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Roulette: How to Play With the Odds

Roulette is surely one of the most relaxed games in the casino. You won’t find a lot of screaming at the roulette table (as you will at the craps table), and you won’t ever feel rushed. So if you’re looking to just kick back and chill out at the casino while having fun, roulette is your game. And as long as you go in with the goal to have fun as opposed to having delusions of striking it rich, you’ll do just fine learning this simple game. Here's how to play roulette:

Roulette Rules

First, you’ll need to know how the table minimum works. Different tables have different table minimums, and you should select your table based on what you can afford. Whatever the table minimum is at your chosen table, this is what you are required to bet on each of your outside bets and/or what the total has to be for all of your inside bets. If the table has a minimum of $20, for instance, you’ll need to put $20 on each of your black/red, odd/even or high/low (outside) bets. But you can also put $1 on 20 different specific numbers or combinations of numbers (inside) bets.

When you first begin playing at a particular table, you must indicate to the dealer what value of chip denomination you will be playing with. The dealer will keep track of what your chips are worth – they have no denomination marked on them. Decide which denomination you want based on whether you like to split your bets or not and by how big your bankroll is, as well as what the table minimum is.

One more thing as far as rules go – don’t try betting after the dealer waves his/her hands and says “no more bets” or something to that effect. Although you can place bets once the ball has begun spinning, you can only do this until the dealer signals. After they sweep the table clean and pay winners, you must then wait until the dealer says “place your bets” before placing your next bets.

The Different Roulette Bets

Of course, crucial to learning how to play roulette is learning the bets. Before going into the specific bets, it must be noted that all roulette bets, with the exception of five numbers bet, have a house edge of 5.26 per cent on a standard American roulette wheel. The fiver numbers bet has a house edge of 7.89 per cent. The house edge is determined by evaluating the odds of winning compared to the payout given by the casino. Lower house edges can be found for specific rules and different types of wheels, as will be outlined later in this section.

The Outside Bets

These refer to the bets that are outside of the main playing area of 38 numbers.

Red or Black: These bets simply entail betting that the ball will land on either a black number or a red number.
Odd or Even: A bet that the next spin will be odd or that it will be even.
Low or High: This is a bet that the next spin will fall between the range of 1 to 18 (low) or 19 to 36 (high).
Columns: This is a bet on a specific “column” of numbers. At one end of the set of 38 numbers on the table layout there are boxes with “2 to 1” written in them. Each of these boxes belongs to a column of numbers, any of which you can bet on.
Dozens: Similar to the column bet, it is a bet on either the first dozen numbers (1 to 12), the second dozen (13 to 24) or the third dozen (25 to 36).

The Inside Bets

These are specific numbers or combinations of numbers within the layout, or along the border of it.

Straight-up Bet: This is a bet on any one of the 38 numbers.
Split Bet: This is a bet on two different numbers that are beside each other on the table layout.
Street Bet: This is a bet on three different numbers at once, which is done by placing your chips on the outside row of numbers that you’re betting on.
Corner Bet: This bet is on four adjoining numbers, placed by putting your chips at the point where the numbers meet. It’s also known as the square bet.
Five Number Bet: It’s a bad idea to make this bet. If you are feeling a little crazy, however, put your chips at the meeting point of 0 and 1, on the corner that does not join with the two. If 0, 00, 1, 2 or 3 comes up, the bet wins.

Roulette Strategy

In truth, there isn’t much strategy to roulette. Actual strategy for individual roulette wheels can be summed up like this: Stay away from the five number bet and watch your bankroll. If you do a little research on the Internet, you’ll soon discover that there are a lot of systems out there claiming to help you win at roulette. This is pure baloney. You can’t change the odds of the game. The house edge simply will not budge.

The only strategy you can count on in learning how to play roulette is strategically selecting which wheels you play on. Be on the look out for these type of roulette wheels:

The Surrender Rule

The surrender rule applies to outside bets that pay even money. This includes the red/black, odd/even and high/low bets. The rule allows you to lose only half your bet instead of the whole thing if the ball lands on 0 or 00. Single zero, or European Roulette wheels, do not offer this rule, but it brings the house edge down to 2.63 per cent on the American wheel.

European Style

Search out European roulette wheels. As mentioned above, they have one 0 instead of two, bringing the house edge down to 2.7 per cent. There are some of them in the US, but not many. If you’re in Australia or Europe, however, they are the standard.

The En Prison Rule

This rule is very rarely added to the game, and there’s a good chance you won’t find the rule in place anywhere but in Europe. If you do find it, jump on it and mark it on your map. If a wheel has this rule, your even money outside bets will not be swept away if the ball lands on a 0. Instead, they will remain up, “in prison”. If on the next spin your bet wins, your original bet will be returned with no winnings. If yet another 0 comes up, your bet remains. This whacky rule brings the house edge down to 1.35 per cent, in conjunction with the fact that it is found only at European roulette wheels.

How to Find a European Roulette Wheel Anywhere

If you are unable to locate a casino within your vicinity that has a European roulette wheel, do not despair. If you have access to the Internet, you can find one anywhere. Just explore the online casinos and you’ll be sure to come across one without too much effort. Make sure to use only those online casinos that have a good reputation and have been around for awhile. Make sure to ask around, read various reviews from many sources, and be careful with your bankroll. You may not be able to see the money you spend, but you’ll see it when you look at your bank account if you’re not careful.


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