A Comprehensive Guide to the Game of Roulette
The origins of Roulette
Roulette doesn’t need an introduction. If you’ve ever seen a movie with a scene set in a casino, then you’ve seen a roulette table. With its green board, distinctive black and red grid, and spinning wheel, roulette is instantly recognisable.
But where did Roulette come from?
Most historians place its origin around the mid-18th, century when it emerged as a popular table game in the casinos of Paris. Some point to the famous treatise on gambling probability, “L’Histoire de la Roulette”, by the French physicist Blaise Pascal in the 17th century as a potential origin. It is thought that Pascal invented a primitive version of the roulette wheel while searching for a perpetual motion machine.
The word “Roulette” is French for “Little Wheel”, and while that points towards a French origin, similar games were being played in Italy and England at around the same time as Roulette emerged in France. Whatever the truth of its origins, it is undeniably true that it was in France that Roulette evolved into the form we know and love today.
How popular is roulette, anyway?
Roulette is one of the most popular table games in the world today, and its popularity is only growing. Let’s consider some of the reasons why this might be.
- Roulette is easy to play: Roulette was designed to be simple. Consequently, it is super easy for even the rank beginner to grasp, and rounds play very quickly!
- Everyone plays their own game: with some other popular table games you have to consider the other players in your winning strategy, not so with roulette. In Roulette, you play against the house, and that’s all you ever need to do.
- Easy to find games online: Roulette translates really well to online play, so if you feel like a game you can always find one! For instance, you can get started right away at Vera&John by checking out our live roulette games.
- It’s exciting: Okay, so this point is subjective, but come on! The sheer enchantment of seeing that big wheel spin, guessing the pocket and the ball bounce onto the right colour or number is a real slice of gambling magic.
- Try out something new: there are loads of different types of strategy for you to try, so the next time you sit down to play roulette, consider reading up a few points on Martingale betting, or the Fibonacci strategy.
As you can see, there are several potential reasons why Roulette is one of the fastest growing table games in the world. Let’s give it a spin!
What is Roulette?
Roulette is a game of chance in which a croupier spins a ball around a spinning wheel with red and black numbered compartments (called pockets). Players make bets on the number or colour the ball will land on when the wheel ceases spinning. Bets fall into one of two categories: inside bets or outside bets (we’ll get to those in a moment).
Look at any two roulette tables and they’re likely to be very similar. But if you look very closely, you’ll notice three main variations. These are known as the American, European, and French variations. The big difference is that in French and European roulette, there are 37 numbered squares on the layout, as well as 37 corresponding pockets on the wheel. On the wheel, these run from 1 to 36 alternating red and black pockets, and a green pocket numbered 0.
In American roulette there’s an extra green pocket marked 00. That’s pretty much it, so you can be forgiven for thinking there are only two variations. However, in French roulette there are few other rules like La Partage, and En Prison, which significantly reduce the house edge so bear this in mind when choosing a table.
As far as house edge is concerned, all you need to remember is that it is biggest in American Roulette, and smallest in French Roulette.
Roulette Basics – How to place a bet in roulette
As we mentioned above, there are two broad categories of bet in roulette: inside bets and outside bets and refer to where on the grid you place your chip.
As the name implies, inside bets refer to bets placed inside the grid layout of 37 (or 38) coloured numbers.
Inside bets come in several flavours:
- A straight, or single bet is when you bet on any single number.
- A split bet is when you bet on two to adjacent (either horizontally or vertically on the grid) numbers.
- A street bet is one in which you place bets on three consecutive bets in a horizontal line.
- A corner bet, or square bet is when you bet on four numbers that meet at one corner.
- A six line, or double street bet is a bet placed on any six consecutive numbers that form two horizontal lines.
- A trio bet, or basket bet is any three number bet that involves a zero.
- First Four is when you bet on 0, 1, 2, 3 (in a single zero layout only)
- Top Line is when you bet on 0, 00, 1, 2, 3 (only possible in a double-zero layout)
Conversely, outside bets are bets placed in one of the squares on the outer edge of the board. They have better odds of winning, because you’re betting on a much bigger range of numbers, but the payouts are much smaller as a result. Some very specific regional variations aside, if you place an outside bet and the ball comes up zero, your bet will always lose.
Types of outside bet:
- 1 to 18 or 19 to 36: a bet that the ball will land within the chosen range.
- Red or black: a bet that the ball will be the chosen colour.
- Even or odd: a bet that the ball come up either even or odd.
- Dozen bet: a bet that the ball will be within the chosen range.
- Column bet: A bet that the number will be in the chosen column.
- Snake bet: a special bet that zigzags across the board like a snake, covering 1, 5, 9, 12, 14, 16, 23, 27, 30, 32, and 34.
When you place a bet in roulette, first choose whether you are making an inside or outside bet and place your chip or chips on the desired place on the layout. You can place several bets at the same time, and some types of inside bet require you to do just that (i.e., corner bets).
If you’re playing online, click on the play button to spin the wheel, or wait for the dealer to spin if you’re playing a live casino game. If your number comes up, you win!
How much you win depends on the odds of your chosen bet type. The odds of any single number single number coming up are 36 to 1, so a $1 bid will return $35. The wider the range of numbers covered by your bet, the higher your odds of winning, and the lower your potential payout is going to be. So, by contrast a column bet has odds of roughly 2 to 1 against, and only pays out $2 on a $1 bet.
Common roulette betting strategies
Three of the more common betting strategies for increasing your odds of winning roulette are called the D’Alembert System, the Martingale System, and the Fibonacci System.
D’Alembert is a basic system best suited to someone just starting their roulette journey. Choose the amount you are going to bet. Let’s say $1. That bet is a single unit. Place your bet on one of the even money outside bets (High/Low, Even/Odd, Red/Black). If you lose, add a unit to your next bet i.e., stepping up from $1 to $2, or from $3 to $4, and when you win a bet you subtract a unit, stepping down from $3 to $2, for instance.
The Martingale System is very similar to D’Alembert, so is a natural progression to a slightly more advanced strategy. Like D’Alembert you start by placing a low bet ($1, for instance) on any even money outside bet (usually, red or black). The major difference is that instead of increasing your bet by a single unit, every time you lose you double your bet. When you win, you drop your bet all the way back down to $1.
The Martingale system is considered an advanced betting strategy because it is very easy to run up very big losses in the hopes of chasing a big win, so always make sure you know how much you intend to bet whenever you play.
The Fibonacci System is named after the Fibonacci sequence, a sequence of numbers that often crops up in mathematics and in nature. In the Fibonacci sequence, a number in the sequence is the sum of the two preceding numbers.
In the Fibonacci System, we determine our stake by considering the Fibonacci sequence:
1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, etc.
Once again, we are playing our bets on any even money outsider bet. Each stake is the sum of the two preceding stakes. With each loss you progress to the next number in the sequence, and for every win you take two steps back. If you bet $5 and lose, you would step up to $13, and if you win, you should drop back down to $5.
The aim here is to push your bets higher on a loss so that when you eventually win, you will recoup some of your losses. And since you’re placing a bet with close to 50% chance of winning, you should win almost as often as you lose.
It is important to remember that no matter which system you use, there is no way to accurately predict Roulette outcomes and any system that purports to do so should be avoided. Always be aware of your bankroll going into a game, and make sure you are not betting beyond your means.
Where to play Roulette online
Roulette is a timeless game, unmatched for its sophistication and enduring charm. You can experience a slice of that sophistication right here at Vera and John casino. Simply head over to our live roulette lobby and pick a game from the ones on offer.
Make sure to check the minimum bet for the table and wait for the game to open. The croupier will usually announce when it’s time to place your bet, and again when betting has closed. To place a bet, first decide on your stake and bet type, and then tap on the layout on the screen to place your chips.
You can even use the live roulette chat room chat to the other players while you’re waiting for the wheel to spin.
If you prefer a solo roulette experience, searching for ‘roulette’ on the main page returns several versions of roulette for you to try. European Roulette, for example. The process for placing a bet is almost the same. Decide your stake and place your chips. The only difference is that you must press on the spin button to resolve your bet.
We hope you enjoy the experience of playing roulette at Vera & John! Roulette is a popular classic table game that is simple to play, and we think you’ll agree it is easy to see why this fascinating game has stood the test of time!