While Hollywood movies would have us believe otherwise, roulette offers a much deeper experience than putting everything you own on black and hoping for the best. It’s the classic game of chance, a simple and elegant option for newcomers to casino gaming, and a great way for high rollers to find out what their nerves are made of.
The premise of roulette is simple – guess which of the numbered cradles on the wheel the ball will fall into – but the game can still be a little overwhelming for beginners, especially given the vast array of options for betting. With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about the different types of roulette and spreading your chips around the wheel.
Variations in roulette are generally qualified by the region they come from (e.g. French or American roulette) and offer simple but not insignificant changes to gameplay, especially with regard to house edge (how much the casino earns off each bet), the number of digits on the wheel, and the presence of certain rules.
For example, French roulette has a house edge of 1.32%, the lowest of all variants, and two special rules – la partage and en prison – which allow the player to recoup half their stake or play their bet a second time, respectively, if the ball lands on zero. As French roulette heavily favours the player, the variation is quite rare outside its home continent of Europe.
American roulette distinguishes itself from the most popular form of the game, European roulette, with the presence of a double zero on the wheel (00) in addition to the standard, single zero, a modification that increases the house edge from 2.63% to 5.26%. Otherwise, the American and European versions of the game are similar.
While it is possible to reduce roulette to a simple choice – do you want to bet on red or black? – there is a number of subtleties to betting that can give the player a greater chance of winning. Ultimately, bets in roulette fall into two categories – outside and inside – with the latter providing the best odds (up to 35:1).
Before you start, take a look at the game board (the felt). The three rows of digits in the middle is the “inside” – you’re betting on specific numbers (including zero) – while the “outside” refers to a bet that includes a range of numbers, and your chips go on red, black, odds, evens, highs, lows, and various other combinations.
A third type of bet – the call bet – is almost exclusive to France and Europe, and its various applications have suitably Gallic names. For example, jeu zéro (zero game) is a bet on the seven numbers closest to zero, while le tiers du cylindre (third of the wheel) is the exact opposite, a bet on the twelve numbers furthest from zero.
As a final point, there are also maximum and minimum bets for spins of the roulette wheel, and these will be advertised by a placard at the table. Find one that suits your experience and budget; after all, playing at a table with a £5 minimum bet is a much less stressful way to get your bearings in the game than going in at £100.
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