Tips for online roulette
A classic game at traditional brick-and-mortar casinos, roulette has always been one of the most popular casino activities, and probably the second most played after blackjack. Since players can see the table and the betting options available, the game of roulette is very straightforward and easy to play. It is also one of the most recognizable casino settings, due to its glamorous and sophisticated image, being depicted in several films, TV shows and books.
The first form of the game was developed in France in the 18th century, and it’s believed that Blaise Pascal, a French mathematician, physicist and inventor, created a primitive version of the game while trying to devise a perpetual motion machine. The roulette mechanism we know today is a hybrid of the wheel invented by Pascal and the Italian game cavagnole. The first accounts of the game date back to the end of the 18th century, when it was described in a book about French aristocrats playing it at the Palais Royal in Paris.
Roulette is one of the most popular casino games online as well, and it was among the available games when the first online casino was launched in 1996. Thanks to technology advancements, computers became capable of handling continuous generation of random numbers and complex screen graphics, and online roulette kept improving significantly. Today, there are many variants, including themed tables, multiball roulette and pinball roulette. There are also live dealer games that are managed by professional croupiers, instead of random number generators, and are streamed from casinos or luxurious broadcast studios to players all across the globe.
With so many variants and different types of bets, roulette can be a little confusing for novice players. However, with a few simple tips, players can get a better understanding of the game and improve their winnings.
French roulette vs. American roulette
There are two main variants that are played today: French roulette and American roulette. Both versions have a lot in common, and the basic difference is the wheel layout, which significantly impacts the house edge on each one.
The French wheel contains numbers ranging from 1 to 36 and includes one single zero pocket. The numbers are laid out in such a way that red and black numbers always alternate, odd and even numbers are also alternated, and high and low numbers are spread out evenly around the wheel. This means that no number belongs to the same group as the adjacent pockets, and the order of the number is not random; it was made to provide balance and structure to the game.
The American roulette wheel also contains numbers from 1 to 36, but it features both a single zero and a double zero pocket. In this version, the numbers are laid out in a different pattern, with less balance; high and low numbers, as well as odd and even numbers, can appear in adjacent tiles.
The different layouts also represent different house edges. Since the French roulette features 37 pockets, it has a house edge of just 2.7%. Because the American roulette presents an additional zero pocket, it comes in a much larger house edge of 5.26%.
Inside and outside bets
Online roulette tables provide an extensive range of bets, with some considered to be high-risk and others being low-risk wagers; high-risk bets generate higher payouts than low-risk ones. In standard roulette games, wagers are divided into two types, called inside and outside bets.
Outside bets are those placed outside the roulette table’s number field, indicating a bet on a predetermined range of numbers. There are six outside bets in a conventional roulette table:
• ‘1 to 18’ and ‘19 to 36’ - players bet the winning number will fall within one of these two ranges
• Red or black - indicates a bet on the winning number color range
• Even or odd - player bet the winning number will be even or odd
• Dozen bet - wager made on one of three number sequences: 1-12. 13-24 or 25-36
• Column bet - betting on one of the three columns on the number field.
Inside bets are the wagers made on certain numbers within the number field, and are also divided in six categories:
• Straight up - bet made on a single number
• Split - wager made on two adjacent numbers
• Street - players bet on three numbers in the same row
• Corner or square - betting on a group of four numbers
• Five - on an American table, this represents a bet on the numbers 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3. On an French table, it covers the numbers 0, 1, 2 and 3.
• Line - just like a street bet, but instead of one row, this bet selects two adjacent rows
Game selection tips
Since roulette is a game of chance, with more luck attributed than other factors, there aren’t many strategies or tricks like counting cards that would increase the players’ edge. However, selecting the variants with the best odds and payouts could lead players to decrease their losses.
Players should always choose the French version of the game, because the extra zero pocket on American roulettes increases the house edge. As for the rules, punters should look for games offering the surrender rule, which grants refunds if the ball lands on the zero pockets; or the “en prison” rule, which allows bettors to play an extra ball if the first lands on 0.