While it might be hard to believe when playing online roulette, the globally revered table game came into existence thanks to a failed scientific experiment.
French inventor and physicist Blaise Pascal attempted to create a perpetual motion machine in the 1600s. The wheel-based design he postulated ultimately failed to live up to his expectations but did live in on the modern roulette wheel we know today.
In their eternal search for entertainment, the French court adopted an early version of the roulette we play today. This inaugural game is believed to be an amalgamation of Pascal’s 36 slot wheel and an Italian lotto-style game called Biribi. A 1796 French novel La Roulette, ou le Jour, authored by Jaques Lablee, describes this early roulette variant played in the Royal Palace. The author describes the game's zero and double zero slots and how this setup gives the game master a mathematical advantage over the players.
This aligns with the belief that King Charles III of Monaco had the zero added by Francois and Lois Blanc to capitalise on the popularity of roulette. He used this new house edge to generate income for his beleaguered kingdom without raising taxes.
By the 19th century, roulette had crossed the ocean from Europe and found a home for itself in the United States. To increase their earning potential American gaming operators added a double zero slot (00) to the roulette wheel. This increased the number of slots from Pascal's original 36 to 38.
It was not until 1996 that roulette first appeared online. Today there are hundreds of online roulette variations for players to enjoy worldwide. These variants include win multipliers, custom side bets and even progressive jackpots.
Mastering a casino game like roulette not only requires that you spend time playing the game but also that you learn its terms. Familiarising yourself with roulette terminology will help you understand the game faster and sound like a pro when you play.
Here are our top 10 jargon picks:
- Column Bet (Colonne): Any bet placed on the three columns. This bet pays out 2:1.
- Corner Bet (Carr): Placing a bet on the join of four numbers splits your bet and payout into quarters.
- Dozen Bet: The numbers are grouped into three brackets of twelve numbers on the roulette table. Betting on any of these is called a Dozen Bet.
- En Prison rule: This is a special "in prison" rule triggered by losing even-money bets. The player can take half their bet back or "leave it in prison" by risking it again on another spin.
- Final Call Bet: This is a simple way to place multiple bets by calling the number that appears at the end. Calling a 'Final 7' bet means betting on 7, 17 and 27.
- Flat Betting: This is a term for placing the same bet multiple times without increasing or decreasing the staked amount.
- Layout Bet: This refers to any bet placed on the Numbers section of the roulette table.
- Orphans: This is an in-game term that refers to numbers which are close on the wheel but split on the table. These groupings are 17-34-6 and 1-20-14-31-9.
- Split Bet (Cheval): Placing a bet on the dividing wall between two numbers splits your bet and payout in half.
- Street Bet: Any three numbers running from left to right across the table is called a street (1-2-3 or 4-5-6). Winning a street bet requires you to hit one of the three numbers and pays out 11:1.
Despite having a lot of nuances in its bet settings and some vital deciding factors when choosing which version to play, roulette is a simple game. Here are some of the rules you need to keep in mind when playing online roulette.
Be Clear on Which Version You are Playing
At the start of each roulette session, check out the wheel and the table to familiarise yourself with the layout and remind yourself which rules will be in play. Look for the number of zeroes, if there are references to house rules like En Prison or La Partage or if there are side bets and progressive jackpots available to spice things up.
Understand Roulette Etiquette
When you play in a live dealer casino or even at your local brick-and-mortar casino, there is table etiquette that needs to be followed. While touching the chips is not possible online, it is still essential to get your bets in before the live dealer closes the betting session. It is impossible to place a bet once the wheel is spinning, and arguing with the dealer about this will get asked to leave the table.
Learn Where to Place Your Bet
Keep in mind that roulette bets are not limited to specific boxes. Instead, you have the option to place your chips on dividing walls, corner splits, at the ends of columns and streets and much more. Each chip placement is a different bet with its payout requirement and calculation.
Learn the Payout Schedule
While you can check what various roulette bets payout, it is easy to miscalculate in the heat of the moment. It is best to learn the multiple payouts by heart or to have them on hand for easy reference. The most important ones to know are single bets (35:1), Split (17:1), Row/Street (11:1) and Corners/Squares (8:1). When playing a unique Triple Zero table betting on Green will payout 11:1.
Wins, Losses and House Rules
Once the ball stops on the wheel, all active bets are reviewed and processed according to the payout schedule. Winning bets are paid to the correlating players, and losses are removed from the table. The only caveat is when En Prison or La Partage rules are triggered, in which case players must then choose whether to recoup half their stake or leave it in play for the next spin.
Roulette is a game of chance, so no strategy can guarantee you will win every time. However, it is a game that relies heavily on odds and probabilities. Here are some ideas on how to take advantage of those probabilities:
- Play Roulette with a low house edge: To improve your odds of winning, it is best to play French roulette as it has the lowest house edge of 1.35% or European roulette at 2.7%.
- Avoid Mini-Roulette: This roulette game only has 13 numbers on the wheel and has a house edge of 7.89%.
- Play at tables offering “En Prison” & “La Partage”: These special rules will allow you to either claim back half your bet or get a free respin on a losing even money bet. They both reduce the house edge to 1.35%.
- Play at progressive roulette tables: Progressive tables hold the option to win large jackpots while not impacting the rules and payouts of the roulette game itself.
- Avoid sucker bets: When playing at a table with double zeroes, there is a basket bet on 0-00-1-2-3, which offers a 6:1 payout. Avoid this wager as the house edge is 7.89%!
Playing roulette is not a matter of simply dumping a pile of chips on the table and hoping for the best. While it is a game of chance, there is a lot to learn about how the betting system works, which variants offer the best odds and more. If you are new to playing roulette online, we recommend the following to get you started:
Read Up on Various Versions of Roulette
With its global popularity, roulette and many versions of the casino game have rules that impact the available bets and their payouts. We recommend taking the time to read up on these versions before selecting one to play. You can always move to the others once you are comfortable with your starter variant.
Take the Time to Study the Table
A roulette table is a handy tool for new players. It shows you in diagram form exactly which betting options are available, and you can easily query the payouts of each bet. The more you master roulette, the more complex betting options you can risk testing.
Use Free Play Roulette to Practice
Once you feel ready to play roulette online, we recommend practising your game plan at any available demo tables. This will allow you to check whether your understanding of the game is correct without losing money unnecessarily.
Find a Casino that Offers Roulette Bonuses
To increase your bankroll, it is always best to play at an online casino that incentivises its roulette players. Playing with bonus chips gives you the same safety net in the real money space that free play did as you learned the game. Should you make a mistake, the impact of the loss is lessened when you lose a free chip versus losing your own money.
Flat Bet at First
When a new player is feeling good or if they’re chasing losses, they tend to increase their stakes. We recommend setting a bet amount that suits your bankroll and betting that amount all the way through. This is known as flat betting and helps players avoid burning their bankroll too quickly.
Roulette Games Types
As its name suggests, Bingo Roulette is an exciting combination of bingo and roulette. The 37 numbers populate a bingo card, and each wheel spin removes a chip from the card. The first player to remove 8 matching chips wins.
Live Bingo Roulette
Live Bingo Roulette offers fans of bingo and roulette the chance to enjoy their favourite casino game with other players. The wheel is operated by a live host who also calls the numbers. This version allows you to purchase up to 96 tickets containing 52 digits.
Mini roulette is a high-action variant of the popular table game. The roulette wheel only contains 13 numbers instead of the traditional 37, one of which is a zero. The house edge in mini roulette is 7.89% (1/13).
Multi-Wheel roulette is a fantastic way for experienced players to enjoy the game. The rules for the multi-instance table game follow standard European roulette rules. All you need to do is place your bets once, and each round consists of 8 wheels spinning. The results of each wheel are then compared to your stake.
Fans of roulette and progressive jackpot games are drawn to Roulette Royale. This table game variant follows standard European roulette rules but has an additional progressive jackpot that can be triggered randomly by any player at the table.
One of French Roulette's significant drawcards is its incredibly low odds. As a single zero roulette with unique En Prison or Le Partage rules for losing even money bets, the house edge can be as low as 1.35%!
American roulette is a popular variant of the international table game. Its most recognisable feature is that the wheel contains both single zero and double zero slots. It is worth noting that the additional number does increase the house edge from 2.70% to 5.26%.
Live casino players can experience a fantastic selection of online roulette games. The games play as usual; however, the wheel is spun, and the ball is activated by a live host. Other players at the same table are also betting on the spin's outcome with you.
European roulette is the most common and preferred version of the popular table game. It is easy to spot a European roulette wheel as it has 37 slots, one of which is a single green zero. To improve the odds, look for tables that offer Surrender or En Prison rules for even-money losing bets.
Lightning Roulette is so enticing because it offers players the chance to boost their wins by up to 500x. Once all bets are placed up to five "Lightning Numbers" are chosen randomly. Winning on a Lightning Number pays 50x up to 500x the original bet.
FAQWhich roulette offers the best odds?
French roulette has the lowest house edge at 1.35% on even-money bets, followed by European roulette at 2.7% and American roulette at 5.26%. Mini roulette offers the worst odds at 7.98%.Can I play American roulette for free?
Our recommended online casinos have demo versions of American roulette and many other roulette variants to play as a learning tool.Is it legal to play roulette online?
Yes, it is. All the casinos we list are licensed and regulated in one or more of the industry's leading gambling jurisdictions. We recommend that you check the legality of online gambling in your country before playing.Can I win real money playing Mini-Roulette?
Yes, you can play Mini-Roulette online for real money, and your profits are yours to keep.Are online roulette games rigged?
There are black market casinos that manipulate the outcomes of their games. We only recommend legally licensed casinos with a proven history of fair play and trusted results.What is the most popular bet in roulette?
The number 17 is the most popular single number bet in roulette worldwide. It is a red number that draws more attention than black and sits in the centre of the roulette table.Why is Lightning Roulette popular?
In most roulette games, payouts are limited to 35 to 1 for betting on a single number. Lightning Roulette has win multipliers that range from 50x up to 500x.Do online casinos have welcome bonuses for roulette players?
Yes, all our recommended casinos on this page will have bonuses and promotions that cater to roulette players.What betting strategy guarantees I will win at roulette?
Roulette is a game of chance. No strategy guarantees that you will win every game.Can I play European roulette on my mobile phone?
Yes, European roulette and all other variants of the popular table game are available for you to play on your smartphone, tablet, and laptop.