Roulette is one of the oldest and most iconic of all casino games, with a colourful history, interesting gameplay variations, and the enviable ability to appeal to generation after generation. If you are new to the game of roulette, or just want to find out a bit more about this evergreen casino game, Fruity King welcomes you to the ultimate guide to understanding and playing online roulette. We’ll show you where the game comes from, take you through all the different variations of the game, as well as show you how you can become a powerhouse in your roulette game!
When we said that we were going to present the ultimate guide to playing roulette, we weren’t kidding! In fact, if roulette had a kitchen sink, you’d find it here. You could even think of our roulette guide as the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of roulette, and we want you to be able to keep coming back to it when you start playing your own games. Learn all about interesting roulette betting strategies, and find out how different roulette bets work, so you can try different options on your way to that elusive winning formula. So, without further ado, let’s jump straight into our ultimate how play roulette guide, and what better place to start than right at the birth of the game.
It All Started with a Fail!
We’ve all seen those crazy fail videos on YouTube and had a good chuckle or two at the idiots failing in every clip, but sometimes ‘fails’ can actually be a good thing. The origins of roulette are a great example of how someone’s fail can actually become a win. In this case, we have a notable (actually pretty famous) French mathematician named Blaise Pascal who had this idea for a perpetual motion device. Naturally like any good inventor, Blaise went about creating various working models. Of course, none of them was able to produce the results that he was after so, as far as inventing the perpetual motion machine was concerned, it was a fail. However, as far as inventing what would become the biggest casino game of all time – win!
So, How Did the Actual Game of Roulette Happen?
No one is quite sure as to the exact origins of the game of roulette. Some say that Blaise Pascal himself invented the game himself, probably as a way to make the best out of his failed experiments. In any case, we do know that roulette made its appearance in the mid to late 1700’s and it soon became the most popular casino game in Paris. The word roulette itself is French and it refers to a small wheel, the central focus of the game.
The Structure of the Roulette Wheel
The roulette wheel is one of the most iconic symbols of the modern casino, with its numbered circumference as well as its evenly divided and alternating black and red spaces. Everyone loves watching the roulette wheel as it spins, mesmerized in anticipation of where the little metal ball will end up. The sound of the metal ball as it spins counter to the direction of the wheel, is also an essential element of the entire roulette experience, something that top online casino software providers have sought to emulate.
The roulette wheel has come a long way since Pascal’s initial attempt at turning a negative into a positive, and some say that the idea of numbered pockets all around the circumference of the wheel was actually his idea.
Interesting facts that you probably didn’t know about the roulette wheel:
Here are a few interesting facts that you probably didn’t know about the roulette wheel, and it may just make you love the little wheel even more!
Anatomy of a roulette wheel
Did you know that the roulette wheel can be broken down into a few basic components? Aside from the central turret that is used to spin the roulette wheel, there are three main components that are central to the game
a) The ball track, which the croupier (roulette dealer) uses to spin or shoot the ball around.
b) The lower ball track, where the ball eventually drops down into.
c) The wheel head, where all the individual numbered pockets live.
d) The ball deflectors, which refers to those little diamond-shaped metal studs you see dotted around the ball tracks. The ball deflectors are designed to ensure that there is no control over where the ball ends up, letting everyone know that every spin result really is random.
For many, the wheel head is the most important component because this is where the ball will eventually come to rest in, one of the numbered pockets, instantly creating winners and losers.
Single Zeros and Double Zeros
If you’ve ever spent any time at an online casino or even at a brick and mortar casino, you probably already know that the French or European roulette games feature a single zero, while the American roulette game features double zeros (0 + 00), but did you know that this wasn’t always the case? The original (French) roulette wheel featured alternating colours of red and black and included two extra pockets, one for a single “0”, and another for a double “00”. These were originally called the “houses pockets” as they gave an extra advantage to the casino.
Not too long after the original roulette game became popular in Paris and in other European cities, players began to complain that the roulette wheel was becoming a bit confusing, making betting difficult. The main reason for this was of course that the so-called “house pockets” or 0’s, were the same colours as all the other numbered pockets. Players simply couldn’t tell when the ball had landed in a house pocket. Of course, some bright spark then came up with the idea to make the “zero positions” a different colour. Green was the lucky winner and, to this day, any zero position is marked green, although you may sometimes find a roulette wheel with blue zero positions instead.
French, European and American Roulette – What’s the Difference?
Newbies often freak out as soon as they hear that there are different versions of roulette and that they are all named after different countries (plus one continent). It also doesn’t help that not all online casinos will offer all the different versions of roulette, with some preferring to only offer European and American roulette, while others will offer only French roulette, and still others, all three at once!
But what really is the difference between them? What makes French roulette French? Is it just played in France maybe? Also, isn’t France part of Europe, so why have two different versions? How did American roulette come into the picture?
Of course, these are all perfectly reasonable questions, and to answer them, let’s start with the granddaddy of them all, French roulette!
French roulette is the game that started it all, going all the way back to that fortunate fail by a certain French mathematician. And, yes, it’s called French roulette because that’s where it was invented and developed. However, in our modern roulette context, French roulette is the version of roulette that still retains all of the original French gameplay terms and rules. And this is essentially what makes it different from its sister, European roulette.
- French roulette is the original roulette game
- Features a single zero position
- Retains the original French terms, rules and gameplay
Offers a house edge of 1.35% thanks to its half back rule (for even money bets only)
Perhaps the best way to think of European roulette is that it is very similar to French roulette but without all the French. In other words, you won’t find any of the original French terms or features such as la Partage (half back). So European roulette is slightly more streamlined but, since certain original gameplay options have been omitted, comes at a slightly higher house edge.
- Similar to French roulette
- Does not feature the original French terms or features
- Use English to mark the table
- Features a single zero position
- House edge of 2.7% thanks to no la Partage option
Arguably the most notorious of all modern casino roulette games, American roulette is also the newest member of the family, having been founded in the New World when roulette made its way “across the pond”. American roulette’s most distinguishing feature can be found in the use of two sets of zero positions, which is where the notoriety stems from since this also drastically increases its house edge. While it retained the original single zero position used in French and European roulette, it holds one over on the average player by adding an additional zero position, called the double zero. Both use the distinguishing green colour to differentiate them from the standard red and black number positions, but are placed at opposite ends of the roulette wheel.
- American roulette is the newest version of roulette
- Created in America when the game was introduced by settlers in the New World
- Uses the English language in table markings
- Uses two zeros positions instead of just one (0 + 00)
- Has the highest house edge of all at 5.26% (due to 00 slot position)
So, which is the best version of roulette to play?
That’s a great question, especially if you are new to online & mobile roulette games and want to find the game that will give you the best experience possible, without a lot of heartache or headaches along the way!
The vast majority of experienced players tend to stick to either French or European roulette where ever possible since both of these will give you a much lower house edge percentage. Of course, it also depends on your online casino and what they have available since some online casinos will only offer European and American roulette, leaving the French roulette option out of the equation.
The main reason for this is that French roulette offers the lowest house edge of any roulette game at just 1.35% when you include the La Partage rule on even money bets. Most online casinos just don’t like the idea of offering an roulette game with such a low house edge percentage, and would rather stick with the more conventional European roulette, with a 2.70% house edge or, even better (in some online casinos views), American roulette with its massive 5.26% house edge.
Fortunately at Fruity King you don’t have to be torn between making those critical choices since we offer all of these and much more. While we would usually recommend French roulette or even European roulette to newbies, we also encourage you to give them all a go at least once. Knowing how each works is the best way to really develop your roulette game and become the best
roulette player that you can be.
Playing it Safe – Testing
Roulette Games in Demo Mode
One of the coolest features of our
roulette platform is that you can try out any of our roulette games without having to worry about using your own money in the process. All Fruity King online roulette games (with the exception of live roulette) can be played in a ‘Demo Mode’. What this means is that you can simply click on the demo option to load the game and see how it all works.
The most obvious advantage to doing this is that you can learn all about different roulette games at absolutely no risk to your bankroll. What better way is there to see if American roulette is really as bad as some players say it is? Finding out for yourself is always the best way to learn about anything!
Playing Fruity King
roulette in demo mode is also a great way to implement many of the cool things that you will learn in this ultimate guide to playing online roulette. You can try your hand at different online roulette betting strategies, as well as different types of roulette betting (we get deep into that a bit later), as well as different variations on the standard online roulette format. For instance, did you know we have an online roulette game that features the great heavy weight boxer Mike Tyson? That’s right, Iron Mike has his very own signature online roulette game and it’s a killer!
We also feature other interesting
roulette variations such as sizzling Hot Roulette, Odd One In, Multi Wheel Roulette and more. These are perfect to try out once you’ve gone through the standard French, European and American roulette games.
Getting the Basics Down –
Roulette Rules and Gameplay
Roulette can be a very simple and easy game to play, especially if you’ve got the basics down pat. To make understanding the basics easier, we’ve divided this part into two sections, the roulette gameplay section, which deals with the mechanics of the game as well as different betting options, and roulette rules, which obviously deals with the most fundamental roulette rules you will encounter.
As it is with all casino games, roulette begins with players placing their bets around the roulette table. Next, the croupier, or roulette dealer, will spin the roulette wheel and then ‘shoot’ the ball along the rim or ball track of the spinning roulette wheel. Interestingly, players can still place their bets at this point, up until the moment that the croupier calls out “no more bets”. Once the ball lands in one of the numbered pockets, and the roulette wheel comes to rest, the croupier will call out the number, as well as the colour, that the ball has landed in. From here, players are either given their bet plus odds back, or have their wager removed from the table if they have lost.
So that’s the basic gameplay in roulette which happens in the exact same way round after round. This basic gameplay applies to all forms of roulette, including French, European and American roulette, as well as most of the newer variations on the basic roulette platform. Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the betting options found in roulette.
Roulette Betting Options
Essentially, there are two main betting areas on the roulette table to choose from, each with its own set of interesting bets that can be made. This is based around how the roulette table is organised and divided up, making it possible to accommodate a wide range of betting options to suit both novice or casual roulette players, and serious or pro roulette players alike.
These include all the different betting options that can be made within the main numbered grid on the roulette table. Roulette players that are looking to take their roulette game to the next level will usually go for inside bets, which can range from picking just one lucky number, to betting on different groups of numbers or configurations.
Outside bets are really well-named since these are the sort of bets that you can make outside of the main numbered gird. Outside bets are very popular with casual roulette players and are a good place to start for total roulette newbies to get their feet wet at the roulette table. Outside bets are also considered to be low risk and are also known as even money bets, although there are a few that offer 2:1 odds too.
Dissecting Inside Bets
If you’re taking a fancy to the idea of playing the numbered grid on the roulette table, this should help you to find your way around inside bets.
- The Straight Up Bet: Known as the straight up bet in European and American roulette, and as En Plein in French roulette. This is the big daddy bet in roulette as you place your chips on a single number on the grid. You can of course place your chips on more than one number across the grid, but only one (or none) will actually payout. If you win, your payout is 35:1 for your single number bet.
- The Split Bet: The split bet, or A Cheval in French roulette, allows you to place your chip/s on more than one number at a time. This gives you slightly more leeway than the straight up bet as you can place your chip/s on the line dividing two adjacent numbers. The payout for a split bet win is 17:1 regardless of which number comes in.
- The Street Bet: Also known as the three number bet or trio bet and as Transversal bet in French roulette. As the name suggests, this option allows you to bet on three numbers, which you can do by placing your chip/s on the outside border of your chosen three numbers. This bet pays out at 11:1 for any of the three numbers.
- The Corner Bet: Also known as a four number bet or square bet, and in French roulette as Carre, allows you to pick four numbers on the grid but, as the alternate name suggests, these four numbers must form a square. To make this bet, place your chip/s on the intersecting line between the four numbers. This bet pays out at 8:1 for any win within the square.
- The Beast: The Beast, or five number bet, is a unique bet that can only made on an American roulette table. The bet is made up of five numbers, including the numbers 1, 2, 3, 0 and 00. Winning the beast will payout at 6:1 although the house edge goes up to an insane 7.89%.
- The Line Bet: Also known as a six line bet and as the Sixain bet in French roulette. This bet allows you to pick six consecutive numbers by placing your chip/s on the outside border connecting the numbers together. This bet pays out at 5:1 for a win.
Dissecting Outside Bets
If running through those inside betting options made you feel a bit queasy, then not to worry, outside bets are here to make everything okay! Outside bets are the ideal place to start if you are new to roulette and need to figure a few things out first. They are also great if you plan on using a roulette betting strategy such as the Martingale, Fibonacci or any other strategy or system.
- The Column Bet: The column bet, referred to in French roulette as the Colonne bet, allows you to bet on an entire column of numbers. The bet pays out if any of the numbers within that column come in. The payout for a winning column bet is 2:1 and is a slightly more advanced outside bet with slightly better odds. It is also important to note that the 0 position in European and French roulette, as well as the 0 and the 00 position in American roulette, do not count as part of the column bet. If any 0 positions come in, you lose your bet.
- The Dozen Bet: The dozen bet, known in French roulette as the Douzaine bet, allows you to bet on one of the three columns made up of a dozen numbers each. There are three columns, so first dozen (1-12), second dozen (13-24) or third dozen (25-36). A winning dozen bet pays out at 2:1 for a win.
- Odds or Evens: The odds or evens bet, known in French roulette as Impair et Pair, allows you to bet on whether an odd or an even number will come up next on the wheel. This is one of the easiest roulette bets you can make and it pays out at even money or 1:1.
- Red or Black: The red or black bet is known as the Rouge et Noir bet in French roulette. This is the same bet as odds or evens, except now you’re betting on whether the next colour will be red or black. This bet pays out at the same even money (1:1) odds for a win.
- The High or Low Bet: The high or low bet is known in French roulette as the Passe et Manque bet and allows you to bet on any one of the numbers in the 1-18 section of the table, or in the 19-36 section of the table to come in. This bet is also an even money bet, paying out at 1:1 odds for a win.
While roulette is considered to be one of the easiest casino games to learn, especially when playing simple outside bets like betting on odds/evens, or red/black, there are some important rules to learn if you plan on playing roulette seriously.
The essential rules found in roulette are designed to ensure that smooth gaming is guaranteed, and that everyone is on the same page around the table.
The most common roulette rules govern:
- How roulette chips are acquired
- How to bet at the roulette table
- When to bet at the roulette table
- When not to bet at the roulette table
How Roulette Chips are acquired
If you plan on playing roulette, you will certainly need to know how to get your hands on those all-important roulette chips. After all, without the chips there really isn’t much point in being there, unless you like watching of course. In brick and mortar casinos, chips are usually acquired when you sit at the roulette table and buy them from the croupier. However, with roulette it’s much easier as your roulette game will reflect your current bankroll and you will then be able to simply select which value roulette chip you would like to play with, in the next round.
When to Bet at the Roulette Table
In roulette, simply click on your desired chip size and then click on any position around the table that takes your fancy. You can bet on more than one position and you can place both inside and outside bets, it is really up to you. Once you are happy with your bet placements, simply click on the spin button to spin the wheel. In live roulette the same basic principle applies except that the live dealer will direct when you can bet and when you can’t.
When Not to Bet at the Roulette Table
Again, once you have clicked on the spin button when playing virtual roulette, you will not be able to place additional bets. The same applies when playing live dealer roulette, except the dealer will announce “no more bets” to the table. You will then have to wait until the wheel has come to a stop and the winning number has been announced. Once the table has been cleared, you will be able to resume betting for the next round.
How to Bet at the Roulette Table
At first glance, the roulette table can seem like a complicated and even intimidating environment. The numbered grid, as well as the columns, groups and outside betting options can be quite confusing. However, once you taken some time to acclimatise to the table layout, it all becomes quite easy to follow.
Here’s a quick guide to placing your bets around the table:
- Straight up bet: Simply place your chip/s on the number you wish to bet on.
- Red/Black: Simply place your chip/s on the desired colour.
- Odds/Even: Simply place your chip/s on either the odd or even box.
- 1st/2nd/3rd Dozen: Place your chip/s at the head of whichever column you choose.
- Split Bet: Place you chip/s directly on the line between two adjacent numbers.
- Street Bet: Place you chip/s on the outside line or border connecting three numbers.
- Corner Bet: Place you chip/s where four numbers intersect, like standing in a crossroads.
- Betting Five: Only available in American roulette, place chips on the following positions: 0, 00, 1, 2, 3.
- Line Bet: Place your chip/s on the line linking six numbers together.
Understanding How the House Edge in Roulette Works
If you’ve followed our guide carefully, you will know by now what the house edge percentage in each of the three main roulette games are, but what does it all mean? An interesting thing about the house edge in roulette is that it is not always consistent. While the general house edge in American roulette is 5.26%, it can actually vary from around 2.63% and go all the way up to 7.89%. The same is true for European roulette, which is normally 2.70% but can be as low as 1.35%.
So what is the reason for this fluctuation in house edge? Let’s find out a bit more about how house edge is calculated and, perhaps more importantly, how you can influence it.
How the House Edge is calculated
In order to understand just how roulette house edge percentages are calculated, we would need to look at an actual game. Let’s take American roulette as our working example here. Firstly, we know that a straight up bet in American roulette would pay out at 35:1, even though there are actually 38 numbers in the game. So, what gives?
In theory, a straight up bet in American roulette should pay out at 37:1, which would more accurately reflect the numbers in the game. So, in other words, for your one unit bet, you would gain 37 units in return on a winning bet. However, casinos need to make a profit in the game. After all, this is why casinos exist in the first place. In order for the casino to make a profit on wagers, they pay out less than what the bet is theoretically worth. Hence, the 35:1 pay out on a straight up bet, the casino keeps two units back as profit.
You can actually work this out for yourself. If you divide 38 by 2, and then times that by 100, you arrive at the answer 5.26%, the average house edge in American roulette. In European roulette there are 37 numbers, since there is only a single zero position and not two as found in American roulette games. The payout is still 35:1 but now the casino is only keeping one unit as profit, which gives you the much lower house edge of 2.70%, just over half of what you get in American roulette.
Two Ways in Which You Can Reduce the House edge
In most games of roulette, there are two betting options which can help reduce the house edge percentage quite significantly. These betting options are available on certain even money (1:1) bets including high/low bets and betting on red or black, and on odds or evens. These two betting options are called the Roulette Surrender option, and the Roulette En Prison option. Let’s take a quick look at how each of these rather unique betting options work.
The Roulette Surrender Option
In certain roulette games including certain versions of American roulette and European roulette, it is possible to only lose half your bet in the event of the wheel landing on the zero or even, the double zero position. This is known as the Roulette Surrender option, and it can reduce the house edge that you are going up against from 5.26% in American roulette, to just 2.63%. In European roulette this is even smaller at just 1.35%. However, this option is only available on select even money bets, so it is a good idea to first check that it is available on the roulette game that you want to play.
The Roulette En Prison Option
The Roulette En Prison option works in a similar way to the Surrender option but with a slight difference. This betting option is also only available on certain even money bets, and also only kicks in if the zero position comes up on the wheel. When this happens, your bet is kept on the table, in the same position it was on the previous round (when the result was 0). This effectively means that neither you nor the house have actually won or lost that particular bet. Now, if the result of the next spin of the roulette wheel matches your original bet, you get to keep your money, if it goes against your bet, you lose your money.
During the round where your bet is held in place, it is said to be in prison, held there by the game, which is where the term “En Prison” or ‘In Prison’ comes from. So for example, let’s just say that you had placed a bet on red to win but the wheel had come up with a 0, with the En Prison rule in effect, your bet will then stay on the table. At this point you haven’t actually lost yet, you get to go one more round, giving you the opportunity to turn potentially bad into potentially good. Now, if the next spin still comes up red, congratulations, you get to enjoy a narrow escape. However, should it come up black, you lose as though the previous zero result had never happened at all!
The En Prison rule or option could help you to reduce the house edge to a very manageable 1.35%.
Summing it All Up
So, there you have it, your ultimate guide to play online (or just about any other version) roulette. You may have had your “aha” moment at any point during our interesting and very productive journey, leading you to realise just how interesting, and potentially easy roulette really is. As long as you use your head and play a smart game, you should come out ahead of the curve. Remember, at Fruity King you can always try out our roulette games for free by using the handy built-in ‘demo mode’, which is a great way to try out some of the tips, advice and strategies mentioned in this guide.