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Roulette is known as the King of Casino Games, and is an extremely popular gambling game, as its epithet suggests.
The basic game is simple: there is a rotating wheel and ball, and players bet on which slot of the wheel the ball will land. There is a classic table layout of numbers in both red and black, and a number of betting options as well.
While many casino games have sources dating back to Medieval and even ancient times, Roulette is probably the oldest game of them all. One story traces it back to ancient Roman times, when Romans shot arrows into a wheel. Another story traces it back to ancient China, where the wheel was actually created as an instrument of torture!
Credit for modern Roulette goes to a 17th century French mathematician and philosopher named Blaise Pascal. He actually reinvented the wheel – the Roulette wheel, that is. He named his wheel Roulette (French for little wheel) and created most of the rules that we know today. Francois and Lois Blanc later invented the single zero Roulette wheel, because they realized that adding the zero would give the House an advantage.
European Roulette became immensely popular all across the continent, from German gambling dens to the royalty of Monaco, where it became a significant source of revenue for King Charles III and his heirs. But Roulette’s popularity rose to even greater heights when it crossed the Atlantic and arrived in America
In America, Roulette started out as a game for the nouveau riche in the Western states. These people had newfound fortunes from the Gold Rush, and were looking for new, entertaining ways to spend them. Roulette was the perfect game for them. The American version, though, was slightly different than its European counterpart – the wheel was given an extra double zero (00) in order to give the House an even larger advantage.
Today, all forms of Roulette, including American, European, French, Live and 3D are played on online casinos by millions of people all over the world.
Roulette has a distinct vocabulary based on both its French and American origins. Below are some of the most important terms.
American Wheel: A wheel that has an additional 00, making 38 the total amount of numbers (as opposed to the European wheel, which has 37 numbers).
Ball: The small white ball that spins around the Roulette wheel and lands on one number.
Column Bet: A wager that is placed on a vertical column of 12 numbers (1-12, 13-24, 25-36), with a payout of 2:1. A wager on the last dozen numbers is known as a dozen bet, or “derniere,” and a wager on the first dozen numbers is known as a “premiere 12.”
Corner Bet/Carre: A wager placed on four adjoining numbers, with a payout of 8:1.
Croupier: French for dealer.
European Wheel: A wheel that has a total of 37 numbers, one less than the American Roulette wheel.
Even Bet: A wager placed on all even numbers.
Even Money Bet: Any wager that pays out at 1:1, including bets on red/black, odd/even and high/low.
Five Number Bet: A wager on 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3. This bet can only be placed in American Roulette, due to the 00.
High/Low Bet: A wager on 19-36 (high) or 1-18 (low).
Inside Bet: A wager on the numbers (and not the colors), which are found on the inside area of the table.
Line Bet: A wager on a line of six numbers.
Odd Bet: A wager on all odd numbers, not including 0.
Outside Bet: A wager on anything but numbers (for example, red/black, high/ low).
Split Bet: A wager covering two numbers.
Straight Up Bet: A simple wager placed on one number.
Street Bet: A wager covering three numbers in a row.
The goal of Roulette is to predict which slot the white ball will fall into. Players play against the House, not each other.
Sequence of events:
- Players make their bets. Bets can be made on a single number, a group of numbers (lines, columns, corners) and outside bets (red/black, odd/even, high/low).
- The croupier spins the Roulette wheel and everyone watches as the ball lands in one of the slots.
- The croupier makes payouts to the winning players.
In European Roulette, the House has an advantage of 2.7%. In American Roulette, the House has an advantage of 5.26% due to the addition of the double zero slot.
Roulette payout odds:
Straight-up bet on one number – 36:1 (with no House advantage, the odds are 37:1/38:1).
Split bet on two numbers - 17:1.
Street bet on three numbers - 11:1.
Corner bet on four numbers - 8:1.
Six-number bet - 5:1.
Column/Outside dozen bet - 2:1
Even Money bets - 1:1.
As opposed to other casino games, such as Poker and Blackjack, Roulette is not a game in which you can use mathematical strategies. It is a game of total luck. That’s right – whether you’re playing in America or Europe, whether you spin the wheel one time or fifty times, the outcome is totally random. That being said, there are some basic strategies that can be learned and followed in order to increase your chances of winning. Here they are:
Martingale Strategy: The player should make only Even Money bets (red/black, high/low, odds/evens), and after each loss, double the bet. While it may sound counterintuitive to bet more after you’ve just lost, the logic is as follows: With Even Money bets, you have a 50/50 chance of winning or losing, therefore, constant doubling ensures that you will recover all losses on the first win. This strategy requires that you stick with your bet – if you bet on red, you need to bet on red the whole time. The risk is that if red fails to come up after a number of spins, you might go over your budget.
D’Alembert Strategy: The player increases his bet value by one after each loss, and decreases the bet value by one after each win. This is a lower risk strategy with the goal of quitting once your amount of wins is equal to or greater than your losses. If you start off losing, this strategy dictates that you wait until you pull back to even ground. If you start off winning, this strategy dictates that you cash in your chips before you fall back to 50/50.
James Bond Strategy: This strategy only works in European Roulette; the player must bet on a column bet, placing 70% of his funds on high numbers, 20% on low numbers and 10% on 0. The odds of winning are just above 50% - if you hit high or 0, you win, if you hit low you lose. Remember, as its name suggests, this strategy is for players with big bankrolls!
- Roulette is a good game for you if you are looking for a fun, simple game, not a game that requires a lot of skill.
- Roulette is not a good game for you to make a professional gambling career out of. This is because it is based totally on luck, unlike Poker, in which players can spend years perfecting their strategies.
- Even Money bets are a good way to increase your chances of winning. Even though the reward will be smaller, the risks are also smaller.
- Try out both American and European Roulette (most online casinos have them) and figure out which one you prefer.
- Practice for free before putting down any real money! While the game is purely luck and therefore, doesn’t require practice in order to build skills, practice can help you become more familiar with the terms and rules before actually betting real cash.