Casinos

Roulette is one of the classic casino games, the colorful spinning wheel of fortune that symbolizes the allure of gambling itself. Before slot machines entered the picture, roulette was the mechanical marvel of the casino floor — eye-catching, and notoriously subject to crafty casino manipulation.

Online casinos have replaced the unreliable effects of real-world physics with more dependable random number generators, but the online roulette wheels are no less lovely to behold. Online gamblers may even enjoy roulette more; the brick-and-mortar casino versions of roulette may have seemed somewhat intimidating to the uninitiated, with all of those mysterious bets on the table.

The many pockets and bets available may give the illusion of complexity, but roulette is basically as simple as it is enjoyable. A ball is dropped into a spinning concave disc, and bounces and rolls until it comes to a stop in one of the pockets carved into the disc. If you’ve picked the right number or color, you win…if not, you lose.

The game originated in France (interestingly, as part of renowned mathematician Pascal’s studies on perpetual motion) and traveled to the rest of Europe and the New World during the surge of interest in gambling during the 1800s. To this day, roulette remains an iconic symbol of the 19th Century, denoting Riverboat gambling in New Orleans and the Mississippi, Wild West saloon gambling, and Mexico’s villa casino renaissance under Porfirio Diaz.

There are 37 pockets in the European version, and 38 pockets in the American (the extra pocket is double zero), which changes the odds slightly. The numbering sequence and arrangement of the bet areas on the table also differ, but otherwise the two versions of roulette are identical. Both wheels alternate red and black pockets, and both offer the same types of bets.

We’ll cover the basic gameplay, and details of the typical roulette bets, on further pages. If you are more interested in a hands-on tutorial, free roulette games can be played at any one of the best online casinos.

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