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Roulette for Beginners: How to Play Roulette Online

For more than two centuries, roulette has been an iconic fixture on casino floors. Now that online casinos are on the scene, online roulette is no less iconic, even in a virtual setting.

However, with fast action, a spinning wheel, and plenty of wagers to make, roulette can feel intimidating to newcomers. No worries – we break down the basics of online roulette so you’re ready to play with confidence. Let’s get started!

Reading a Roulette Table Layout

Before we discuss how to play roulette, we need to talk about the roulette table. The table is where you place your bets. Although selected casinos may have different variants or side bets, these are the bets you can place:

  • Individual numbers, from 1 to 36
  • Numbers, 1-18 or 19-36
  • Even numbers
  • Odd numbers
  • Black spaces
  • Red spaces
  • First row of numbers (1-12)
  • Second row of numbers (13-24)
  • Third row of numbers (25-36)

Payouts on each set of bets vary according to the odds of correctly predicting the ball’s final position. The more margin for error, so to speak, the greater the payout multiplier.

Roulette Betting Terms

Players can elect to bet on multiple individual numbers—up to six—by placing their wagers on or between multiple spaces. Different bets have different names, and it’s good to know them in case someone uses one – especially the dealer.

  • A “straight up” bet is on 1 number
  • A “split bet” is on two numbers
  • A “street bet” is on three numbers
  • A “corner bet” is on four numbers.
  • A “six-line” bet includes six numbers.

If you have any questions about how to place these bets, feel free to ask the dealer or your chosen online casino’s customer support personnel.

How to read a roulette wheel

We should also talk about how to read the wheel itself. Each pocket on the roulette wheel contains a number and color.

The wheel contains 36 numbered slots, along with at least one space assigned to zero. Aside from the green-shaded zero(es), each number is either colored red or black.

How to play roulette in 3 steps

Now that we’ve talked about the materials of the game, let’s talk about how to play the game of roulette itself. Here are the three basic steps to play the game:

  1. Study the board: Learn the bets you can make, both on the inside and outside of the table, so you can start personalizing the way you play online roulette. At the very least, know about the 50/50 bets, like black/red, even/odd, and high/low.
  2. Place your bets: Place bets on any of the spaces mentioned above. You can even continue to place them while the ball starts spinning. Betting is open until the system indicates no more bets, which comes only a few seconds before the ball drops into the wheel.
  3. Watch the wheel: When the dealer releases the ball, it will spin around the top lip of the wheel until landing in one of the roulette wheel’s spaces. Once the ball comes to a rest, the dealer will place a marker on the winning space and pay all of the associated winning bets.

Roulette payouts

Now, the fun stuff. There are different odds for each bet on the roulette table, but there are also different payouts. Here are the typical payouts for online roulette:

  • Individual (straight up) bets on a number: 35:1
  • Split betting on two numbers: 17:1
  • Row 00 bet (American Roulette only): 17:1
  • Street betting on three numbers: 11:1
  • Corner betting on four numbers: 8:1
  • 6-line bet on six numbers: 5:1
  • 5-number bet (American Roulette only): 6:1
  • Column bet: 2:1
  • Dozens bet (1st 12/2nd 12/3rd 12): 2:1
  • Red/black: 1:1
  • Even/odd: 1:1
  • High/low: 1:1

Although there is a bit of statistical variation, the overall house edge associated with the typical (for the US) double-zero wheel is 5.26%. A wheel with only 1 zero has a house edge of 2.70%.

Online roulette variants

While the basics of roulette remain the same, there are different variants available at select US online casinos. You may also find these variants in live dealer roulette studios. You’ll find different wrinkles in the gameplay that impact the house edge. Let’s cover the common types of roulette at online casinos.

American

With an American Roulette game, there are 38 spaces on the wheel. There are the standard numbered spots between 1 and 36, plus a 0 space and a 00 space. The overall house edge on an American Roulette game is 5.26%.

Due to the two zero slots, players can also make additional bets. The 5-number bet covers both zero spaces (0 and 00) and numbers 1, 2, and 3; and the Row 00 bet covers both zero spaces.

European

A European Roulette game is almost identical to the American version, but has one key difference. Namely, the European wheel has only a single zero slot on it.

While the subtraction of a single space may seem insignificant, it’s not. Where an American Roulette game bears a 5.26% house edge, a European Roulette game has a house edge of only 2.70%. In other words, a European Roulette game is nearly twice as advantageous to the player as an American wheel.

French

Roulette, of course, is French for “little wheel,” so it’s no surprise the French have their own iteration.

French Roulette tables use European roulette wheels, but run with wrinkles like the en prison rule. This rule allows players to recover an even-odds bet when the ball lands on 0.

On some French Roulette games, you may also find la partage, which allows players to recover half their bet when the ball lands on 0.

These rules only serve to further decrease the house edge. In fact, you should always choose to play on a French Roulette game if you can.

If you’re not convinced, take a look at the comparison table below, and it should be clear to you which roulette variant is the most favorable to players.

AmericanEuropeanFrench
Spaces383737
Zeroes211
House edge5.26%2.7%1.35%

Double Spin Bonus Roulette

Another exciting online casino game variation at some US online casinos is Double Bonus Spin Roulette, which includes a bonus pocket on the wheel for the potential of a bonus spin.

The bonus spot on the wheel makes for 39 spots on the roulette wheel. The bonus spin slot is colored in yellow, features a ‘B’ and its size is 1 1/2 times larger than the rest of the pockets.

Whenever the ball lands in the bonus spot, the roulette wheel disappears and is replaced by a new wheel. Players will now have two winning numbers. If you bet on the bonus slot during the spin, you’ll receive a 120-to-1 payout; if you bet both bonus slots and they land, you’ll receive a 1,200-to-1 payout.

Online roulette strategy

Players have developed many strategies over the years for how to win at roulette, but none are foolproof. Casinos are in the business of making money and always operate with a house edge over players.

However, to get the most out of your online roulette experience, here are a few points of strategy to keep in mind. First, if available, always stick to a European Roulette table. While this variation is not as widely available as American, European Roulette offers players a lower house edge because it doesn’t have that extra 00 space.

Secondly, if you’re a beginner, it’s probably best to stick to basic roulette bets at first. It’s always good to get your feet wet by experimenting with different inside and outside bets.

If you want to get some experience under your belt before sitting down at the table, many US online casinos offer free online roulette. While you won’t be able to win real money, you will be able to gain valuable knowledge of how roulette works.

For a more in-depth look, be sure to check out our roulette strategies and systems page. If you’d prefer to examine individual betting systems, check out these options:

The number of spaces on a roulette wheel depends on the variation. In European Roulette, there are 37 pockets on a roulette wheel, numbered in specific order 0-36. In American Roulette, those 37 are present, plus a 00 slot, so 38 total. This extra space significantly affects the house edge, so make sure you know which roulette variation you’re playing.

Generally speaking, betting on both red and black is not a useful strategy to win money because although statistically, players have a 94% chance of winning, that other 6% (5.26%, actually) will eventually drain your wallet.

While you would receive the highest payout on the roulette board at 35-to-1, the fact of the matter is that betting on the zeros is a straight-up bet, which gives you only one out on the board. So, betting on a zero is no different – statistically – than betting on any of the other numbers.

No. Online roulette—like all casino offerings—is a game of luck. The notion of strategies and systems is dependent on many factors, including house edge, player experience, and mathematics, but no singular roulette strategy has been proven to beat a casino’s house edge.

No – they don’t have to be. The house edge on any roulette game is enough to keep the casinos in business. Just to be safe, however, online roulette games are also routinely tested by independent agencies to ensure fair play.

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