In the halls of casino history, there are few games more iconic than roulette. Roulette has featured prominently in landmark films such as Diamonds Are Forever, Casablanca, and Run Lola Run, to name just a few. That’s because the high energy and somewhat unpredictable nature of the game make for perfect drama, while also evoking the glitz and glamour of classic casino gaming.
The origins of the roulette wheel stretch all the way back to 18th century France when the mathematician Blaise Pascal is said to have accidentally invented the roulette wheel during his quest to create a perpetual motion machine.
Since then, the roulette wheel has become a mainstay on casino floors in Las Vegas, Monte Carlo, and Macau, as well as in the realm of online casinos, drawing players from every corner of the globe. If you’re looking to master the game and put together a solid strategy, read our comprehensive guide on how to win at roulette, for both beginners and a refresher for more experienced players among you.
Try Out Different Games
The first step towards a sound roulette strategy is to familiarise yourself with the different variations of the game so that you know all the rules and bets on offer. While there is now a dizzying array of online roulette variations, such as Live Roulette and Lightning Roulette, the basic rules of roulette games are based on three variants: European Roulette, French Roulette and American Roulette.
European roulette is by far the most popular variant of the game and can be found in virtually every casino in the world. In European Roulette, there are 37 pockets, or divisions. One of these is green, while the others are red and black and are numbered between 1 and 37.
The green pocket is the zero pocket, which gives the dealer a modest house edge of 2.7%, which is why some fans believe that the odds in European roulette are more favourable. Players can either make inside bets on specific, single numbers or groups of numbers, or outside bets on factors such as ‘even or odd’ or ‘red or black’.
French Roulette is largely the same as European roulette as far as the layout is concerned, with the wheel and table layout being virtually identical. However, the names of the outside bets might be written in French rather than in English (i.e. Impair/Pair for Odd/Even).
In addition, the chips that players use in French Roulette typically do not have any set denomination, with the stake value of each chip being determined by the player at the beginning of the game. Most importantly, French Roulette comes with a variety of different rules and betting options that are not available in other variants, but we’ll get into those later.
Finally, there is American Roulette, which is most common in casinos in the United States, as you might have guessed. The main difference here concerns the roulette wheel. While it contains the same divisions and numbers as other forms of roulette, it also comes with an extra double zero (00) pocket.
You can bet on this, but it also means that the house edge is slightly higher, at 5.26%. There are also some unique rules for American roulette, most of which closely mimic the betting rules for French. We’ll look at these in closer detail down below.
Choose A Lower Stake As A Beginner
If you’re just starting out and want to learn how to win at roulette, then you should stick to low stakes play.
Many of the top online roulette sites always allow you to adjust your stake as you see fit, often by using an on-screen slider. This way, you can keep the stakes to a level that you feel comfortable with when practicing. You can see the minimum and maximum stakes available within each game in our lobby, before you even log in.
You can also log in, sit and watch a live game if you just want to learn the rules and you’re not yet comfortable with wagering real cash. The type of roulette game you choose, as well as the type of bets you make will also help to keep the stakes low.
Making outside bets is perfect for lower stakes play, since the odds of winning are so much higher than with inside bets. Betting on red or black, or even or odd could give you just less than a 50% chance of success in European or French Roulette.
However, betting on a specific number or limited outcome has a much lower chance of success, which is why the stakes and payouts are so much higher for these types of bets. If you’re just starting out and trying to master the rules of roulette, you should always lower the stakes in any way possible. Roulette might have a reputation for being a higher roller game, but there are options for every type of player.
Try Online Roulette Before You Play Live
Before you’re ready to set foot on the live casino floor and grab a seat at the roulette table, you should try your hand at online roulette to understand the odds that dictate the game and learn what types of bets will best work in your favour. Diving straight into live game or a land-based casino can be a losing strategy for first-timers for a number of reasons.
For one, you could find yourself at a table with much more experienced players than yourself, who will be more knowledgeable about the game and put you at a disadvantage. In addition, the noise and activity from a real-life roulette table can be off-putting for some rookie roulette players, which is why trying it from the comfort of your own home is a much more productive way to learn the ins-and-outs of the game.
Playing roulette online will also make it easier for you to set your own stakes and play at your own pace. There are many different online roulette games with varying difficulty levels that can help you build up your strategy.
European Roulette is probably the most straightforward, and therefore a good starting point for new players. There are also more specialised online variants such as Lightning Roulette, where you can play a bare-bones format of the game in rapid succession in order to get a feel for it.
Once you have gotten comfortable with your roulette game of choice, you can graduate to online live roulette, where you can play with a real wheel and real dealer via a live stream.
Choose Your Bets Wisely
Since roulette is a game of chance and there is nothing you can do to influence where the ball will land, the best strategy you can bring to the table is a betting strategy. As mentioned, different roulette variants come with a large variety of different bets that you can make to increase your odds of hitting those winning payouts.
Inside bets have lower odds than outside bets, but the potential payouts are much, much higher. You can increase the likelihood of an inside bet being successful by choosing to bet on a group of numbers, such as all numbers that end in ‘5’.
In European and French games, you can also take advantage of ‘call bets’ or ‘announced bets’. These bets can be found in the racetrack of the wheel and can be placed here on your behalf by the dealer. In American roulette, the dealer cannot place bets on the player’s behalf.
French Roulette also has certain betting rules that you can take advantage of to bolster your position. Most famous of these is the La Partage rule, which states that, if the ball lands in the zero pocket, the player can get half of their original stake back.
Alternatively, there is the En Prison rule, which translate literally to ‘in prison’. With this, when a player makes an even-money bet (an outside bet), their stake is ‘imprisoned’ if the ball lands on the 0. The player then has a chance to play with that stake again during the next round, with the possibility of getting their stake back if the ball lands in their favour.
Online roulette players can even play live roulette games that focus heavily on these betting rules, such as Auto-Roulette La Partage. When learning how to win at roulette, understanding these different bets and their outcomes is an essential part of a winning strategy.
Manage Your Bankroll
Finally, if you want to play roulette in a way that keeps your chances of losing out to a minimum, then you need to adopt a solid bankroll strategy. Your bankroll is, put simply, the amount of money that you have to play with.
The amount of money in your bankroll should be decided before you step up to the roulette table. You should be firm with your bankroll amount and never go over your agreed limit.
If you find that you have reached your bankroll, you might let your emotions get the better of you and begin making fast and loose decisions with your betting. Sticking to your limits is the golden rule of any bankroll strategy.
You should ideally not use your winnings to place bets with and should keep your bankroll amount separate from any winnings that you might gain from your roulette session. This rule applies if you are playing online roulette or roulette in a land-based casino.
You should also keep in mind that roulette is a game that is controlled by a high and unpredictable degree of variance. A long streak of winning or losing bets does not increase the likelihood of the next spin producing a different outcome.
The physics of the roulette wheel remains the same for every spin, and there is an equal chance that the wheel will land on the same number twice in a row as there is of it landing on a different number each time.
If you keep these rules in mind, you will be able to manage your bankroll and have fun with one of the most fascinating casino games in history. Keep in mind that roulette is a game of chance, and there is no guaranteed strategy or method to win.
Now that you have read this guide on how to win at roulette, you’re ready to give it a go.