If you think of a casino, the image of a spinning roulette wheel will probably come to mind. This iconic game has been a fixture at land based casinos since its invention in the 17th century, and has remained popular as casinos have moved online. Apart from the simplicity of this early ‘random number generator’ there is something hypnotic about the spinning of the wheel which has attracted players for so many years. Apart from that, there is the very real advantage in that this is one game with a very low house edge, which means that by playing the right bets players can walk away from the roulette tables with a very nice profit.
HOW TO PLAY ROULETTE
Roulette is not a complex game, which is one of its attractions to players who may feel overwhelmed by the seeming complexity of less familiar casino games. However the real skill in roulette lies in the bets that you place, as these will greatly affect your chances of winning or losing. To summarise the game as quickly as possible: the player places a bet on a number or group of numbers, and then the croupier spins the wheel and wherever the ball lands determines whether you win or lose. Couldn’t be simpler, right?
The real skill in this game is in knowing which types of bets favour the player, and acting accordingly, so let’s go through some of the betting options. There are two main bet types in Roulette: Inside and Outside bets, so called because of how the bets are displayed on the table. Outside bets are those such as Red or Black, Odds or Evens and groups of 12s, and these are displayed outside the rectangle featuring the numbers from 0 to 36. Placing a bet on single or groups of numbers is known as an Inside bet, and while the returns on this type of bet are higher, the chances of winning are obviously reduced. One important point to note: if you are playing on an American Roulette table there is an extra 00 pocket. While this may not seem to be too important, in fact it is one reason why you should steer clear of this type of table, as we will explain further below.
There are three main types of Roulette wheel and within them some further variations to be found at online casinos. Let’s take a look at the three principal variations played in Europe, Las Vegas and Asia first:
– European Roulette: This is the ‘standard’ version of the game, and if it is not specified otherwise you can assume that this is the version you will be playing online.
– American Roulette: It is easy to distinguish the American version of the wheel as the numbers are in different sequence and – most importantly – you will see that extra ‘00’ pocket.
– French Roulette: The layout is the same as the European game, but you may see French expressions on the board to denote certain specific bets, and also there is an extra rule on the French table that can prove very beneficial.
ONLINE ROULETTE VARIATIONS:
– Multi-Wheel Roulette: This version of the game allows you to bet on up to 6 wheels which are spinning at the same time.
– Video Roulette: This is a European/French wheel where the only difference is that you get to see realistic video graphics of the spin.
– Marvel/Age of Gods Roulette: In this and other branded variations there is an extra pocket which releases a bonus award if you bet on it and it comes up.
– Live Dealer Roulette: One of the most popular forms of roulette at online casinos is the live version, as many players prefer to see a real life croupier spinning the wheel rather than the random number generator powered virtual versions of the game.
As we mentioned above, the skill in Roulette is all about choosing your bet wisely, because once the wheel starts spinning this is a completely random game which the player cannot influence. A wise player will consider both the house edge and the probability of a win before placing a bet on the outcome of a roulette spin. Let’s look at the house edge first, and this demonstrates very clearly why you should never play on an American Roulette table unless you have no other option. The house edge on bets placed on a European table is 2.70%, which is how much the casino would expect to take off players over time.
However, the double zero pocket on American tables makes that house edge jump up to 5.26% meaning that these tables are much worse value for the player. When it comes to the probability of your winning, the bets with the biggest chance of success are the outside bets. Betting on Red/Black, Odds/Evens or 1-18/19-36 all have about a 47.37% chance on an American wheel and 48.64% on a French/European wheel.
Now let’s take a look at some Pro Tips to dive deeper into the world of online roulette:
We mentioned earlier the advantage of a special rule on the French wheel that favours the players, and that rule is called La Partage. This basically means that if the result is zero, half your bet on “even money” bets (Red/Black, Odds/Evens, etc) will be returned to the player. This rule reduces the house edge to as little as 1.35% which is why you should always look out for this type of roulette table when playing online.
The Martingale system is a betting system which is often implemented on the roulette wheel, and while it can lead to profit it is a somewhat risky system to use. Basically the idea is that the player chooses an “even money” bet like Red/Black, and doubles his stake on each losing bet until his first win arrives which will cover his losses and give a profit. The downside to this system is that if you do not get a win before your stake money runs out then you will suffer some very heavy losses, so a large bank balance is required in order to be able to keep playing.
The Labouchere system is a more forgiving version of the Martingale, and one which attempts to offset the casino’s in built advantage on the roulette wheel. This time you write down a sequence of stakes which total the amount you want to win, so for example you could choose $100 in the form of 10 10 20 20 20 10 10. Your first bet is the first and last number of the sequence (10 + 10 = $20) and if you win you cross the two 10s off your list. If you lose, add the losing amount of 20 to the end of the list, and carry on with your next bet of 10 + 20 = $30. Again you are betting on even money bets here, but this time as you only need the results to go your way 1/3 of the time you are increasing your chance of a win. The drawback? A sequence of early losses will require you to have a big enough bankroll to enable you to keep playing.