Roulette is a wildly popular game in casinos throughout the world, with gamblers spending millions in bets on the wheel every year. The game originated in 18th Century France and and continued to grow in popularity, until meeting wider audiences in the latter half of the 20th Century, when casinos worldwide began to offer the game. It is important to note that there are two versions of the game. French (or alternatively European) roulette is the original version of the game, which features a single 0 value on the wheel, which acts as the house edge of the game. The other version of the game, American roulette is identical in terms of gameplay, except for the inclusion of the single 0 and double 0 (00) values on the wheel, which in turn doubles the house edge in American roulette. It is for that reason, such is the knowledge of roulette aficionados across the world, that if you are given the choice, you should always play the French version of the game as it has better odds. There are some other differences between the two style of games in their betting structures, however these will not be covered in this guide, due to the fact that bets unique to the French version of the game are rapidly declining.
Roulette is a game of chance, with the outcome of the game being decided by where a ball lands on a spinning wheel. The wheel is divided up into 37 sections, ranging from the values 0 (or 00) to 36. Each section is also represented by a colour, either red or black. There are 18 sections for both red and black. The game is controlled by a dealer, alternatively known as a croupier if you are in Europe, who is responsible for taking bets, handling chips, and setting the wheel and ball in motion. In order to place a bet, you will need to exchange some cash for some roulette chips. Roulette chips are different to the standard casino chips. You are assigned you own personal colour of chip, as this helps the dealer to keep track of bets, due to the chaotic nature of the roulette board. Therefore, in order to play, it is essential that you purchase some chips from the dealer, indicating what value you would like your chips to be, as they can range in value from a single dollar to hundreds of dollars. After securing some roulette chips, in order to place a bet, your desired stake on the value on the board you wish to bet on. And that is it. It really is that simple. Now while it is true that the method of placing a bet is simple, and that some bets are pretty straight forward, there are also some bets which are a bit more complicated and require further explanation. The different types of bet will be outlined below, which will hopefully help you to rake in the chips at the table!
There are many bets in roulette, which will be outlined and explained below, in order of their odds. Those with the lowest odds, will be listed first. Also, it is important to note that bets are split into two categories: inside bets and outside bets. Outside bets have lower odds than inside bets, due to having a wider array of outcomes which result in the player winning. It is easy to see which bets are outside bets, as they are not specific numerical bets and appear on the outside of the roulette table, for example red, black, odd, even, high, low are all outside bets, which will now be explained in more detail below.
◦ The outcome of the spin lands on a red number. Pays at evens.
◦ The outcome of the spin lands on a black number. Pays at evens.
◦ The outcome of the spin lands on a number between 19-36. Pays at evens.
◦ The outcome of the spin lands on a number between 1-18. Pays at evens.
◦ The outcome of the spin lands on an odd number. Pays at evens.
◦ The outcome of the spin lands on an odd number. Pays at evens.
- Dozens (1st dozen, 2nd dozen, 3rd dozen)
◦ The outcome of the spin is in the quota that you bet on. For example, if your bet was placed on 1st dozen, then the outcome on the spin must land on a value between 1-12. Pays at 2-1
◦ This is a bet that is not marked on by words on the table in the same way that the other outside bets are. A column bet is a bet on the outcome of the spin being any one of the 12 numbers in a vertical column, for example, a 1st column bet includes the values 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28, 31, 34. To place a column bet, place your chip(s) in the space underneath the last number in the column. Pays at 2-1.
Inside bets are generally more specific bets, which involve betting on a smaller range of numbers. Due to the possibility of a winning outcome being slimmer, the returns of these bets are higher.
- Numbers, sometimes known as ‘Straight Up’
◦ This is a bet on a specific number. To win, the outcome of the spin must land on exact number you bet one. Pays at 35-1
◦ This is similar to a straight up numbers bet, except the bet is wagered on two numbers that are side-by-side, either vertically or horizontally. To place a split bet, place your chip(s) on the line between the two numbers you wish to bet on. Pays at 17-1.
◦ This is a bet on all 3 numbers that appear in a horizontal line on the roulette table, for example 1, 2, 3. The outcome of the spin can land on any value in this quota. To place a street bet, place your chip(s) on the edge of the line of the number at the end of the row. Pays at 11-1.
◦ This is a bet on 4 numbers that appear in a square formation, all immediately next to each other, for example 2, 3, 5 ,6. The outcome of the spin can land on any value in this quota. To place a corner bet, place your chip(s) in the middle of the 4 values, that is where the horizontal and vertical lines intersect between the values. Pays at 8-1
- 6 Line (may be referred to as a double street)
◦ This is a bet on 6 numbers, which is similar to the street bet. To place a 6 line bet, the procedure is similar to that of a street bet, except you place your chip(s) at the point where the 2 sets of horizontal values intersect. Pays at 5-1.
All of this may seem confusing at first, however you will quickly pick it up. If you truly believe there is no hope for you to understand the more complex bets, then stick to the outside bets. Although they have lower payouts, they are self explanatory, therefore you will actually know what you are betting your money on, which means you can be lured into the excitement of the roulette table as you hope you get a winning result. It is also important to note that you can place multiple bets. For example, you can place chips on red and odd simultaneously. Many casinos provide ‘free tables’ for you to get the hang of the game at. If you are still unsure how to the play the game, it is perhaps best to check out one of these tables first.
Due to the fast paced and hectic nature of roulette betting, you must pay attention what the dealer is saying. Usually, the dealer will indicate the betting window has closed by saying ‘no more bets please’. You must listen to this and not attempt to bet after this, as you run the risk of losing your chips. You may even be accused of trying to cheat. Also, it is important to understand that tables have a minimum bet. This will be clearly displayed at the table, so pay attention. If you want to play for smaller amounts of table, then stick with the low minimum tables, if you want to play for higher amounts (and therefore running the risk of losing more) then check out the tables with a higher minimum bet.
Many people will claim to have foolproof strategies on how to play roulette, but the truth is, unless you are involved in some kind of scam which is influencing the behaviour of the ball and/or wheel, the outcome is totally random. Therefore, roulette strategies are pointless. Another common mistake that roulette newcomers make is falling into the trap of ‘the gambler’s fallacy’. Essentially, this is when the gambler thinks the next outcome has to be a certain value, to the results which have come before. For example, a game of roulette has been played 10 times in a row, and all 10 times, the outcome has been an odd number, many people will begin to pile money onto betting the next number will be even, believing an even number has to occur eventually. This is wrong! The odds always remain the same, no matter what the previous outcomes are. So even if the outcome has been black 100 times in a row, the odds of the number on the 101st spin being red is exactly the same as all the other 100 previous spins at 2-1. People often confuse the probability of an outcome being improbable with impossible. The chance of the ball landing on the number 37 on a roulette wheel is impossible, as the number 37 does not exist. The chance of a ball landing on the same number 100 times in a row is improbable, but could still happen.