Roulette is one of the world’s most popular casino table games because of its novel spinning wheel, multitude of bets and potential to pay out enormous amounts in winnings. It’s widely played in online and mobile casinos as it is in land casinos across the world, including Africa, and is an easy game to learn and one that gamblers can master with practice.
That said, there are many Roulette fans who swear by various ‘systems’ or betting patterns to help them maximise their chances of winning. The plain truth, however, is that each and every spin of the Roulette wheel is 100% random. This means it is impossible to predict the outcome of a spin, no matter what any Roulette system promises or guarantees.
As long as you understand this and only ever play with funds you can afford to lose, you can look forward to hours of land or online Roulette fun. Number 1 on your list of things to do should be to learn the rules of Roulette so you know how the game works, how to bet, what the various types of bets are, and the best and worst type of bets you can make.
That’s right, in Roulette not all bets are equal which is reflected in their respective odds and pay-outs. The rule of thumb is that the higher the pay-out of a particular bet, the higher the house edge and the lower your chances of winning, such as a Straight bets. This offers the highest pay-out of any Roulette bet of 35 to 1, but has the worst odds of winning.
The opposite is also true, where the lower the pay-out, the lower the house edge and the higher your chances of winning, like Red / Black and other even money bets which pay out 1 to 1. All of this and more you’ll find covered on this page as we take you through everything Roulette from the table and how to play to game variations and the various bets.
The Roulette Table
Every Roulette table consists of large green numbered board along with a range different bets you can make using chips you can buy from the croupier (dealer). At one end of the table is a wheel with 36 black and red numbered slots with either a green zero (European + French Roulette) or a green zero as well as a double green zero (American Roulette).
The croupier controls the table which means they change cash into chips (in land casino Roulette), call ‘no more bets,’ spin the wheel and release the little white ball, announce the winning number, clear off non-winning bets and pay out winning bets and so forth. Roulette games often have different betting limits which are up to the croupier to enforce.
How to Play Roulette
Your aim in Roulette is to win money from one or more bets you place based on the number (or colour) you predict coming up when the croupier releases a ball into a spinning wheel.
The first thing you need to do is buy chips. In land casinos you can do this after the croupier has finished paying out the winners from the previous round (If applicable) and before the start of a new round. In online and mobile casinos, when you click to play a Roulette game your funds are automatically converted into chips so you can start betting immediately.
Once you have chips you can place them on the table as you see fit - within the constraints of the bet and table limits. After you and your fellow players (if applicable) have been given ample time to place your bets, the croupier spins the wheel and releases the little white ball in the opposite direction. When they say ‘no more bets,’ betting ceases for that round.
As the ball slows it falls onto the numbered slots, usually skipping and jumping until it rests in one which the croupier announces as the winning number. Any chips that are connected to that number are left where they are while all unconnected chips (i.e. losing bets) are first cleared away. The croupier then pays out each of the winners as per their respective bets.
With all pay-outs now complete, the original winning bets from the last round are left where they are, and their respective owners have the choice to either retrieve them, use them to place new bets or numbers on the table, or leave them as they are for the next round. Note that you are free to place your chips on numbers or bets already in use by other players.
Variations of Roulette
There are three main types of variations of Roulette – European Roulette, French Roulette and American Roulette, the differences of each are highlighted below:
European Roulette is the most popular and common of all Roulette games, with a wheel that has 36 numbers (1 to 36) and a single green zero for a total of 37 possible outcomes. This variant has the second lowest house edge of 2.63% and is played throughout the world at premier land and online casinos in Africa and beyond.
French Roulette also uses a 37 number wheel, but all bets are in French and it has two special rules that give it the lowest house edge of 1.35%. The first is ‘La Partage,’ which applies to the ball landing on zero, in which case you’re automatically be refunded half your even money bets.
The second is ‘En Prison’ which also applies to the ball landing on zero. However, in this case your even money bet must ‘remain imprisoned’ for the next spin. Win that spin and you’ll get your original even money bet back. Lose it, however, and you’ll forfeit it all.
American Roulette uses a different wheel which has 36 numbers (1 to 36), a green single zero and a green double zero for a total of 38 possible outcomes. As a result of this extra double zero, this Roulette variant has the highest Roulette house edge of 5.26%, and as such should be avoided. Rather choose to play variants with lower house edges.
Types of Roulette Bets and their Pay-Outs
There are two main categories of bets in Roulette – inside bets and outside bets. Below you’ll find a brief description of each:
These are Roulette bets placed on the inside table grid i.e. on numbers, between numbers, on the intersection of numbers and at the ends of rows and lines, and include:
- Straight-Up (1 number) - Bet on a single number. Pays 35 to 1.
- Split (2 numbers) - Bet between two numbers. Pays 17 to 1.
- Street (3 numbers) - Bet between three numbers. Pays 11 to 1.
- Trio (3 numbers) - Bet on intersection of 0, 1, 2 or 0, 2, 3 (European Roulette only). Pays 11 to 1.
- Corner (4 numbers) - Bet between four numbers. Pays 8 to 1.
- Top Line (5 numbers) - Bet on outside corner of 0 and 1 (American Roulette only). Pays 6 to 1.
- Six Line (6 numbers) - Bet on intersection of two Street bets. Pays 5 to 1.
These are Roulette bets that are placed on the outside table grid i.e. even money, columns and dozens bets (which lose if zero or double zero comes up), and include:
- Red / Black - Bet on whether the ball lands in a black or red slot. Pays 1 to 1.
- Even / Odd - Bet on whether the ball lands on an even or odd number. Pays 1 to 1.
- 1 to 18 / 19 to 36 - Bet on whether the ball lands on lower or higher set. Pays 1 to 1.
- Columns - Bet on which of the 3 columns will house the winning number. Pays 2 to 1.
- Dozens - Bet on which of the 3 dozens will house winning number. Pays 2 to 1.