A Guide to Roulette

An insider's guide to playing roulette; includes American and European versions.

Roulette Top Tips

  • Don’t just make single number bets. Inside bets make the game much more fun and you’ll win more often.
  • Stick with multiple inside bets or any outside bets, as these allow you to cover more of the board.
  • Always play European roulette because the house edge is almost half of what it is in American roulette.
  • Ignore online roulette systems, they don’t work. Repeat, they do not work.
  • To profit, manage your money well. Once you’ve built up a considerable profit, stop playing and walk away.

A game of pure chance, roulette is arguably the most well-known casino game in the world. The roulette wheel was invented in the 17th century almost accidentally by Blaise Pascal, a pioneer of probabilistic mathematics.

The aim of roulette is to predict where a ball will land on a list of numbers, with successful predictions being paid out anything up to 35 times the bet. Game-play is very simple compared to other casino games, and the online version of roulette is even simpler since everything’s automated. Online game-play can move fast: The bets are placed via mouse clicks that take a fraction of a second each; the player then clicks the spin button and waits a few seconds for the ball to land in a pocket. The roulette games available in online casinos also offer a repeat bet option, which gives players the ability to instantly replicate the previous bet, speeding up the game and preventing it from getting monotonous.

Roulette in its present form was first played in Paris just before the turn of the 18th century. It consists of a table with a grid to place bets on, chips to bet with, a wheel with 37 (European/French) or 38 (American) numbered and colored slots (red, black or green), and a ball. The wheel is spun in one direction and the ball thrown in the opposite way while players bet on what slot the ball will land in. If the ball doesn’t land in the predicted area, all bets are lost. If the ball lands in an area that a player has bet on, the casino pays out a (variable) amount based on the bet made.

Similar to hedging (spreading your bets to reduce risk), betting on groups of numbers increases your chance of winning. These bets appear as one singular bet; for example, a bet on red will cover almost half the board. This will give the same payout as if the wager were divided and placed on individual bets on all the red numbers.

Roulette is known as the ‘king of gambling games’ and is easily the most popular land-based casino game in Europe, long associated with the glitz and glamour of Monaco.

In Vegas and Atlantic City you’ll have to hunt to find a European wheel, since they’re not standard. With a house edge two times greater than European roulette, the American version is, from a player’s perspective, a bad game in comparison to its European counterpart. Fortunately, this isn’t an issue in online casinos as they all offer European roulette to US players. Of course, all three (including French) versions are available to people from anywhere in the world; the names are only a reference to the origin of the variation.