Gamblers have enjoyed playing roulette for centuries, with the current form of the game first appearing as far back as the 1700s. Today, it is offered at virtually every casino in the world where table games are available. Roulette is an extremely easy game to learn how to play which is one of the main reasons behind its popularity.
Roulette’s simple rules and straightforward payout structure does come at a cost; the house edge at your average roulette table is higher than almost every other live casino game. The house edge for European Roulette is 2.7% while American Roulette is nearly double that, at 5.26%. It is for this reason that serious gamblers tend to play other table games in lieu of roulette.
In the following sections, we’ll be going over everything there is to know about roulette. Read on to learn how to play roulette, odds, payouts and basic strategy.
One major difference between roulette and every other table game is related to the chips players use to place bets. Unlike popular games such as blackjack, baccarat or craps, roulette chips do not have denominations printed on them. Instead, a roulette table is equipped with anywhere from 6 to 8 different sets which have approximately 300 chips each. When a player arrives at a table and buys in they are given all chips of a certain color. The value of 1 roulette chip is equal to the total amount of the player’s buy-in divided by the number of chips given to them by the dealer.
Roulette is also one of the only table games that uses a wheel, with its closest competitor being the lesser-known Big Six Wheel. A standard roulette wheel is comprised of either 37 (European variations) or 38 (American variations) non-numerically-sequential pockets that are colored black, red or green. The pockets numbered 1-36 alternate between black and red while the 0 and 00 pockets are both green.
Once all bets have been placed down on the table, the game will begin. The dealer will start off by closing all bets and spinning the wheel. Shortly thereafter a small metal ball is spun around the outside of the wheel in the opposite direction. After a few seconds, the ball will fall in a single numbered, colored pocket; this is the winning number/color.
Adjacent to the numbered wheel, on the table’s felt, there is a somewhat confusing board where all of the available betting combinations are displayed. The board consists of all the numbers that are present on the wheel (either 37 or 38 numbers total) in addition to a few other possible betting options. These other proposition bets include placing a wager on any the following outcomes of a spin:
– The ball landing on a red number
– The ball landing on a black number
– The ball landing on any even number
– The ball landing on any odd number
– The ball landing on “0”
– The ball landing on “00” (American Roulette)
– The ball landing on any number from 1-18
– The ball landing on any number from 19-36
– The ball landing on any number from 1-12
– The ball landing on any number from 13-24
– The ball landing on any number from 25-36
– The ball landing on any number in row 1
– The ball landing on any number in row 2
– The ball landing on any number in row 3
The payout for winning a wager varies drastically depending on which outcome the player bet on. The highest payout is available when betting on a single number (including “0” and “00”). This pays 35:1 in both American and European variations. The lowest possible payout is 1:1 which is offered for bets placed on odd, even, black or red numbers, as well as any number between 19 to 36 or 1 to 18. A full paytable can be found below:
– “0” (35:1)
– “00” (35:1) *American
– Any single number (35:1)
– Row “0”/”00″ (17:1) *American
– Split ~ any two adjacent numbers (17:1)
– Street ~ any three numbers horizontal (11:1)
– Corner ~ any four adjoining numbers in a block (8:1)
– Top line / Basket (8:1) *European
– Top line / Basket (6:1) *American
– Six line ~ any six numbers from two horizontal rows (5:1)
– Row 1 (2:1)
– Row 2 (2:1)
– Row 3 (2:1)
– 1-12 (2:1)
– 13-24 (2:1)
– 25-36 (2:1)
– Red (1:1)
– Black (1:1)
– Even (1:1)
– Odd (1:1)
– 1-18 (1:1)
– 19-36 (1:1)
As you probably guessed, American Roulette is primarily played in the United States. An American Roulette wheel will have 38 numbered slots which are positioned around the outside of the wheel. It is numbered 1-36 and is joined by a 0 and 00 position. Players are able to bet on the chances that a spin of the roulette wheel will see the ball land on any one of the 38 numbers.
Additionally, players may place “outside” bets where the wager is that the spin of the wheel will see the ball land on any one of a combination of numbers, or the color of the pocket in which the ball rests. For example, placing a wager on “Second 12” means that the bettor is hoping a spin of the wheel will see the ball land on any number between 13 and 24.
European Roulette is different than its American counterpart in only a few, subtle ways. For one, the European Roulette wheel only contains a single 0 as opposed to the American variety that has a 0 as well as a 00.
Additionally, European Roulette offers a half-back or “en prison” rule that gives a player wagering a 1:1 bet half of their money back should the ball land on 0. This means that, for example, if a player places a $50 wager on black and the ball settles in the 0 pocket, they will be returned $25. This rule holds true for all 1:1 wagers (red, black, even, odd, 1-18, and 19-36).
Atlantic City rules also give half of a player’s wager back should the ball land in the 0 or 00 pockets. As you can plainly see, Atlantic City Roulette is the perfect mesh of American and European style roulette games.
Aside from playing roulette at a live table with a dealer, many land-based casinos now offer electronic roulette terminals. While these tend to be much more popular at casinos that do not have live table games, they are still available at most casinos including many in Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
Virtual roulette machines generally offer the same rules and odds as live roulette tables, and some even have a real wheel located in the center of the terminal that is covered by a glass dome. These machines can seat 8 or more players, making it more efficient for casino operators in terms of utilizing space. The most popular electronic roulette machines are made by Novomatic and IGT.
Because the game of roulette is based entirely on chance, there are very few things a player can do to increase their odds of winning a single spin of the wheel. With that being said, however, there are steps a player can take in an attempt to mitigate potential losses.
A lot of players employ the practice of betting larger amounts on better odds and smaller amounts on wagers where the odds are severely stacked up against you. While this practice gives you no real advantage over the house, it does give you a better opportunity to keep your head above water. For example, a player looking to wager $50 has a much better chance of winning a single bet on black than he or she does placing that same $50 on any single number on the roulette table. Of course, hitting the single number bet is much more profitable than hitting the bet on black, but it is also much less likely to happen.
The only other circumstances in which a player may have an advantage over the house is in the case of a tilted wheel or a predictable dealer. In some instances, a seasoned dealer will roll the ball the exact same way at the exact same time every single spin. If a keen-eyed player is able to notice this, they may have a slightly better chance of winning a given bet than someone who fails to notice a dealer’s consistently repetitive movements. Keep in mind though, this type of scenario rarely happens and is even more rarely caught by the players.
Finally, a player may have a greater than normal chance of winning if the roulette wheel is altered, or biased, in some way. Though casinos regularly check their roulette wheels for defects, there have been instances where a player is given a better than normal chance of winning due to something like a worn down wooden track, a tilted wheel, or any other abnormality. Regardless of these possible wheel defects, it can still take thousands and thousands of spins for a player to prove or take advantage of any of them.
Roulette is loved by casino-goers all over the world because of its simplicity. In the same breadth, people tend to avoid roulette tables because it is a game of chance where the player has little to no way of increasing their odds of coming out a winner. The game has a few variations, but they are only slight and just like the game itself, easy to learn. By understanding the rules associated with each roulette variation and knowing the odds of each and every bet, a player can more readily enjoy their time at the wheel.