The Background and Basics
Roulette has been one of the most popular casino games for well over a century. The game originated in France and its name comes from the French for ‘little wheel’. Over the years a number of variants of the game have emerged, the primary two being European Roulette and American Roulette.
The difference between the two games lies in the spinning wheel that takes centre stage on the game table. A European Roulette wheel contains 37 numbered segments, from 0 to 36, while an American Roulette wheel has an additional 00 segment.
The game is centred on this spinning wheel. A small ball is released into the wheel and players bet on which numbered segment it will come to rest on. This sounds very straightforward, and at its heart, Roulette is a very straightforward game, but there are a number of factors that make it a bit more complicated, and far more exciting.
You will notice that the numbered segments on the wheel are coloured red or black, with the exception of 0, which is green. Furthermore, you will see that the numbers are not set out sequentially from 0 to 36, but rather in what appears to be a random order.
The Basic Bets and Betting Area
Thanks to the combination of the coloured numbers and the layout of the wheel, a huge variety of bets can be placed on Roulette. In addition to betting on individual numbers, you are also able to bet on groups of numbers. These groups may be very straightforward, such as all the red numbers or all of the even numbers, alternatively, they can be slightly more complicated and defined by the layout of the wheel or betting area.
The betting area is next to the wheel. It primarily consists of three columns of twelve numbers with an additional space for zero and a few other options around the edge. You need to place your chips on the segments of the betting area that you wish to bet on.
When looking at the betting area some of it is obvious, for instance placing your chips on the segment labelled ‘1 to 18’ is a bet on all the numbers from one to eighteen. However, you can also place chips on the intersection between numbers and thanks to this there are a huge number of different types of bets that you can place.
Here are the bets that can be placed on a standard European Roulette betting area and how to place them:
- Straight Up: This is the simplest kind of bet, it is on an individual number. Place your chips in the middle of the number on the betting area.
- Split Bet: This is a bet on two numbers that are next to one another on the betting area. You need to place the chips on the line dividing the two numbers, for example on the line between 7 and 10.
- Street Bet: On the betting area you will see that there are twelve rows of three numbers, these are known as ‘Streets’. To bet on a street place the chips on the lower edge of the street. For instance, to place a street bet on 4, 5 and 6 you need to place your chip on the outer line on the number 4. Bets on 0, 1 and 2 or 0, 2 and 3 are special street bets and the chips should be placed on the ‘T’ section dividing the three numbers.
- Corner Bet: This is a bet on four numbers whose corners meet on the betting area, for example 14, 15, 17 and 18. The chips should be placed at the corner where all four numbers meet.
- Line: This is a bet on two neighbouring streets, a total of six numbers. Place the chips on the lower edge of the betting area at the ‘T’ section where the two streets meet.
- Column Bet: The betting area features three columns of 12 numbers. To bet on all the numbers in one column place the chips in one of the boxes labelled ‘2 to 1’ at the end of the appropriate column. The labelling may differ slightly from game to game, but the appropriate segments can be found above the numbers 34, 35 and 36.
- Dozen Bet: The numbers on the roulette wheel (excluding 0) can be divided into three groups of twelve, 1 – 12, 13 – 24 and 25 – 36. To bet on all the numbers in one group place the chips in one of the boxes labelled ‘1st 12’, ‘2nd 12’ or ‘3rd 12’.
- Red/Black Bet: This is a bet on all the red numbers or all the black numbers on the wheel. Place the chips in either the red or the black square on the betting area.
- Even/Odd Bet: This is a bet on either all the odd or all the even numbers on the wheel. Place the chips in the area marked ‘Even’ or ‘Odd’ on the betting area.
- Low/High or 1 to 18/19 to 36 Bet: This is another bet that may be labelled slightly differently from game to game, but in short the numbers 1 – 18 are considered ‘Low’ and the numbers 19 – 36 are ‘High’. To bet on either group place the chips in the boxes marked ‘1 to 18’ / ’Low’ or ’19 to 36’ / ’High’ in the betting area.
These bets are often placed into two groups called ‘Inside Bets’ and ‘Outside Bets’. An Outside Bet has a better chance of winning but a lower payout and an Inside Bet has a high payout but is rarely won.
The Inside Bets are Straight Up, Street, Split, Corner and Line. The Outside Bets are 1 to 18, 19 to 36, Red, Black, Even, Odd, Dozen Bets and Column Bets.
Nearly all online European Roulette games offer the same payouts for the types of bet described above. They range from 1:1 all the way up to 35:1 as follows:
The Racetrack Betting Area
Many European Roulette games also offer a special betting area known as the ‘Racetrack’ due to its overall shape. Here you can place a variety of special types of bet that are actually betting patterns using the types of bets described above. These bets are all known as ‘Call’ or ‘Announced Bets’ as they were too specialists to feature on the main tables and players had to call out when they wished to place them.
On a standard Racetrack you can place the following bets.
- Voisins du Zero: This means ‘Neighbours of Zero’ in French and it is a bet on the numbers that neighbour 0 on the Roulette wheel. Looking at the wheel, this bet covers all of the numbers from 22 clockwise to 25, in other words, close to half of the wheel. The bet takes nine chips to place: a split bet on each of 4/7, 12/15, 18/21, 19/22 and 32/35, and two chips on the triplet 0/2/3 and two chips on the corner bet 25/29.
- Tiers du Cylindre: This translates as ‘Third of the Wheel’ and it is a bet on an exact third of the wheel, the numbers in the third opposite 0. The bet requires six chips, each one placed on a different split bet: 5/8, 10/11, 13/16, 23/24, 27/30 and 33/36.
- Orphelins: This translates as ‘Orphans’ and it is a bet on the numbers that aren’t included in either a Tiers du Cylindre or a Voisins du Zero bet. The bet covers 8 numbers and requires 5 chips. One chip is placed on the number 1 and one on each of the following splits: 6/9, 14/17, 17/20 and 31/34.
- Jeu Zero: This translates as ‘Zero Game’ and it also refers to the numbers closest to zero. All the numbers covered by this bet are also in the Voisins, but they are placed differently. It covers the numbers 12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32 and 15. The bet requires four chips to place: a straight up bet on 26 and split bets on 0/3, 12/15 and 32/35.
Other Types of Bet
You will also see that many Roulette games feature shortcuts to place ‘Neighbours’ and ‘Final’ bets.
- Neighbours: This is a bet on a number and the two numbers either side of it on the roulette wheel. The bet requires five chips and they are all placed as straight bets. For instance a neighbours bet on 10 would place a chip on 5, 8, 10, 23 and 24.
- Final Bet: This is a bet on all the numbers that have the same last number. For example a final bet on the number 5 would place chips on 5, 15, 25 and 35.
Some Basic Betting Strategies
If you start researching Roulette betting strategies then you will soon realise that there are many out there. It is always important to remember that no betting strategy will ensure that you always win, but by using one carefully you should be able to extend your fun and play for longer.
The most common betting strategy is the Martingale Roulette strategy. It is quick and easy to learn and a great place for beginners to start. The strategy is based upon a simple idea, you need to double your bets after every consecutive loss and then return to your original betting amount when you win.
The system works on the idea that you can improve your chances in the short term by betting big to win small amounts. By using the system you should have more winning sessions than losing sessions, but you will never win large amounts.
The system is normally used with Outside Bets, such as Red/Black, Odd/Even, and 1-18/19-36. Using the Martingale system, if you start with a bet of 1 on Blacks and it loses you would then double it to 2, then to 4, then to 8 and so on. As you can see, the bets start to increase quite quickly and if you were to lose fourteen in a row you would be betting 8,192. This is why it is a good idea to start with the minimum bet allowed by the table.
You should continue to follow this system of doubling your bets until you win. At which point you would return to betting 1 for the next round. There is no reason why you can’t change what you are betting on, as long as they have the same payouts. This means that you could switch between Red, Black, Even, Odd, Low and High with no problems.
By following this system you will always come out on top as long as you finish with a winning bet. Your winning bet will cover all loses from the previous bets and you should come out with a profit of 1.
To stress once again, it is very important that you start with the table’s minimum bet. If you were to start with £1 then after losing just ten bets in a row you would be down £1023. If you win the next bet you would win £1,024, a profit of £1. As mentioned, this strategy won’t win you a fortune, but if you stick to it then you should always come out on top.
Another popular strategy is the Labouchere System. It is a bit more complicated than the Martingale System but it should not take too long to get to grips with. The system requires you to set some parameters before you start playing, but these will ensure that you don’t exceed your budget.
Like the Martingale System, it is an even chance betting system so it can be used on Red/Black, Odd/Even and 1-18/19-36 bets. Before you start playing you need to decide on a ‘Betting Line’, this is a sequence of bets that you will place. A betting line can be extremely simple, for instance: 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1
The betting line above is probably a good one to start with while you learn the system as all the bets are very small. You use the betting line by taking the number from the left hand side of the line and the number from the right hand side and adding them together to give you the number you need to bet.
Using the above example this gives you 2 so you would place a bet of 2. If your bet wins you then cross the left and right hand numbers off from the betting line and it would become: 1 – 1 – 1 – 1
It is vital that you always remember to cross the numbers off from both ends of the line after a win otherwise the system will not work. Next, you take the new left and right hand side numbers and add them together for your next bet. If you keep winning you will continue this process until there are no numbers left in the line. At that point you either stop playing or put together a new betting line.
However, if you lose a bet you do not cross any numbers off. Instead, you add the number that you bet to the right hand side of the line. If we go back to the example above then the line would become this: 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 2
This is the other important thing to remember with the Labouchere system, always add the number you have just bet to the right hand side of the line after a loss and do not cross numbers off.
Here is an example of playing through to the end of a betting line using a slightly more complicated example, 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 2 – 1
- First Bet: 1 + 1 = 2 so you place a bet of two. You lose the bet and the line becomes: 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 2 – 1 – 2
- Second Bet: 1 + 2 = 3 so you place a bet of 3. This time it wins so the line becomes: 2 – 3 – 4 – 2 – 1
- Third Bet: 2 + 1 = 3 so you place a bet of 3. It wins again and the line becomes: 3 – 4 – 2
- Fourth Bet: 3 + 2 = 5 so you place a bet of 5. This time it loses so the line becomes: 3 – 4 – 2 – 5
- Fifth Bet: 3 + 5 = 7 so you place a bet of 7. You win once again and the line becomes: 4 – 2
- Sixth Bet: 4 + 2 = 6 so you place a bet of 6. It wins, you cross them off the line and the line is finished.
When you complete a betting line, as in the above example, your profit will be the total of all the numbers added together from the original betting line. Using the above example your profit would be: 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 2 + 1 = 13.
These are two of the most basic betting systems, but hopefully after getting to grips with them you will be able to start exploring more complicated systems and even putting together some of your own!