which are adjacent on the table. To make this wager, place your chip on the line between the numbers.
- Street Bet – This is a wager on three numbers. These are on a single horizontal row. To make this wager, place your chip on the outside line of that row of numbers.
- Corner Bet (Square) – The square bet is placed on four numbers, whose boxes are adjoining. To make this wager, place your chip on the four corners where the numbers’ boxes converge.
- Six Line Bet (Double Street) – The six line bet is simply making two adjoining street bets. To place this wager, place your chip on the outline line of those two rows of numbers, making sure to place the chip on the dividing line between the two streets.
- Trio Bet – The trio bet is made on either the 0-1-2 or the 2-3-0 slots. To make this wager, place your chips where these three boxes intersect.
- Basket Bet – In American roulette, this is a 3-number wager placed on the 0-1-2, the 0-00-2, or the 2-3-00 numbers. To make this bet, place your chips where these boxes intersect.
- Top Line Bet – In American roulette, this is a 5-number wager made on the 0-1-2-3-00. To make this wager, place your chip at the juncture of the 0 and 1, or the juncture of the 00 and 3. Never make this wager, though. It has far worse odds than any other bet in online casino roulette.
Roulette Wager Odds
- High / Low Bet – 1 to 1
- Black / Red Bet – 1 to 1
- Even / Odd Bet – 1 to 1
- Dozen Bet – 2 to 1
- Column Bet – 2 to 1
- Serpent Bet – 2 to 1
- Six Line Bet – 5 to 1
- Top Line Bet – 6 to 1
- Corner Bet – 8 to 1
- Street Bet – 11 to 1
- Trio Bet – 11 to 1
- Basket Bet – 11 to 1
- Split Bet – 17 to 1
- Straight Bet – 35 to 1
The types of bets you can make are roughly the same in American and European roulette. Now that you’ve seen the basic similarities, let’s take a look where the games diverse.
How Does The Roulette Table Layout Work?
There are small differences in the layout and sizes of components between different games – though the fundamentals are broadly the same.
Taking up the center of the screen will be the croupier and wheel, with a real betting grid set at an angle in front of them. Underneath this, you will find chips and other control options.
Placing Your Bet
To bet, you first select your chip size and then click with your mouse on the betting grid. If your chip drops in the wrong place you can get it back again using a back button. Minimum bets vary between casinos; these are typically a little higher than for the virtual games. Maximum bets run into the tens of thousands for the high rollers out there.
Betting is timed in order to keep the game flowing. Once the croupier announces no more bets, it will not be possible to add or take away any chips. You will only see your own chips on the grid though many players may be enjoying the game at the same time as you.
When the ball lands you will often see a close up of the slot it landed in a corner of the screen. A dolly will be placed on the winning number and bets will be automatically settled by the software. If you are using a favorite pattern, repeating this is as easy as clicking a “rebet” button.
When you read about an American and European version of any given thing, it’s expected that the European version was the original. That is not the case in casino roulette. American roulette is the same game which was played in Europe before the inception of Monte Carlo. Las Vegas never changed the rules, meaning Vegas rules are close to the original game’s rules.
The earlier versions of casino roulette often had fewer pockets on them than the 38-pocket Las Vegas wheel, but those early games always had a “0” and “00” slot on the wheel.
For this reason, American roulette is also known as double-zero roulette. It contains two zeroes pockets: one marked “0” and one marked “00”. The second 0-pocket is pivotal to game play because it doubles the house edge. Most of the bets in roulette are an automatic loser when the ball land in a zero slot. For that reason, doubling the number of zero pockets doubles the house edge.
The house edge of American roulette is 5.26%, which is high for a table game. Special rules can be implemented to lower the house edge, so don’t dismiss the American version of roulette. If you play in Las Vegas, don’t play the game, unless house rules are offered.
En Prison Rules
Atlantic City offers “en prison” or “imprisonment” rules if you play casino roulette. When you make an even-money wager and the ball lands on the “0” or “00”, your bet is not immediately lost. Instead, the bet goes to prison for a hand. If you lose the next hand, you lose the imprisoned bet. If you win the next hand, you win back that imprisoned bet.
Imprisonment lowers the house edge to 2.63%, which is a little lower than European roulette. New Jersey state law requires these rules, which explains why AC casinos offer such a nice advantage. If you play at any online casino which offers Atlantic City roulette, it pays to play it.
A couple of things need to be mentioned for the land-based gamblers. Atlantic City casinos offer an electronic game called Rapid Roulette. It is a ploy by the city’s casinos to get around the New Jersey law, by speeding up the game. Like all multi-hand or multi-spin games, increasing your play rate means you’re exposed to the house edge more times in an hour–which is bad for the gambler.
Another thing to remember is “en prison” rules only apply to even-money bets. Make any other wager on the table and you’ll still be playing a game with a 5.26% house edge.
Triple Zero Game
In traditional American roulette tables found in the United States, the games will have a zero and double zero on the roulette wheel. These games will have a house advantage of 5.2%. With Triple Zero Roulette, players will find the game has three zeros on the roulette wheel, the 0, 00 and 000. The house percentage of this game is much higher, at 7.69%, which means that there is a higher percentage that players will lose.
While the house percentage is higher than other versions of land-based or online roulette, players still enjoy playing the Triple Zero game. When it comes to Triple Zero, players will only find the game at the Venetian in Las Vegas. The game is titled Sands Roulette and can be played at the Venetian Casino. Players will find the roulette wheel and the felt of the game have the triple zero placements. The payout for the Sands Roulette wager is the same as it would be when playing a double zero table. The game is played the same as other forms of roulette, the only difference is the house edge.
In most situations, European roulette is the best version of the game. European roulette is the version played in Monte Carlo since the 1860s. Monaco’s royal family, the House of Grimaldi, were bankrupt in the 1850s, so they developed a plan for casino gaming in their tiny principality on the French Riviera. This plan was not particularly successful until they recruited Francois Blanc, at the time known as the “The Magician of Homburg“, to take over their casino operations in 1863.
Francois Blanc had made a fortune with his casino at Bad Homburg in Germany. Prior to the 1860s, Germany was where most European casinos were located. Germany was a patchwork of 200 kingdoms and principalities, so one minor prince or another was certain to allow a casino in their realm, for the sake of tax revenues. By the 1860s, Prussia was beginning to unite these German states. Prussia was an autocratic and conservative regime, so gambling was not likely to last long in the 2nd German Reich.
In Monaco, Francois Blanc took over the Monte Carlo Casino. He brought with him a new form of roulette, with only one “0” pocket. This game had a house edge of 2.70% and was much more popular with gamblers. In the next few years, casino gambling was outlawed throughout most of Europe. As Monaco developed better roads from France into their tiny country, gamblers from all over Europe flocked to Monte Carlo. Francois Blanc then became known as “The Magician of Monte Carlo”.
Over the generations, single-zero roulette has become the dominant version of the game. Monte Carlo became the capital of European gambling in the Victorian Age. It was also the Age of Colonialism, with the various European powers expanding their empires around the world. Wherever they colonized, they implanted their forms of gambling. Thus, European roulette became dominant.
Difference between American and European Roulette
If you are new to online roulette, you may be wondering what the difference is between American and European Roulette. Both games are fun to play and can be found at top-rated online casinos. Learning the difference will help players to find the right roulette game for their playing needs.
The difference between American and European roulette is that the American version includes a double zero along with the traditional 0 and 1-36 numbers on the wheel and table felt. With the extra green color slot of the American Roulette game, the house has a higher edge. Players will benefit more from playing European Roulette as the house edge is lower. This means that there is a higher potential to win money when playing the European version.
With American Roulette, the house edge is 5.2%. European Roulette has a house advantage of 2.7%. There are strategies available for both games which can be used to create a better advantage for the player. For newbies, however, it is best to stick to the European version as there is a higher chance of overall success.
It might be confusing that people mistakenly refer to European Roulette as “French roulette”. Even experienced gamblers sometimes mix and match the names. In online casinos, French Roulette refers to a variant with special bets. These bets have French names, so it is reasonable to call this variant French roulette.
The exotic bet names probably add’s to the allure for most gamblers. Casinos in France traditionally offered these bets. Casinos in London and Monte Carlo also have tables with these wagers. Eastern Europeans casinos also offer French roulette. Otherwise, you’re not likely to find the game, except in online casinos.
Below is a list of the various bets in french roulette, along with their translation. These are called “announced bets” or “called bets” sometimes because the gambler calls them out to the croupier. Remember, when announcing your bets, if you are not acknowledged, it’s not an official wager. It helps to move your chips to their correct location.
The names below refer to the placement of numbers on the wheel. For instance, the neighbors of zero refer to a set of slots on either side of the “0” slot on the wheel.
- Les voisins – The Neighbors’ Bet
- Les voisins du Zero – The Neighbors of Zero
- Jeu Zero – Game Zero
- Le Tiers du Cylindre or Tiers – The Third of the Wheel
- Les Orphelins – The Orphans
- Orphelins en Plein – Betting the orphans straight up.
- Finales en Plein – Finals
The Finals bets are a favorite with high rollers. By betting every conceivable finals bet as separate singles bets, a gambler can max out the betting limits. Thus, high rollers make every single one of these wagers at the maximum betting limit for each.
It should be mentioned that the house edge on French roulette is no different than it is on European roulette: 2.70%. The allure of this game is the exotic wagers allowed, as well as the ability to max out bets for high stakes gamblers.
La Partage Betting
Monte Carlo casinos sometimes offer “la partage” betting. In effect, this is similar to imprisonment bets, by cutting the house edge in half. La partage is usually offered on European roulette, though. If you find these rules being offered, it is the best form of roulette to play.
Imagine you’re playing European roulette, which has the 2.70% house edge. Then imagine playing with la partage rules, which cuts the wager down to a 1.35% house edge. This makes the game comparable to baccarat or craps in terms of the casino’s advantage. For a game with no strategy, la partage European roulette has good odds.
The term “la partage” means “of the parts”. Essentially, it means that the wager is halved. If you bet on the even-money wagers and the ball lands in the “0” pocket, you lose half of the bet. Half of the bet is returned to you, though. If you want to get detailed information about this, check out the Wizard of Odds page on Roulette.
Strategy For Online Roulette
Keeping the house edge to a minimum in Roulette games starts with choosing the right wheel. The American wheel is one to be avoided, that extra zero (the ‘00’ slot) adds a significant extra to the house edge. By default you should choose the single zero European wheel – and where possible go for the French Wheel instead. French Roulette uses the European single-zero wheel, with the added extra that if the zero hits even money bets return 50% to the player. This is as low as the house edge gets in any Roulette game.
Play European Roulette
On the even-money bets, the house edge on European Roulette is a lot better than it the house edge on American Roulette. The inclusion of a second zero pocket — the “00” slot — is the reason the American variation has much worse odds. It’s another pocket on the wheel in which all of the odd/even, black/red, or hi/lo bets lose. Unless there are special house rules announced, American double-zero roulette is always worse than its European counterpart. If you find European roulette you should always play at those tables.
High Rollers Should Play French Roulette
This is more a strategy for entertainment or thrills than it is for winning. High stakes gamblers who feel the max bets on a site’s roulette games are too small should play French Roulette.
High rollers should learn about the “Full Maximum” or complete bets in French Roulette. It covers every bet possible on a single number, including straight-up up bet, split bet, and so on. It is an easy way to make these separate wagers, thus increasing your betting capacity by 40x with one announced bet.
Avoid Progressive Bets
Many beginners read about progressive betting techniques and think they hold the key; they’re wrong. Progressive betting has the sheen of mathematics, so it sounds like it’s a can’t miss proposition. Even worse, the odds are progressive betting patterns are going to help grind out small winning sessions in the early stages of play. These combine to lead players down a dangerous play style.
The most common progressive betting style is the Martingale Scheme. This was devised in the 18th century, so it has the respectability of old age. With the Martingale, a player begins with a default bet amount and simply doubles their bet every time they lose. If a player starts at $10, then they bet $20 after a losing bet and $40 after another losing bet. Bet long enough and, when you win, you’ll collect $10 for that series of bets.
The Danger of Exponential Bet Increases
The catch is what I just said: “Bet long enough.” This idea is a fallacy, for a couple of reasons.
First, tables have max bets. The Martingale produces exponential bet increases, so a player exceeds the max bet with a few unlucky spins. Also, the exponential bets after 7 losing spins would be $640. That would be a risk of $640 in order to have a $10 profit on that set of bets.
Most players soon exceed their own comfort zone when it comes to bets if any amount of bad luck happens. All this is done to chase lost cash, which leads to the risk of ruin — that is, losing your whole bankroll. Computer simulations have been done and it’s been shown that the Martingale Technique loses more money over a billion bets than flat betting.
Other progressive betting schemes exist, but they all contain the same fallacy: that changing your pattern of bets is going to change the house edge. Other progressive bets include the Reverse Martingale, Labouchere, Reverse Labouchere, D’Alembert, Reverse D’Alembert, Paroli (Parlay), and Fibonacci betting. The Fibonacci Technique is one of the most bewitching of these fake strategies because it’s based on the thought-provoking Fibonacci Patterns found throughout nature. Unfortunately, finding the secret to gambling in nature’s floral patterns is more numerology than mathematics, so I wouldn’t buy the con.
Regressive Betting Patterns
Just as barmy is the idea of playing a regressive betting pattern. That is, you increase your wagers when winning. Oscar’s Grind/Pluscoup and Tier et Tout (a la Boule De Neige) are examples of positive progressions. These are streak systems, based on the concept that a number is betting hot. That is a good introduction to the gambler’s fallacy.
The Gambler’s Fallacy is based on a misunderstanding of how probability works. It centers around whether a game is “hot” or “cold”, or whether a number is “due”. The common-sense approach to probability is that every number has an equal chance to appear on a roulette wheel. Thus, if a number hasn’t appeared recently, it is due to hit.
If online roulette is done right, then every single spin of the wheel is separate from every other spin. If a spin hit on “7” last time, that does not change the probability of hitting a “7” on the next hand. Yes, over a million hands, the results are likely to look like the probabilities. In the short term, nothing of the sort applies.
Players tend to think in limited terms when gambling. They think of 1,000 spins as a lot. If the number 15 hasn’t appeared very often in 1,000 spins, they think 15 is due. It simply doesn’t work that way.
Also called Square Ro-Let, this betting pattern was introduced in Jack Kennedy’s 1998 book “Square Ro-let”. It combined a flat bet, the dealer’s signature, and Follow the Last Color betting to beat the casino. Unfortunately, no one could understand Positional Roulette betting. Even Jack Kennedy wrote, “it can only be learned in practice”. That’s one of the great con games, to claim a system is so intricate and genius that only a few understand it. If a gambler uses the system and he or she fails, then it’s because he or she doesn’t understand the system enough.
Most of the roulette games that you can find online are either American, European, or French, but there are a few that take the same idea and change it to create a new game, a new way of playing roulette. These are some of those variations:
In most casino settings, roulette does not offer the best odds. For that reason, it’s a game preferred by novices and old-timers. For either group of gamblers, casino roulette online is a slow-paced game which does not require strategy decisions. The spinning wheel is a little mesmerizing. Therefore, the game is relaxing to many, with occasional thrills.