Roulette has been played for over 300 years and continues to be a popular game in online casinos today in a variety of forms. Its popularity stems in large part from the fact that it’s a quick game to learn, but allows players to implement both straightforward and complex wagering strategies. The different variations of the game also mean that players have choice as to how they play.
Our online roulette guide lists the best UK sites to play all forms of the game, including French, European and American roulette.
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The Rules of Online Roulette
Online roulette is played in the same way and with the same rules as the game in a land-based casino. However, it does tend be a much faster game online as you don’t have to wait for a host of other players to place their bets. Also, as soon as you’ve placed your bet, the ball comes to rest which also picks up the pace.
There are either 37 or 38 pockets on a roulette wheel, depending on which version of the game you’re playing. They alternate in colour between red and black, except for the 0 pocket (and 00, if applicable), which is green. The idea of the game is to bet on which number pocket the ball that is spun around the wheel will eventually come to rest in.
Roulette wagers can be made in a variety of different ways, and each pays out at different odds according to its probability. For instance, you can bet on a single number, a colour (red or black), odd or even numbers, etc.
The table is laid out with the numbers 0 – 36, 0 being at the top of the table closest to the wheel and the remainder of the numbers in sequential order down the table in rows of three and columns of twelve (on most online roulette tables, they are alternately coloured red or black). In order to bet on a number, a player places their chip directly on that number’s square.
There are also spaces marked out on the table for the other different wagers that are on offer (known as outside bets). As above, all that is required to make a bet is to place a chip on that area of the table. If your number comes up, you receive your winnings alongside your bet; if you lose, your chips are removed from the table.
In simple terms, the odds in roulette reflect the probability of a particular event occurring i.e., the probability of the ball landing in one of the 37 (or 38 pockets). For instance, betting on either red or black pays out even money as there is a 18 out of 37 chance of the ball landing in either a red or black pocket. Betting on single number pays out at 35-1, as there is a 1 in 37 chance of your number being hit. When you’re betting on online roulette, it’s therefore important to understand how probability works and the way that this is reflected in the odds.
Bets in roulette are known either as inside or outside bets. Inside bets refer to wagers placed on numbers, and there are five different kinds, depending on whether you’re betting solely on a single number, or a combination of numbers. Inside bets, because the probability of their being hit is less, have greater odds. Also, inside bets that cover more than one number have odds that reflect this i.e. a split bet on two numbers that wins will pay less than a straight up bet on one number that wins.
- Straight up – a bet on a single number and pays out at 35-1 (place your chip directly on the number)
- Split – a bet on two adjoining numbers and pays out at 17-1 (place your chip on the dividing line between the two)
- Street – a bet on all three numbers in a row and pays out at 11-1 (place your chip on the outside vertical line of the last number in the row)
- Corner (or Square) – a bet on four numbers that together form a square, and pays out at 8-1 (place your chip on the intersection of the four numbers)
- Six Line – a bet on two adjacent rows of numbers and pays out at 5-1 (place your chip on the outside intersection of the two rows)
Outside bets are best described as when you wager on a category of number being hit, rather than individual numbers.
- Colour – a bet on the number being either red or black, and pays out at 1-1 (place your chip on the red or black box on the outside of the table)
- Even/Odd – a bet on the number being either odd or even, and pays out at 1-1 (place your chip on the odd or even box on the outside of the table)
- 1 to 18, 19 to 36 – a bet on the number being either 18 or below, or 19 or above, and pays out at 1-1 (place your chip on the 1 to 18 or 19 to 36 box on the outside of the table)
- First 12, Second 12, Third 12 – a bet on the number being either 1–12, 13–24 or 25–36, and pays out at 2-1 (place your chip in the First 12, Second 12 or Third 12 box on the outside of the table)
- Column – a bet on all the numbers in one column on the table, and pays out at 2-1 (place your chip in the box that reads 2-1 at the foot of the column you want to bet on)
The House Edge is the advantage that the casino ultimately has over the player by the inclusion of the number 0. For instance, in European roulette, the House Edge is 2.63%, whereas in American roulette the House Edge is higher at 5.26% because of the additional 00. However, this is a relatively low House Edge compared to many other casino games; only some slots games, some versions of video poker, three card poker, some baccarat games and some craps bets are lower.
When talking about roulette strategies, it’s important to understand that they should more accurately be known as wagering strategies, or strategies to manage your bankroll – there is of course nothing a player can do to predict or affect the outcome of a spin, nor is any spin affected by what has gone before. This is reflected in the fact that the strategies below are all very different and founded on very different principles.
One of the most popular strategies for many years has been the D’Alembert System. This employs only outside bets and is a way of protecting the player against sudden heavy losses by changing the size of wagers up or down based on the spin before.
The Martingale System also works on a similar basis; essentially, you double your wager after a loss and reduce it back to its starting point after a win.
The Labouchére System takes a different approach, and is based on players setting targets for how much they want to win in a gaming session (the Parlay System is a variation of this), while the Adrenotrends System has the aim of trying to create a profit from runs where the same colour appears for several spins in a row. Read more about Roulette Strategies and Systems here
Five Roulette Playing Tips
For new players, or those who want to increase their enjoyment of the game, here are five top tips:
- Play roulette for free.
Take advantage of the free roulette games offered at our recommended online casinos to get a feel for the game and to try out some wagering strategies without it costing you anything.
- Try Live Casino roulette.
Of all Live Casino games, roulette is one of the most popular due to the development of Immersive Roulette, which offers a whole variety of special features and camera angles, and recreates the experience of being on the casino floor extremely well.
- Learn about Inside and Outside Bets.
Many players develop a preference for making inside or outside bets. Learn more about the differences between the two and discover for yourself which you prefer, and then build your wagering strategy around this.
- European or American?
Make sure you understand the difference between European (and French) roulette and the American version, and what the addition of 00 does to the odds and House Edge before you begin to play.
- Don’t aim for fast profits.
One thing that almost all roulette strategies have in common is that they’re based on the principle of slowly accumulating profit rather than trying for that one big jackpot win. Whichever system you use (or none), this remains a solid principle on which to base your play.
The three main variations that you’ll find in our online casinos are French, European and American (although there are some other variations out there that are often played as live casino games). The principles in each version of the game are the same – you are betting on the outcome of where the ball will land in the wheel – but the wheel itself and the table are laid out slightly differently, and there are some different betting options. These also affect the overall odds in each game.
European roulette is the most common variety of the game at our casinos, and is the version of the game with which most people are probably familiar. The wheel has 37 pockets, which includes the numbers 1–36 and a single 0.
The French roulette table and wheel are laid out in the same way as the European table, and likewise feature a single 0 and numbers 1–36 (although unlike a European Roulette table, the numbers are all the same colour). The main difference lies in the wagering – French roulette will sometimes feature either the la partage rule or the en prison rule. Essentially, these enable players who have placed an even money bet to get half their stake back if 0 comes up – with the la partage rule the half-stake is returned immediately, with en prison it is ‘held’ for the next spin and if it comes up, the player then gets their stake back. French roulette will also offer a bet known as finales, where you can wager on all the numbers ending in the same digit (e.g., 6, 16, 26 and 36).
In American Roulette, the wheel has 38 pockets, the additional pocket being for 00, which on the table is at the top, next to the single 0; however, the numbers 1–36 remain. On the table, like in European roulette, the numbers are coloured red and black.
The combination of pure chance combined with the opportunity to employ different betting strategies is why so many people enjoy online roulette, combined with the fact that the different betting options gives players a range of choices on every spin. The online version of the game also has the advantage of being quicker, without the need to wait for other players to bet, while free online roulette games give you the chance to learn more about the game without it costing you anything.
Visit our casino review pages to find the best UK casinos to play online roulette.