Playing Roulette Online For Real Money
The game of roulette clearly shows that you don’t need any strategic elements in a casino game to have it wildly popular anyway. Roulette is pure gambling, where you put your money down and watch where the ball ends up, no skill required, a feature many find appealing. The lure of roulette has stood for centuries, although it’s now been turbo charged with the coming of online roulette. Explore with us why this game has been so well loved for so long.
Best Online Casinos to Play Real Money Roulette
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Overview of Online Roulette
Roulette is a classic casino table game whose legend has only grown over the hundreds of years that it has been enjoyed by gamblers all over the world. There is something about seeing a ball go around a spinning wheel and bouncing around that fascinates players, and being able to multiply your wager by up to 36 times is another tempting feature of the game that sets it apart from other real money casino table games.
One of the biggest appeals of roulette is how simple it is to play, and even though there are a lot of different bets that can be made at a roulette table, you just place your chips on whatever numbers or combination of numbers you wish and then sit back and watch the excitement unfold.
Roulette is a simple but at the same time a very interesting game, and the fact that you do not need to visit a physical casino anymore brings this game of the ages right into the palm of your hand to enjoy anytime you like. We hope you enjoy our introduction to this well-loved gambling game and then break out your chips and see for yourself why so many love playing it.
Roulette got its start by combining the idea of 17th century French scientist Blaine Pascal’s search for a perpetual wheel with the Italian game of biribi, which later became popular in France as well.
Biribi had a layout with 70 numbers on it where players would wager on these numbers. The banker of the game would then draw a number from a bag containing the numbers on the layout and would pay out 64 times the amount of winning bets.
Italian writer and adventurer Casanova, who gambled for a living as one of his many vocations, spoke of how rampant cheating was at biribi in his day, calling it a “regular cheats game,” and admits to scoring some big wins at the game by bribing dealers. The game had been long since made illegal at the time Casanova played it, partly due to this level of cheating.
Biribi was still popular though, although players sought for a way to determine the winning number in a more visible and transparent way that was at least less prone to cheating and collusion. People looked to Pascal’s attempt to invent a perpetual wheel, and while the roulette wheel was far from perpetual, one was designed to spin for long enough to make it an interesting and welcome addition to the newly adapted version of biribi.
Perpetual motion machines run up against the irrefutable law of entropy, in this case due to friction, which cannot be eliminated entirely. However, the wheel used with this new game was a low friction one and perfect to create the level of transparency this game needed as well as creating a real sense of drama and anticipation that roulette players have come to enjoy.
The first evidence of the game of roulette, which is French for “little wheel,” was at the Palais Royal in Paris in 1796, the former home of French royalty that had at that time been converted to a commercial property that included places to gamble.
Instead of paying out 63:1 on hitting one of 70 numbers as the game of birbiri did, roulette wheels had 36 numbers plus two extra slots which were not used in the odds calculation. Originally, these slots were zero and double zero, with the other slots being numbered 1-36, with payouts on single numbers being 35-1 even though the actual odds of hitting were 37-1, the edge of these two additional pockets, which provided the house edge.
Roulette In Other Countries
European vs. American Roulette
The 19th century saw real money roulette quickly rise to become the world’s favorite casino table game. This period took the game in two directions, where European roulette morphed into a more player friendly game, where American roulette went the other way and looked to increase the house edge even more than the original design of the Parisians.
In an effort to make their casino more competitive and attract more players, the Blanc brothers, who had migrated from France to Germany to open a casino there, began offering roulette with a single zero. Once Germany banned gambling, the Blancs moved their operation to Monte Carlo, where the single zero roulette wheel was a big hit and this catapulted single zero roulette as the norm throughout the world in time, except in the United States.
The original version of American roulette not only had two zeros, they added a third house slot, an eagle, and some wheels also reduced the numbered slots from 36 to 28, further increasing the house edge. Instead of it being 2/38 (5.26% house edge), or 1/37 (2.70% house edge), this new American version was set up as 3/28, with a 10.71% house edge.
It is fair to say that American casino gamblers of the 19th century were a less sophisticated bunch than players in Monte Carlo and Europe in general, as these markets were separated in a way that it is even hard to imagine today, as this was far from the information age, with Americans not knowing much about what was going on in Europe those days. This was a time where you had to sail on a ship to get between the two continents and information was distributed much more locally than globally like it is now.
All these years later though, while American Roulette has long been a game of double zero and 1-36, exactly as the first roulette games were rolled out in France in the late 18th century, single zero roulette has yet to come to America, as operators have managed to keep their sweet deal and their bloated house edge.
How Roulette Has Stayed Popular Over All These Years
American casinos don’t really compete with casinos in other parts of the world, and unless you are a real jet setter, it doesn’t come down to choosing between European casinos and American ones. Players also don’t band together and lobby casino operators for more favorable rules, and regulators aren’t going to cap odds on games that are otherwise fair but may offer inferior odds.
The fact that American casinos still offer double zero roulette, with some of the worst odds in the whole casino, and the game can remain the second most played casino table game, behind only blackjack, is testimony to how much people enjoy roulette.
This is not so much about people preferring to pay the higher house edge with a game like slots, which runs at about 5% on average at land-based casinos, because slots are fundamentally different than table games and attract a different sort of clientele generally. There is a general rule that applies here though, which is that players are willing to pay a premium for longer odds.
The excuse that’s usually given with people that prefer to choose the worse odds of slots over most table games is that they just enjoy playing them more, and paying more to play on a percentage basis doesn’t worry them. In the end, it is how players feel during a session that really matters, as gambling is a form of entertainment and how much you are entertained in the greater sense, the combination of the gaming experience and the results, tells the whole story.
You can get much bigger wins than even money or 3:2 hitting blackjack, and it is this bigger money that has players fine with going with inferior odds to pursue it. There are some bets you can make in craps for instance that have no house edge at all, where some side bets come with a house edge of 16.67%
These side bets are targeted to players who don’t really pay attention to the odds, and especially those who may not be too excited about just doubling their money and like to shoot for bigger wins.
This is the reason why roulette players are happy to pay over twice the house edge compared with the average of table games with European roulette, and over four times higher with American roulette, because roulette delivers enough fun and excitement to make paying these higher odds seen as well worth it.
How to Play Roulette
Roulette players first place their wagers on various numbers and combinations on the felt layout that takes up most of the space on a roulette wheel. The roulette dealer, called a croupier after the French word for dealer, spins the roulette wheel and then spins a little white ball in the opposite direction. As the ball and the wheel move in opposite directions, the ball starts to lose momentum and the dealer will announce to the table “no more bets.”
The ball then will bounce around a bit and then eventually settle into one of the slots, numbered 1-36 plus the one or two zeros. The dealer will place a marker on the table on the winning number, rake away all the chips from the losing bets, and pay out the winning bets.
There are numerous other things to bet on besides which numbered slot the ball will land in, although the 35:1 odds that this pays, with no greater a house edge than any other bet, is a nice combination that attracts many players to the game of real money roulette.
Other major ways to bet in roulette is on black/white, even/odd, and high/low. These bets all pay even money, and like all bets, the house edge is identical in that the zeros aren’t factored into the payout. Players can also make 2:1 bets on one of the three dozens or on one of the three columns on the layout.
These 1:1 and 2:1 bets are called outside bets, as opposed to inside bets such as betting on a single number with their higher odds and payouts. Players may split their bet between two numbers, bet three at once in what is called betting a street, bet a square consisting of four numbers, bet on two lines on the layout comprising 6 numbers, on a three number combination involving a zero and two adjoining numbers, bets on the first four, 0,1,2,3 with single zero roulette, and on the first 5 with double zero roulette, 0,00,1,2,3.
The only bet that does not have the standard house edge is the basket bet with double zero roulette layouts, this 0,00,1,2,3 bet, which has a house edge of 7.9%. All bets are placed in a standard format on the table, with your chips sitting on dividing lines to indicate the bet, which is communicated completely by the way chips are arranged on the layout. Newer players who are looking to make inside bets need to familiarize themselves with where exactly to place their chips when seeking to make one of these bets.
In addition to placing chips on the layout to indicate bets, some casinos will accept called or announced bets. A call bet is a verbal bet without the player actually placing any chips in play, and is rarely accepted nowadays since it extends a form of credit to the player. Announced bets are called bets that have the player putting money in play to back up the announced bet, and some casinos permit this.
Players are not allowed to touch their chips after the dealer has called no more bets, and this includes grabbing your winnings on winning bets. The dealer will slide your chips to you and this is all necessary to maintain the degree of control over the betting process to ensure it is conducted in an orderly way.
Real Money Roulette Strategy
Provided that a roulette table is balanced, producing statistically valid results, there is simply no way mathematically that the house advantage can be eliminated or even reduced. This has not dissuaded people from trying though, where many systems have been fashioned but none had a chance of being mathematically valid or practical enough to use.
There are two main errors that roulette strategy commits, with the first one commonly known as the gambler’s fallacy. Given that outcomes such as red or black that have an even probability of occurrence will see their numbers evenly distributed over time within a certain statistical variance, this does not mean that a series of one or the other or any distribution affects the odds of any given outcome since the odds are set by definition at 1:1.
We might see 10 red numbers in a row for instance and think that black is somehow due, that black somehow is more likely than just 50/50. Another version of this is thinking that if you have lost a certain number of bets in a row, you are due, because over time you will win as many as you lose. The flaw here, aside from the obvious, is that you don’t get the same number of wins and losses, less the zeros, you get a similar but somewhat variable amount due to statistical distribution.
Another mistake is to use something like a Martingale system to double up your bet every time you lose. No matter how big your bankroll, it becomes just a matter of time before you can no longer increase your bet due to exceeding the maximum bet, where a run of bad luck will punish you to the maximum.
People have played around with this idea a lot, with various approaches that all involve increasing your betting in some way after losses, but all suffer from the idea that the odds somehow turn in your favor after losses, that the wheel has a memory or there is some higher force acting on your roulette game to correct apparent imbalances in fate.
If a roulette wheel is not balanced enough though, then players can indeed gain advantages, from observing trends that less than perfect wheels may have. There is no such thing as a perfectly balanced wheel as they all have some imperfections, but the goal is to have them insignificant enough to not be perceived, and when they are, this can spell trouble for a casino.
Casinos keep a sharp eye on this though and will close down wheels that they feel that they are at risk with, but this does not stop some players from looking for them and sometimes they do find them.
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Real Money Online Roulette
Virtual roulette doesn’t suffer from having their wheels unbalanced, as the outcome of virtual roulette wheels are based purely upon probability. Unlike with physical wheels, the determination of roulette results happens completely out of view, behind the scenes in a completely non-transparent way on the online roulette site’s servers.
This aspect concerns some players, and these concerns are at least somewhat behind the desire to prefer live dealer games, where they can see a real roulette wheel spin and deliver results in the physical dimension instead of just placing all their trust on the fairness of a computer program which has the potential to be designed any way the operator prefers.
Physical real money roulette has had a history of manipulation by the house, where unscrupulous casinos have rigged their roulette wheels to attempt to produce more favorable outcomes for the house. Examples include dealers using foot pedals to change the trajectory of balls that are about to land in a slot that the house does not wish it to, among other tactics that have been used over the years.
This is much more tightly regulated than it was in the old days and casinos use analysis software now to do their best to limit bias, but even a wheel designed as perfectly as precise manufacturing can manage is subject to wear, and normal wear can indeed alter results to make them less random than desirable.
Playing online roulette for real money instead of physical roulette removes this problem provided that the casino operator is held accountable for the integrity of the process. We don’t just want to trust them though, as reputable as we may believe they are, and there may be no better application of the Russian saying to “trust but verify” than with the honesty of an online casino site. We do need to trust them in any case, as the importance of this trust extends beyond just getting fair results at roulette and other computer-generated online casino results, but we also need to verify that they deserve this trust.
It is never a good idea to play real money roulette online, or any other gambling game online, without the software program and random number generator being verified by a third party. Any site that does not bother with this does not warrant our business. With this in place, not only is there no reason to be concerned about the fairness of the game, as we need to wonder no more about this, even though we still may wonder a little about whether a physical wheel is truly random or may contain a bit of bias due to design or wear flaws.
Even so, those who prefer real wheels can play as much as they like online with real dealers, wheels, and balls, although unlike live dealer blackjack, there is no real advantage to doing so provided that you play at honest and verified online sites. Still though, this does add to the experience by providing more realism, even though this does come at the expense of speed. Many players enjoy the slower pace of live dealer real money roulette though, and it’s great that players now get to choose.
Online sites also typically offer single zero roulette, which is a big advantage over time versus playing on a double zero layout. We can now travel across the ocean at the speed of light and play European roulette anytime we want without having to even leave the house.
Being able to play real money roulette online on demand is a huge win for those who enjoy playing roulette. While the demand for online roulette pales in comparison to the huge demand for online slots, there are still plenty of online players that enjoy it, and after over 200 years of being one of the most popular gambling games out there, roulette has well proven itself that it is here to stay and won’t be bumped off by new games very easily.
- How long have people been playing the game of roulette for real money?
Roulette got its start in a pretty extravagant venue, at the Palais Royal in Paris, a place literally fit for a king, as France’s Louis XIV once called it home, among others. By the time roulette was born, the French had dispensed with royalty and converted the palace into a commercial venue, which included a casino, and roulette debuted there. It was a big hit and has grown in popularity among gamblers all over the world ever since.
- What is the difference between American and European roulette?
European roulette, otherwise known as single zero roulette, have 37 slots on their roulette wheel, 1-36, plus a zero. All numbers pay 35:1, and without any zeroes, there would be no house edge. With a single zero, the actual odds are 36:1, with the difference being the extra zero that is not used for the payout calculation. American roulette uses two zeros, 0 and 00, and still pay out 35:1 on all numbers but the actual odds are 37:1, almost doubling the house edge from 1/37 to 2/38. Single zero roulette is much more favorable to players.
- Are physical roulette wheels fair?
In the old days, crooked roulette wheels weren’t unusual, where dealers would use hidden levers and such to manipulate roulette wheels. There was a time where the wheel was even hidden under the table and you had to take the dealer’s word for the results. Nowadays, casinos are tightly regulated and this is all in the past, and casinos pay extremely close attention to their wheels being unbiased, and this actually scares casinos a lot since a biased wheel can be taken advantage of by sharp players and see them paying dearly for the mistake.
- How trustworthy are virtual online roulette wheels?
We might think that online roulette puts the game back to the old days where the wheel was hidden out of sight under the table, when dealers could cheat us blind if they wanted, but this is far from the case with online roulette at reputable online casinos. Any reputable casino has all of their operation verified by trusted third party companies, to ensure that all spins are fair, which actually makes them completely random, not only as fair as a real wheel but actually even fairer because you aren’t relying on anything but pure randomness with virtual spins.
- Does roulette require any skill to play well?
There are several casino games that do have an element of skill in them, like blackjack or many forms of casino poker, but roulette is purely a game of luck where skill does not play any part in the game. This does not mean that you don’t need any knowledge of the game though, but the knowledge required here is one of observing the etiquette required in the game, to not place objects besides chips and money on the table, to not touch your chips while the spin is in progress, to let the dealer pass your winnings to you and not just grab them, and so on.
- Does it really matter what you bet on in roulette?
With the exception of what is called a basket bet with double zero roulette, betting on 0,00,1,2,3, which offers a bigger house edge than other bets, every other bet you make at a roulette table has the exact same house edge. Unless you have found a biased wheel, it makes no difference from a results perspective what you bet on, other than the potential for you to run out of money faster if you go with longer odds. On the other hand, being able to hit bigger scores is exactly what draws a lot of people to roulette, but you can bet on your kids birthday or anything else you want and it makes no difference to the results.
- Are there good strategies that you can use with roulette?
Roulette is a perfect game for people to use what is called the gambler’s fallacy on, due to its simplicity and the ability to bet on even money propositions. There are other games like this such as craps and blackjack, which have even better odds, but for some reason, people tend to direct their misunderstanding of probability upon roulette. Thinking that something is “due,” including yourself, is a blatant mistake and ends up accelerating your loss rate by being deluded into thinking that the odds change at various times, which they never do.
- What are some examples of famous big wins at roulette?
Ashley Revell once sold everything he owned, including everything but the clothes on his back, went to Vegas, and bet the $135,000 on red. The ball fell on 7 red and he doubled up his life savings. Billionaire Mike Ashley once bet £480,000 on a “complete bet” which included all possible bets with the number 17 in it. He hit 17 for a profit of £820,000. Joseph Jagger once paid 6 clerks at a Monte Carlo casino to track roulette spins for him. He spotted a biased wheel and took home what would be worth $7 million today.
- What are the advantages of virtual online roulette and live dealer roulette?
Live dealer roulette combines the realism of playing real money roulette at a real roulette table from the comfort of your own home. Players place their bets through the live casino software and then watch the action unfold via live video feed. Those who crave the experience of live roulette can get the best of both worlds with this version, although the pace of the game is far slower than what you can accomplish by getting a new spin with a single mouse click.
- How can you know if you are playing at a trusted online roulette site?
Both trusted sites and ones not so trustworthy will present themselves as legitimate enough, and the less worthy ones will hope that you don’t do your homework on them and just step up to the table. While the majority of online roulette sites are trustworthy, you do not want to make the mistake of playing with disreputable ones. Just like you hire a lawyer when you need their expertise, you need to take advantage of expert advice when it comes to choosing where you play roulette as well.