Online roulette for beginners

Roulette is a classic casino game that has made its way from land-based casinos to the world of online gambling. The game is a staple at any casino and most of us can picture the spinning roulette wheel with its red and black pockets. But do you know how the game actually works and the different versions you can come across?

In this guide, we give you an introduction to roulette and explain how you can play the game yourself.

The history of roulette

The game of roulette has a long and interesting, yet slightly mysterious, history. Many historians believe that the roulette wheel was first introduced by the French mathematician Blaise Pascal, back in the 17th century. Pascal was not looking to create a fun game but rather a perpetual motion machine. It is believed that his search created the base of the roulette wheel as we know it today. In fact, roulette is French for "little wheel".

Roulette has been played in its present form since the 1790s when the wheel was first used in the casinos of Paris. From the early 1800s, the green color was introduced to differentiate the zero pockets from the black and red.

In the 19th century, the game became available at more casinos and in more countries across Europe and the US. It quickly became one of the most popular and famous casino games available, which it still is to this day. Today, any proper land-based casino will offer at least one roulette table. The game can also be played in countless different versions online.

How to play roulette

Roulette is an easy game to get started with as there are a lot of options available when it comes to which bets you can place. The game consists of a spinning wheel, a small ball, and a layout. The layout is the betting area which is traditionally covered in green cloth displaying all the available bets.

The wheel has a total of 37 or 38 colored and numbered pockets. Each pocket will have a number from 1 to 36 plus one (or two) zero-pockets. The 1–36 pockets are colored red and black and the zero pocket(s) is green. A croupier spins the wheel and then drops a ball into the wheel. As a player, the aim is to bet correctly on where the ball will land once it loses its momentum.

Roulette bets

From the 37 or 38 pockets on the wheel, there are many bets to be placed. Roulette has what is known as outside bets and inside bets. There are many different bets where the payout is determined by the likelihood of the outcome. In other words, the less likely the outcome is, the higher the potential payout. Outside bets typically have smaller payouts. Let's explain some of the most common bets you can choose from.

Inside bets:

  • Straight: One exact number
  • Split: Two vertically or horizontally adjacent numbers
  • Street: Three consecutive numbers in a horizontal line
  • Corner: Four numbers that meet at a corner

Outside bets:

  • Low or high: The range 1–18 or 19–36
  • Red or black
  • Odd or even
  • A dozen: The range 1–12, 13–24, or 25–36
  • Column: Vertical columns of 12 numbers

When playing the game in person, chips have to be placed on exact parts of the layout to place the bet. Online, you can normally click on a virtual layout to choose your bet. It is important to remember that roulette is a game of chance. Where the ball ends up is completely random and not dependent on previous rounds.

Different variants of roulette

You might have noticed that we wrote that a roulette wheel can have 37 or 38 pockets. This depends on which version of the game you are playing, as there are different variants available.

American vs European roulette

The most common variants of roulette are American, European, and French roulette. European roulette has 36 red/black pockets and one green pocket with 0. The French version has the same setup but comes with additional rules such as La Partage and En Prison.

With the "La Partage" rule, players who place even-chance bets receive half their bet back if the ball lands on zero. In other versions, these bets are lost. French roulette therefore comes with an added advantage to players in the form of a lower house edge for even-chance bets.

In American roulette, on the other hand, the casino has a higher advantage. That is because this version of the game comes with an additional green zero-pocket, "double zero". The two green pockets increase the house edge and reduce players' chances of winning. Because of this, it is more favorable for players to play European or French roulette with a lower house edge.

Landbased vs online roulette vs live dealer roulette

When playing roulette in person, you will be met with a large table with a green cloth, a spinning wheel, and a small ball. There will also be a dealer (croupier) that drops the ball into the wheel, manages bets, and handles payouts. It's a lively and energetic game with lots of anticipation and action. With all that, can it really be enjoyed online?

Luckily, the game is 100% adaptable for online play. The many versions of online roulette all keep a similar gameplay as the real deal. You will see a spinning wheel and the layout to place bets, it will all just be virtual.

If you want the best of both worlds, we can also recommend that you check out live dealer roulette. With live games, you can play from the comfort of your home, but the game will be streamed from a casino studio with a live dealer.

Modern versions of online roulette

In addition to the traditional versions of roulette, online gambling has also introduced an array of new and modern variants. Thanks to innovative game developers, roulette online can be played in video versions or with live dealers. Among other things, there are versions with quicker gameplay, unique bonuses, instant wins, more balls, mini wheels, native-speaking dealers, and much more.

Play roulette for free

Would you like to test a few rounds before placing a real money bet on a roulette game? Here at Casino Universe, you can play casino games for free. We offer more than 100 free roulette games, as well as other casino games, that you can play directly from our website.

Check out some different versions of roulette and get used to the bets and gameplay for free. Once you are ready to play for real money, simply check out our top lists with some great online casinos available to you.