Master the wheel with RightCasino’s expertly-written roulette guide.
Roulette is one of the most popular and iconic casino games in the world – and its barely changed in hundreds of years. Our roulette guide provides a straightforward, step-by-step introduction to the game, steering you through the rules, odds and variations through to incredible new ways of playing.
By the time you finish the last lesson, you’ll know how to handle the wheel like a pro!
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Roulette is a very simple gambling game that relies purely on luck. When you play roulette at a casino, a croupier is in charge of the gaming table, which consists of the playing area where the players make their bets and the roulette wheel itself.
The playing area is a grid-like pattern divided into lots of squares. The main playing area is a 3×12 grid containing thirty-six numbers. There are additional areas where you can place bets on ‘black or red’ or ‘odd or even’ and other collective bets.
The players make bets by placing chips on the playing area. You can bet on a single numbers by placing your chips in their respective squares. You can also bet on groups of numbers by placing your chips on the intersections of lines. If, for example, you place a chip or stack of chips at the point where the corners of four numbers meet, you are betting on all four numbers at the same time.
After a short period of time the croupier will announce ‘no more bets’, meaning that no more bets can be placed. They will then spin the roulette wheel (in modern casinos the roulette wheel is motorised and spins continuously at a set velocity) in one direction and a small metal ball around the wheel in the other. Within the roulette wheel are a number of different numbered slots in which the ball can land. Half of these slots are coloured red, and the other half black (aside from ‘0’ and ’00’, both coloured green). When the ball has landed in one of the slots the croupier will announce the winning number.
A small weight is then placed on the playing area to indicate where the ball ended up. All losing chips are cleared off the table, and all winning bets are paid. The croupier will announce ‘place your bets’, and the whole cycle begins again.
Roulette was invented in France (‘Roulette’ is French for ‘little wheel’) as a combination of several other similar games that were played at the time. There are historical literal references to roulette as early as 1758.
Originally, the French roulette wheel had thirty-six numbers, a zero and a double-zero. The zero was coloured red and the double-zero black, but eventually both numbers came to be coloured green.
In 1843 a pair of French brothers named François and Louis Blanc introduced a new roulette wheel to a casino in the German spa town of Bad Homburg that dropped the double-zero. This increased the chances of players winning and this new wheel swiftly became the most popular type of wheel used across nearly all casinos in Europe.
When roulette reached America via New Orleans and the Mississippi, the original double-zero wheel was chosen. Casinos in the US and indeed all over the Americas still prefer to use the double-zero version of the roulette wheel to this day.
Roulette is a very profitable game for casinos, as the odds are weighted slightly in the casino’s favour. The probability of correctly guessing the winning number are 36-1 (or 37-1 in the American version), yet the casino only pays back 35-1. The casino’s advantage is 2.70 percent in the French or European version of the game, and 5.26 percent in the American.
The range of possible bets in roulette are as follow:
|Straight up||Any single number||36-1||37-1||35-1|
|Row||0 and 00||–||18-1||17-1|
|Split||any two adjacent numbers||35-2||18-1||17-1|
|Basket||0, 1 & 2 (or 00, 2 & 3 or 0, 00 & 2 in US)||34-3||35-3||11-1|
|Street||any three numbers in a single row||11-1||34-3||35-3|
|Corner||any four numbers in a block||33-4||17-2||8-1|
|Top line||0, 00, 1, 2 and 3||–||33-5||6-1|
|Six line||any six numbers in two horizontal rows||31-6||16-3||5-1|
|Column||any one of the three columns of numbers||25-12||13-6||2-1|
|Dozens||any of the three sequential groups of numbers||25-12||13-6||2-1|
|Odd or even||19-18||10-9||1-1|
|Red or black||19-18||10-9||1-1|
|High or low||either 1 to 18 or 19 to 36||19-18||10-9||1-1|
In French or European roulette there is often a secondary betting table where players can place bets based on the sequence of numbers around the roulette wheel itself, as opposed to their numerical sequence. These are typically known as ‘French Bets’, and are explained below:
Roulette has been used in movies and TV shows countless times, and some famous examples are given here.
Virtually every online casino offers at least one form of roulette, and most of them offer several. Some even offer live varieties where you can play with a live croupier at an authentic casino table – the actions is fed to you via a live video stream.
One thing to note when choosing a version of online roulette to play is that you should always choose European or French roulette over American. The house edge is twice as great with American roulette because of the use of the ’00’.
Familiarise yourself with roulette rules and odds and become an ace at the wheel!
Roulette is a deceptively simple game, in spite of the intricate equipment involved. Our first lesson will take you through the fundamentals of this casino classic, teaching you the rules and showing you the odds attached to all possible betting options.
The rules of roulette are very simple. There’s no real strategy involved, you just place your bets and cross your fingers.
Roulette is made up of two components, the wheel and the table (see diagram below) In live games, the wheel is manned by a croupier, while in virtual games the wheel is controlled by a computer. The rules on this page are based on casino roulette.
As you can see below, the wheel contains numbered red and black pockets around the rim, with a green ‘0’ pocket in French and European roulette and an additional ‘00’ pocket for American roulette.
The table is where players place their chips. Its surface contains numbered/coloured segments that correspond to the pockets on the roulette wheel (this is called the layout). In virtual roulette, the physical table is replaced with an electronic interface.
There are two main types of bets in roulette: inside bets with long odds and outside bets with shorter odds. In the following section you will find an overview of all the different types of bets and their corresponding odds.
These bets are so called because they are placed on the inside of the roulette table and include individual numbers or small groups.
The following three bets are only available if you’re playing the American version of roulette.
Outside bets are placed on the outside of the table and have much shorter odds for the player.
|Type of bet||Pay-out||Odds of winning (American)||Odds of winning (European/French)|
|Straight up||35 to 1||37 to 1||36 to 1|
|Split||17 to 1||18 to 1||17.5 to 1|
|Street||11 to 1||11.667 to 1||11.334 to 1|
|Corner||8 to 1||8.5 to 1||8.25 to 1|
|Line||5 to 1||5.33 to 1||5.167 to 1|
|Column||2 to 1||2.167 to 1||2.083 to 1|
|Dozen||2 to 1||2.167 to 1||2.083 to 1|
|Even / Odd||1 to 1||1.111 to 1||1.055 to 1|
|High / Low||1 to 1||1.111 to 1||1.055 to 1|
|Coloured||1 to 1||1.111 to 1||1.055 to 1|
If you’ve got any experience of online gambling, you’ve probably come across roulette ‘strategies’ – D’Almbert, Fibonacci, Martingale etc. While sticking to these systems can be a fun way to organise your play, doing so will not actually make you more likely to win. Therefore, if you see a website promising ‘winning roulette strategies’, don’t be fooled – there is no such thing. This lesson will prove it …
Roulette is designed to make the outcome of spins as random as possible, using deflectors to bash the ball around the inside of the wheel to ensure unpredictable results.
While no game is ever perfectly random, you’d need a high-speed camera and a team of analysts to even get close to guessing the winning half of a live wheel, let alone the winning pocket.
The random number generation software used to determine the outcome of virtual roulette games is also impossible to defeat with human brainpower alone.
Even if you assume that the outcome of a roulette game is random, some players will argue that you can improve your house edge by betting in certain ways: doubling up on losses, or ‘going hard’ with inside bets on streaks and recovering with outside bets when your game slows down.
However, no matter how you play, the house edge will never change. This is because every spin is independent from the last, making each roulette session a mathematically distinct event with no statistical relation to the rest of the game.
As a result, all betting systems for roulette stem from the ‘gambler’s fallacy’.
Roulette systems have a lot in common with astrology – although there’s no evidence that either work, they’ve both had vast amounts of attention and money lavished upon them.
More extraordinary still is the vast array of systems that exist in the gaming world. Here are some of the best known. And remember – although they might claim to open the doorway to untold riches, the numbers simply don’t add up.
A progression system whereby a line of numbers is used to determine the betting amount following a win or a loss. Based on the infamous Martingale System (see below), the Labouchiere usually involves the gambler adding the numbers at the front and end of the line to determine the size of the next bet. The system is such that, by the time the gambler has won a third of his bets, he will be ahead. At least, that’s the idea.
A strategy that dates back to 18th century France, the Martingale employs ‘intuitive analyses. This is a fancy way of saying that, in a situation where one is betting on heads or tails – or, in the case of roulette, red or black – you double your bet after every loss. Considered a sure thing by the wealthy gamblers who first advocated it, it’s anything but – a fact the many people bankrupted by the Martingale strategy could testify to. You don’t have to be too smart to understand what an alternative known as the Reverse Martingale entails. It might be the opposite but the results are invariably the same.
A pyramid system based on a mathematical equilibrium theory devised by the man it’s named after. Known in France as ‘Montant et Demontant’ (literally, ‘up and down’) the D’Alembert is mainly applied to even money outside bets, and is the preferred method of gamblers keen to keep the size of their bets and, therefore, their losses to a minimum. Since it’s based on the illogical notion that a gambler is more likely to follow a win with a loss and vice versa, the only thing that’s inevitable here is you ending the day out of pocket.
Italian Leonardo Fibonacci calculated his famous sequence way back in 1202. An equation that describes such natural phenomena as snail shells, the sequence has proved something of a boon for gamblers who have applied it to both baccarat and roulette. Ultimately, it is but a less aggressive version of the Martingale, with the value of a bet being increased whenever it follow a loss. As with the Martingale, there is also a ‘reverse’ version. Use either at your peril.
Law Of The Third
A principle that governs a range of systems (the Pivot, ‘Tier et Tout’), the law is based upon the notion that, following 37 spins, a third of the numbers on the roulette wheel go ‘cold’. As such, it is down to the player to ‘fish’ for ‘hot numbers’. Adapted umpteen times, no matter what the refinement, the system remains just as fallible. However, the talk of ‘hot numbers’ will be familiar to anyone who’s watched the National Lottery draw and listened to Alan Dedicoat pick it apart with a fervour usually reserved for conspiracy theories.
A simple streak system, the ‘Loophole’ is noteworthy, not because of its complexity – it’s very simple – but because it landed its creator in trouble with the Advertising Standards Authority. Claiming that one could win “£200 a day” by applying his system, Rotherham’s Jason Gillon received quite a shock when he found himself subject to an ASA investigation. Acting on a complaint, the Authority demonstrated that Mr Gillon’s claims were false and, as such, must be withdrawn. Less a ‘Loophole’ than a sink hole, then.
Still don’t believe us that roulette strategies are nothing of the sort? Michael ‘the Wizard of Odds’ Shackleford is a renowned casino mathematician who conducted a number of experiments to prove that roulette systems have no statistical basis.
As an example, Shackleford chose to tackle the Martingale. He explains how the system is supposed to work:
“This system is generally played with an even money game … the idea is that by doubling your bet after a loss, you would always win enough to cover all past losses plus one unit.
“For example, if a player starts at $1 and loses four bets in a row, winning on the fifth, he will have lost $1+$2+$4+$8 = $15 on the four losing bets and won $16 on the fifth bet. The losses were covered and he had a profit of $1.”
After receiving dozens of emails from gamblers insisting that the system worked, Shackleford built a computer program that simulated bettors using two systems, the Martingale and ‘flat betting’ (the same bet every time) over 1,000,000 sessions.
Shackleford found that the ratio of money lost to money won was almost exactly equal to the expected house edge for both betting systems. On top of that, the average loss for the Martingale bettor was much higher than for flat betting (see table below):
If you play online roulette you may be familiar with ‘roulette bots’. These can be purchased on the internet and are basically software that automatically place bets according to a roulette system (usually the Martingale).
As we have seen, there is no winning roulette system. Whether it’s being implemented by a machine or human, no strategy will ever overcome the house edge. Roulette bots are a scam, plain and simple.
Despite roulette strategies being mathematically groundless, many websites continue to claim that these systems will help you win – this is total rubbish.
You’re better off playing responsibly, within your means, with the knowledge that roulette is a game of chance that should be enjoyed on those terms.
Get the best house edge with these popular roulette variations: play European if you can!
There are four main roulette variants that are common across the gambling world. However, in online casinos you occasionally encounter left-field alternatives such as ‘multi-wheel roulette,’ ‘pinball roulette’ and ‘mini roulette’.
The variants below are the only roulette games legally recognised by all casinos, on and off-line.
Everything you need to know about playing roulette on the go.
The magic of modern gambling technology means the majority of online casinos offer mobile-optimised versions of their roulette games. Even live roulette is now widely accessible via a variety of smart devices.
Mobile gambling has exploded in the last five years, to the point that an estimated $10 billion is wagered annually through mobile platforms alone.
Improvements in 3G and 4G technology have made it possible to bring high-quality roulette gaming to mobile devices around the globe. This ultimate gambling convenience means you can play anywhere, at any time – all you need is a smart device and a decent signal.
There are dozens of mobile-optimised roulette games for the iOS operating system, from the popular ‘penny roulette’ to the Paddy Power Casino exclusive, ‘Money-Back Roulette’. The game of roulette is not difficult at all to re-create via software: the wheel spins, the ball rattles around for a bit, then lands, and then you’ve either won or lost money.
Virtually all mobile roulette apps work in the same way. The random number generation (i.e. the number in which the balls lands) is actually done on the host server that you are connected to, and not on your phone. This is so the service provider can maintain an accurate record of your play, just in case of a dispute about winning, or if you manage to ‘crack’ the game and dictate where the ball is going to land.
If you fancy taking mobile roulette for a spin, it’s best to stick with a well-known casino brand. Not only are they much more likely to honour pay-outs, but the software they provide can be trusted, and safeguards will be in place to protect you should you lose your connection mid-spin.
Lots of casinos now also offer the chance for you to play live casino roulette via a video feed. You should only really play ‘live’ if you are certain about the strength of your connection. Not only is it better for you, it’s also better for the players who are at the table with you. It’s frustrating sharing a live table with someone who is continually losing their connection.
You’ll find plenty of roulette games for Android-powered devices. Because Google’s Android operating system is open source, and you can install apps on it from anywhere, there are lots of ‘dubious’ apps out there that are best avoided. It’s always best to stick to casino brands that you know and trust, as your experiences are much more likely to be satisfactory.
As Google Play does not allow online gambling apps to be hosted, you won’t be able to download any Android roulette apps from there – even from major operators. To play, you’ll either be directed to a mobile-optimised site that will load your chosen game in your browser, or be given the link to download an apk (Android package) file which you will need to verify and install yourself.
If you only want to play roulette for fun, you’ll find plenty of apps on Google Play that will allow you to do just that.
A tablet is perhaps the best device for playing mobile roulette, as it provides a much greater playing area than you probably have available on your smartphone. Tablet roulette games are available for both iPads and Android-powered tablets. All decent mobile roulette apps will recognise that you’re playing on a device with a large playing area and tailor the experience accordingly. Having the entire playing surface in view makes it much easier to place your bets than having to continually scroll up and down the screen.
One tip – if you’re searching for a version of tablet roulette to play, always choose European or French roulette over the American version. The house edge is lower in European roulette, and even lower in French roulette, which has more options for placing bets.
Looking for the real thing? Play roulette online with live dealers!
Live roulette has taken the world of internet gambling by storm. Using sophisticated video streaming technology, online casinos can beam real roulette games from dedicated studios and working casinos to millions of players around the world.
It’s easy to see the appeal of live roulette. Aside from combining an authentic casino experience with home comforts, the presence of a real wheel operated by an actual human being provides assurance that everything is being conducted above board. After all, not every player likes to entrust their cash to a random number generator.
You can also sometimes use live chat to interact with the croupier and other punters, creating a much more communal entertainment experience compared to virtual betting.
The vast majority of live roulette games are played via the internet. The rules are identical to land-based roulette and – rather than a random number generator – gravity and momentum decide who wins. Gaming software tracks the result and takes care of distributing winnings while the croupier operates the wheel.
Some casino brands broadcast live roulette games on television, employing glamorous presenters to oversee the proceedings while professional dealers handle the wheel. Players place their bets using their remotes, phones or via the internet.
Many casino brands also provide dealer galleries, so players can get to know their hosts before they play. If you are a loyal customer, you may even be able to request that your favourite croupier man your table when you log on. Feel free to explore the casino websites below and take a gander at their dealer galleries.
If you’ve ever played roulette at a real casino, then you’ll know that between spins the roulette table is a hive of activity, as players hurriedly relinquish their chips before the croupier announces ‘no more bets’. How does that translate to live roulette, where players at the table are located all over the world, watching the wheel spinning via their desktops, laptops and mobile devices?
First of all, nearly all live casinos that offer live roulette do away with the wagering table altogether. Instead, when you sit down at a live ‘online’ table, the only ‘live’ aspect of the casino action is the roulette wheel itself. This is fed to your device’s screen via a live video feed, so you’ll need a solid broadband connection to enjoy the game.
The interface that you’ll see at a live dealer casino will be practically identical to one you’d see when playing ‘normal’ online roulette. You’ll be presented with a computer-generated graphic of the betting table on which you will be able to place as many bets as you want using as many chips as you want, as long as your bankroll stretches far enough. All bets from single numbers to red-or-black will be available, and if you are playing European or French roulette then the extra bets such as voisins (neighbours), orphelins (orphans) and tiers (thirds) will be available too.
Placing your chips is just a matter of picking them up and placing them on the virtual roulette table. All your decisions will be sent to the server which is controlling the wagering aspects of the game, and all wagering activities are strictly computer-controlled, so any chances of croupier-error are eradicated.
There will be a timer that will count down how long you have to bet before the live croupier spins the wheel. The limit is set by the casino but is usually around sixty seconds. You’ll be one of many players playing at the live casino at the same time, but you will only be able to see your own chips. Once you’re happy with your bet placement, hit ‘confirm bets’. Just like in a real casino, once the ‘chips are down’ you will not be able to move them. If you don’t hit ‘confirm bets’ within the time-frame all your chips won’t count for that particular spin, so you’ll just have to hope that your number doesn’t come up!
Because there is no player-dealer decision-making and interaction during roulette – unlike blackjack, baccarat or casino poker – there is no limit to the numbers of players who can play at a live roulette table simultaneously. This, coupled with the fast-paced action, makes live roulette a more profitable game for operators.
The live croupier will announce ‘no more bets’ and set the roulette wheel spinning, and then spin the ball in the opposite direction. You’ll be able to see the ball spinning around the wheel via a close up supplied via the video feed.
Once the ball lands, image recognition software will pick up the position of the ball and feed the winning number into the casino software for all bets to be processed. If you have won, then your bankroll will be adjusted accordingly, and the next betting cycle will begin.
The croupiers or ‘dealers’ used for live roulette are trained to be vocal and more ‘showbiz-style’ than the kind of dealers you get for blackjack or baccarat. The only time that the croupiers are required to be silent is the time between them releasing the ball and that time it lands in a slot. This means they have a minute to fill between each betting round while players are placing their bets.
Information about betting is relayed to the croupier via a terminal, meaning they will see who has been lucky during each spin. Any single number winners are usually announced. The croupier will also relay (erroneous) information about the game, such as which numbers are currently ‘cold’, and which are currently ‘hot’.
The croupiers usually work in shifts of one hour at a time, and will chat happily about their day and their lives (whether accurate or not), as well announcing the lucky winners following each spin of the wheel. This is generally a one-way conversation though as very few live dealer casinos will allow the players to chat with the croupiers, even via messaging. Visionary iGaming-powered casinos such as Celtic Casino are an exception.
Naturally some dealers are more adept at ‘banter’ than others, so if you do meet a live dealer who makes your live roulette experience particularly entertaining, at the end of their session they will normally announce when they are back online. Dealers often take between two and four shifts during the time the casino is up and running, which for most of them is 24/7.
If you feel the ‘chatter’ function of live casino dealers is too off-putting and renders what is quite a serious casino pastime down to game-show level, then a couple of live casinos has ‘live’ roulette without croupiers. Both the spinning of the wheel and the release of the ball are completely automated.
There are also a few casinos where you can actually join in with the live action at a genuine, brick-and-mortar casino, rather than at a specially designed casino studio. Smart Live Casino and Dublin Bet both stream their games from fully-fledged casinos. Here, the action is relayed to you via manned cameras, and you place your bets using the same kind of interface as with any other computer-based casino game.
The croupier will be too busy running the live table, so if you are expecting any dealer interaction, you are going to be disappointed. You will be able to hear the sounds from the live casino action, but the people there will not be able to hear you.
There are three main types of roulette, as ‘little wheel’ aficianados will of course already know. The most common form of roulette offered at live casinos is European roulette, where the roulette wheel only has a single zero. French roulette is practically the same, with the extra bets known as neighbours and orphans available.
The other, less-favoured version of ‘live dealer’ roulette is American roulette, where the wheel has both a single and a double zero. The addition of the double zero doubles the advantage to the house, so if you get the option to choose between American or European roulette, always choose the latter.