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Roulette Wheel - Roulette Wheel Explained

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The Roulette Wheel: A Closer Look

The word roulette means ‘little wheel’ in French so it’s no surprise that it was in 18th century France where the first form of Roulette was invented. Fast forward 300+ years, it’s basically still the same game of ‘wheel meets ball, ball meets number’. 

To understand how to play Roulette, you’ll only need the basic rules and elements of the game, but you’d probably also want to read into some of the most common Roulette bet types. 

There are several variants of this centuries old, wheel-based game. As said, it was developed in France by a French physicist so there’s naturally a French version of the game. But besides French Roulette, there’s also European and American Roulette. We’ll discuss all Roulette variants on this page, but since European Roulette tends to be the most commonly played version, we’ll take a closer look at that one first.

The European Roulette Wheel

A European Roulette wheel has 37 numbers (0-36) and a game of Roulette starts when you place your bet on any single number, a combination of numbers, red or black, odd or even, on numbers between 1 and 36 and the 0 (and 00 if playing the American Roulette version of the game). Upon joining the table, you’ll need to select a chip value by clicking on one of the chips on the game screen. You then place your bets on the table and once you’re done, you’ll need to spin the wheel and watch the little ball rolling in the opposite direction. The ball lands on a randomly selected number that wins the game. 

For winning bets, the original wager is returned to your account, plus the payout you receive based on the amount staked and the game’s odds. 

Roulette wheel numbers

The European Roulette wheel features 37 pockets including the red and black numbers from 1-36, and only a single green zero pocket. 

The clockwise sequence of numbers on the wheel looks like this:

0, 32, 15, 19, 4, 21, 2, 25, 17, 34, 6, 27, 13, 36, 11, 30, 8, 23, 10,

5, 24, 16, 33, 1, 20, 14, 31, 9, 22, 18, 29, 7, 28, 12, 35, 3, 26

European Roulette wheel numbers v.s. American Roulette Wheel numbers

It’s actually very easy to spot the difference between a European Roulette wheel and an American one. Namely, the American Roulette wheel features two types of zeroes – a single zero and a double zero. As mentioned earlier, European Roulette wheels only include one single zero. In terms of gameplay this simply means that it reduces the house edge to 2.7%, compared to 5.3% with an American Roulette game.

Ball track

The ball track of a Roulette wheel is where the Roulette ball rolls around as the wheel spins and it still has enough speed. Then, at some point when it slows down enough, the ball will leave its track and drop into one of the numbered pockets of the Roulette wheel. 

Roulette wheel rotor

The rotor of the Roulette wheel is without a doubt the most important mechanism of the game. After all, without it, the Roulette wheel wouldn’t be able to spin and the ball won’t be able to keep rolling at a consistent speed.

Roulette wheel base

The base of a Roulette wheel is its outer shell which, if of a decent quality, will be made of some type of wood. The inside will be made of metal though, to protect the aforementioned rotor of the Roulette wheel as well as other inner mechanics. The base of the Roulette wheel always has to be in utmost conditions, since even the littlest of imperfections might influence its performance. 

Roulette wheel trivia 

Though the layout of the numbers on a Roulette wheel might seem random, it definitely isn't! Some trivia about the wheel and its numbers:

  • The sequence is rather confusing. It is extremely hard for someone to take a look at the wheel and see any correlation between the numbers and the sections. 

  • Red and Black alternate completely. No matter the type of wheel, two adjacent pockets should always have different colours.

  • Low (1-18) and High (19-36) numbers alternate as much as possible. You will rarely see low and high numbers next to each other in European Roulette – the only exception being 5 and 10. 

  • Even and Odd numbers are evenly distributed along the wheel. No more than two Even or Odd numbers are placed next to each other in the European wheel.

Roulette Variations

As mentioned earlier, there are different types of Roulette games and wheels. Now that we’ve spoken more into detail about the most commonly played version, we’ll take a closer look at the others too.

French Roulette

French Roulette is played on a standard European Roulette wheel (black and red numbers from 1-36 and one single green 0), but the layout of the table is unique and therefore the version of the game is a little bit different.

All the numbers on the French table are white, while all numbers, except for the zero and the double zero on the American Roulette table, are either red or black. Another distinction between the two variations is that the numbers on the French and the American Roulette wheels are positioned differently. Also, the position of the outside betting field on American and French Roulette tables differs.

The outside bets on the American variation are usually placed on the left side of the table layout whereas the outside betting field on the French variation is split in two and located along both sides of the table layout. 

There are some bets specific to the French Roulette game (with a European wheel). We’ll go ahead and list them here for you and explain what they are.

Zero play

As the bet name already implies, it’s indeed possible to bet on zero in the same way as betting on any of the other numbers. Depending on the Roulette wheel, the zero bet can either be placed only once (European Roulette wheel) or twice (American Roulette wheel). Also note that the payouts are the same as betting on any other single number on the Roulette table.

Voisins du Zéro

Literally translated 'neighbours of zero', this bet covers a section of 17 numbers on the Roulette wheel between (and including) 22 to 25. Right in the middle of this grouping of numbers is the zero. All the numbers placed around it are considered its neighbours. 

Tiers du Cylindre

This bet translates as 'thirds of the Roulette wheel' as it’s a bet-type corresponding to an exact third of the wheel, specifically the third at the bottom of the wheel. This bet’s numbers reach from 33 to 27.

Orphelins

These “orphaned” numbers are two small sections of the Roulette wheel that take in the eight numbers which aren’t associated with either the Voisins du Zéro or Tiers du Cylindre. The numbers covered by Orphelins are 9, 31, 14, 20 and 1 on one side of the table, and 17, 34 and 6 on the other.

Neighbours 

Neighbours is when you place a bet from 5 numbers on the Roulette wheel that are located right next to each other. All you need to do is choose whichever number you want to place a bet on, as well as the two numbers that appear on the left and the right side of that specific number (it’s ‘neighbours’).

American Roulette

We already talked about it a little earlier, the American Roulette wheel only has one clear distinction: it features an extra green double zero slot which pays out 35 to 1. Even though it may seem a very small distinction, it might just make a big difference to your winning rate in the long term!

Online Roulette

If you enjoy playing Roulette, but you don’t feel like leaving the comfort of your own home then online Roulette is the perfect solution. The gameplay is faster since payments are made automatically by the game’s software plus an online Roulette wheel is extremely reliable and 100% unbiased. 

Another benefit of playing online Roulette is that you could have an even more thrilling experience by trying out some of the Roulette games with added unique features, but more on that a little further down.

Most online Roulette games will offer a Betting Pattern feature which allows you to save your favourite bets (usually up to 5) or a combination of different types of bets for easier placement in future rounds or sessions. 

In online Roulette the ‘racetrack’ part of the game allows you to easily place bets on groups of numbers on the Roulette wheel by placing a betting chip in the relevant section(s) of the racetrack.

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Live Roulette

Taking your online experience even one step further, would be playing a game of Live Roulette. This truly offers the closest thing to experiencing a land-based Roulette wheel without having to leave your house. Live Roulette games are streamed in real-time to your mobile device. They are managed by real-life dealers offering you real immersive gameplay and interaction (also with other players if you want to talk to them in the live chat) without you having to leave your comfy couch. 

There’s a variety of different types of Live Roulette games out there, offering unique features that differentiate them from each other. Features include multipliers, multiplier jackpots, bonus rounds and lightning rounds. 

Some of the most popular Live Roulette games are Gold Bar Roulette, Lightning Roulette and Extreme Lightning Roulette, all created by Evolution Gaming. Then there’s also PowerUp Roulette from Pragmatic Play and Mega Fire Blaze Roulette from Playtech. The latter includes multipliers and three additional jackpot levels that could potentially supersize the final multiplier.