Introduction to Roulette

Roulette is among the most recognisable casino games to have ever existed. Considered a game of chance, it is hugely popular in web-based and brick-and-mortar casinos alike. In fact, the very mention of the word “casino” is enough to evoke the image of the spinning wheel in one’s mind. The game is relatively easy to play as in fact, one is not even required to be a seasoned gambler in order to join the roulette table, place a few bets and win.

But what is the secret to the game’s popularity? The answer is simple – roulette easily ranks as one of the most dynamic games to play in a gambling venue. As there are numerous betting options available, it offers players excitement and thrills like no other. But make no mistake – roulette may revolve around chance, yet to a great extent it is a strategic game. A good amount of disciple, a proper strategy and adequate bankroll management are all required in order to walk away from the roulette table on profit.

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Brief History of Roulette

Over the years, there have been numerous debates on where did the game of roulette originate. The disputes remain unsolved to this day but according to some theories, the roulette wheel was accidentally invented by French physicist and mathematician Blaise Pascal in 1655, while he was attempting to create a perpetual motion machine.

The earliest recorded references of a game of this name date back to 1758, when regulations for New France (present day Quebec) prohibited the populace to participate in games of “dice, hoca, faro, and roulette”. A version of the game has been played in Paris since 1796. In 1801, Jaques Lablee described a roulette wheel and a table layout in his novel La Roulette, ou le Jour. Lablee’s description bears a striking resemblance to what one would see at a roulette table today – he describes a wheel with “pockets” numbered from 1 to 36 as well as a zero pocket.

Later on, in 1843, the first single-zero roulette wheel was officially introduced in a casino in the German town of Homburg to improve the pay-off to players. It was Frenchman Francois Blanc, who came up with the idea after supposedly selling his soul to the Devil in exchange for learning the secrets of winning at roulette. Seventeen years later, gambling was abolished in Germany and the Blanc family was forced to move to Monte Carlo, where they established a gambling venue for the elite.

The game was quickly gaining in popularity and by the mid 19th century, it had already made its appearance in the United States. The double-zero wheel was introduced on American soil, in the city of New Orleans.

At the time, the roulette wheel used in American gambling venues had 28 numbered pockets, three zero pockets for the house, one double-zero pocket and an eagle. The American table layout was significantly simplified which allowed for a more dynamic game and quicker bets.

To this day, the double-zero wheel remains the American style while the single-zero wheel is considered the European (or French) style. Fans of the game are provided with the opportunity to play both the French and the American variations of roulette from the comfort of their homes, in one of the numerous online casinos that emerged in the past decade.

The online version of roulette differs in one major aspect from the game played in landbased venues – the pace. In brick-and-mortar casinos, the game is much more dynamic as the wheel is in perpetual motion. This is not the case with online roulette since it allows one to play at their own pace.

Rules of Play

Being a relatively simple game, roulette poses as a suitable option for novices and seasoned players alike. The objective is pretty straightforward – players are expected to accurately predict in which numbered pocket the ball will land when the wheel loses momentum and comes to a stop. The game is played against the casino, players do not compete against each other.

There are various bets that can be placed, some riskier than others. More importantly, players can wager on single numbers as well as on a combination of numbers. The wheel contains red and black pockets numbered from 1 to 36 as well as one or two zero pockets, depending on the game’s variation. The same numbers in their respective colors are displayed on the table layout.

When placing their bets, players use chips of different colors to avoid confusion as to which bet belongs to who. After all participating players have placed their chips on their numbers, the croupier throws the ball on the outer rim of the spinning wheel and announces “No more bets” to indicate wagers are no longer accepted for this spin. When the ball lands in one of the pockets, the croupier announces the outcome and places a marker next to the winning number.

House Edge and Payout

The house always has an advantage in terms of odds – such is the case with all casino games and roulette is not an exception. The term “house edge” is used to describe the mathematical advantage the gambling venues have over players as they play over time. In this instance, it all depends on whether one is engaged in a game of European roulette, where there is a single-zero wheel or American roulette, where the wheel has two zero pockets.

The overall house edge in European roulette is estimated to be 2.7% while that in the American variation stands at 5.26%. This means the gambling venue will collect £2,70 for every £100 bet the player places on European roulette and £5,56 for every £100 wagered on American roulette. The more time players spend on the table, the bigger the house edge gets.

European Roulette House Edge and Payout
Bet Type Bet Payout Bet Probability House Edge
Straight 35/1 2.70% 2.70%
Split 17/1 5.41% 2.70%
Street 11/1 8.11% 2.70%
Square or Corner 8/1 10.81% 2.70%
Six Line 5/1 16.2% 2.70%
Column 2/1 32.4% 2.70%
Dozen 2/1 32.4% 2.70%
Red / Black 1/1 48.64% 2.70%
Odd / Even 1/1 48.64% 2.70%
High / Low 1/1 48.64% 2.70%
American Roulette House Edge and Payout
Bet Type Bet Payout Bet Probability House Edge
Straight 35/1 2.63% 5.26%
Split 17/1 5.26% 5.26%
Street 11/1 7.89% 5.26%
Square or Corner 8/1 10.53% 5.26%
Five Line 6/1 13.16% 7.89%
Six Line 5/1 15.79% 5.26%
Column 2/1 31.58% 5.26%
Dozen 2/1 31.58% 5.26%
Red / Black 1/1 46.37% 5.26%
Odd / Even 1/1 46.37% 5.26%
High / Low 1/1 46.37% 5.26%
French Roulette House Edge and Payout *
Bet Type Bet Payout Bet Probability House Edge
Straight 35/1 2.70% 2.70%
Split 17/1 5.41% 2.70%
Street 11/1 8.11% 2.70%
Trio (0,1,2 / 0,2,3) 11/1 8.11% 2.70%
Four-Number (0,1,2,3) 8/1 10.81% 2.70%
Square or Corner 8/1 10.81% 2.70%
Six Line 5/1 16.2% 2.70%
Column 2/1 32.4% 2.70%
Dozen (P12, M12, D12) 2/1 32.4% 2.70%
Red / Black 1/1 48.64% 2.70%
Impair (Odd) / Pair (Even) 1/1 48.64% 2.70%
Manque (Low) / Passe (High) 1/1 48.64% 2.70%

* In French roulette, when even money bets are placed and the ball ends up in the zero pocket, only half of the bet is returned to the player. This is known as the “half-black” or “en prison” rule and reduces the house edge for even money bets to 1.35%.

Types of Bets

Roulette bets can be divided into two major categories, namely inside and outside bets. Outside bets are more popular among beginners and can be subdivided into several categories – Red or Black, Odd or Even, High or Low, Dozen and Column bets. While outside bets have better odds of winning, their payout is generally much smaller than that of inside bets.

Highlighted Roulette Outside Bets position – Red or Black, Odd or Even, High or Low, Dozen and Column bets.

Inside bets, on the other hand, are riskier but experienced players place them because they have higher payouts. Straight Up, Split, Street, Square and Line bets all belong in this category.

Highlighted Roulette Inside Bets position

There is a group of wagers which covers more unusual patterns of numbers. These go by the name of Call bets and include Orphelins, Voisins de Zero and Tiers. With Call bets, players do not place any chips on the table but simply call the bet they wish to make and the croupier marks it on the layout. Some gambling venues do not allow Call bets because this practice is regarded as playing on credit. Many casinos do accept Announced bets, however – the player can still announce their wager out loud, but is required to have sufficient amount of chips on the table to cover the bet.

Highlighted Roulette Call Bets position – Orphelins, Voisins de Zero and Tiers.