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The Greatest Gambling Guide to Live Roulette Online

The Fundamentals

The Basic Rules Of Roulette

At the most basic level roulette is a very simple game.  When played in a land based casino it can seem more complex and intimidating than it really is due to the size of the table, number of casino employees necessary to operate the game and the nonstop movement of the chips and wheel.  We’ll get into a detailed look at the rules, betting and general gameplay later on in this section but we’ll begin with a quick explanation just to underscore the true simplicity of roulette.

The game of roulette involves a wheel marked with red and black slots with the numbers 1 through 36 on them.  There are also one or two green slots marked ‘0’ and ‘00’.  The single zero game is known as ‘European roulette’ and the game with a zero and ‘double zero’ spot is known as ‘American roulette’.  At a land based casino or a live dealer casino an actual wheel will be used.  At a software based online casino you can expect a graphic representation of a wheel.  The gameplay is essentially the same at any type of casino though at a land based or live dealer casino the number will be determined by an actual wheel spin.  At a software based online casino the winning number is determined with a random number generator (RNG).

Adjacent to the wheel is the roulette table which features a layout with a variety of markings to indicate various bets.  You’ll find all of the numbers of the wheel along with betting spots for groups of numbers (eg:  even/odd or red/black).  A betting round begins with all players placing their wagers in the appropriate spot(s).  At some point the dealer will say or otherwise indicate ‘no more bets’ and will spin the wheel.  Once the wheel is spinning he’ll throw in a small ball.  Eventually, the ball will land in one of the slots and the number of that slot becomes the winning number and wagers are paid accordingly.

That’s pretty much all there is to the game.  For that reason, there’s not much that is actually difficult or intimidating.  This is particularly true online or at a live dealer casino where you’ll have your own on-screen betting interface and will click on the wagers you want to make.  There is a small learning curve to properly placing chips at a land based casino.  To summarize the betting process in roulette:  pick a number or group of numbers, place your bet in the appropriate area, wait for the dealer to spin the wheel and determine the winning number, collect your winnings if applicable and repeat.

Roulette Etiquette

Roulette etiquette is good to know though on a practical level unless you’re playing at a land based casino it’ll never come into play.  The reason for that is that the software used by online and live dealer casino usually won’t let players make incorrect bets or otherwise do things that would be considered a faux pas in a casino game.   The most important things to remember is to let the dealer do the work.  After you place your bet don’t touch the chips again until the dealer returns your bet to you.  The dealer will pay the winners and collect the chips of losing bettors.  You should also not touch the marker that designates the winning number.  Finally, make sure to get your bets in promptly before the dealer says or indicates ‘no more bets’.  To bet after this point is known as ‘past posting’ and is in very bad form.  Invariably, these bets are disallowed and you’ll likely get a scolding from the dealer.

As noted above, none of these are issues in online software based or live dealer play.  Here the betting platform won’t allow you to touch the (virtual) chips nor will it accept any bets after the designated cut off point. 

Types Of Roulette Bets

There are two different types of roulette bets:  inside bets and outside bets.  Under each of these categories there are a variety of different types of bets but every bet in roulette is one or the other.  The difference between the two is easy to remember.  Inside bets are bets placed on the actual 1 through 36 number layout.  Outside bets are bets placed on the various groupings outside of the actual numbered area.  This will make perfect sense after we run down the various options under each type of bet.  It’s worth pointing out that if you play in a European land based casino you may encounter other types of bets that are grouped into a category called ‘Announced Bets’.  Additionally, many online casinos will have unique variations with their own types of betting options.  Note that the designations of where chips should be placed to indicate particular bets can vary at online and live dealer casinos which use a software based wager interface.

Inside Bets

Straight Bet

The straight bet is the most fundamental of all roulette wagers.  It is a bet on a single number.  To make this bet you pick your number and place the chip inside the appropriate square.  Alternate names for this bet are ‘straight up’ or ‘single number’.  A winning straight bet pays 35 to 1.

Split Bet

A split bet is a bet made on two adjacent numbers.  For example, you could place a ‘split bet’ on the numbers 19 and 20.  To make a split bet you place your wager on the vertical line separating the two numbered spaces.  The payout for a winning split bet is 17 to 1. 

Street Bet

A street bet is a wager on three consecutive numbers on the same line of the betting table layout.  For this reason, you’ll sometimes hear this bet called a ‘three number bet’.  To make a street bet place your wager on the outside vertical line that forms the border of the row.  For example, you could make a street bet on 19, 20 and 21.  A winning street bet for a street bet is 11 to 1.  Technically speaking, it should be 11.66 to 1 but it pays out at 11 to 1 for the sake of simplicity.

Corner Bet

This is a bet involving four adjacent numbers.  Since these numbers form a square on the roulette layout you’ll sometimes hear it called a ‘square bet’.  To make a corner bet you place your chips on the intersection where the four corners meet.  For example, you could make a corner bet on the numbers 19, 20, 22, 23.  A winning corner bet pays at 8 to 1.

Five Number Bet

This bet is one that you’ll rarely see and after you learn about roulette you’ll understand why.  With this wager you’re betting on the numbers 0, 00,1,2 and 3 spaces.  The payoff on this wager is 6 to 1 which gives it a house edge of nearly 8%.  You’ll sometimes hear this called a ‘basket bet’ (see below). Alternately, you may hear this bet called a ‘top line’ bet.

Basket Bet

The basket bet is the European equivalent of the five number bet.  Since the European roulette layout only has a single ‘0’ this version involves only four numbers.  The European ‘basket bet’ pays out at 8 to 1.  The term ‘basket bet’ has also been co-opted for the American roulette five number bet and you’ll hear it described with this term occasionally.  As is the case with the corresponding American bet you’ll sometimes hear this called a ‘top line’ bet.

Six Line Bet

Also called a ‘six number’ bet.  This is a wager covering six adjacent numbers in two adjacent rows.  To place this bet put your chips on the outside border where the two rows meet.  The payout on this wager is 6 to 1.  This explains why the aforementioned five number bet is so undesirable and unpopular.  An example of a six number bet:  19,20,21,22,23,24. 

Trio Bet

A three number bet that includes the zero and/or double zero along with 1,2 or 3.  Like the ‘street bet’ this wager pays off at 11 to 1 even though the true payout should be 11.66 to 1.  To make a trio bet you place your chips on the line where the zero and the two other numbers intersect.

Outside Bets

Since inside bets are bets on the single numbers in the middle of the roulette layout or combinations thereof the term ‘outside bets’ covers everything else.  More specifically, it refers to the sectors that surround the layout for betting on groups of numbers.  Generally speaking, these bets are much easier to understand to the point that some probably don’t require much explanation.

Even/Odd Bet

The even/odd bet is just what it says—you’re wagering on whether the winning number will be ‘even’ or ‘odd’.  The trick with this bet along with the other outside bets is that if the winning number comes up ‘zero’ or ‘double zero’ all bets lose.  On a standard roulette wheel there are 18 even numbers and 18 odds numbers.  A winning even/odd bet is paid out at even money or 1 to 1.  To place an even/odd bet you place your chips in the appropriate square on the outside of the roulette layout.  There’s one marked ‘even’ and one marked ‘odd’.  On a European (single zero) wheel the house edge for this bet is 2.7% while an American (double zero) wheel has a house edge of just over 5%.

High/Low Bet

This is very similar to the previous wager except instead of betting ‘even’ or ‘odd’ you’re wagering whether the winning number will be a ‘low number’ (1 to 18) or a ‘high number’ (19 to 36).  Once again, if the wheel lands on any zero all high/low bets lose.  A winning high/low bet is paid out at even money or 1 to 1.  To place a high/low you place your chips in the appropriate square on the outside of the roulette layout.  There’s one marked ‘1 to 18’ and one marked ‘19 to 36’.  On a European (single zero) wheel the house edge for this bet is 2.7% while an American (double zero) wheel has a house edge of just over 5%.

Black/Red Bet

This theme of similar bets continues with a black/red bet.  On a standard roulette wheel there are 18 red numbers and 18 black numbers.  This bet is determined by the color of the winning number.  Once again, if the wheel lands on any zero all black/red bets lose.  A winning black/red bet is paid out at even money or 1 to 1.  To place a black/red bet you place your chips in the appropriate square on the outside of the roulette layout.  There’s one marked ‘black’ with black colored lettering and one marked  ‘red’ with red lettering.  On a European (single zero) wheel the house edge for this bet is 2.7% while an American (double zero) wheel has a house edge of just over 5%.

Column Bet

The 36 numbers on the roulette layout are arranged in three columns of 12.  This bet is made by picking one of these three columns.  If the winning number is in the column you selected you win your bet.  To place a column bet you put your chips in the appropriate spot at the bottom of the roulette layout.  There are three spots with one corresponding to each column.  They are typically marked ‘2 to 1’ which is the payout for a winning column bet.  Any zero means that all column bets lose and the house edge is identical to the previous four bets with a 2.7% edge on a single zero wheel and a just over 5% edge on the double zero wheel.

Dozens Bet

The 36 numbers on the roulette layout are also grouped 1 to 12, 13 to 24 and 25-36.  This bet is essentially identical to the column bet with a 2 to 1 payout and an identical house edge.  Also, any zero is a loss for all dozens bets.  To bet a dozens bet place your chips in the appropriate spot on the outside left of the numbers on the roulette layout.  These spots are market ‘1st 12’ (1 to 12), ‘2nd 12’ (13 to 24) and ‘3rd 12’ (25 to 36).

Red Snake Bet

This bet isn’t offered as an ‘automatic bet’ everywhere though it is more common online.   Then again, there’s no reason you can’t do this on any roulette table.   This bet involves 12 straight single number bets of the same unit covering the numbers 1, 5, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 23, 27, 30, 32 and 34.  Once the chips are placed accordingly it looks similar to a snake and that’s where the bet gets its name.  If the winning number corresponds to one of the 12 numbers in the ‘snake’ the bet is a winner.  A winning ‘snake bet’ pays off at 2 to 1.  Some casinos offer the option of a single chip snake bet—in this case you put a chip on the bottom corner of the #34.  This type of wager is just like the ‘dozens’ bet and pays 2 to 1. 

Black Snake Bet

Similar to the previous bet though a bit more tricky.  This bet also involves making a serpentine wager on black numbers.  The reason it is a bit more tricky is you technically need to cover 13 or 14 numbers to ‘make the snake’.  The numbers you’re dealing with are 2,6,8,10,11,13,17,20, 22 or 24, 26, 28, 29, 31 or 33 and 35.  In a 13 number ‘snake’ you omit the number 11.  In any of the ‘black snakes’ you have the option of playing 22 or 24 OR 31 or 33 (but not both).  Alternately, some players like to place straight bets on 10 of the numbers and split bets on 17/20 and 26/29.  The payout varies depending on which version of the bet you place but the general idea of both the red or black snake bets is that hopefully you’ll hit one of the 12 numbered bets at a payout of 35 to 1.