Online Roulette Basics
Start by placing your bets on the Roulette table. After all the players have placed their bets, the croupier spins the wheel and where the ball lands determine if you win or lose.
You can choose to play two different kinds of Roulette at online casinos:
- Simulated games: Computer games that use a random number generator to come up with results
- Live croupier games: You’ll see a video stream from a real-life casino and bet on the results with your computer or phone
Regardless of which type of a game you go for, the rules and everything else explained below remains the same.
Rules of Online Roulette
Roulette is played on a big table, which has betting options on one end and a roulette wheel at the other end. The wheel has numbers 0 – 37. 18 of the 38 numbers are black, 18 are red, and the number zero is green. The betting options shown in the table correspond to these numbers and colours. You place casino chips on the table to wager on which number of the wheel the ball lands.
There are two main variations of Roulette tables and wheels. French/European described above and American Roulette. The difference between the two is that American Roulette has two zeros in the wheel, 0 and 00.
Roulette Betting Options
You start a game of Roulette by placing your bets. You can place as many bets as you like. You make your bets by placing chips on the table, where different bets are shown as a grid. Common Roulette bets and their payouts:
- Red or black 1:1
- 1-18 or 9-36 1:1
- Odd or even 1:1
- Dozens (1-12, 13-24, 25-36) 2:1
- The full column of numbers 2:1
- Street (row of three numbers) 11:1
- Single number (including a zero) 35:1
You can bet on multiple numbers with one casino chip:
- If you place your chips on a line between two numbers, your bet is considered to be evenly split between those two
- If you place a bet where four numbers meet, your bet is evenly split between those four numbers
- Bet $10 on the line between 8 and 11 means that you bet $5 on 8 and $5 on 11.
- Bet $20 on the corner of 23, 26, 22, 25 means that you bet $5 on each of the four numbers
After you have placed your bets (online) or after a certain waiting time (offline casino) the croupier sends the wheel spinning and shoots the Roulette ball in there. At some online casinos and most land-based casinos, you can still bet after the ball is sent to the wheel. This is called “announcing a bet.”
At online casinos, you can announce a bet by clicking where you’d like to bet. At land-based casinos, you call out your bet (“$10 on red!”) and place enough chips ($10 in this case) on the table next to you. Calling out your bet is not a necessity, but it helps to avoid potential mistakes.
Winning And Losing in Roulette
After you have placed your bets, the croupier first spins the wheel. Next, the ball is spun in the opposite direction around the circular track surrounding the wheel. When the ball comes to a winning colour and number, croupier announces the result.
If your bets won, your winnings are paid instantly, and the next round starts. If you lost, the croupier collects your losses, and it’s time for the next round.
Simulated online roulette games come up with the result by using a random number generator. These RNGs are certified random by 3rd party laboratories.
Common Roulette Variants
Roulette has three main variations: French, European and American. Here are the main aspects that separate the games:
- European roulette: one green zero
- French roulette: one green zero and la partage rule
- American roulette: two green zeros, 0 and 00
Interestingly, the most popular form of online Roulette in Canada (and elsewhere) tends to be American, even though it’s not very favorable to gamblers as we’ll soon see.
French Roulette is often used as a synonym for European Roulette. However, a true French Roulette game includes one extra rule: la partage (“prison”).
Playing with the la partage rule means that any losing 50/50 bet (black/red for example) isn’t necessarily lost. Instead, you either get half of your bet back, or you can place the whole bet in “prison.” If you place the bet in prison, you get your money back if the next spin gives you a winning result.
La partage rule helps the player and makes the theoretical payout of Roulette higher. When playing with la partage rule, your theoretical payout percentage is 98.65%, whereas with European version it’s 97.30% and with the American version it’s 97.30%.
Example of La Partage in Roulette:
You bet $10 on red, and the result is black. You can either get $5 back and lose $5 or place $10 to the prison. You choose prison. Now, if the next spin is red you get your $10 back, and you lose it with a black.
Pro tip: when playing online roulette, choose a game that uses the la partage rule to maximise your potential winnings. Usually, you will find it by searching for French Roulette at the online casino of your choice.
There is no real strategy for Roulette, as it is a pure game of luck. It’s not possible to beat the game or have a long-term winning strategy (unless you cheat). This hasn’t stopped eager gamblers from trying to come up with one, though.
Roulette is in the same category of games as Baccarat, for example. In these games you can’t have an effect on the results, just bet and hope for the best.
Some gamblers base their strategy on looking past results and figuring if some number has higher odds of coming up than others. The problem is that each Roulette result is independent. The past results have nothing to do with future results, so this strategy doesn’t work.
Other strategies try to combine different bets in a way that would somehow result in a positive expected result. This doesn’t help. Every Roulette bet has a negative expected value, and you can’t combine bad bets to come up with a good one. If someone tells you otherwise, they are either lying (you occasionally see Roulette scams on the internet, where someone claims to have come up with a winning bet combination), or they don’t understand mathematics.
House Edge of Roulette
House edge tells how much a game favours the casino. Compared to classic table games like Blackjack and Baccarat Roulette’s house edge is slightly higher. The exact edge depends on the variant you’re playing:
- European/French: 2.7%
- French with la partage rule: 1.35%
- American: 5.26%
The house edge can be calculated as follows:
If you bet on red on the European version, the odds of you winning are 18/37 (there are 18 red numbers out of 37 total numbers). You have 18/37 = 48.64% chance to win. When you win, you get your money back double. This means the expected value of the bet is 2 * 48.64 = 97.29. In other words, the house edge is -2.71%.
Roulette is best played for fun and by forgetting about strategy. If you don’t know much about casino games, we would suggest on sticking to Roulette as it’s not possible to make any mistakes that would affect your potential winnings. For example, video poker, on the other hand, is a game where the result depends on how well you play, so playing it requires knowing the game’s strategies inside and out.
How high or low casino’s advantage is doesn’t depend on if you’re playing online roulette or real-life Roulette as rules are the same. You can gain a small advantage online though if you choose to play at a casino site that has a good loyalty program and earn perks (bonuses, free spins, extra money and so on) by wagering.
Martingale Betting Strategy
The Martingale betting strategy (“doubling up strategy”) comes up every time Roulette strategy is discussed. Despite being popular, it’s not a winning strategy.
The Martingale strategy is common in all sorts of gambling games. Especially on ones that offer some kind of an either/or bet, which pays back double if you hit it. When playing Roulette, betting on black or red is prime territory for using the Martingale strategy.
Martingale betting works like this:
- Place your bet on black or red
- If you lose, you’ll double your bet (and continue to do so after consecutive losses)
- If you win, you’ll go back to your original bet size
- You bet $5 on red and lose.
- You bet $10 on red and lose.
- You bet $20 on red and lose.
- You bet $40 on red and lose.
- You bet $80 on red and win.
- Now you go back to your original $5 bet.
So why do you do all this? Because when you win, you win the size of your original bet.
In our example, you lost $5 + $10 + $20 + $40 = $75. Then you finally won $80, so your total winnings were $80 – $75 = $5. And $5 is the original bet size you used.
Does Martingale betting strategy work?
Nope. It would work, but Roulette wheels have one (European/French) or two (American) zeros on them. This means that betting on red/black is not a 50/50 bet. For the Martingale strategy to work, it would need true 50/50 odds or better.
The other problem with the Martingale is that you need a huge bankroll to use it. Losses rack up fast when you keep doubling your bet.
Even in our example above, a $5 bet turned into $80 bet in a matter of few rounds. If you add up all the bets, you’ll find out that a total of $155 was bet in the example. All that for trying to win a measly $5!
The D’Alembert Strategy
The D’Alembert strategy resembles the Martingale Strategy. The difference is that it uses a system where the stakes don’t get as high as fast as they do in the Martingale Strategy.
- Choose a base unit for your stake (no more than 2% of your total roll)
- Stake exactly one base unit to a bet that pays even money (odd/even, red/black, high/low)
- If you lose, add one unit to your stake. Keep doing this until you win – remember, increase each bet with only one base unit
- When you win, decrease your bet with one base unit. Keep decreasing your bets after wins with one base unit
- When you have as many wins as losses (or more), walk away
Does the D’Alembert Strategy work? As is the case with Martingale strategy, D’Alembert strategy does not work. It’s a mere strategy trying to optimise your chances for winning.
Roulette Questions and answers
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Roulette Strategy Q&A
Does every bet have the same house advantage?
Most bets on Roulette have the same house advantage. All the bets pay what would equal 0% house edge if there wasn’t a zero (or two) in the wheel.
So each bet is affected by the odds of adding an extra number on the wheel. For European Roulette, a zero is 1 number out of 37, so 1/37 = 2.7%. Although, some brick and mortar casinos have worse payouts on the single number bets. They might have for example 34:1 or even 30:1. In these cases, we strongly recommend on switching the casino or sticking with the 1:1 bets.
There is only one exception to this “same house edge rule.” It’s top line bet, which is worse than anything else in Roulette.
What’s the best bet in Roulette?
There is no single bet better than the other ones. In fact, all the bets are equally good apart from the one bet that’s worse than others (see below).
What’s the worst Roulette bet?
The worst bet is the top line bet. This American Roulette bet places money on five numbers: 0, 00, 1, 2, 3. Its 6 to 1 payout doesn’t reflect the actual odds of hitting one of these numbers, so its house edge is 7.9% which is almost 50% higher than the house edge of any other bet.
I’ve heard roulette being called “the devil’s game,” why is that?
Numbers on a roulette wheel (0-36) add up to 666. Plus, of course, Roulette can take your money if you’re not careful so there’s plenty of reasons to call it the devil’s game.
Can you bet on green?
You can’t bet on green as a colour, but you can bet on 0 (and 00 in American Roulette). These bets pay out like any other bet placed on a single number.
What are the odds of getting black or red in roulette?
There are 18 black and 18 red numbers in the wheel. Also, there are either one or two green numbers (0 and 00). So the odds are either 18/37 = 48.6% (one zero) or 18/38 = 47.3% (two zeros).
Who is Ashley Revell?
Ashley Revell is a Roulette celebrity. At the age of 32 Revell sold everything he owned, including his clothes and travelled to Las Vegas to bet it all on one spin of the wheel.
No spoilers! Here’s a video of what happened when Revell bet all the money he could raise (76 840 GBP, about 125 000 CAD at the time) on Red.
What is the Roulette-Bot I see advertised online? Does it win as it promises?
We’ve seen the advertisement too. Essentially, Roulette-Bot or Roulette-Bot Plus, or whatever, is a scam.
The advertisement claim that somebody has “solved” how random number generators work in Canadian online roulette games. Thus they have been able to create an automated bot which plays Roulette profitably. The advertisement then claims that online casinos can’t stop you from using the bot to win because it would be illegal for them to stop you from playing and that it would cost them too much to replace their faulty random number generator (RNG).
Nothing in the advert is accurate or true. In the late 90’s there was a case where one poker site had a faulty RNG. Since then, RNG manufacturers have gone to great lengths to test and verify that numbers provided truly are random. Nowadays, RNGs are tested by independent testing laboratories and no further cases of broken RNGs have been found.
You might also be wondering the point of advertising a “winning roulette-bot” if no such thing exists.
It’s likely that the advertisement and the software were developed by a struggling and less-than-scrupulous online casino. The casino turns a profit by getting people to play Roulette with big bucks thinking they are going to win. Then, most of the players lose and the casino rakes in the money.
Well-run, legit online casinos are not too happy about this scam as it brings bad press for the industry.
What’s the difference between Roulette machines and casino Roulette?
Machines, or in the gambling business language fixed odds betting terminals, follow the same logic as regular roulette. A wheel is spun, and you either win or lose based on the result.
The main difference between the two is that on most roulette machines there are fewer numbers (0-18). This means that the house edge on most bets (like black/red) is higher on a Roulette machine since zero constitutes a bigger percentage of the numbers.
The probability of spinning a zero on standard roulette is 2.7%, but on a 0-18 machine, you’ll get a zero 5.2% of the time. Due to how Roulette bets pay out, this means that the house edge of fixed odds Roulette machines is 5.26%.
How can you cheat in roulette?
People have been coming up with Roulette cheats probably since the very first Roulette game was invented over 200 years ago. Nowadays, modern technology has been made part of cheating, and the most common cheating method is using a roulette computer.
A roulette computer is a device that looks a bit like a cell phone and is similar in size. It doesn’t function anything like a phone, though. Instead, its sensors measure things like wheel speed, ball speed, and others to come up with a prediction of where the ball will land.
The computer then communicates its guess to the player using the computer. This can be as simple as wearing an earpiece and the device telling with a voice where to bet. A more subtle approach would be that the device buzzes in your pocket (like a cell phone on silent) and uses different buzz patterns to communicate the right bet.
After the cheater receives this information, he quickly places a bet. There’s no time to waste, as by necessity the bets are placed after the wheel is already spinning and the ball is in motion.
Depending on where you are, cheating like this is either completely illegal, or it’s not illegal, but casinos will still eject you if you get caught. You can read more about roulette computers over at Roulette-computers.com.
Online Roulette Q&A
Can I play real-money online Roulette in Canada?
You not only can but playing from Canada is particularly easy. Canada is a big country, so online casinos cater well to us Canadian gamblers. You can play both free and real-money online Roulette games at market-leading casinos.
When it comes to playing online Roulette for real Canadian dollars, both depositing and cashing out is easy. Our top roulette casinos (list above) support playing in CAD and using echeck, Interac, and other Canada-friendly banking methods.
The only thing you need to know is that if you play on your mobile device (phone or tablet, Android or Apple), you can’t download an app to play. See next question for more.
Can I play with no bonus?
Yes, you can. In fact, especially players who enjoy live Roulette most often decline any welcome bonuses casinos might offer.
To play with no bonus don’t accept any deposit bonuses. Depending on the casino this either done on the deposit screen or by contacting the customer support.
In case you’re wondering why someone would say no to extra money, the reason is to make cashing out easier. When there’s no bonus, there’s also no bonus rules to follow. These rules often require wagering a certain amount before withdrawing is possible. So no bonus = withdraw your cash any time you like from the casino.
Can I play real-money mobile Roulette in Canada?
Playing for real money on your phone is both possible and easy. The only thing to keep in mind is that you need to play directly at a casino instead of going to an app store to download an app.
The reason for not downloading a Roulette app is that both Google Play Store and Apple App Store don’t feature real-money gambling apps in Canada (they only do that in the UK).
Instead, head on over to the casino site of your choice and play there. The games are made with HTML5 (not Flash, it wouldn’t work on your phone), which is a fancy way of saying that they load instantly in your browser without downloading anything extra.
As far as mobile data goes, online Roulette is an easy game to enjoy. Even a choppy 3G connection will do fine, 4G or wifi not being necessary. Phone-wise you’ll be fine with any smartphone. Pretty much any iPhone and any decent Android phone will do.
Can I play live Roulette online?
Live casino games are played at a real-life casino and streamed with a cam directly to you in real time. While watching the live stream from the casino, you can bet on the game with your computer or phone as if you were at the casino yourself. You can even chat with the croupiers and other players if you want to.
Roulette is the number one most popular casino game, so every online casino has both simulated and live versions of the game available. For Canadians not every casino will do, as most online gambling sites are based in Europe and their live tables aren’t necessarily open 24/7. For this reason, it’s best to find Canada-friendly casinos where the tables are open at convenient times.
An excellent choice for us Canadians for live Roulette is Party Casino.
Can I get a bonus for Roulette?
While slots players get to enjoy big welcome bonuses and even free spins, Roulette players don’t get such generous welcome packages from online casinos. In fact, it’s difficult to find a Roulette bonus at all. This lack of welcome bonuses for Roulette is a consequence of Roulette’s tiny house edge. Casinos would go bust if they provided a lot of free money to play it.
There is a way around this though: loyalty programs. Choose a casino that has a good loyalty/VIP program which rewards all wagering including Roulette, and you’ll receive extra money and other rewards. These are not found at all casinos though.
For example, out of our recommended Canada-friendly online casinos only a few have loyalty programs that reward Roulette play. One of the most generous ones is Rizk Casino’s ongoing loyalty program, which rewards all wagering (including all table games) with spins of the wheel of Rizk, which pays out everything from cash to special bonuses.
What is the best casino for online Roulette in Canada?
Our first choice for Canadian players would be Leo Vegas due to their excellent games, Canada-friendly banking methods (Interac, eCheck) and quick cash outs. They even have plenty of live games.
Great games, perfect on mobile and instant deposits & cash outs, Leo Vegas is our #1 Roulette recommendation. Visit LeoVegas.