“Stick it all on red. All of it.” he drawled, cigar dangling casually between two fingers, as the whole room gasped in shock.

The image of the suave, sophisticated high roller throwing around vast sums of cash will be familiar to anyone who’s watched a spy movie or two. Let’s face it, we’ve all wanted to be there – strolling confidently through the myriad lights and colours of a 1970s Vegas casino, sipping a Martini and basking in the admiring glances of the fellow elite. Of course, there’s only one game that’s suitable for the true gentleman connoisseur; the roulette table.

However, for those of us who aren’t blessed with that degree of wealth – or indeed the ability to travel back through time to the 1970s – it’s not all bad news, as you can now take your place at the table and play at roulette sites online from the comfort of your own home.

The History of Roulette

As the name may suggest, the game originated from 18th century France, and is believed to be a fusion of various English, Italian and French games of the era. The first written reference to the game was published in 1758, and by the 1790s it had become a regular fixture in the casinos of Paris. By the middle of the 19th century, roulette had become popular all over Europe.

Faced with the abolition of gambling by many European states, the Blanc brothers famously moved to Monte Carlo and set up a casino that would attract the elite of Europe. Indeed, it was once rumoured that Francois Blanc had struck a deal with the Devil himself to learn the secrets of roulette, for adding up all the numbers on the wheel gives a total of 666…

By this point roulette had also been introduced to New Orleans, and gradually travelled west across the United States via a variety of makeshift and illegal gambling dens. In order to combat widespread cheating, the US version of the game was gradually modified and simplified, and it is this American layout that now appears in most casinos across the globe.

Roulette Rules

Although the game is simple in operation, gaining a full understanding of roulette rules is very important – do familiarise yourself with these before making the decision to raid that beloved child’s university fund, or indeed remortgage your house in a sudden and completely avoidable lapse of reason.

Here’s a run through:

The roulette wheel itself contains 36 numbers, from 1 to 36, as well as an ‘0’ and sometimes also an ’00’. American roulette tables usually have the ‘double-0’ version, whereas European games are traditionally ‘single-0’. Given that most gambling websites are based on US rules, you can generally expect to find the ‘double-00’ version in use online. These numbers are alternately coloured red and black, and the zeros are green.

Players bet by placing their chips on the appropriate area of the numbered layout. The croupier will then spin the wheel, while spinning the white ball in the opposite direction. Bets remain open until the ball is about to leave the track and fall onto the wheel itself, at which point the croupier will declare “No more bets”. Once the ball has settled in a numbered slot, winnings will be distributed accordingly.

Here’s a run through of the types of bet you can place, and what you’ll win:

  • A bet on one single number, known as a straight up bet, pays 35 to 1.
  • A two number bet (split bet), is where your chips are placed on the line dividing two adjacent numbers. You are betting that either of the two numbers will come up, and pays out at 17-1.
  • A three number bet (across/street bet), involves placing a bet on any three adjacent numbers. This pays out at 11-1.
  • A four number bet (corner bet), requires placing a bet on four numbers whose position on the table make a square. This pays out at 8-1.
  • A six number bet (across bet), involves placing a bet on six numbers comprised of two rows of three. This pays out at 5-1.
  • A bet on the outside dozen or column pays out at 2-1.
  • You can also place bets on the following:
  • The number that comes up being odd or even.
  • The number that comes up being in the range of either 1-18 or 19-36.
  • The colour being either red or black.
  • Getting the Best Out of Roulette Online

Roulette is first and foremost a game of chance, and experienced players will tell you that mathematical systems and calculations are by and large a waste of time. The wheel doesn’t ‘remember’, so the chance of any given ball landing on red or black is always 50/50; even if (for example) the previous ten times have all been red.

That said, there are a few tips that can help you on your way:

  • If you can, try and find a European style game. With only one zero on the wheel, the house advantage is almost half that of the American double-zero tables.
  • Know your odds. Placing simple bets like odds or evens, black or red and so on will further increase your chances of winning.
  • Consider using what’s known as the ‘prison bet’. If the ball lands on zero, then leave your bet on the table for the next play. If you win the next spin, you aren’t paid those winnings, but you do get your original bet back. This means that only half your bet is actually lost, and the house advantage is reduced.
  • Remember that roulette is a game of pure chance, so it pays to be sensible and set a daily bankroll for yourself. Once that’s been used up, log off and quit the game for the day. It’s important to walk away and never gamble more than you can afford to lose… unless you really are an international man of mystery with a suitcase full of cash and an appetite for danger, in which case – carry on.