The game of kings and James Bond
When you think of gambling, what kind of casino games springs to mind first? Although the results will vary, most people will think of roulette. A popular game both offline and online, roulette is a centuries-old game that offers the ultimate thrill. It’s easy to play, can pay a nice sum of cash, and doesn’t rely on skills such as poker – everything is down to luck.
The roulette wheel hasn’t gone through a lot of changes since the day it was first invented. There are three different types of wheels you can play online with the rules being the same. European might be the easiest and most popular variant, but the risk of the American roulette wheel and two special bets on the French make the other variants also exciting.
Roulette Rules and House Edge
The rules of roulette are incredibly simple. We already mentioned it’s a game of chance and not skill. Unlike other table games such as blackjack, baccarat or poker, you don’t have to spend months learning the game before you hit the table. As a chance-based game, you can just place your money on one of the best on the layout and hope that the ball lands in the pocket you’ve backed up.
Everyone knows how roulette is played. You place your money on a particular number (or another bet), the croupier spins the wheel and announces the result once it lands in a pocket. That’s all there is to it. The wheel and layout are the same in land-based casinos and online gaming sites with one notable exception – the latter gives you a chance to try the game for free.
The house edge of European (and French) roulette is 2.70%. These are single-zero wheels and probably the best for beginners. High rollers love them as well thanks to the side bets and large payouts on riskier main bets.
When it comes to the American wheel, it’s a double-zero variant with two zeros instead of one and a house edge of 5.26%. That’s why it’s not that attractive to most players.
Roulette Wheel and Table Layout
All roulette wheels except for the American wheel have 37 pockets – that’s numbers from 1 to 36 plus the zero (two on the American wheel). The wheels look the same. The numbers are colored red and black while the zeros are colored green.
When it comes to the table layout, small changes can be noticed. The European and American wheels have basically the same layout. The changes are noticeable on the French wheel which uses French betting terminology and has a few extra bets known as En Prison and La Partage.
These cut down the house edge to 1.35% and are considered pretty favorable by many players. Of course, you should only play them if you know what’s at stake.
In the game of roulette, there are two types of bets on the layout – inside and outside bets. These include:
- Straight-up bet – betting on a single number (35:1)
- Split bet – betting on two adjacent numbers on the layout (17:1)
- Street bet – placed on 3-number rows on the layout (11:1)
- Corner bet – placed on a square block of 4 numbers on the layout (8:1)
- Sucker bet – placed on five numbers (6:1, house edge 7.9%)
- Line bets – betting on a line of numbers on two adjacent rows (5:1)
Inside bets offer better payouts than outside bets, but as you can see, they are risky too. Although roulette’s house edge is pretty low, the chance of getting a win on the straight-up bet are pretty slim.
When it comes to the outside bets, they include:
- Dozens – placed on a group of 12 numbers on the layout (2:1)
- Columns – betting on a column of numbers on the layout (2:1)
- Colored bets – betting on the ball to land in a red or black pocket (1:1)
- Odds or even numbers – betting on the ball to land on an odd or even-numbered pocket (1:1)
- High or low numbers – betting on the ball to land on high (19-36) or low-numbered pocket (1-18) (1:1)
As you can see, outside bets are more probably, but the payouts are significantly smaller than the inside bets. Plus, no one’s guaranteeing wins on any bet anyway.
En Prison and La Partage
The French wheel comes with two specific rules – En Prison and La Partage. As mentioned, these bets cut down the house edge to half which makes them popular among players.
The En Prison rule covers even money bets. The bet ‘traps’ the ball for another spin if it ends up in the green (zero) pocket. If the player wins on the next spin, he gets his original stake. If he loses, he loses it all.
When it comes to the La Partage bet, it’s pretty similar to En Prison. In this case, however, when a ball lands in the zero pockets, the dealer splits all money bets in half, keeping one for the house, and returning the other to the player.
Chance plays a massive role in the roulette with almost all bets coming with 50% winning odds. However, bets on single numbers, however, are riskier. Although there are some roulette strategies that can help you win a few rounds, losing sessions, in the long run, are inevitable.
Using a roulette strategy is considered an advantage, but there is no foolproof betting system that can help you win each round. Most players use the Martingale, Fibonacci, Labouchere or D’Alembert roulette strategies which are either progressive, high-risk or low-risk.
Due to the risk involved with most roulette inside bets, we’d suggest not using a strategy in the long run.
Difference Between European, French, and American Roulette
The European and French wheels are pretty similar – even the American layout comes close. However, it differs from the first two in the double zero on the wheel. That’s an extra pocket and almost double the house edge, so the American variant may not be suitable for new players.
In terms of layout, the European and French wheels are similar. The only differences are the aforementioned En Prison and La Partage bets on the French. Having that in mind, all three wheels are pretty similar so players won’t find any difference in terms of gameplay.
How to Play
As a beginner, it might be better for you to start with a few free spins on an RNG table. This will give you an idea of how roulette plays and help you learn more about the bets.
Second, you must keep in mind that the European wheel comes with the best house edge. The American with two zeros might look more exciting, but it’s harder to play for a new player.
Most importantly, make sure to keep your bankroll in check when playing roulette online. The thrill of the wheel can easily get you in trouble, so keep your bets small and set daily limits for yourself before you lose all your money.