Hypnotizing, thrilling, unpredictable, lustrous. . . All of these epithets describe a glorious game that was a royal entertainment a few centuries ago and stays a favorite for millions of regular people till date. Fast rotation of the glossy roulette wheel, a small white ball spinning around the wheel, a croupier raking in chips from the table – all create a magical atmosphere inside a spacious casino hall where waiters in white and black uniform move at a muted pace, carrying champagne bottles or flutes on silver trays.
These days, the enjoyable and stellar casino ambience is right at the fingertips of every computer or mobile user who is able to surf the Internet and find a good online casino that features online roulette games. Your task is even easier because this website already features a collection of the best online casinos that offer roulette. Neophyte gamblers can find the rules of roulette a bit confusing and complicated but there is nothing to worry about as you will grab the basics within a few minutes of thorough reading and some practice at the casino of your choice (see a related section with casino reviews on this website). You can try and put in place some online roulette strategies to maximize your winning chances and get the most out of the gaming experience.
How to play online roulette
The first thing you should know is that roulette has three basic varieties commonly known as European, American and French roulette. There are also some local variations such as British roulette but they are not as popular as the three classic ones. Though a little different in table design and rules, the three roulette games are almost identical in their key features and general layout of the wheel and table. An online roulette game consists of a table, wheel and user interface. The table is divided into the following betting areas:
- numbers from 1 to 36 with repeatedly changing red and black colors, plus one “zero” in European roulette and two “zeros” in American roulette. The numbers are arranged into a large rectangular grid having three long rows and twelve columns. Bets covering numbers are known as inside bets. There are different inside bets depending on which numbers they cover, for example, a Straight bet is placed on any single number including zero, a Split bet covers two neighboring numbers, a Corner bet covers four numbers, etc.;
- boxes under and to the right of the numbered grid. These fields are also designed for betting and are marked with bet names, for example, “Even” and “Odd” squares are meant for placing a bet on even or odd numbers in online roulette. These sectors accept bets that are known as outside bets.
There are also “call bets” that are based on the layout of the wheel and are available in European and French roulette only. The main call bets are Neighbors of the Zero (covers 17 numbers), Thirds of the Wheel (12 numbers), Zero Game (7) and Orphans (7). French tables have these bets visualized in the French language (Orphelins, Voisins du Zero, etc.).
An online roulette table has the minimum and maximum limits for every bet type. Choosing a chip size, a user can place a bet of any value within the set limits. When all bets have been placed on the table layout, the wheel and the ball inside it start spinning. After the ball stops on a certain number, the round is over and a user takes his winnings or loses his chips, depending on which layout fields the bet was placed at the beginning of the round. For example, if the user wagered on “Red” and the ball landed on “30”, this is a winning bet.
European vs. American roulette
The key difference between the two roulette versions is that American roulette has two zero pockets marked out as “0” and “00”. A European wheel is divided into 37 fields with a fixed sequence of numbers that is the same across all roulette variants. An American wheel features 38 pockets and the numbers are located in a different manner from that in European roulette. Presence of two zero pockets in American roulette somewhat reduces the probability of winning.
French roulette is a single-zero game with 37 numbers on the table and the wheel. It has a slightly different betting field and every outside bet is marked with a corresponding French name, for example, “Pair” for Even and “Impair” for Odd. Besides, the positions of outside betting squares are also different from the European layout. In French roulette, these fields are located above and under the main number grid.
Some gamblers consider French roulette to be the best online roulette as it has the lowest house advantage of 1.35% due to a unique rule that comes into force in some gameplay situations. If the gambler has placed a “1 to 1” bet (a bet with equal odds for hitting Red/Black, etc.) and the ball lands on the zero field, half of the bet will be lost and the other half will be returned to the gambler. This option is known as a la partage rule and is often found in online casinos that offer French roulette.
En prison is another unique option that activates in the same situation as la partage. Now, the gambler is offered to “imprison” his bet until the end of the next spin. If the imprisoned bet wins in the next round, the gamblers will recover it completely. In case the ball stops on a non-winning sector, the imprisoned bet will be lost.
Odds and payouts in online roulette
Even-money bets (Red/Black, Low/High, Even/Odd) pay 1:1. For example, if you made a $2 bet and have a winning number, you get your original $2 back plus $2 as a win, totaling $4. Dozen and Column bets pay more, 2:1. These are so called outside bets and they feature higher winning probabilities but smaller payouts since you place a bet on large number groupings.
Inside bets are placed on individual numbers or a few numbers simultaneously. Payouts for winning inside bets start at 5:1 (a Line Bet on six numbers) up to 35:1 (a Straight Bet on a single number). Besides, double-zero American tables have a 5-number bet that covers the numbers 1, 2, 3, 0 and 00. Inside bets pay out higher but have lower odds of winning.
If you wonder which kind of roulette is more beneficial to play in the long run, the answer is French roulette. Due to the two amazing rules described above, the house edge is as low as 1.35%. In European roulette, the house has an advantage of 2.7% while American roulette has the house advantage of 5.24%, which is quite a lot as compared with the other two roulette types.
Online roulette bonuses
Some casinos reviewed on this website offer bonuses for table games which are valid if a user plays online roulette for real money, not for fun. On depositing a certain amount into the casino, you are given a match bonus that you need to play through on any online roulette game. After you have met the wagering requirement for that bonus, the funds will be transferred into your real cash balance. There are many online roulette tournaments and freerolls that accept Canadian gamblers and offer big money prizes.