French for little wheel, roulette was born more than 200 years ago when tinkerers blended the rules of several popular wheel games of that era. The book La Roulette, ou le Jour, written in 1801 by Jaques Lablee, was one of the first to mention the game, describing the wheel as having “two slots reserved for the bank, whence it derives its sole mathematical advantage.”
Two centuries later, roulette remains as popular as ever, and attracts throngs of gamblers due to its slow pace of action and easy-to-learn rules. Here we will take you through the basics of the game and explain each of the different types of bets that can be made. In just a few minutes, you’ll learn all you need to know about how to play online roulette and how to hopefully take home a big payday!
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Online Roulette Basics
In American roulette, the game wheel consists of slots for numbers 1 to 36, plus pockets for 0 and 00 (European roulette does not contain a 00). While the main goal of the game is to predict which slot the ball will fall into, you have several betting options available which don’t require you to choose a specific number to win your bet. There are two categories of bets in roulette, “outside bets” and “inside bets,” each of which have their pros and cons.
Outside bets are wagers placed on large groupings of slots, on pocket color, or on odd or even numbers. This type of bet gives you a better chance of winning, but offers a lower payout when you do. The following are outside bets:
- Even or odd: a bet on whether the winning pocket is an odd or an even number.
- Black or red: a bet on either the 18 black numbers or the 18 red numbers. Players lose if the other color hits, or if the ball lands in a 0 or 00 space.
- 1-18 or 19-36: a bet on either the first half or the second half of numbers on the wheel.
- Dozens: a bet on groupings of a dozen numbers (1-12, 13-24 or 25-36).
- Columns: a bet on one of the game’s 12 columns (1-3, 4-6, 7-9, etc).
Inside bets are bets on individual numbers or small groups of numbers. These types of wagers have a lower a probability of hitting, but usually pay out well when they do. The following are considered inside bets:
- Single number: a bet placed on one specific number which is only paid when that exact number hits.
- Split: a bet placed on two numbers, made by placing chips so they straddle the line between the two.
- Street: a three-number bet, made by placing chips on the line separating outside bets from inside bets.
- Corner: a bet on four numbers, made by placing chips where those four numbers intersect.
- First five: a five-number bet, paid out when either 0, 00, 1, 2 or 3 is hit.
- Six line: a bet on two columns of three numbers, for a total of six numbers. This bet is made by placing your chips at the intersection between the two lines along the side of the betting area.
Online Roulette Gameplay
To place a bet in an online roulette game, first click the denomination chip you’d like to risk, then navigate to the table to select your desired bet. When you’re ready, click the “spin” button and the dealer will spin the ball around the wheel. After the ball drops into a slot, you will either be paid for any winning bets or have your bet collected if you miss.
Playing roulette online has several advantages, one of which is the ability to save your own custom bet layouts. This feature allows you to easily repeat your favorite wagers and is a very convenient timesaver. Many online tables also include an autoplay feature, which allows you to sit back and relax while the game plays out a set number of spins on its own.
Simple Tips for Winning Roulette
- Play the outside bets. When you wager on large groups of numbers, your winning payouts will be lower, but you’ll have better odds of making money.
- If available, play French roulette instead of European or American roulette. While the European roulette wheel only has one 0, as compared to the 0 and 00 on the American version (two 0 slots decrease your chances of winning) the French style is played on the European wheel but also carries the La Partage or En Prison rules. These rules can cut your losses in half if the 0 comes up on an even money bet. Of course check house rules though, as these terms are unofficial and the options available at a table may not match the label.
- Stay away from the first five bet. The bet, which pays out if 0, 00, 1, 2 or 3 hits, has a 5:38 probability of coming up but pays out just 6:1, giving the house the extremely large edge of 7.89%.