Not just for James Bond
Beginner's guide to playing Roulette
The thrill of each spin of the roulette wheel is the chance of big returns – up to 36x your stake for a single number win.
One of the beauties of online roulette for beginners, over games like blackjack or poker, is its accessibility. Anyone can step up to the roulette table, pick a number and cross their fingers, with an equal chance of walking away as a winner.
More sophisticated gamblers might choose to cover certain number combinations, or to spread their bets over different betting formats and odds. But the baseline remains the same – if the ball falls in your favour, you win, regardless of your experience or know-how.
At its core, roulette is a game of pure probability.
On a standard roulette wheel, the chance of the ball coming to rest on any given number is exactly divisible by the number of wells on the wheel. If there are 37 wells, you’ve got a 1 in 37 chance of calling the right number. Or, pick a dozen, and you’ve got a 1 in 3 chance, excluding the house edge built in by the zero.
In most cases, players have no control over spinning the ball, and no way of influencing where it will land. The real strategic appeal comes from understanding the different types of bets available and their respective payouts, which players try to use to their advantage to win as often as possible.
How to play: step by step
Firstly, take all the time you need in Free Play Roulette until you've familiarised yourself with the mechanics of the software and the various bets, stakes and payouts. To get you started, here's a typical round of roulette.
The game begins with the betting. Usually your balance will be represented by various denomination chips at the bottom of the screen. Click on a denomination to select it.
Now, click anywhere on the table to select your bet, whether it’s an inside bet or outside bet. Then, you can adjust the amount of your bet by clicking on the chip again. This will add the selected denomination to your bet.
Once you’ve chosen your first bet you can repeat the same process to make further bets (if you so wish).
When you’re happy with the bets you’ve made, click ‘Spin’ to set wheel and ball in motion.
After the ball has landed, wins are paid out automatically and a new round begins.
The process of playing roulette online is far simpler than it first seems, and most of the various digital versions of the game use very similar interfaces.
The Roulette Wheel and Table
Roulette is an exceedingly simple game, but deciphering all of the markings on the roulette table can seem daunting. However, once you understand these, you can place your bets with confidence (and everything else about the game is easy).
A typical (European) roulette wheel has 37 pockets – 36 numbered slots (1-36) alternating black and red, and a green zero. The numbers are ordered in such a way as to evenly distribute low and high numbers, as well as odd and even. Number distribution on the European & French wheels are slightly different to that found on the American version (which has a double zero pocket)
The Table (Layout)
Barring the extra space for the double-zero, the layouts of the European and American tables are the same.
The main part of the table is taken up by numbered spaces corresponding to the pockets on the wheel. Here’s where you place your straight (single) bets, split bets, corner bets and so on. Any bet placed within this section of the table is referred to as an inside bet. The areas below the numbered spaces is where you place outside bets. These bets generally have a lower risk & lower payout.
Using the above screenshot, from right to left there are three spaces for dozens bets: 1st 12, 2nd 12 and 3rd 12. There are then options for bets on numbers 1 to 18 and 19 to 36, as well as Odd and Even, and simply Red and Black. To the left-hand side are spaces for column bets, and the right is a space to bet on the Zero.
Different roulette versions
There are different variations of roulette available, however most other types of roulette are based on either the European or American wheel versions.
Betting in Roulette
Before the wheel is spun, players are invited to place their bets. A number of opportunities are available to the player, from single numbers to a range of combinations, as indicated by the betting patterns on the roulette table itself. Aside from novelty versions of roulette, there are a number of types of bet you will find available at every roulette table:
Single or Straight (Pays 35:1) – Any single number. e.g. call 26. If the ball lands in 26, you win. Elsewhere you lose. The zero(s) are also in play at 35:1, and you can choose to back them just like any other number.
Split (Pays 17:1) – Any two neighbouring numbers as singles, available both horizontally and vertically. Works like a single – if either of these numbers come up, you win.
Street (Pays 11:1) – Any horizontal run of 3 numbers, behaving like singles but paying at 11:1.
Square (Pays 8:1) – Any four square combination of numbers. You’re covering all four at once with your bet, in the hope that any of the four numbers comes up.
Double Street (Pays 5:1) – Any combination of six numbers horizontally, essentially two streets in play simultaneously.
Trio (Pays 11:1) – Like a street, except a trio must involve one or more zeros.
Top Line (Pays 6:1) – The combination of 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3.
Low/High (Pays 1:1) – Choose to go with the lowest half from 1-18, or the highest half from 19-36. Zeros are not included in either low or high bets.
Red/Black (Pays 1:1) – Choose red or black for an even money payout. Zeros are not included as either.
Odd/Even (Pays 1:1) – Choose odd or even numbers for an even money payout. Zeros are not included as either.
Any Dozen (Pays 2:1) – Choose the first, second or third dozen numbers, excluding zeros.
Column (Pays 2:1) – Choose the first, second or third column of numbers, excluding zeros, as indicated on the roulette table.
As you become a more experienced player, developing an understanding of each of the available bets on the wheel will give you more tools at your disposal for making a success of your roulette play.