Roulette Guide for Beginners: History, Tips, and Strategy

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Introduction

One of the most exciting games at all casinos across the world is roulette.

It is also one of the most popular because it is easy to play. At an online casino you play the game with roulette chips and there are chips of different colors for different players at the table. Be it at a land-based casino or online casino roulette is simple to play.

There are primarily 3 main versions of roulette:

  • European Roulette: Has a single zero wheel and a corresponding betting table with a single 0.
  • French Roulette: The same as European roulette except for a more detailed betting layout.
  • American Roulette: Has an additional 0 value, the double 00, which increases the house edge.

There is another specialized form of roulette that was granted legal status only in 2004; it is called California Roulette. In this version of the game the roulette wheel doesn’t have slots instead it has cards that are used to pick a winning number. You will easily find a minimum of 2 versions of this slightly different form of roulette in the USA.

Coming to the first three versions mentioned above, the game essentially has a roulette wheel that has a number of pockets – 37 in the case of European and French Roulette and 38 for American Roulette. The difference in the number of pockets is for the extra zero – the double zero (00) – that is seen in American Roulette. There is also the betting table where the numbers are laid out, from 0 to 36 for French and European Roulette and 0 to 36 and of course the 00 for American Roulette:

  • The inner betting area has all the numbers laid out individually.
  • The outer betting area lists out the grouped bets, e.g. column, red/black, etc.
  • The 0 and 00 find themselves perched at the top of the columns.

The following is the sequence of numbers in the different types of roulette:

  • American wheel: 0, 28, 9, 26, 30, 11, 7, 20, 32, 17, 5, 22, 34, 15, 3, 24, 36, 13, 1, 00, 27, 10, 25, 29, 12, 8, 19, 31, 18, 6, 21, 33, 16, 4, 23, 35, 14, and 2.
  • European wheel: 0, 32, 15, 19, 4, 21, 2, 25, 17, 34, 6, 27, 13, 36, 11, 30, 8, 23, 10, 5, 24, 16, 33, 1, 20, 14, 31, 9, 22, 18, 29, 7, 28, 12, 35, 3, and 26.

The pocket numbers from 1 to 10 and 19 to 28 have the odd numbers in red and the even numbers in black. For the pocket numbers from 11 to 18 and 29 to 36, the reverse is the case. The 0 and 00 (in case of American Roulette) are in green.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. A Brief History of Roulette
  3. Roulette Basics and How to Play
  4. Typical Roulette Bets
  5. Essential Roulette Strategy
  6. Roulette Tips for Beginners

A Brief History of Roulette

It is believed that roulette originated in the 18th century in France; the name is French for ‘little wheel’. The process for the birth of the game was already set in motion in 1655 when the noted French scientist Blaise Pascal created a rudimentary form of the roulette wheel in his quest for a perpetual motion machine.

There is another theory that credits the birth of roulette to a French monk; apparently he created the game as a means to pass time in the monastery he was living in. There is yet another theory; this one too credits the birth of the game to French monks, only in this case they are Dominican monks and no, they didn’t create the game anew but based it off an old game from Tibet. The Tibetan game was simple: arrange the 37 animal statuettes such that you got the magic square number of 666. The arrangement was done around the rim of a wheel; sounds familiar? The only problem with this third theory is that there is no credible evidence to support it.

The roulette wheel seems to have some definite English origins: there is evidence to suggest that its ancestors could include a range of British games like Roly Poly, Ace of Hearts, Reiner, and also Even-Odds. Other games from which the wheel may have drawn some inspiration include Hoca and Biribi, games out of Italy.

The current game of roulette has been played in France from as long back as 1796. Surprisingly in that earlier version of the wheel there are actually both the single and double zero – the single zero in red and the double zero in black. From the 19th century, the red and black were replaced with green. The single 0 roulette wheel made an appearance in Bad Homburg in Germany in 1843 thanks to the efforts of Francois and Louis Blanc and its popularity led to its continued use in casinos across the world.

Roulette also traveled to the USA in the 19th century, traveling first to New Orleans and then slowly wending its way upwards in the boat casinos on the Mississippi. The boom that land-based casinos experienced in the 1970s led to a surge in popularity of roulette, and the arrival of the online casino in the 1990s caused that popularity to skyrocket.

Roulette Basics and How to Play

Playing roulette is very simple. At an online casino, all you have to do is log in – or sign up and make a deposit if you are a new player – and then click on the roulette game you want to play. On the screen that appears, click on the chips at the bottom of the screen and place them on the different sections of the betting table to mark out the different bets you want to place.

Next, hit the Spin button to get the wheel spinning and the ball rolling. The ball rolls to a stop at one of the pockets in the wheel and you are paid out depending on the bets you placed to cover the spin. One thing you should know about roulette tables whether they are at a land-based or online casino – there are minimum and maximum bets applicable and these need to be adhered to very strictly.

The rules of the game are simple. As per the North American roulette rules, all bets are lost if the ball lands on a zero. This is true except in one case – if you have actually bet on the ball landing on zero. There are, of course, additional rules like the La Partage Rule and the En Prison Rule that apply in some games.

The En Prison rule applies to the possibility of the ball landing on a 0 when you placed even money bets; you can then either get half the wager back, which means you surrender the remaining half, or leave the bet on the table – in prison, so to speak – thereby making the next round an all or nothing affair. The La Partage rule is more or less like the En Prison rule except that it offers only one option to the player – surrender half the wager amount.

Typical Roulette Bets

The following are the bets in roulette.

  • Inside Bets: There are a range of inside bets. These are:
    • Straight or Single: This is a bet on a single number.
    • Split: This is a bet on two adjacent numbers. The numbers can be side or side or one below the other.
    • Street: This is a bet on three consecutive numbers arranged in a single line.
    • Corner or Square: This is a bet that you can place on 4 numbers that all meet at a corner of the table.
    • Six Line or Double Street: This is a bet you can place on 6 numbers that are arranged consecutively and form 2 horizontal lines.
    • Trio: As the name suggests this is a bet on 3 numbers, with at least one of the numbers being 0. For instance, a bet on 0-1-2. This bet works on both single and double 0 roulette.
    • Basket or First Four: This bet works on the single 0 layout only and is placed on the numbers 0, 1, 2, and 3.
    • Top Line: This is similar to the First Four in structure except that it involves 5 numbers and works only in the American Roulette table layout. It is placed on the numbers 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3.
  • Outside bets: There are a range of interesting outside bets as well. These include the following:
    • 1 to 18 or 19 to 36: This is a bet on the number that the ball lands on being one from the range given. 1 to 18 is also called Low or Manque, while 19 to 36 is also called High or Passe.
    • Red or Black: Also called Rouge ou Noir, this is a bet on the number that the ball lands on being either red or black.
    • Even or odd: This is a bet on the number being either an odd number or an even number.
    • Dozen bet: This is a bet on the number being one of a dozen numbers. The options in this bet you can choose are:
      • First: Also called Premiere Douzaine/P12 or 1-12
      • Second: Also called Moyenne Douzaine/M12 or 13-24
      • Third: Also called Derniere Douzaine/D12 or 25-36
    • Column bet: This is a bet on the number being one of those in a vertical column that has 12 numbers.
    • Snake bet: This is a special bet that is not found in all casinos. It is so called because of the zig-zag pattern that the numbers it covers form. The numbers covered by this bet include 1, 5, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 23, 27, 30, 32, and 34.

There are a few more roulette bets. These include:

  • Call bet: Also known as announced bets, this is a bet that a player calls before placing wagering money on the table to cover the bet. It is considered an illegal bet in some countries.
  • Voisins du zéro: The actual name is Grand Voisins du zero and it means neighbors of zero. It covers the 17 different numbers between 22 and 25 on the wheel. On a single 0 wheel, these would be 22, 18, 29, 7, 28, 12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32, 15, 19, 4, 21, 2, and 25.
  • Jeu zéro: This is also called the zero game bet and covers the numbers located the closest to 0 on the betting table: 12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32, and 15.
  • Le tiers du cylindre: The term translates to third of the wheel. This bet covers the 12 numbers on the other side of the wheel, from 27 to 33. Other names for this bet are ‘small series’ and ‘series 5-8’.
  • Orphelins: This is the orphan bet and cover 8 numbers in all – one lot of 17, 34, and 6 and the other of 1, 20, 14, 31, and 9. These are numbers that comprise the two portions of the wheel that are outside the domain of the tiers and the Voisins.
  • Neighbors: This is a bet that backs up 2 additional numbers along with the number on which you place the bet, i.e. the neighbors of the number.
  • Final bets: Also called the finale bet, this is available only when you play a single-zero wheel.
  • Full completes: This bet allows you place all the inside bets on a specific number of your choice. Also called maximum bets, this is a bet that high rollers usually play.

Essential Roulette Strategy

There are different popular strategies that are much talked about as ones that help you win. We list out a few of the most popular roulette strategies here:

  • Martingale strategy: This strategy requires you to double your wager each time you lose, so finally when you win you recover all your losses. It is a popular strategy but not very practical or effective given the amount you would need as a bankroll in case you launch into a losing streak.
  • Reverse Martingale strategy: This works the opposite of the Martingale strategy: you bet small when you lose and bet big when you win.
  • D’Alembert strategy: This strategy uses arithmetic factors; when you lose you do not double your winnings but increase your wager by 1.
  • Fibonacci strategy: This is a strategy based off the Fibonacci series designed by the famous Italian mathematician Leonardo Pisano Bigollo. Your betting pattern follows the Fibonacci number pattern – you add your last two bets to get the amount you should bet for the next one.
  • James Bond strategy: This is a strategy floated by Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, and hence the name. You would need a slightly higher bankroll of at least $200 for this bet and you would launch your game by starting off with placing column bets.

Now are all these strategies effective? The answer is difficult, because roulette is after all driven to a large extent by luck. There is no connection between 2 spins of the wheel – one spin does not influence the next. So strategy may really not work here. You could of course place the bets strategically to cover as much of the board as possible.

Roulette Tips for Beginners

Here are a few tips for playing roulette if you are a beginner.

  • Practice the game in free play mode before you get down to actually playing it for real money. Almost every online casino allows you to play in free play mode.
  • Learn all about the different bets and what you can do with them. Thorough knowledge of the bets is a must if you are looking to play for real money.
  • Sign up with reputed online casino operators when you are looking to play roulette online. This gives you the guarantee of security and fair play.
  • Play European Roulette instead of American Roulette because the house edge is higher in the latter version owing to the presence of the extra number, the 00.
  • If you are looking to play roulette at a land-based casino, try spinning the wheel for free a few times before you play. This will give you a chance to observe if there is a pattern to the numbers landing – more evens than odds, for instance – and help you formulate a basic strategy for betting. It may not be effective but you have the luxury of trying it out based on personal observation.

If you are craving for more tips on playing roulette then hopefully the additional tips found here: Top 8 Roulette Tips, will be useful.

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