On this page we share the basics of playing roulette games online including some useful tips for novices. We also compare the major software platforms.
Online roulette is an exceptionally popular casino game. It is probably the game most associated with casinos, especially high class ones, probably because of the glamour that surrounds the game from having been featured in many movies and its links with the elite old casinos of Monte Carlo. It is one of the simplest games to play and relies heavily on chance, although a smart betting strategy also comes into play. Modern roulette games, especially those found online, offer some interesting variations on the classic game. We'll have a look at these variations, along with a lot more information for you on this page.
Here you will find:
- Free, instant play roulette games
- An overview of the different types of Roulette
- A comparison of online Roulette game providers
- Roulette house edge and betting odds
- Instant play Roulette vs downloadable Roulette
- Basic Roulette rules
- Roulette Q&A
Play free Roulette
If you're just starting out and haven't played roulette before, we highly recommend that you take advantage of the many free roulette games that the online casinos offer. This will give you the time to become familiar with the basic game play, the betting rules and options, and the payouts - without having to risk any real money. While roulette is a pretty simple game, there are lots of different betting options and it can take a while to get a feel for how to bet. It's also a good idea to read up a bit on betting strategy, so that you can try these out for yourself on the free games.
The different types of Roulette
Before you run off to start playing Roulette, here's an overview of the different types of Roulette games you will encounter online.
The distinguishing feature of European Roulette is that the wheel only a single zero, compared to American Roulette, which also has a double zero. This means that you have a smaller house edge to contend with, as there is one less slot for the ball to land in.
American Roulette has a single zero slot and a double zero slot, which increases the house edge. At the same time the payouts are a bit bigger, which balances this out somewhat.
The same as European Roulette (a single zero slot), but has two additional insurance betting options, known as En Prison and La Partage. The upshot of these insurance bets is that you get half your bet back if the ball lands in the zero slot.
This variation has 3 balls that are spun on the wheel. This obviously tips the odds of betting on a winning number a little bit more in your favour.
Here you place your bets on a single betting surface, but up to 8 wheels are spun at the same time. Once again, it increases the chance of the ball landing on a winning number for you.
Live Dealer Roulette
This is where you play at an online casino, but an actual real life roulette wheel with a live dealer is streamed to you via video. You place your bets on your computer and the live dealer mirrors them for you and then spins the wheel.
Progressive Roulette is not to be confused with progressive betting at the Roulette table. The latter is a betting strategy that you employ, while the former is a type of game where you place a side bet and if the ball lands on the same number 5 times in a row you win the jackpot. An example of a Progressive Roulette game is Roulette Royale from Microgaming.
A hybrid game that is a combination of roulette, bingo and lotto. You place bets on different colours or numbers from 1 to 10. The wheel spins and numbered balls fall into coloured trays, determining the winning picks.
Comparison of Roulette Game Providers
Roulette house edge and betting odds
All casino games have a house edge. This is the average percentage of the total bets you make over time that you can expect to lose to the house. In a typical game of Roulette you will of course win on some spins of the wheel and lose on others. The statistically theoretical amount you win, compared to the amount you bet, averaged over time and expressed as a percentage is known as the house edge. So, for example, if the house edge is 5%, this means that if you place $100 worth of bets over a period of time, you can expect to win back $95, leaving out the possibility of hitting a particularly big win that skews the odds.
The most important feature of the different kinds of Roulette is the difference between the European and the American variations. European Roulette has a single zero slot, whereas American Roulette has a single zero slot and a double zero slot. On the face of it you can probably tell that American Roulette therefore has a higher house edge as there is one more possible slot for the ball to land in and therefore a slightly less chance of you picking the right slot on any spin of the wheel. This is borne out by the actual house edge percentages: European Roulette has a house edge of 2.7%, meaning that you will theoretically win back $97.30 for every $100 you bet. American Roulette has a house edge of 5.26%, meaning that you will theoretically win back only $94.74 for every $100 you bet.
Betting odds are basically divided into inside bets and outside bets. Inside bets have higher odds against them, so the payout is higher. These are bets on a single number, split bets (any two adjoining numbers) or other combinations of numbers. Outside bets are bets on red or black, even or odd, a specific dozen numbers or a column of numbers. These bets are easier to win as they have lower odds against them, but they pay out less.
Here are some concrete examples of bet odds in Roulette:
|Bet||Odds (European)||Odds (American)||Payout|
Instant Play Roulette vs Downloadable Roulette
There is no difference in the actual game play or the odds and house edge of an instant play online Roulette game compared to a downloadable game. The difference is simply how you access them and sometimes the interface.
With an instant play online Roulette game you simply go to the casino website and click a button to launch the game right there in your browser, allowing you to play instantly. You will usually need Flash to play the games, and the page will prompt you to download and install Flash if you don't already have the browser plug-in for it.
With a downloadable Roulette game you download a suite of casino games software from the online casino and install it on your computer. You then run the software, which connects to the online casino, and select the Roulette game that you want to play.
Basic Roulette Rules
Roulette is a simple game to play. It consists of a wheel with numbered and coloured slots, a ball and a betting table. You place your bets on the table and then the croupier (in the case of online Roulette, the software) spins the wheel and places the ball into it. When the wheel stops spinning the ball comes to rest in one of the slots and that slot number and colour is compared to the bets that have been placed. Any bets on that specific number, or on whether it is odd or even, or on whether it is black or red are paid out according to the payout table.
You can place the following bets:
- Straight bet - betting on a single number
- Split bet - betting on two adjacent numbers on the betting table
- Street bet - betting on a row of 3 numbers
- Double street bet - betting on 6 numbers in two adjoining rows
- Corner bet - betting on the 4 numbers in the corner of the betting table
- Column bet - betting on a column of numbers
- Dozen bet - betting on a specific set of 12 numbers
- Red/black bet - betting on whether the number will be red or black
- Odd/even bet - betting on whether the number will be odd or even
- High/low bet - betting on whether the number will be high or low (1-18 or 19-36)
Online Roulette game controls
Playing online Roulette is very easy. You first select a coin size that you want to bet and then click the place on the betting table where you want to place a bet (according to the types of bets listed above). If you wish to clear your bets and change them (before spinning the wheel), there will be some sort of Clear Bets button for you to use. Once you have placed your bets, click the Spin button. After the wheel has spun and the bet has been resolved you repeat the process. If you want to place exactly the same bets, you can use the Rebet button.
American Roulette has one extra slot on the wheel for the ball to land in - the double zero (in addition to a single zero slot). European Roulette only has a single zero slot.
Yes, it does. Simply because there are now 37 different slots for the ball to land in, as opposed to 36. So the house edge in American Roulette is about double that of European Roulette.
That depends largely on luck. If you have a great run of successive bets that win, you have a chance of coming away with a bit more money than you have bet. However, in the long run the statistics will even out and you will generally end up losing around 2-5% of your bets to the house. This isn't a large number - it basically means that if you play European Roulette you will lose just over $3 for every $100 you bet. Which is pretty close to breaking even and a small price to play for all the excitement of playing roulette!
There are plenty of different betting systems, which you can read about by simply searching Google. Some of the most well-known systems to look for are the Martingale, progressive betting, the Laboucher system, the d'Alembert system, Oscar's Grind, the Paroli, the Shotwell system and the Red system.
Yes you can. Almost all online casinos offer a free play Roulette option.
In terms of the sheer likelihood of you winning a bet, the best bet to make is to bet on the number being odd or even, or red or black. But just understand that your payout if you win will be pretty low. By the same token, the hardest bet to win is to bet on a single number, although the payout is the highest.
Strategy and Articles
With Charting the Wheel roulette strategy the player must keep track of all spins looking for any discrepancy.