While slots remain the undisputed king of online and mobile casinos, there’s a large and growing group of players for whom online roulette is an important part of their casino experience. One of the big draws to play roulette online is that the game hardly has to differ at all from the brick and mortar game.
Depending on the quality of the graphics of the casino where you’re playing, you can enjoy a hyper realistic from wherever you are, beamed directly to your computer or smartphone. What can you expect from online roulette, and what should you bear in mind when picking a game?
What To Expect From Online Roulette
Depending on your chosen casino roulette can look and feel very different, however, they’ll always run on fundamentally the same principles. You’ll have a table – usually with the numbers 1-36, but sometimes more simplified with fewer numbers at some casinos – these numbers will be half black and half red.
There will also be a wheel with each of the numbers represented around the circumference. The basic premise of online roulette is that players guess where on the wheel a ball will land when spun. They do this by placing chips on the numbers they think are likely to come up.
There are a number of ways you can bet, with different versions of the online game allowing for different kinds of bets. The standards tend to be on a specific number or group of adjacent numbers, through a line or column, on all the odd or even numbers, on all the black or red numbers, or on the low or high numbers (1-18, 19-36).
In most online roulette games – unlike the land-based versions – you get as much time as you need to make your bets, and you choose when you want to spin the wheel. Online roulette hands the controls to you.
Simplifying Online Roulette
Some online versions of roulette have a simplified betting system to make it easier to fit onto a mobile screen, while others have decided to make the most of HD graphics and have filled the screen with as many betting options as is physically possible.
This means that players have a much greater choice when it comes to the online game verses the land-based game. You can pick and choose what kind of betting options matter to you, and find a game that caters to your tastes.
One other treat you might be able to find if you’re playing at the right casino is live dealer online roulette. If you’ve encountered live dealers for other games at casino (for instance blackjack), you’ll know what I’m talking about, but for the uninitiated, you’re in for a treat. Live dealers are pretty much exactly what it says on the tin.
In a far-flung studio somewhere in the world there is a dealer stood by a real roulette wheel with a camera or two pointed at them and the wheel. Players can tune in and make bets through their computer or smartphone, after which the dealer will spin the real wheel. This is a great option for players sceptical about the random generators of the computer versions.
American vs. European Roulette
Now to complicate things a little for you. Online roulette may look very different from casino to casino, but if you’re playing the same variant, it will essentially work the same wherever you play.
However, to make sure you fully understand the maths behind the game you’re playing, first you need to know whether you’re playing American or European roulette. Yes, the differences may be subtle, but they do make quite a difference to your chances of winning.
European Roulette Online
When you play roulette online, and the casino features only one form of roulette, chances are that it’ll be the European variant. This is the classic version of the game which originated in the casinos of France in the 17th century (which is why it’s also sometime referred to as ‘French Roulette’. The online version of the game tends to differ little from the original game, with numbers ranging from 1-36, each in black or red colours.
The characteristic that makes European online roulette distinctive is its single green 0 which sits at the end of the number table. This is known as the house number, as it forces a slight house edge in the game; if there were just the red and black numbers, there’d be an equal chance of landing on either colour, so if you bet black or red, the gamble would be the same as flipping a coin.
To make it worth a casino’s time to offer online roulette, this stalemate must be broken, which is why the house number is used, once in a while the ball will land in the 0, meaning anyone who bet either black or red will lose, odd or even, or high or low. The single 0 included on the European roulette table gives the house a 2.7% edge.
American Roulette Online
So how does American roulette differ from its European counterpart? Well, instead of just having a single green 0, American roulette tables feature an additional green double 0 (00) next to the single 0. This might seem like a super minor change from the European roulette table, and many novice players overlook it as unimportant, but when you consider that the addition raises the house edge from 2.7% to 5.26%, you realise what a big difference it really makes.
So what’s the benefit for online roulette players to choose the American version of the game? Honestly, there really isn’t any. When the game made it across the pond to the states, the money grabbing casinos over there decided they wanted to make more from the game, and the addition of the double 0 was the easiest way to do that.
You won’t find the double 0 on roulette tables in Europe, and if you’re playing roulette online, you’re best advised to steer clear of the American version altogether.