Good call. Roulette is one of the most popular casino games in the world, owing mostly to its simplicity and the entertainment it provides to players of all skill levels.
That being said, get comfortable and let us be your guide as you learn how to play roulette with a run-through of a typical game round and all its nuts and bolts. It’s everything you need to know to answer the nagging How does roulette work? question and things to keep in mind as you practice to start winning some games!
Many historians believe that a primitive form of the game, meaning little wheel in French, was devised in 18th France by Mathematician Blaise Pascal. Since that time, it has span continents and undergone makeovers by many a mathematician, entrepreneur, or both, all of which reshaped how to play roulette to what it is today.
As far as formal roulette definitions go, these are often lengthy explanations of a game round which we promise to present in finer detail further down. For now, just know that it is a game of chance where players choose to place their chips on individual numbers, or grouping of numbers, based on where they speculate the roulette ball will lay to rest on the wheel. Therefore, live roulette online is the 21st century reiteration of this 300+ year old concept that benefits from the rapid growth of technology, reduced latency and the advent of mobile and AI, making it accessible anytime, anywhere.
Pretty cool, right? Let’s get into the nitty-gritty then.
Before talking about the pattern of the roulette table or revealing why the numbers range from 0-36, let’s begin with a step-by-step guide on how to play roulette for beginners with reference to some frequently asked questions.
Without giving too much away, as the fully-fledged description is just moments away, here’s a sneak peek at what we consider as the eight steps of how to play roulette at a casino.
Before going any further, it’s best to get one of the most commonly asked questions about live roulette out of the way.
Due to the overheads of hiring croupiers, running cameras and maintaining a secure gaming environment, it’s not feasible to play live roulette for free. However, you can still test the waters on an RNG version of the game or place the smallest stakes available online as you settle in.
As presented earlier, the premise of how to win at roulette is uncomplicated. Correctly predict the number the roulette ball will land on and you’ll pocket your bet’s respective payout. The only “problem”, if you want to look at it that way, is the prediction element of it all. It’s this uncertainty that resulted in the creation of countless tried and tested systems, and unfortunately, some scam software too. While luck will always come into play, a fine-tuned understanding of the game of roulette will undoubtedly result in more well-informed decisions, and thus, cause you to up your ability.
While you can find comfort in knowing that all gamblers have been on the tail end of a losing streak at one time or another, the truth is still a hard pill to swallow. There are no roulette secrets. The fact of the matter is that it’s a game of chance and so you can never predict where the ball will come to rest with 100% certainty. Sure, knowledge on how roulette works and real-life practice will mould you into a proficient player but you’ll never be able to predict the future. Don’t let this dishearten you. If you hit a bad spell, simply step away for a short time and try your luck again later. That’s all there is to it.
Now that you know the basics of roulette, you’re getting closer to being able to go off on your own. But before you head to the table, let’s take a walk through a normal game round. In order to perform any of these actions, you’ll need a stable internet connection, a device to bet on and some money put aside (at least €10). Now then, let’s get into it.
While it’s often the operators that receive all the praise, credit is really due to the makers of the table games you choose to bet on. Knowledge on who creates what and at a bankroll to suit you is fundamental. For example, Evolution Gaming is more than likely to have something to tickle your fancy whether you’re looking for a standard game, a variant of roulette or some unique title such as Double Ball or Lightning Roulette. However, if you’re trying to recapture the essence of that Las Vegas casino you visited on your 21st birthday, Authentic Gaming succeeds in doing just that. The likes of Extreme LIve Gaming and Ezugi supply plenty of little wheels too. It’s our suggestion that you begin with our game provider reviews to better understand what’s on offer and what matches up with your preferences.
Your choice of live casinos will depend on your selection in Step 1. Let us elaborate. If you like the sound of what Evolution has to offer, then your choice of operator will come down to factors such as promotions or security, as this provider is available almost anywhere. On the other hand, if the talented and tattooed live dealer pin-ups of Lucky Streak catch your eye, you may have to opt for something other than your first choice of operator.
You’ll need to add funds to your account before you can stack your chips on your chosen surface. This can be done in two ways – either through the operator’s Deposit page or at the table itself.
The former is the most conventional way. You decide you’d like to play roulette, up your bankroll on your chosen casino and just like that you can begin betting.
But what happens if your funds dip as your applying the Martingale strategy and you don’t want to move away from the table? Most providers and operators cater for this point of contingency through an in-game deposit feature whose functionality is revealed in the name. All you need to do is press a discreet button on the interface and enter the CVV number of a bank card you used to deposit with previously. It’s that simple.
While it’s definitely less fiddly than manually placing chips on a roulette table at a land-based casino, there are some things to know about how roulette betting works online.
Betting time opens with clear on-screen instructions that notify that wagers will be accepted. You will have on average 30-90 seconds to place your bet, depending on the roulette variant. Betting is only allowed during this period so make sure you place your bet well within this timeframe.
As we mentioned, playing online roulette means there’s no need to worry about where to place your roulette chips. Potential betting areas become highlighted as you hover over them and complex chip patterns such as racetrack bets are automatically placed correctly with a click of a button.
Not only does it make things more straightforward, but this technology gives you two distinct benefits. The first is that the act of placing as many bets as your bankroll allows is a no-brainer as it only involves a few mouse clicks. Additionally, you may also be able to place bets while the ball is spinning as you can in Evolution Speed Roulette.
In that way, betting online succeeds in eliminating any first-time awkwardness, however, moving your mouse around to figure out where the eligible betting areas are will become tiresome fairly quickly. If you’re curious, the various types of bets and their chip placement or simply want to find the best way to bet on roulette to add to your list of Good bet Ideas To Try, both are covered on our Roulette Rules page. Otherwise, just rest easy knowing that the tech behind live roulette online makes betting as simple as possible for you.
The live dealer (sometimes referred to as a croupier since these individuals don’t deal anything to the table) represents the house as the friendly, sometimes untouchable, figure behind the wheel and table. Once the betting time ends, the spin starts when the croupier drops the ball onto the wheel track as it spins in the opposite direction.
After the ball comes to rest in its final pocket, the dealer announces the winning number with some information on where the number appears on the betting layout thrown in too. That’s the most basic level of interaction you can expect from your table host. When the nature of the game calls for sociability – think the LeoVegas roulette tables – you can bet your bottom dollar they’re up to chat with you about live casino, current events or almost any topic you’d like to discuss.
When the spin concludes, the ball falls into a particular pocket and when it does, the winning number is revealed.
In a brick-and-mortar establishment, the winning number of each game round is verbally communicated by the dealer but things differ slightly online. In addition to this verbal utterance, digitally-rendered overlays will display the winning roulette number on screen. Following this, winning bets are paid out immediately while losing ones are kept.
If you bet on a single number, calculating your winnings is easy as these pay at 35:1. Similarly, bets on odd or even and red or black even your odds of winning at payouts of 1:1 but they won’t titillate you for long. So, what about when you venture to bet on a group of numbers or around the racetrack?
Bets such as columns or corners are placed on specific areas of the roulette table to denote that you are betting on a certain group of numbers. Such wagers pay out if the ball stops on a number within your chosen group thus your winnings are simple enough to determine.
Say you bet €5 on the first column of numbers on the layout. You’ll have twelve opportunities to win on the numbers 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28, 31, 34. If the dealer spins the wheel and the ball stops on red 16, you’ll receive €5 back and €10 in winnings, as the bet pays 2:1.
Things can get a little more complicated if you choose to bet on the racetrack. A gut feeling for the numbers that appear close to the green 0 on the layout means that you should place what is called the Voisins du Zero bet. It covers seventeen numbers – namely 0, 2, 3, 4, 7, 12, 15, 18, 19, 21, 22, 25, 26, 28, 29, 32, 35 – as shown in the image, but can be placed via a single click or tap on your screen. You’ll win if the ball lands on any one of those numbers, but each one is grouped into a different bet type and therefore pays out at the amount for that group.
Let’s see this in practice assuming you’re playing the round with 50c orange-coloured roulette chips. Those 50c chips will be placed on most number groupings excluding the numbers 0, 2, 3 and 25, 26, 27, 28 where €1 chips will be set down instead. Your total bet will amount to €4.50. If the winning number of the round is 29, that is a corner bet which pays at 8:1, meaning you’ll walk away with a total of €9 in winnings – your original bet of €4.50 returned to you plus €4.50 in pure winnings.
Those are only two examples but don’t fret if you’re getting nightmarish flashbacks of high school mathematics class. Those mathematicians and physicists we name-dropped earlier worked out the calculations many moons ago, and we’ve summed them up in payouts tables you can refer to as you play. Best of all, it’s not cheating.
Just as human error may occur at a physical table and roulette wheel, the same too can happen online. Add computer technology to the mix and there’s even more that could go awry.
In order to combat this, providers and operators come together to develop processes that resolve errors in record time. Each live dealer has their own key card which is used to log their twenty-minute intervals at the wheel. In this way, suppliers can keep track of their top performing employees (in terms of customer engagement, uniform tidiness, etc.) and compensate them accordingly but that’s another story.
Once the live dealer is logged in for their session, they have direct access to casino personnel known as pit bosses who manage the people at the tables and supervise what’s going on. If the dealer makes a small mistake such as dropping the ball or spinning the ball in the wrong direction, the pit boss is called to assess the situation. In instances such as the former, the round is usually cancelled, bets are returned to the players and the game proceeds as normal.
A technical issue, on the other hand, cannot be solved immediately after it occurs and usually requires collaboration with operator where the betting occurred to solve. Take a delayed or incorrect payout on a winning round, for example, which the dealer will be unable to rectify this on the spot without referring to footage of the round in question and subsequently putting the game on hold for all other tablemates. Therefore, common practice is to look into what occurred off-camera and come back with a resolution at a later time with the assistance of the casino’s customer support team.
Similarly, if you were to think something is off in a round you were a part of, you can always query this with a casino support agent. Just give them as much information as possible – the game name, the time you were playing, the device you were playing on, etc. – so that they can locate the round in question much quicker and iron out what went wrong in record time.
The game of roulette is a wonderful thing. Much like a classical instrument or a high-performance sports car, each roulette wheel and betting table is masterfully designed and crafted to the highest precision before it can be used to play the game. From the get-go, it’s clear that there’s more to it than meets the eye. So, if you’re looking to understand how to play roulette, consider proficiency in how the roulette wheel and table work as an unavoidable prerequisite.
The roulette table is the area where you place your bets, so make sure you familiarise yourself with it. The surface of the table is covered in coloured felt with marked red, black and green sections. These coloured sections make up a grid that highlights the several types of bets that you can make. Don’t worry, these bets will be explained in more detail later. The table also includes the racetrack area, aptly named as it actually does resemble a racetrack. This area is basically used to place call bets quickly during a game. It’s a more advanced feature, so for now, focus on getting your head around the main grid area.
The dolly is a marker that is placed on the winning roulette number, so all the players know exactly what the outcome of the game was. Online, the croupier either places it on a physical table or it’s digitally overlaid on the winning number in the game’s interface.
The little wheel is divided into alternating red and black pockets but how many numbers are there on a roulette wheel? It is divided up equally between 18 red numbers and 18 black numbers, numbered from 0-36, while the 0 is green. This applies to all variants of the game, but there are, of course, some differences between them too. For example, the American roulette wheel numbers include an extra number, 00, which brings the number of pockets up to thirty-eight. The differences between the wheels will be highlighted on the Variants page, so check there if you’re looking for further details.
The roulette ball is typically between 18-20 mm in size and is made out of either acetal, nylon or phenolic. The material it’s made from affects the bounciness of the ball, and the livelier it is, the harder it is to predict where it will come to rest.
We touched upon what a live dealer is earlier on but to reiterate, they’re essentially a games presenter. And much like any other individual who must perform in front of a camera, each one undergoes intensive training before they’re ready to step beneath the spotlight. In fact, Evolution Gaming has its own state-of-art training facilities – the Evolution Academy – in both Riga and Malta.
The chips are used to place your bets. Each one is colour coded with a different value assigned to each colour. Unfortunately, these aren’t standard between the various software suppliers so you cannot memorise colour-value associations blindly. Take the two game providers we’ve listed below for example:
As you have probably guessed, the chips in online live roulette are digital. This means that all you have to do is choose the value you want to bet and place them on the type of bet you want to make. This is all done through the interface that is displayed on screen.
This includes all the unwritten rules of playing a game of live roulette. Although they are not the pinnacle of playing and winning, you are still expected to abide by them or run the risk of being asked to leave the game. Always be polite to the croupier and leave them a tip if you win big on the wheel. You should be respectful to the other players too and avoid any touchy subjects in the group chat. Finally, remember that when you’re at the table you’re there to participate. It’s ok to sit in for a couple of rounds while you’re getting the hang of things but don’t remain a bystander for too long.
The environment is completely dependent on whether you’re viewing a stream from a real casino or a studio. In addition, the look and feel of the studio environment will vary on whether the provider utilises green screen technology or actual tables. Some providers form close relationships with online casinos to create unique, bespoke gaming areas such as the LeoVegas Chambre Séparée. All this variety means that you’re sure to find playing surroundings to suit your style.
Game providers harness continuous advancements and reduced latency to provide you with high-level roulette. Since your internet connection and speed will affect the stream, there’s usually the option to adjust it accordingly. Multiple camera angles with close-up and slowed-down shots of the ball landing in the winning pocket also enhance the experience. A perfect example of this is Evolution’s Immersive series. What stream you settle on is up to your specific preferences.
The interface displays all the information you could possibly need to play a game of live roulette. The betting layout, hot and cold numbers, history, customisable settings, stats on last rounds, sound, visuals, cameras and game info are all found here. Most interfaces will be free from too much clutter, so they can be optimised for a wide variety of screen sizes.
That’s your introduction to how to play roulette done and dusted. So what’s up next on the curriculum? If you’re going to follow the course to a T, the odds of every type of bet you could place with their respective payout and house edge is your next chapter. Once you’ve set a solid foundation for yourself, things will get more exciting when you get your hands on strategies that will give your game an even greater edge. But everything in due time, pro player in the making.