When you think of playing table games in a land-based casino, chances are the first game that you think of will be roulette. Images will spring to mind of elegantly dressed ladies and men in suits being encouraged by the croupier to place their bets on the betting table. All eyes then focus on that iconic spinning wheel, as each player hopes the ball will fall into the pocket they predicted.
This popular table game has also made a seamless transition to the online casino world. Many of the industry’s top software providers have created virtual roulette games using Random Number Generator technology. However, it’s the live casino games that comes closest to replicating the thrills and spills of playing in a land-based casino — all from the comfort of your home!
The secret to the success of roulette is that it is, for the most part, a game of luck. There’s no skill involved in trying to predict which pocket the ball will end up in. However, there are a number of different bet types that can improve your chances of landing a win.
There are also three distinct variations of roulette — American, European and French. We’ll take a closer look at each one below. Keep reading to find out why French roulette is the most favourable form to play.
How to play roulette
Let’s start by taking a quick look at how to play roulette. It’s very easy. The roulette wheel has numbered, red and black pockets. This is set spinning and a small ball is dropped onto that spinning wheel. There’s a neatly laid out section where players place their bets on which color and number pocket they think the ball will land in at the end of the spin. All bets must be placed before the wheel is set in motion. Once the wheel stops spinning, winning bets are paid out and a new round begins.
Every roulette wheel, regardless of which form, has these red and black coloured, numbered pockets. But the number of pockets varies between the American, European and French roulette versions. There are also differences in the bet types that can be placed.
Bet types in roulette
There are two main bet types — inside and outside bets.
Inside bets are found on the inside of the paytable. These are the wagers that can pay out really well, but they’re also the hardest to achieve. These bets include options such as the straight bet (betting on a single number), split bets (betting across two numbers), corner bets and so on.
Outside bets, as the name suggests, are placed on the outer edge of the paytable. These bet types have a much lower payout, but they’re much more achievable. Outside bets include betting on red/black, odd/even and high/low, which are all even-money bets, while column and dozen bets payout 2 to 1.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s take a closer look at the similarities and differences between the three forms of roulette.
This is the most common form of the game and features a wheel with 37 numbered pockets. Those numbered 1 to 36 are arranged in a specific sequence around the wheel in pockets that are alternately coloured red or black. There is also a single green 0 pocket. Previously, this game was only found in European casinos, with Canadians not able to access this variant easily. However, with the arrival of online casinos, this version can now be found worldwide. European roulette has a relatively decent house edge of 2.7%, which is something that you should take into consideration when you are playing.
The American version is very similar, but it has an extra pocket on the wheel. It also has the numbers 1 to 36 in black and red pockets running around the wheel — but in a different sequence to the European wheel. However, in addition to the green 0 pocket, the American wheel has an additional green 00 pocket, making 38 pockets in total.
As a result, the house edge increases to 5.26%, which makes this option less worthwhile for many players. Other than that, the game runs like the European version and offers the same types of bets.
Finally, we’ve arrived at the French version. This version has the lowest house edge at just 1.35%. The roulette wheel is identical to the one found in European roulette. However, the lower house edge is due to the additional rules that this version has. As a result, the layout of the betting table is slightly different from the layout for both of the other forms of this game.
The La Partage and En Prison rules apply if you have placed an outside even money bet and the ball lands in the green 0 pocket. In American and European roulette you would lose your bet. But in French roulette, if the La Partage rule is in play, you get half your bet value back. If the En Prison rule is in play instead, you end up ‘in prison’ if you make an outside even money bet and the ball ends up in the green 0 pocket. Players stuck in jail have to win their bet the next round to get out of jail free of charge, but will have to forfeit their entire wager should they lose.
French roulette also allows Call bets. There is an additional betting section known as the racetrack where these bets are placed.
Where to play
Roulette is popular at land-based casinos and this popularity has transferred to online casinos as well. Many top-quality software designers have created online roulette games, e.g. Microgaming, and NetEnt. Live roulette games are available from the likes of Evolution and Ezugi. Do ensure that any online casino you choose to play at is fully licensed and offers a range of secure payment options.
At the end of the day, roulette is an easy game to play. However, by understanding the different variants and the types of bets you can place you can dramatically improve your winning chances.
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