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A Beginner’s Guide to Online Roulette

Online Roulette – A Guide

Roulette is one of the most iconic casino games, and it’s probably one of the first things you think about when casinos are mentioned. In this article I will talk about the game and how it’s played. We’ll get into the rules, the payouts, and the game variants. Check out the tried and tested online casinos for roulette in our review list!

Online Roulette - A Short History

Roulette is French for “little wheel”, and it likely derives in some part from an Italian game called Biribi. Roulette originated in 18th century France, but primitive versions of it existed in the 17th century. Some historians believe that the famous scientist Pascal introduced a version of the roulette wheel while trying to create a perpetual motion machine but this is somewhat disputed.
The game in its present form has been played since at least 1796, when its current form was described in a French novel. That version had two zero fields, like modern American Roulette. The single zero version we call European Roulette was created in 1843 in Germany, to draw customers in with a superior offering.
Roulette table
An overlook of a Roulette table with the many different betting options

A Description of Online Roulette

Roulette is played on a table with a playing field and a roulette wheel. The playing field has numbered areas from 1 to 36 on it, in alternating red and black colours. A European Roulette table will also have one green 0 area. An American Roulette table will have a 0 area and an additional 00 area, both green. The playing field is where the players place their bets before the ball is launched into the spinning roulette wheel.
In addition to the numbered areas there are fields for bets that aren’t single numbers, like the even numbers, red or the first 12 numbers. I’ll go through these in detail when we discuss the different bets available.
When the bets have been placed a ball is launched into a spinning roulette wheel. The wheel has pockets to catch the ball, with the same number and colours as the ones on the playing field. Eventually the ball will stop in one of the pockets of the wheel. If you placed a bet on the number of the pocket that the ball ended up in when it stopped, you win.

The Bets and the Payouts

Inside bets – meaning bets placed in the numbered area of the playing field.

Single – bet on a single number by placing a marker fully inside the number, the most basic roulette bet, it pays out 35 to 1.

Split – bet on two adjacent numbers by placing the marker on the line between two numbers. Pays out 17 to 1.

Street – bet on one row of the playing field (three numbers) by placing the marker on the outside edge of the row. Pays out 11 to 1.

Corner – bet on four adjacent numbers by placing the marker on the corner that touches the four numbers. Pays out 8 to 1.

Double street – bet on two rows of the playing field (six numbers) by placing the marker on the corner that touches both rows on the outside edge of the rows. Pays out 5 to 1.

Trio – betting on 0-1-2 or 0-2-3, and additionally 0-00-2 or 00-2-3 on American tables, by placing the marker on the corner that touches the three numbers. Pays out 11 to 1.

First four – betting on 0-1-2-3 by placing the marker on the outer corner of 0-1 or 0-3. Pays out 8 to 1.

Top line – betting on 0-00-1-2-3 by placing the marker on the outer corner of 0-1 or 00-3. Pays out 6 to 1. Stands out as the only roulette bet with a higher house edge, 7.9% instead of the 5.3% of all the other American Roulette bets.

Outside bets – meaning bets on the fields outside the numbered areas, they are all placed by putting your marker in the corresponding area of the playing field.

Low – betting on 1 to 18. Pays out 1 to 1.

High – betting on 19 to 36. Pays out 1 to 1.

Red or Black – betting on red or black. Pays out 1 to 1.

Even or Odd – betting on even or odd numbers. Pays out 1 to 1.

Dozen – betting on 1-12, 13-24 or 25 to 36. Pays out 2 to 1.

Column – betting on the columns going down the long side of the numbered area. 1-4-7-10-13-16-19-22-25-28-31-34 for example. Pays out 2 to 1.

Well, I guess that was a long and boring list. Note that you’re not limited to placing one bet per roulette spin. You can mix and match bets to your heart’s content. Just remember to not bet on too many things at once, make sure you can win back more than you’ve bet.
Roulette wheel
A Roulette wheel where the little ball just hit 5 red

Roulette Variants

We’ve already mentioned the two main variants of Roulette, European and American, and the difference between them. Other variants, that are rare online, are additional la partage and en prison rules. Where you get back half your even bets if the ball ends up in the 0 pocket (la partage) or get to keep your bet on the board for another spin (en prison). These variants halve the house edge on those bets, so they are very desirable.

House Edge and Strategy

The house edge for all roulette bets is 2.7% for European Roulette and 5.3% for American Roulette. The only exception is the top line bet for American Roulette as mentioned. The house edge arises from the 0 fields. There are 37 numbers to bet on, but the payouts only give 36 betting units in return. The 0 (and the 00) is green, so neither red nor black, it doesn’t count as odd or even, nor is it part of any of the other outside bets.

This means that no matter what you bet, the return will be the same, statistically. So, there are no strategies you can try that will have any real effect on your payouts, other than choosing to play European Roulette over American.
There are some famous betting patterns, called the French bets, with names like Orphelins, Voisins du zero and Le tiers du cylinder, but these are just trying to cover parts of the roulette wheel and while fun, don’t increase your winning chances.

A couple of decades ago it was possible to figure out weaknesses in the randomness of the roulette wheel on some physical wheels and target your bets to exploit those weaknesses. These have since been removed, though, so that is no longer possible.
people playing roulette in a casino
A group of friends playing roulette in a physical casino


Roulette is one of the most well-known casino games, for good reasons, and will probably continue to be so. It’s fairly simple once you get used to the different bet options and you can make your own fun little betting patterns without worrying too much about whether they’re good or bad bets since all bets have the same house edge. Just don’t bet too much! The excitement of watching the ball drop into a pocket is real once you have real money on the line. So, find yourself the best online casino with a good roulette table on and start playing!

Have fun and play responsibly!

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