Roulette is a game of romance, drama and intrigue. That’s how it is depicted in film, and what makes it a popular stop for casino goers worldwide. In reality, roulette is just a simple numbers game that offers players a chance to strike a big winner every now and again.
Roulette gets its intrigue from a history that dates back to its development in the mid 17th century. Back then, roulette gained an identity as a gambling game with 36 numbers, alternate colors, and a spinning wheel with a ball that bounces and settles into place to the amusement of winners. With only a few hitches, the game has pretty much stayed the same for more than 200 years.
And roulette has grown with age. Its popularity has followed it from the gambling houses of Europe to the Strip in Las Vegas and into the internet age. Online casino players – many who have never set foot in a brick and mortar casino – can play online roulette almost anywhere and at any time they have online access. It is still one of the most popular online casino games, and not just because of its image or the fun of playing. Online roulette also has one of best odds in the casino; European roulette’s return-to-player rate is better than 97 percent, and if you can find the French version, the RTP is more than 98 percent.
The advantages of playing roulette online
Online roulette is easy to find. Most every online casino has at least a couple of versions, some with special betting options. You can play it fast; in a brick-and-mortar casino, it may take all day for you hit any one winning number. In an online casino, you get many more plays in a shorter period of time. Or you can play at a more pedestrian pace; many online casinos offer a live game, with a real dealer and other players, much like you would find in Vegas or Monte Carlo.
Online casino banking is easy, too. Most online casinos have a good variety of deposit and withdrawal systems, and there are often bonuses attached to specific deposit systems. With the expanded use of the digital currency Bitcoin in the online casino world, that flexible currency is being promoted a lot these days, and online casinos often offer a special Bitcoin deposit bonus. You can also look for special bonuses for specific games, like roulette.
You can find plenty of low-limit roulette games that allow you to spread betting around the table. But you can also find tables that offer fractional chips to play a spread strategy.
Rules and bet types for playing online roulette
One of the biggest advantages of playing roulette is the nature of the game itself. Roulette offers a lot of betting options, from a play on a single number that can bring big returns, to essentially 50-50 plays with even odds returns. Here is a list of the most common bet types:
- Straight number – On one number, pays 35-1.
- Split – One bet covering two connecting numbers, pays 17-1.
- Street – A bet covering three numbers in a row, pays 11-1.
- Corner – Covers four numbers in a single bet, 8-1.
- Double street – A version of the street bet, but covering two rows, six numbers, 5-1.
Less common inside bets that you may not find at some casinos are five-number bet, covering 0, 00, 1, 2, 3 on American layouts (pays 6-1); Basket, 0, 1, 2, 3, on European tables (6-1); Snake bet, which covers 12 numbers that “snake” across the layout (2-1).
- Red/Black – Covers all red or black numbers, pays 1-1.
- Even/Odd – Covers even or odd numbers, 1-1.
- High/Low – 1 through 18 or 19 through 36, pays 1-1.
- Dozen – On first 12, second 12 or third 12, pays 2-1.
- Columns – Any one of the long columns that covers 12 numbers each, 2-1.
With a move of your cursor or pointer on the table, you can easily find these bets, and often times the odds are displayed.
Online roulette tips
There are a number of things to consider when searching for the best roulette site and actually playing the game. Here are the big factors:
- Game variations – Most online casino sites with roulette offer a number of variations of the game. The three major types of games are European, with a single zero; American, with a zero and double zero (0, 00); and French, with a single zero and extra betting options. European and American are the most common versions, but if you can find the French version, play it because it provides for losing only half of your bet if the ball lands on zero, which gives players the additional edge.
- Betting options – Make sure all of the bet options listed above are available – the more, the better.
- Bonuses – Look for special bonuses that apply specifically to roulette, and make sure you know the playthrough requirements for meeting any bonuses. Since roulette offers such a high return, most casinos offer a smaller bet percentage toward meeting bonus requirements. For instance, while slots usually count 100 percent toward meeting the bonus requirements, roulette often counts 20 percent or less. If you can find a casino that allows better than 20 percent toward the requirement, you’ll find that qualifying to withdraw your bonus money will be much easier. Sometimes it is better for roulette-only players not to take advantage of a bonus at all.
- Your device – The casino’s roulette software should work with the device you use most for online roulette. The larger PC or laptop display is of course best for playing online roulette. E-tablets are generally good, too. But if you want to play using a smartphone, you might want to try playing in a free-play mode before playing for real money. Some casinos have better roulette software for accommodating smartphones.
Roulette betting strategy
One of the realities of roulette is that it is a random-number game. So predicting what the next winning number will be is a matter of luck. Believe me, all sorts of angles and formulas have been devised over the centuries-old duration of this game, and none have worked consistently.
A system that allows for generally good returns is the third column, black bet. Take a look at a roulette layout, and you’ll see that the third column has more red numbers, while the rest of the table has more black. So a bet on the third column (top column on your display) and a bet on black, covers most of the table. A third column winner pays 2-1 and red-black pays 1-1, so you won’t hit big. But your long-run return will generally be good.
If you get ahead, go after a corner or single number if you like. Just have fun. That’s how it’s supposed to work; you take £100 into the game and theoretically come out with £97 or so. You get your £3 worth of entertainment, and the casino gets its £3 of profit. The rest is up to luck.