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Roulette Strategy - A Beginners Guide

It is a common misconception that roulette (the word means ‘small wheel’ in French) is simply a game of chance. The ball spins round, it lands on a number and anyone lucky enough to have selected that number will win.

But that chance element is only one part of the story. There is a lot more to roulette than the randomising aspect of the spin of the wheel. The reason it has remained such an iconic and popular feature of casinos the world over as well as online casino games is that it also calls on a player’s strategic intelligence and the strength of their nerve. It is a compelling combination.

Weighing the odds

There are, in fact, any number of different betting strategies that roulette enables. Players can choose to play for long odds and big wins, or they can adopt a more conservative approach, minimising their risk and accepting that any winnings will be a matter of steady accumulation rather than spectacular one-offs.

The simplest bet is to put your chips down on a single number. This ‘straight up’ bet represents a long odds option. With 36 numbers in play (discounting zero which effectively belongs to the house) the chances of a win are 35/1, and that’s the ratio that will determine what you’ll win if it comes up. But you are not confined to betting on a single number. A ‘split’ will cover two adjacent numbers and whilst it will double the winning chances it will half the potential pay-out to 17/1. The same logic applies across the board.

It is possible, for example, to cover 24 of the 36 numbers by splitting two of the three columns on the table. Not all casinos allow this, which should tell you something, but it pays out at the modest rate of one to two - i.e. one pound won for every two pounds bet.

Inside and outside bets

There are any number of permutations available once you start to get to grips with this basic arrangement. In summary, bets that are placed on or across the numbers are known as ‘inside’ or ‘layout’ bets, whilst those around the periphery that cover multiple numbers - either by colour, odd or even, or by a range of numbers - are known as outside bets. In each case the maths follows the same logic as that described already. So for example, covering numbers 1-12 represents a 2/1 bet.

Crafty combinations

There is, of course, nothing preventing you from placing multiple bets on the same spin and it is at this point where a sound strategy is required. There are plenty of beginners whose bets chase the ball around the table on the basis of what has already happened. The rationale is that if a ball has fallen in a particular area for the past few spins it is all the more likely to fall somewhere else next. Needless to say, this is not how it works. Every spin is a one-off event. That’s why the odds don’t change and why a consistently applied betting strategy is so important.