There is a certain weight to roulette, a sophistication from its long history. Growing to popularity in 18th century France, the name conjures images of tuxedo clad men and beautiful women transfixed by the ball spinning round and round, landing on fortune for some and ruin for other. The European version of the game differs from the more globally popular US version of the game. One was born in elegance and class, the other in gambling dens across the states. Casino sites and physical casinos offer American double zero roulette which has an increased house edge. Every dollar wagered at a European roulette table has an expected value of 97.30%. At the American roulette table? 94.47%! We recommend playing only at European roulette tables.

European Roulette

European Roulette has both inside and outside bets.

Inside bets are as follows. Note that a single number bet is also called a Straight Up Bet.

Bet Name Bet information Bet Payout
Single Number Chose one of thepocketsbetween 0-36. The chip must be placed entirelywithinthe square of the chosen number. 35:1
Split Bet on two adjacent numbers. Place the chip on the shared edge between the two vertically or horizontally touching numbers. 17:1
Street Bet on three numbers in a row. Place chip at the edge of a row of threehoirizontalpockets. 11:1
Corner (Basket) Bet on four adjacent numbers. Place chip on shared corner of 4 numbers. 8:1
6 Way Split Bet on two rows of pockets by placing a chip on the edge of the board between two rows of pockets. 5:1

There are also outside bets.

Dozen 1-12, 13-24, or 25-36 2:1
Column (3,6,9,12,15,18,21,24,27,30,33,36), (2,5,8,11,14,17,20,23,26,29,32,35) or (1,4,7,10,13,16,19,22,25,28,31,34) 2:1
1-18 or 19-36 Bet on 18 or lower (not including 0) or the pockets 19-36 1:1
Odd or even One of the simplest bet. Bet that the number will come up either odd or even, not including 0. 1:1
Red or black The other simplest bet. Bet that the outcome will be either red or black, excluding the colourless 0. 1:1

American Roulette

The wheel used in American roulette has pockets numbering from 0-36. However, there is also the infamous double 00 which doubles the house edge. Bets are in general the same as for European roulette, just with worse odds. Compare for example a bet of odd on a table with one 0 vs a double zero 0/00 table. The bet on the American table gives the house an edge of 5.26% compared to only a 2.7% edge on European roulette.

California Roulette

Originating in California in 2004, California Roulette is a variant on roulette in order to abuse a loophole in gaming law which prevented standard roulette. It uses a deck of cards rather than slots on the wheel to pick the winning number.

Pattern Betting

There is something about roulette that has caused gamblers through history to believe there is more to it than just luck. The mechanical nature of the game and the physical act of the ball spinning around and around gave people the idea that there could be patterns emerging in terms of which numbers will win. Some roulette players believe that numbers become hot or cold, and have an increased value attached to them. Most rational gamblers will understand that casinos are eagle eyed when it comes to exploiting their house edge. Despite this, the history of roulette is one in which there are occasions when advantage players were able to beat the casino at their own game.

1873, France. Roulette wheels are primitive compared to the slick designs of modern days. Joseph Jagger, or Jaggers, assembles a team of six to discover the patterns and flaws of the most popular roulette wheels. While this story may be embellished as the years passes, it is claimed that he won a sum of  £120,000 which would be worth, accounting for inflation, over  £12 million today.

History has a way of warping over centuries, but the early roulette tables would have had flaws compared to current Vegas tables. It is not inconceivable that a mechanically minded entrepreneur could discover how to beat the bank with these early tables.

The 60s ushered in a new era of advantage gambling. Casinos had yet to deal with the impact of computers. They had been against gamblers using only their eyes and ears to try in vain to predict where the ball would land as it rolled with tantalizing regularity around the wheel. Computer systems were able to time the ball and wheel and predict with a success rate far exceeding the house edge where they would land.

Casinos are not in the habit of running losing games. It took until the 1980s for them to fully understand the problem and design a roulette table immune to the system. Imagine the time between the 1960s and 1980s when gamblers were able to use computer systems to beat the bank. In those times, however, you were much more likely to be treated harshly if caught compared to simply being bared as happens in most reputable casinos of today. The risk for these gamblers was not just to their bankroll. It was to their life. One way of adapting to countering these strategies was to close the betting before the roulette wheel started to spin. While this was effective, it made the game less attractive to the kind of gamblers that the casino wants – those that believe they have the game figured out but in reality are torching money.

Some casinos were slow to adapt. In 1986 when a team of gamblers lead by Billy Waters took the Golden Nugget for almost $4 million USD, they wized up, and every casino in the world worth their salt invested in the new technology. There is a battle between professional gamblers and the house, each trying to outsmart the other. Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo was able to take the Casino de Madrid for over a million Euro’s before they barred him and attempted, without success, to sue him for the winnings. He used a predictive computer to exploit small irregularities in a roulette wheel system.

Can roulette betting systems lead to a winning strategy?

Unless you have a team of professional gamblers and a supercomputer – and even if you do – it is highly unlikely you will outsmart the casino with a betting system. You will of course have heard of the Martingale strategy. These strategies developed in France at the same time roulette was growing in popularity. The idea was to double your bet every time that you lost. If you lose, your next bet wipes out your loss on a win – and if you lose this one, you simply double your bet and try again. This would net you a small profit almost every time.

The unlucky other time, you have a catastrophic loss. There are table limits at casinos, and by going on a losing streak and hitting the table limit you are unable to continue doubling your bet. As well, no gambler has infinite wealth. Using the Martingale system cannot increase your edge against the casino.

Playing roulette online tips and tricks

Roulette online is a much faster paced game than in a casino. On the best roulette sites, you can change the speed of your game. The entire point of roulette is to actually enjoy the suspence of the game, not to simply win or lose. Changing the speed to the slowest possible is the best way to both enjoy the game to the fullest and stretch your money.
Playing roulette online can be frustrating if you are playing on a site with poor software. While deposit bonuses are enticing, if you plan on spending a significant chunk of leisure time on a site, you need to be enjoying yourself to the fullest. All the little details are important. The sound effects. What happens when you get a big win.

Play for enjoyment, not to try to earn money.