Roulette is one of the most popular and exciting games available to online casino players. To give you the best chance of winning, use this page to familiarise yourself with the essential rules and strategies of Roulette play.
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The game mechanics of Roulette are simple enough for beginners to pick up easily. You place your bet(s) on any of the fields marked out on the table, and the wheel spins. If the little ball lands in a pocket that you bet on, you win! If we break it down into steps, the process is like this:
For a lot of players, this is all that you need to know in order to have fun playing Roulette. Those seeking more complexity though, can explore further the different betting options and payouts that are available on the felt. We will get into these later in the guide.
Lots of people like to play Roulette online nowadays. It takes hardly any time at all to start playing – just follow these simple steps:
There are a wide variety of bets you can place when playing Roulette. In the table below you will find all the bets that are available in a typical European Roulette game.
|Red / Black|
Any red / black number
|1 : 1||48.6%|
|Low numbers (1-18)|
High numbers (19-36)
|1 : 1||48.6%|
|Odd / Even|
Any odd / even number
|1 : 1||48.6%|
|1st Dozen (1-12)|
2nd Dozen (13-24)
3rd Dozen (25-36)
|2 : 1||32.4%|
1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28, 31, 34
|2 : 1||32.4%|
2, 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 23, 26, 29, 32, 35
|2 : 1||32.4%|
3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33, 36
|2 : 1||32.4%|
Any 6 number combination
|5 : 1||16.2%|
Any 5 number combination
|6 : 1||13.5%|
Any 4 number combination
|8 : 1||10.8%|
Any 3 number combination
|11 : 1||8.1%|
Any 2 number combination
|17 : 1||5.4%|
Any number, including 0
|35 : 1||2.7%|
Usually the preserve of advanced players (or someone who wants to appear so), there are certain 'special' bets which you can make at the Roulette wheel. These are made as follows:
The odds of winning at Roulette vary depending on the bets you make, as shown in the table above. As with any casino game, online or offline, there is an element to Roulette which tips it in the favour of the casino/house. But this ‘house edge’ does not change depending on the bet, as it does in Craps.
The house edge of European Roulette is 2.7%, and this holds true for all bets. The house edge in Roulette is derived from the zero on the wheel – if the ball lands in the zero pocket, most bets will lose. The chance of getting a zero, or indeed any other single number, is 2.7%.
Imagine you bet on red. There are 18 numbers that mean you win, and 19 that mean you lose. The odds are as follows:
The 2.7% chance of the ball landing in a pocket that is neither red nor black is what gives the casino its advantage. Meaning even though it pays out at even money, betting on red or black doesn’t give you a 50/50 chance of winning.
In American Roulette, there are two zeros on the wheel, so the house edge is nearly twice as big at 5.26%. This is why most savvy Roulette players will advise you to steer clear of American tables.
There is one bet in American Roulette which does not have a 5.26% house edge. It’s called the ‘sucker bet’, and has a whopping house edge of 7.89%. If you still want to try this bet out, it is made by placing chips on the five lowest numbers: 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3.
People started to play European Roulette at the turn of the 19th century. Since then, mathematicians and gamblers alike have been searching for the perfect Roulette strategy or system that can consistently return wins to its player.
Despite Roulette being undeniably a game of luck, there are people who believe these systems will guarantee profitable sessions. In reality, betting systems are best used to regulate your play, taking the randomness and guesswork out of deciding how much to bet and what to bet on.
Our complete guide to betting systems contains all you need to know. The crucial fact remains though, that regardless of the system or strategy you implement in Roulette, the house edge will always exist and cannot be avoided.
Put simply: there are no sure-fire ways to guarantee winning at Roulette, either on a single spin or over the course of an hour-long session.
If you’re playing for the first time you might find yourself confused in regards to which of the many variations of Roulette you should play. Use this quick explainer to get yourself started:
The most common Roulette variation, European Roulette uses a wheel with numbers 0-36. As mentioned above, it has a house edge of 2.7%, regardless of the bet you make.
Some variations of Roulette offer a rule known as ‘En Prison’. When playing with this rule, instead of losing your bet when the ball lands on zero, your wager is put ‘in prison’. Then another spin of the wheel will decide whether you win or lose that bet.
If you are playing European Roulette (i.e. a table with one zero) with En Prison rules, the house edge is reduced to just 1.35%.
This variation is less popular due to the fact that American Roulette tables use a wheel with two zeroes (0 and 00). This means the house edge is higher (5.26%). However there are still people who prefer this variation – find out more on our American Roulette page.
Some American Roulette games will offer you the ‘Surrender’ rule on even money bets (i.e. red/black, even/odd, high/low). With this rule, you only lose half your bet when the ball lands in one of the zero pockets.
This reduces the house edge down to 2.63%, which is in fact lower than the house edge in standard European Roulette.
The sense of mystery and curiosity that offline and online Roulette evokes has intrigued experienced and beginner players alike. In days gone by, large crowds of casino players would dress to impress in their most stylish and elegant attire to play.
Nowadays of course, many choose to play online Roulette from the comfort of their own homes rather than visit a land-based casino to play. The evolution of Roulette from a traditional casino game to a modern online casino game is fascinating.
Starting from the beginning, the first and most obvious question is; who invented Roulette?
Although we don't have a definite answer to this, there are many possibilities. The most popular theory is that it was invented by Blaise Pascal, an academic scientist from France. Some believe that it was created by a French monk to brighten up life at the monastery.
Still others think that a group of French Dominican monks came up with the idea of Roulette. Supposedly they based it on an old Tibetan game, in which 37 animal statuettes were arranged into a mystical square number of 666 - which also happens to be the sum of all the numbers on a Roulette wheel.
During the 17th century, the perpetual motion machine was invented by a French student of probability named Blaise Pascal. After a few changes in its layout and design were made, the first Roulette wheel was born.
Reports from this era state that Roulette was first sighted in a Paris casino, where it became a favourite amongst the players there. Early iterations of the Roulette wheel had pockets labelled 1-36 with a single 0 pocket.
However, many casinos thought that this created a very unfavourable house edge. So an owner of a Monte Carlo casino named Francois Blanc, together with his brother, became the first to another 0 to some of their Roulette wheels. This was done in order to increase the house edge and boost the game's profits.
Skipping ahead to 1873, this was the year in which Joseph Jaggers managed to cheat over $325,000 from a malfunctioning Roulette wheel in a Monte Carlo Casino. The 1800s were good to high rolling Roulette players, as nearly two decades later in 1891 Charles Wells managed to ‘break the bank’ playing Roulette in the same district.
The 1800s is also the century in which Roulette fever eventually spread outside France and made its debut in the rest of Europe and America. Some Roulette wheels incorporated a single zero, which favoured casino patrons, while others included a double zero, increasing the house edge.
Games using Roulette wheels with a double zero are now commonly referred to as 'American Roulette'. Those using wheels that retain the original single zero are known as 'European Roulette' or just 'Roulette'.
French Roulette also exists, and is considered to be the oldest form of Roulette. It was invented before the first zero was added to the Roulette wheel - giving the house an edge for the first time. French Roulette is very similar to European Roulette - the main difference being layout of the betting fields.
Roulette has been featured in numerous books over the years, ranging from crime novels to adventure books. Nonetheless, it wasn’t until moving films become a cultural phenomenon around the globe that Roulette reached its peak.
The 1942 film Casablanca was the very first moving picture to feature Roulette. This paved the way to it being shown more commonly on the silver screen. Roulette was featured in multiple Western films in the 1970s such as the 'Support Your Local Gunfighter' and 'The Sting'.
One of the most infamous high stakes Roulette players is a Londoner named Ashley Revell. He became an overnight celebrity in 2004 thanks to a reality TV show called Double or Nothing. Revell sold all his personal property, with the exception of the clothes he was wearing, to travel to Las Vegas’s infamous Plaza Hotel. He also took a sponsorship from Blue Square betting company, changing his name to Ashley 'Blue Square' Revell by deed poll.
The sale of all his possessions plus the sponsorship money from Blue Square enabled Revell to gather the impressive sum of $135,000 before he embarked on his journey to Sin City. Upon arriving in Las Vegas, Revell took the largest gamble of his life and bet everything on Red, with a single spin of the Roulette wheel - the ultimate high stakes Roulette gamble. Lady luck smiled on Revell that day, and the ball eventually settled in the 7 Red compartment - the exact number and colour he had bet on.
Before taking home his huge winnings of $270,600, Revell tipped the concierge $600 as they opened some celebratory bottles of champagne. Revell’s name can now be seen displayed on felt in the Plaza Hotel lobby as a testament to the potential glories of high stakes Roulette play. We think Ashley Revell would get along well with a certain other Londoner we know:
Now you’ve familiarised yourself with our Roulette guide, you should be ready to take on the casinos.
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