As one of the oldest and most popular table games, roulette has been around for centuries. Officially, the roots of the game go back to 17th century France. After all, the word roulette translates to “little wheel” in French. However, there are myths that suggest it might be even older than that. Through the years, this table game became one of the most popular gambling options for a lot of people around the world. The game is very easy to understand and has simple gameplay. To make things better advancements in technology led to the creation of different variants of the game. As a matter of fact, it can be played at online casinos as well. Players can enjoy computer-based titles or even play with a real dealer from the comfort of their own homes.
In this article, we will cover all the details that surround the game of roulette. That includes the history, how it became a part of every casino and all the details that will help you learn and play the game. Additionally, we will talk about the rules, the best strategies, different variants of the game, and much more. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about this popular table game and how best to take advantage of it.
Even though its widely accepted that roulette first appeared in France back in the 17th century, there are a lot of myths that suggest the game might be older than that. There is evidence that ancient civilizations played games that are similar to it. In this section, we will talk about all the mysteries behind this table game.
There are many reports that connect the game of roulette with an ancient Chinese board game. This game involved 37 animal figurines that need to be arranged in a magic square with numbers. The total of those numbers was 666. Dominican monks discovered the game and then brought it to Europe while also making several slight changes. However, there are no specific details as to how the Chinese game was played. The monks changed the layout and added a special slot for the number zero and the square was replaced with a circle.
Ancient Rome & Greece
Soldiers in ancient Rome spent a lot of time waging war on the frontlines. In wars, soldiers get injured and die every day and morale can go down rather quickly. To fight against morale loss, Roman commanders allowed their soldiers to have as much fun as they could. Part of the fun activities included gambling games. There are historical reports that one of these games was spinning a shield or a chariot wheel, which is very close to the gameplay of roulette.
Similarly, Greek soldiers had such fun activities as well. They drew symbols on the inside of a shield and put it face-down on the ground. Then, they would place an arrow right night to it. The idea was to spin the shield and bet on which symbol the shield will stop in front of the arrow. This also suggests a game similar to roulette was played; however, there is not enough evidence to suggest this is where the game was born.
The first confirmed piece of history about roulette comes from a French story back in 1657. French mathematician Blaise Pascal was trying to discover a contraption that will have infinite motion. During his experiments, he built what we today know as the roulette wheel. However, the rest of the rules of the game have never been credited to a single person. What we know for sure is that the first game of roulette was played in France in 1796. Back then red was used for the zero and black for the double zero. However, this turned out to be confusing so they changed it. Starting from the 19th century, green has been the color used for the zero and double zero fields.
Initially, people mostly played the double zero variant of the game. It was Francois and Louis Blanc who invented the single zero version in 1842. Their version was first tried in 19th century Germany and it quickly became more popular than the double zero version. However, sometime after that Germany banned roulette and the brothers took their game to Monte Carlo. From that point on, the game has been played in all corners of the world. With time the double zero variant became more popular in the USA which is why today it’s often called American roulette. On the other hand, the single zero variant is known as European/French roulette. This version is the most recognized one and is preferred almost everywhere with the exception of the USA. In the next section, we will explain all the differences between the two versions.
Today, casino roulette is on a whole other level and there have been changes to the original game. There are a lot of variants out there, especially when it comes to online roulette, and each of them has something different to the original game. However, when it comes to the roulette wheel, there are only two versions of it. We have already mentioned the American and European/French versions and below we will explain them in proper detail.
This version has 38 pockets on the wheel unlike the 37 pockets in the European version. This is the biggest difference between the two. American roulette has a slot for both one zero and double zero. Both spots are marked with green which means they reduce the chances for the ball to hit a red/black number. Because of the two slots for zeros, the table layout is different to the European version. Other than that, the game is pretty much the same. The same rules apply and the only difference is the unique rules that can be seen in French roulette we will explain them below.
The reason why this version is both French and European is that they have the same gameplay. The French version was the original from which all other variants were created. However, European roulette followed the rules of the original as close as possible. For that reason, in casino roulette, you will find both European and French. This version has 37 pockets in total, one less than the American version. It has only one zero slot which is why there are fewer pockets. The layout in both European/French variants is pretty much the same but sometimes French variants could be in French instead of English. Additionally, there are two rules that are unique to French roulette and can’t be seen in any other variant.
“La Partage” – If you translate this phrase, it means to share. This rule works when you make an outside bet and the ball lands on zero. Thanks to “La Partage, if this outcome happens, the player gets half his stake back.
“En Prison” – If you make an outside bet and the ball lands on zero thanks to this rule the player can make two decisions. He can either choose to get half of his stake back (just like with La Partage) or make the same bet again.
How to Play Roulette?
The game of roulette has very simple gameplay and the rules can be learned within minutes. This is why the game is so popular at both land-based and online casinos. It takes less than 30 seconds to start the game, set the betting amount, pick a number or any of the bet types available and just wait for the roulette wheel to spin. Basically, the only thing that casino players need to learn is the types of bets that can be played on the wheel.
We can divide the most popular inside bets into the following five categories.
- Straight Bet – This is the simplest bet in the game. You pick one of the numbers on the wheel and you bet on it. If the ball lands on your number, you win 35x your stake.
- Split Number – Bet on two numbers that are next to each other on the table. It doesn’t matter if they are adjacent horizontally or vertically. To place this bet, you need to put your chips on the shared line between two numbers. If the ball drops on either number, the player wins 17x the stake.
- Street Bet – This is a bet that’s placed on three numbers that are located in the same row. For instance, 1;2;3 or 4;5;6. To place this bet, the chips need to be placed on the outer line of that row. This bet will pay 11x the stake.
- Corner Bet – Similar to the split bet but instead of betting on just two numbers, you can bet on four numbers. To play this bet simply put your chips on the common corner between four numbers. If the ball falls on one of the four numbers, the player wins 8x the stake.
- Line Bet – Just like the street bet but instead of picking numbers on one row, you place your bet on two rows that are next to each other. For example, from 1-6 or from 4-9. The payout for this bet is 5x the stake.
Unlike the inside bets, outside bets in roulette can be found outside, on the sides of the main betting table. With the outside bets, players get fewer options but they tend to be easier for playing and it’s easier to get a win through them. On the other hand, since they are less risky, the payouts are lower too.
- Color Bet – This bet is just as simple as it looks. Bet on either red or black. So, whatever number is chosen on the roulette wheel, if it’s a red-coloured number and you picked red, you win the bet. Basically, this bet allows you to cover half the numbers, excluding the zero (or double zero). It’s the easiest bet to win which is why it can only double your stake.
- Odd/Even – Just like the color bet, this one allows you to cover half of the numbers on the board. You can pick an odd or an even number thus always covering 18 numbers. For that reason, this bet type also doubles your stake.
- High/Low – Another bet that’s pretty much 50/50. The numbers from 1-18 are low and the rest of them, up to 36 is high. Just like the bets above, this one doubles your stake.
- Column Bet – The numbers on a live roulette table are divided into three columns. Each column covers 12 numbers. Since it’s a riskier bet than the ones above, it pays 2x the stake.
- Dozens – Last but not least, we have the dozens bet. If we look at the name of this bet, its pretty much self-explanatory how it works. Bet on either 1-12; 13-24; or 25-36. Just like the column bet, this one pays 2x the stake.
Most Popular Strategies
Now that we know how the game originated and how to play it, it’s time to discuss the most popular roulette strategies. We can divide all the strategies into two groups – progressive and non-progressive. Strategies that are part of the latter group are more suited for experienced casino players. For that reason, in the section below, we will review the three most popular progressive betting strategies.
This is the most known gambling strategy in the world. It’s used for sports betting and in a lot of other table games as well. The reason why it’s so popular is obvious – the strategy is very easy to learn. It basically focuses on doubling your bets every time you lose. That way, whenever you win, you will cover the losses from the previous rounds and gain a small profit. However, sometimes you might go on a long losing run and if you stop doubling, you will never get your money back.
How to use the Martingale Roulette Strategy:
- Pick a table with a low minimum bet and a high maximum bet. In such a table, you can double your stake for more rounds before hitting the table maximum.
- When you get a win, keep the winnings, return to your original stake and keep playing.
- When you lose, double your stake and keep doubling until you get a win.
This is a strategy that is mostly used in land-based casinos because roulette tables there have higher limits. In online roulette, you might reach the maximum bet while still not getting a win. This is the only disadvantage to the strategy. In such an outcome, you won’t be able to double your next bet because of the table limit which means it becomes impossible to cover what you already lost.
D’Alembert Roulette Strategy
Unlike Martingale, this strategy offers a more risk-free way of winning at roulette. It’s the perfect strategy for players who are still not experienced with this table game. It works by increasing your stake by 1 every time you lose. On the other hand, when you win, you reduce the stake by 1.
How to use the D’Alembert Strategy:
- Stick to outside bets because they happen more often.
- Start at lower stakes so you have space to manoeuvre
- When you lose, increase the original wager by 1.
- When you win, decrease the last wager you placed by 1.
- If you go on a losing streak, keep playing until you win several runs and then stop playing.
- The smartest thing to do is get up from the table when you have the same amount of wins as losses.
Last but not least, we have the Fibonacci roulette strategy. It’s also a progressive betting strategy and is a bit more complicated than the two we already mentioned. The strategy got its name from the famous Italian mathematician Fibonacci. Back in the 13th century he studied patterns and wrote several papers about his research. His work wasn’t appreciated while he was alive but during the 19th century, one of the sequences he created was named after him – The Fibonacci Sequence. The idea behind this sequence is that every number after the first two numbers is the sum of the two numbers that came before it. For instance, 1-1-2-3-5-8-13-21-34-55-89, etc. The Fibonacci strategy works just like the sequence.
How to use the Fibonacci Strategy:
- Just like the previous strategy, stick to outside bets as they are easier to trigger.
- If you lose, increase your initial bet by following the Fibonacci sequence. So, if you start at $1 and you lose, your next bet will be $1 again. However, if you lose in the next round as well, your next bet should be $2. If you lose again, the next bet should be $3, etc.
- Keep following the Fibonacci sequence on consecutive losses until you win.
- When you win, go back two numbers in the sequence.
- As soon as you make some profit, stop playing.