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Online Roulette for Beginners

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Rudie Venter
Rudie VenterOnline Slots and Casino Games Expert
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For literally centuries, roulette has been one of the most popular casino games. In the past couple of decades, roulette has moved online to satisfy roulette fans from the comfort of their home or, when on the move, through mobile gambling. Players who want to interact with a live dealer and other virtual players around their table can even choose to play roulette at Live Casinos. If you want to learn the rules of roulette, check out this ultimate guide that we’ve put together for you. We’ve outlined the rules of the game, and we’ll share a few tips and strategies that could help you win in the game.

Basic Roulette Rules

Roulette is one of the simplest games to play at a casino. Most of the rules of the game center on the betting stage, and for that reason, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with roulette bets. We’ll explain some of the basic roulette rules in more detail below.

Minimum and Maximum Stakes

Most roulette tables have limits as to how little you can bet (the minimum stake), and the highest amount you can bet (the maximum stake). Before you sit down at a roulette table (virtual or otherwise), check the minimum and maximum stakes to make sure that they’re in line with your bankroll size.

How to Play Online Roulette

Table Layout

The game is played out on a Roulette Wheel, featuring 36 or 37 black or red pockets and one or two green pockets, depending on the Roulette variant being played. The numbers are in a particular sequence of alternating colors. The Roulette Table reflects the numbers on the wheel, with the layout being the same for both European and American Roulette.  The table has 36 squares, numbers 1 – 36, with an extra single zero or also a double zero square. Players bet on these squares (or a combination of squares) through a number of betting options (more about that below).

How to Play

  1. Choose your roulette table. Things to take into account include your preference for a particular variant, your betting limit and whether you prefer playing with a Live Dealer or not.
  2. Get ready to place your first bet. Choose your chip size and then click on the Roulette Table layout to place your bet.
  3. The Dealer spins the Roulette Wheel. Once the bets are placed, click the ‘Spin’ button or, in the case of Live Roulette, watch the dealer spin the wheel.
  4. The wheel comes to a stop and the roulette ball settles in a pocket.
  5. If you’re lucky, the dealer issues your payouts, based on where the ball landed and what you bet on.

Types of Bets

As we noted previously, one of the secrets to your success in roulette depends on your knowledge of the different bets available on the Roulette Table.  Below are just some of the options available to you.

How to Win Roulette

Inside Bets

If you look at the Roulette Table, you will see that there is a rectangle in which all the numbers from the Roulette Wheel are listed. Inside bets cover all of these. There are a number of inside bets that you can make, including:

  • Straight-up bet: Betting on any number on the roulette wheel. Should the ball land on the number, you win, and if it doesn’t, you lose. This bet pays 35:1.
  • Split bet: The opposite of a straight bet. Place your bet on the line that separates two numbers. If one of the two numbers comes up, you win. The bet pays 17:1
  • Street bet (Trio, Steam bet): A wager on any number within a row of three numbers. If the ball lands on any of the three numbers you choose, you get paid out 11:1.
  • Corner bet: Bet on one of four numbers in a particular square to come up. Payouts are 8:1.
  • Line bet: Cover two rows of three numbers, with numbers landing on two consecutive rows paying out 5:1.
  • Five Number bet: A wager on a group of numbers. Enjoy a 6:1 payout.
  • Basket bet: A wager on the numbers 0, 1, 2, 3. Pays 6:1

Outside Bets

Outside Bets are those that are made on the options found on the perimeter of the roulette table. Instead of betting on specific numbers, you are betting on groups of numbers or colors.

Examples of outside bets include:

  • Red/Black bet: Players bet that red or black will win. Payouts are even money (1:1)
  • Odd/Even bet: Players bet that the number will be an odd or an even one. Payouts are 1:1.
  • High/Low bet: Players bet that the number will be low (1 – 18) or high (19 – 36). Payouts are 1:1.
  • Column bet: Players bet that the outcome will be a number in one of the 3 columns of 12 numbers that are found on the roulette table. Payouts are 2:1.
  • Dozen bet: Players bet that the number falls into one of three groups of a dozen numbers on the table. Payouts are 2:1

Call Bets

Not all online casinos offer these types of bets, and you’ll typically find them on European and French roulette tables only.

Some of the bets include:

  • Jeu Zero: Bet on the numbers closest to zero, but requires four chips – 3 on splits and one on a straight-up.
  • Voisins du Zero: Covers the numbers closest to zero on a single zero roulette wheel.

Play like a Pro, Which bet should you choose?

Roulette is a game of chance, and the outcome depends on one thing only: In which pocket the ball falls once the wheel comes to a standstill. But there are certain bets that are better than others, and reduce the house edge to very little.

Roulette pros recommend that players head to a European/French Roulette Table which offers an option called the en prison. While regular European Roulette has a house edge of around 2.7%, the en prison halves it around 1.35%.

When this rule is in effect, your even money becomes en prison (imprisoned in French) if the ball lands on zero. The outcome is then determined on the result of the next spin. Here’s an example: Bet on red, and the ball lands on zero. Your bet is en prison, and you can get it back if the ball lands on red on the next spin; but you’ll lose if it lands on black.

Roulette Variations that Exist

There are three main variations of roulette: European Roulette, American Roulette and French Roulette. They are played very similarly and the difference lies in a few tweaks in the rules and the addition of an extra zero.

  • European Roulette: By far the most popular variant of the game, European Roulette is played on a wheel that has 37 pockets (the numbers 1 – 36 and a green zero). The presence of a single zero tips the scales in favor of the house, but still keeps the house advantage relatively low at 2.7%.
  • American Roulette: This variant was introduced in the casinos of the US to give the house a higher advantage. How was this done? By adding an extra pocket with a second zero. Thus, an American Roulette table has numbers 1 – 36, one green single zero and one green double zero (00). This tilts the game in the house’s favor to a high 5.26%.
  • French Roulette: This variant is very similar to European Roulette, with the addition of some specific rules. The first is La Partage (when half your stake is returned to you if the ball lands on the zero) and the second is en Prison (as outlined above).

Our Recommended Tips When Playing Roulette

These are our favourite tips to share with players when playing Roulette:

  • Decide on a betting limit before you play and stick to it. Don’t go chasing losses and don’t play with money that you cannot afford to lose.
  • Only play at reputable online casinos. Choose sites from our list of recommended casinos that offer roulette. 
  • Stick to European or French Roulette, where the odds are much better.
  • Stay away from bets with unfriendly odds.
  • Test out roulette games in free-play mode before betting for real money. This allows you to get a feel for the game and the different bets without affecting your bankroll.
  • Have fun! Remember that the outcome of the roulette wheel is determined by a random number generator. Roulette is a game of chance, and you can’t master skills to play it.

Roulette tips

Popular Roulette Strategies

Although we’re told that roulette strategies don’t really work, professional casino players swear by them. We’ve explored three of the most popular ones so that you can try them out for yourself.

  • Martingale System: In a nutshell, this system calls players to double their bet every time they lose. The theory is that when you eventually win, you will recover any money lost, and also make a small profit. Players only bet on options with a 2:1 payout rate.
  • Labouchere System: Following a losing bet, you increase your stake. An intricate calculation is used in this system which involves determining how much you want to win and planning your bets accordingly.
  • Andrucci System: The system claims that each number should be covered by the wheel over time after around 30 – 36 spins. Keep track of the numbers that appear in this cycle, and then choose one number and stick to it for the next 15 – 25 spins.

Playing Roulette Online - How does it work?

When it comes to online casinos, they use software programmes that mimic the random generation of numbers that are usually produced by a real roulette wheel. A sequence of numbers is continuously produced by this software. When the roulette wheel comes to a stop, the latest number is the one which the ball lands on.

Online Roulette VS Live Roulette

Online roulette is operated by software or a machine, whereas Live Roulette games are hosted by real-life dealers. Live Roulette games are streamed to the player’s PC or mobile device using state-of-the-art online technology from gaming studios or brick-and-mortar casino floors.

Online RouletteLive Roulette
It can be played for free or for real money at online casinosLive dealers don’t run free roulette games.
Take as much time as you want to place a bet.You have a limited time to place bets at the live roulette table.
You will generally find a wide range of betting limits, which suits the casual player who wants to place smaller wagers.Live Roulette does not usually offer small bet options.
Computer-simulated gaming and graphicsReal-life gaming experience with the chance to watch live dealers spin the roulette wheel. Personal attention is given to players by the dealer, including the opportunity to chat.
Ideal for amateur players who want to try out roulette with no pressure.It is usually enjoyed by more seasoned roulette players or high-rollers.

Best Online Casinos to Play Roulette for Free or Real Money

Our team has put together a comprehensive list of online casinos where you can play roulette for free or real money. These sites have been chosen with game variety and reward potential in mind, but most importantly, we have checked the fairness and security of the site. They are ideal for South African players as they accept payment in ZAR.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are roulette tables rigged?

While there have been instances of shady brick and mortar casinos rigging their roulette tables in the past, this is impossible to do at online casinos.  The best online casinos are deemed to be fair, with their RNG’s audited by independent third-party companies. We have checked the software at all our recommended online casinos and can assure players of complete transparency and above-board gaming at all times.

How does Roulette Work?

Roulette is a simple game that is played around a roulette table and wheel. Players make bets to determine on which number the ball will land on once the roulette wheel comes to a standstill. Bets are made on the table. The dealer will pay out any winning bets.

How do I win at roulette?

You can win at roulette by minimizing your losses, gambling responsibly, sticking to bets that don’t have a huge house edge, and choosing European or French Roulette over American Roulette. Other than that, remember that roulette is a game of chance and don’t go into your gaming session with unrealistic expectations of winning millions.

Can I try Roulette for Free?

Sure! Most online casinos offer a play-mode option, where you are given free casino credits to play roulette or other casino games. This is a great way to test-drive the software, familiarize yourself with the betting table and hone your skills until you’re ready for real money play.

What’s the difference between American, European, and French roulette?

All three are variants of roulette and generally played in the same way. The biggest difference is that the American roulette wheel has an extra zero added, which increases the house edge. French Roulette has certain rules that the other two don’t, such as the La Partage rule.

What is the difference between live roulette and online roulette?

Both live and online roulette are played remotely, which means that you have access to them from a location of your choosing. The main difference between the two is that one is generated by software, while the other involves streaming technology which brings the action of a real live casino floor, complete with live dealer, to your screen.

Is Roulette Gambling Legal in South Africa?

Some of the best land casinos in South Africa, in practically every province, offer legal roulette as a dedicated game on their casino floor. Also, South Africans can play online roulette at regulated, legal, SA-facing, offshore gambling sites.

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Rudie Venter
Rudie Venter

Online Slots and Casino Games Expert

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Rudie Venter is a seasoned online casino games expert with 13 years of industry experience. Holding a ...continue reading

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