Roulette is one of the most enduringly popular casino games. Its history reaches almost as far back as the idea of casinos itself, and there’s good reason that it’s remained a favourite among players this whole time. The basic idea of roulette is that it’s a game of chance hinging upon the spin of a wheel containing coloured numbers. The betting table is laid out in such a way as to appeal to a broad range of risk appetites, ranging from ‘safe’ 1:1 bets, all the way up to the far more risky 35:1. There’s action, exhilaration and a sort of ceremony to roulette, which has even translated well into online and mobile casino formats. In this post we’ll run you through the basics of roulette and help you start playing.
Table Setup And The Numbers On The Wheel
The two elements that go together to create a roulette table are the wheel and the betting table. The wheel features indents for the ball to land in which are each labelled with coloured numbers which correspond to their counterparts on the betting table. For European roulette, there are the numbers 1-36 which are all either red or black, plus a 0 which is green. For American roulette, there are the numbers 1-36 – again either red or black – with the addition of both 0 and 00 in green.
The red/black layout is random, meaning that it is notably not the same as odd/even. The betting table features all the numbers in a 3×12 grid (with the 0 and 00 at the end). The grid also includes areas to bet for specific thirds (1-12, 13-24, 25-36), halves (1-18, 19-36), red and black, and odd and even. All these spaces mean you have ample opportunity to make a variety of different bets, and never just need to pick one number.
Your Roulette Betting Options
In roulette there’s fundamentally two types of bet – inside and outside. This basically just refers to whether you’re placing your chips on the numbers inside the main grid, or on one of the betting options round the outside of the grid. Inside bets tend to pay more, as they’re more specific bets, while outside bets cover more number possibilities so pay smaller. Of course, with this pay disparity, it’s clear that inside bets tend to be riskier, while outside bets tend to be safer.
When betting inside, you can simply pick a single number; this is a ‘straight up’ bet which will pay 35:1 if you land on that specific number. You could ‘split’ your bet, meaning you put your chips across the boundary of two numbers, resulting in a 17:1 payout if the ball lands on one of your numbers. ‘Corner’ bets allow you to place your chips on the corner of 4 numbers, offering an 8:1 payout if any of these are the successful number.
A ‘street’ bet lets you bet on all the numbers in a row across the betting table, resulting in an 11:1 payout if any of those should be the winning number. Finally, a ‘six line’ bet lets you bet on two streets and two numbers, bringing a whole bunch of numbers into play, and paying out 5:1.
Outside bets are a little less complicated. There’s three outside bets which effectively allow you bet on half the numbers at a time – either red or black, odd or even, and high or low (1-18 or 19-36); all of these pay out 1:1. There’s also two types of bet which split the bet table into three – either the 1st, 2nd or 3rd dozen, or column bets across the table; these each pay out 2:1.
Roulette is a game of chance, with each spin being entirely independent of those which came before it. This means, unlike with blackjack where it’s possible to keep track of cards, or with poker where there’s an element of reading your opponents, there’s really is no way of improving your guess when you’re deciding how to bet in roulette. For most players, it’s all about what ‘feels right’ to them – perhaps you have a favourite number, or simply think that a specific bet feels lucky to you.
Of course, as with all casino games, many people have come up with ways they promise improve your chances of winning roulette – most notably the D’alembert and Martingale betting systems – but these usually work on the basis of betting exclusively on the binary outside bets (either red/black, odd/even or high/low).
These systems, although frequently shown to have some success at improving your chances of winning, are pretty boring and mechanical, and take much of the romance out of the game. If you really want to experience the real thrill of roulette, you’re best off going with your gut.