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The Basics of Roulette  

As you know, Roulette is based around a spinning wheel. This wheel has been divided into numbered segments, the exact number depends on which variant you are playing, but it is usually 37 or 38, and this will be discussed further elsewhere. The Roulette croupier releases a ball into this wheel, and players are simply betting on which segment the ball will come to rest on.  

This is clearly a very simply principle, and Roulette is not a complicated game at all. However, it has been cleverly designed so as to greatly expand the betting options available to players, and this is why it has such a large betting area and so many different types of bets.  

There are a few things that contribute to this. The first and most obvious one is that the segments on the wheel are coloured alternating red and black, with the exception of 0, which is green. Furthermore, the numbers do not run sequentially around the wheel and the main betting area has a very carefully designed layout. 

These factors combine to offer players a huge number of betting opportunities. Of course, you can bet on the ball to land on one specific number, and this is the most basic type of bet. However, you can also bet on different groupings of numbers. For example, you can bet on all the red, black, odd or even numbers. There are also groupings formed by the layout of the wheel or the betting area.  

Roulette Bets 

When you look at the betting area, you will see that is made up of three columns of twelve numbers, with a few other betting options around the edge. You place your chips on the sections of the betting area that you wish to bet on.  

The betting area is fairly self-explanatory. For example, if you place your chips on the red section, then you will be betting on all the red numbers. However, you can also place chips on the lines that divide numbers, and that is why there are so many different possible bets.  

Roulette bets are split into Inside Bets and Outside Bets. Here is an explanation of all these bets together with a description of where the chips should be placed.  

Inside Bets 

  • Straight Up: This is the simplest kind of bet on a specific number. The chips should be placed directly on the number on the betting area. 
  • Split Bet: This is a bet on two numbers that are adjacent to one another on the betting area. The chips should be placed on the line separating the two numbers, for example on the line between 7 and 10. 
  • Street Bet: The betting area has twelve rows of three numbers, these are known as ‘Streets’. To bet on a street place the chips on the lower edge of the street. For instance, to place a street bet on 4, 5 and 6 the chips should be placed on the outer line on the number 4. Bets on 0, 1 and 2 or 0, 2 and 3 are special street bets and the chips should be placed on the ‘T’ section dividing the three numbers. 
  • Corner Bet: This is a bet on four numbers whose corners meet on the betting area, for example 14, 15, 17 and 18. The chips should be placed at the corner where all four numbers meet. 
  • Line: This is a bet on two adjacent streets, a total of six numbers. Place the chips on the lower edge of the betting area at the ‘T’ section where the two streets meet. 

Outside Bets 

  • Column Bet: There are three columns of 12 numbers on the betting numbers. To bet on all the numbers in a column, place the chips in one of the boxes labelled ‘2 to 1’ at the end of the appropriate column. The labelling may differ slightly from game to game, but the segments are nearly always located above the numbers 34, 35 and 36. 
  • Dozen Bet: The numbers on the roulette wheel (excluding 0) can be divided into three groups of twelve, 1 – 12, 13 – 24 and 25 – 36. To bet on all the numbers in one group place the chips in one of the boxes labelled ‘1st 12’, ‘2nd 12’ or ‘3rd 12’. 
  • Red/Black Bet: This is a bet on all the red numbers or all the black numbers on the wheel. Place the chips in either the red or the black square on the betting area. 
  • Even/Odd Bet: This is a bet on either all the odd or all the even numbers on the wheel. Place the chips in the area marked ‘Even’ or ‘Odd’ on the betting area. 
  • Low/High or 1 to 18/19 to 36 Bet: This is another bet that may be labelled slightly differently from game to game, but essentially, the numbers 1 – 18 are considered ‘Low’ and the numbers 19 – 36 are ‘High’. To bet on either group place the chips in the boxes marked ‘1 to 18’ / ’Low’ or ’19 to 36’ / ’High’ in the betting area.  

The Racetrack Betting Area  

The above are the basic types of Roulette bets. However, they can be combined to form different betting patterns. There are a number of standard betting patterns and to help players place them quickly, many Roulette games have a second betting area known as the Racetrack (due to its shape). These are often known as ‘Call’ or ‘Announce’ Bets simply because, before tables had a Racetrack betting area, players would have to call out when they wanted to place them.  

On a standard Racetrack betting area, you can place the following betting patterns.  

  • Voisins du Zero: This means ‘Neighbours of Zero’ in French and it is a bet on the numbers that neighbour 0 on the Roulette wheel. Looking at the wheel, this bet covers all of the numbers from 22 clockwise to 25, in other words, close to half of the wheel. The bet takes nine chips to place: a split bet on each of 4/7, 12/15, 18/21, 19/22 and 32/35, two chips on the triplet 0/2/3 and two chips on the corner bet 25/29. 
  • Tiers du Cylindre: This translates as ‘Third of the Wheel’ and it is a bet on an exact third of the wheel, the numbers in the third opposite 0. The bet requires six chips, each one placed on a different split bet: 5/8, 10/11, 13/16, 23/24, 27/30 and 33/36. 
  • Orphelins: This translates as ‘Orphans’ and it is a bet on the numbers that aren’t included in either a Tiers du Cylindre or a Voisins du Zero bet. The bet covers 8 numbers and requires 5 chips. One chip is placed on the number 1 and one on each of the following splits: 6/9, 14/17, 17/20 and 31/34. 
  • Jeu Zero: This translates as ‘Zero Game’ and it also refers to the numbers closest to zero. All the numbers covered by this bet are also in the Voisins, but they are placed differently. It covers the numbers 12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32 and 15. The bet requires four chips to place: a straight up bet on 26 and split bets on 0/3, 12/15 and 32/35.  

In addition to these bets, most Roulette games will also have shortcut buttons to place two further types of bet: 

  • Neighbours: This is a bet on a number and the two numbers either side of it on the roulette wheel. The bet requires five chips and they are all placed as straight bets. For instance a neighbours bet on 10 would place a chip on 5, 8, 10, 23 and 24. In some games, you can extend the Neighbours bet to  more than two numbers on either side, and this of course requires more chips.  
  • Final Bet: This is a bet on all the numbers that have the same last number. For example, a final bet on the number 4 would place chips on 4, 14, 24 and 34.  

Roulette Payouts 

Nearly all online Roulette games offer the same payouts for the types of bet described above. A bet on 1-18/19-36/Odd/Even/Red/Black pays 1:1, a Column/Dozen bet pays 2:1, a Line bet pays 5:1, a Corner bet pays 8:1, a Street bet pays 11:1, a Split bet pays 17:1, and a Straight Up bet pays 35:1.  

Roulette Strategies 

Now that you have understood how Roulette works, you may want to begin thinking about strategies. Roulette is purely a game of luck and the result of one round will not affect another. As a result, there is no skill involved. However, you can use strategies to help you manage your bankroll. This ways you can try to ensure that your funds last longer and that you will be able to play for as long as you wish. Here a few basic betting strategies are explained. 

The Martingale System 

The Martingale System is probably the most famous betting strategy in the world, and it can actually be used for any game that offers even money bets. The system is built upon a very simple idea; you should double your bet after every consecutive loss and then as soon as you win, return to your original bet size.  

Theoretically, using this system, you are able to improve your chances in the short term by betting large amounts to win small amounts. If you stick to the system carefully, then you will have more winning sessions than losing sessions; however, you will not be winning large amounts of money.  

The system is best used with the outside bets, such as Odd, Even, Red, Black, Low, and High. For the sake of simplicity, we can say that one betting unit is €1. Therefore, if you start with a €1 bet on Even numbers and you lose, you will then double your bet to €2 for the next round. If you lose again then the bet doubles to €4, then to €8, and so on. This is where the disadvantage to the Martingale System becomes obvious, if you hit a losing streak then the bets become big very quickly. In fact, if you lost fourteen rounds in a row with a betting unit of €1, then you would have to place a bet of €8,192! That is why it is a good idea to start by placing the minimum bet allowed by the game.  

The moment you win a bet, you return to your original bet of €1, and you will have recouped all of your losses and made a profit of €1. Remember, you can change your bet, as long as you are placing bets that offer the same payouts. Therefore, you can switch between Black, Red, Even, Odd, High and Low at will.  

Just remember to start with a very small bet, as at some point, you are likely to hit a long losing streak.  

The Labouchere System 

This is another very popular Roulette betting system, and it is slightly more advanced than the Martingale System described above. However, it is very easy to learn and you should be able to get the hang of it very quickly.  

It is another even money betting system, so best used with the same set of outside bets. The first thing the system requires is for you to build a ‘Betting Line’. This is a sequence of bets that you will place. It can be very simple, such as 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1, or it could be more complicated, such as 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 2 – 1.  

In order to explain the system, we shall stay with the more basic betting line. It is also a good one to start with, as it will ensure that your bets remain small. You begin by taking the first number on the left hand side of the line together with the final number on the right hand side and adding them together to give you the number that you need to bet.  

With the simple example above, your first bet would be €2. If you then win the bet, you remove the first and last numbers from the betting line, so it would become 1 – 1 – 1 – 1. You then repeat the process for your next bet and you continue to repeat the process until all the numbers in the line have been used. At that point, you can start again. 

However, the system becomes a little bit more complicated if you lose a bet. Instead of removing numbers from the line, you add the amount you have just bet and lost to the end of the line. Using the above example, the line then becomes 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 2. This means that your next bet would be €3. If you were to lose that, then the line becomes 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 2 – 3.  

Here is fully worked example using the more complicated betting line give above, 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 2 – 1  

  • First Bet:  1 + 1 = 2. You start with a bet of €2. You then lose the bet and the line becomes: 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 2 – 1 – 2  
  • Second Bet: 1 + 2 = 3 so you place a bet of €3. This time it wins so the line becomes: 2 – 3 – 4 – 2 – 1 
  • Third Bet:  2 + 1 = 3 so you place a bet of €3. It wins and the line becomes: 3 – 4 – 2 
  • Fourth Bet: 3 + 2 = 5 so you place a bet of €5. It loses so the line becomes: 3 – 4 – 2 – 5 
  • Fifth Bet: 3 + 5 = 7 so you place a bet of €7. You win and the line becomes: 4 – 2 
  • Sixth Bet: 4 + 2 = 6 so you place a bet of €6. It wins, you cross them off the line and the line is finished.  

When you have completed a line, your profit will always be the total of all the numbers in the starting line. In the above example the profit would be 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 2 + 1 = €13. 

Betting Patterns  

There are many more betting systems, and you can spend a great deal of time researching them. However, another strategy involves using betting patterns that are a bit more complicated. The idea is to place bets that balance each other and that way reduce the risk. For example, if you know you have €10 to bet on the next round, one option would be to place five €1 straight up bets on individual odd numbers, and then a €5 bet on all the even numbers.  

By doing this, you have reduced your chance of losing to 14 out of 37. This is because there are 12 odd numbers that are not covered, and the number 0. If one of your Straight Up bets win, then you are paid at 35:1, so you win €35 and lose €9 on the other bets (but it is still a profit of €25). If the ball lands on any of the even numbers you are paid at 1:1, so you break even with a payout of €10. However, there is still a chance that the ball will land on an odd number that you have not bet on, and you would lose.  

It is important to remember that no betting system is perfect, and there is always the chance of losing your money.  

Roulette Variants 

There are three main Roulette variants and it is important to understand the differences between them. The most commonly found game is European Roulette, which is played with a wheel divided into 37 segments (0 to 36 inclusive). The second variant to be aware of is American Roulette, and this introduces an additional 00 segment to the wheel, so that there are 38 in total.  

The final main variant is French Roulette. At first glance, this looks almost identical to European Roulette, the main difference being that all of the betting terms are in French. However, there are also a couple of different rules. Most online versions of French Roulette offer a rule known as La Partage. It states that if the ball lands on 0, then half of any even money bets are returned to players.  

There is a second rule unique to French Roulette, En Prison, but very few online casinos offer it. The rule states that if the ball lands on 0 then all bets remain on the table for the next round. 

There are many more variants of Roulette available today. Some give players the chance to bet on two wheels, others may offer bonus games, or even progressive jackpots. After you have got to grips with the basic game, then you are sure to have a great time exploring the other games on offer. 

Frequently Asked Questions
Is it possible to win big playing Roulette?

As with any casino game, there is always a chance that luck will go your way, you will hit a winning streak and reap the rewards. Furthermore, many online Roulette games offer progressive jackpots, and these give you the chance to win some truly enormous payouts.

Is it worth looking at the Roulette statistics for previous rounds?

Many players enjoy looking at previous rounds to see if they can spot patterns, and there is nothing wrong with doing so. However, do not rely upon this too much as Roulette is a game of pure chance and what happened in the past will have no effect on what happens in the future.

What is better to play, European, French or American Roulette?

Ultimately, this is a personal decision. American Roulette has a slightly higher house edge due to the additional number on the wheel, but it offers players more types of bets. European Roulette has a lower house edge, and that is why the majority of online players choose it. However, it is arguable that French Roulette is the best choice as the La Partage rule means it has the lowest house edge of them all.

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