Getting to Know Roulette
Roulette is one of the most favoured games at a casino. Simultaneously easy to understand but hard to actually master, it offers a challenge like no other. Many players might think that this is a bit of a stretch, but the more this game is studied, the more complex and deep it gets. If you are the type of person who thinks roulette is simply a bouncing ball waiting to fall into a numbered pocket, we can safely say that you’re not going to get very far with this game. Of course, it can be played in its most basic form – throwing chips willy nilly at the paytable, but it won’t be very lucrative for you. The more discerning players out there, who take the time to study the game a little more, will have a much better shot at winning. So, if you are one of the latter, keep reading and discover the right (and wrong) ways to play roulette.
The History of Roulette
Roulette is one of the oldest table games out there and has a somewhat murky history. It is widely believed that the game was originally invented sometime in the 17th Century. This first wheel was created in France by Blaise Pascal who was actually trying to create a perpetual motion machine. Instead, he created the roulette wheel. The game soon gained popularity and by 1796 it was widely played across Paris with the earliest description of the game coming from Jaques Lablee who described the wheel as having pockets and a number of mathematics-based odds. Originally, the wheels in the Parisian casinos had red and black pockets for all numbers, but later in the 1800s the zero was changed to the green colour we know today, in order to avoid confusion. In 1843, two Frenchmen in the German town of Bad Homburg changed the format of the wheel introducing just a single zero pocket rather than the single and double zero originally in place.
By the 19th Century, roulette had spread across Europe and even reached the shores of America, cementing itself as one of the most popular casino games in the world. Once in America, it was the original single and double zero French wheel that became popular and this is the basis of the American roulette wheel today. This wheel made its way up the Mississippi spreading throughout the country. However, thanks to cheating from both sides of the game, the wheel ended up being placed on the table rather than alongside it, in order to remove any chance for people to place game changing devices underneath. By the 1970s, roulette began to spread with greater fervour across the world and depending on where the casino was based, a different roulette version was offered. As recently as 2008, there were mere hundreds of casinos around the world offering roulette but with the advent of online casinos, players in different countries can now access many types of roulette and the game has become much more popular worldwide.
How to Play Roulette
Roulette is a very simple game at its base level that involves a wheel complete with numbered pockets and a table with all the different betting options on it. The aim of the game is to correctly guess which pocket the ball will finally land in. In order to play, players must place a bet by putting their chips on the paytable in the specific place they wish to bet. Once all bets have been placed, the dealer will then drop the ball and set the wheel spinning. The ball and wheel spin in opposite directions with the ball bouncing along until it finally settles in a pocket. Once this has occurred, all the bets will be paid out, or not, and the game will begin afresh. However, part of the fun of this game is the sheer number of betting options and the odds that are attached to them. With this in mind, we’ll just outline some of the betting options so that you can get familiar with them.
The simplest and lowest paying bets are the outside bets so named because they lie on the outside of the main betting table. These include straightforward gambles such as whether the ball will land on red/black or odd/even. These bets are the most likely to be fulfilled and therefore have the lowest payout at just 2 to 1. Other bets in this category include large positional groups of bets and these can be done in blocks (dozen bets) or lines (column bets), the specific numbers included can be seen on the betting table. These pay out at slightly better odds than the simple fifty-fifty bets. Inside bets are much more valuable but they’re also more specific in nature, so they have a lower probability of occurring. These include picking the exact number the ball will land on or a small range of pockets depending on their layout and closeness to one another. Players can also bet on two items if they place their chips on the line to partially cover different options.
Types of Roulette
A big factor when it comes to playing roulette successfully comes down to which wheel you are playing at. As we mentioned in the history of the wheel, there were two distinct wheel types developed. The European roulette wheel offers players a better house edge, putting wins in the player’s favour. This is because there is one less pocket to consider. The European wheel simply has the numbers zero to thirty-six meaning that there are thirty-seven pockets in total. This brings the house edge down to just 2.70%, which means that the players have a decent chance of earning back some of the money they lose when playing. Even better odds are offered up if the game plays by the La Partage rules where players can receive half of their bet back, if the ball lands on the green zero pocket, but we will discuss that in more detail later in the betting strategies section of this article.
The American roulette wheel developed with the original double zero and single zero pockets. This means that there are thirty-eight different pockets for the ball to land in. Needless to say, this pushes things a little against the player and as such, the house edge goes up to 5.26%. To put this in perspective, players on an American wheel can expect to gain back £0.94, if they spend just £1 on a spin. Compare that to the chance of winning back £0.97 when it comes to European roulette. However, these returns can be influenced by the amount of time spent at the wheel and the different bets that are placed. It should be noted here that American roulette does not offer the La Partage rule – this is strictly associated with the European wheel only. This drops the house edge to 1.35% or the equivalent of enabling players to earn back as much as £0.986 for every pound that they bet.
Roulette Winning Strategies
We all know that unless you’re cheating there’s absolutely no way to predict where that roulette ball is going to land. Casinos will give details on the latest hot and cold numbers but this is meaningless in the long run. The only way to counter the odds is to make sensible bets, good bet sizes and utilising the extra options. As we have touched upon, for the absolute highest starting chances you need to be playing European roulette with La Partage rules in place. This gives you a good head start from the off. The next step to success is caring about every bet. Remember at the start we talked about players who think roulette is about throwing chips at the paytable willy nilly? Well, here is the reason why it’s not. If you care about the bets you make, you’ll make less mistakes, it’s as simple as that. Making bets with that are sensibly in line with you risk profile and bankroll is a must.
One of the best tricks to win is to combine bets. If you look closely at the paytable you will see that the numbers are in three lines (this is the column bet we mentioned). However, look even closer and you’ll see that each of these three sections does not hold equal numbers of red and black, odd and even numbers. The strategy here then is to bet on a third of the board, take your pick from the middle or last column. Then make an exactly equal bet on the colour that popped up the most in the last eight spins (this is where the history listed on online games comes in handy). This combination gives you a high chance of hitting a number in that row, but if that fails your colour bet could prove correct. If both lose then tough luck, but if even one of those bets wins then you’ve at least broken even. Get both and you’re laughing!
Betting Strategies for Roulette
The final part to getting ahead in roulette is by utilising various betting strategies. Over the years, players have come up with a number of different methods that are seen to extend a bankroll and reap some good rewards. One of the oldest of these is the Reverse Martingale, commonly used in roulette and baccarat. For this system, players are recommended to double their bet every time they lose. This means that the bets will increase until a win occurs. The idea here is that by the time a win happens, the amount being bet and the winnings accrued from it, should mitigate the losses that have come before. Once a win has happened, the bet will then revert back to the original one and the process will start again. This is good in theory but players should be aware that this system does require a decent sized bankroll from the outset. When applied to roulette, it also means that you must keep all of your odds equal throughout your session.
On the opposite end of the scale, players can also use the Martingale system. This simply involves the player raising their bet every time they make a win. As soon as a loss occurs, the bet reverts to the original value. This is a more positive approach to the game and seeks to capitalise on winning streaks – making money when the going is good. Again this is a great theory but similar to the Reverse Martingale system, it does require patience and a decent bankroll. Players can also opt for a flat bet system which entails keeping a consistent bet no matter the outcome. This is great for inside bets where you are less likely to win as often as on an outside bet. The James Bond system is an example of this and involves playing equal bets on over half the paytable. This is in an attempt to turn the odds ever more in the player’s favour. However, truth be told, it doesn’t.
Live Roulette versus Virtual Roulette
With the arrival of online casinos, roulette has become even more accessible than ever before. There are two different ways to play roulette online – through virtual games or through live games. Virtual games are programmed in a very similar way to online slot games. They operate through software programmes and have random number generators in place to ensure that there is no bias. These games are perfect for players to test out their skills at roulette in both demo and real money mode. They also offer up the chance to play the different variants of roulette at the simple click of a button. Virtual roulette wheels are ideal if you are a newcomer to the game as it can go at your pace, offers up a list of hot and cold numbers, and provides a good chance to check out the paytable and options. There are always convenient information sections attached to these games to explain the betting options in full.
On the other hand, live roulette games provide players with the thrill of the real casino experience. These games are operated by real people in real time. The online casino simply sets up a studio space to look like a casino, films all angles with high definition cameras and streams the action live to the players who have joined the table. These games cannot be played in demo mode so players should know exactly what they’re doing before participating. In this form, players can converse with the other players and the dealer, discussing strategies and various other aspects of the game. For even more excitement, a dual play roulette game has been developed, offering a more immersive and realistic experience as the game is set in a real casino lobby enabling online players to play alongside those directly in the casino. For the real feel of the game, nothing beats live roulette for the sheer intensity and high stakes that it can bring.
Where to Play Roulette
Thanks to online casinos, roulette can be found almost anywhere. Players around the world are also no longer restricted by their country as to which versions of roulette they can play. This has been of particular excitement to the North American players who for years only had easy access to the harder American roulette wheel with the higher house edge. Each casino will offer their own collection of variants, though all will offer a range of betting options so that players of all budgets might attend. With a game as versatile as roulette it makes perfect sense that there are versions that suit just about every type of player out there, and that is part of the draw to this exciting game. Finally, bear in mind that it’s not only the game you should be checking out, but the casino site as well. It is always wise to make sure that the casino you join is trustworthy, reputable, licensed and has positive player reviews regarding both bonuses and payouts.
Regardless of whether you win or lose, roulette is an exciting game to take part in. Even with all the good will and expertise in the world, you are always going to lose some spins. The strategies and tips we’ve given you can help to minimise this but it won’t eradicate those losses. The trick is, of course, to stay in the game as long as possible to give yourself a better chance at winning back anything that you have lost. Playing roulette like a pro means that you do not get overly emotional while playing and that plenty of forethought goes into any decisions that are made. It also means that your betting strategies are firmly situated in reality so that you don’t end up selling yourself short. As with any other casino game, roulette should be viewed as a game that must be played with discipline. Armed with these tips, you should be able to make a solid attempt at taking home a big win.