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Roulette is an exciting, fast-paced game where you can win or lose a fortune at the spin of a wheel and the drop of a ball. Some people play by using tactics, or you can simply choose your lucky numbers and let fate take its course.
In Australia, Roulette is played according to the traditional, European rules of the game. The name roulette in fact comes from the French word meaning “small wheel”, and this form is the most commonly-played version of online roulette. The differences from American Roulette are that it is played with the same coloured chips for every player, and the European Roulette wheel is numbered 0 to 36, – the lack of a double zero gives the house a smaller edge.
The aim of the game is to attempt to predict which of the 37 holes a ball will fall into, and then bet on that number on the corresponding roulette table.
However, there are more exciting options than merely plucking a number out of the air, as you can bet on the colour pocket it will land in (red or black), whether it will be an odd or even number, and place your bets over a variety of combinations of numbers, all of which can earn you more and more money for your stake.
Roulette is one of the most popular casino games around, and has appeared in a number of films and books to ingrain it into the public consciousness. While there are several variations of it, there is no other game quite like it.
The first version of the game came about in 1720, and was called Roly-Poly. However, it was banned in 1739 due to the English gaming acts. These rules were flouted with the invention of a similar game called Even-Odd, but this too was banned in 1745.
Eventually the French took over, and credit is usually given to the Gallic scientist and mathematician Blaise Pascal, the eponymous inventor of -Pascal’s triangle.
Some argue that the game originated in China and was brought to Europe by Dominican monks, but popular theory rests with the French, especially given that Roulette is a French word. It gained popularity in the 1700s when Prince Charles of Monaco introduced gambling to his country as a way of alleviating the financial problems of the region.
Charles persuaded the French authorities to extend the railways from Nice, and also to build a new road system that led straight to Monte Carlo, thus making it easier for people to reach the new gambling capital.
Despite the fact that gambling became legal throughout the whole of France, roulette was only played in Monte Carlo, thereby keeping its casinos popular, and surrounding roulette with a certain exclusivity.
The game developed over the years until 1842, when French duo Francois and Louis Blanc invented the single zero roulette game.
That event caused the history of the game to change drastically, with the house edge reduced from just over 5% to less than 3%. Unsurprisingly, this caused the game to become a huge success, but because gambling was illegal in France at the time, it was first tried out in Germany, where it was well received and profitable for the casinos.
The "En Prison" rule which still exists and is one of the two key differences between American and Australian Roulette (the other being the absence of the double zero in Australia), further lowered the house edge for even money wagers down to 1.35%.
Because of this little but significant difference, Roulette is much more popular in Europe and Australia than America, accounting for over 50% of revenues in European casinos, but just 5% of those in the US.
The game increased in popularity during the California Gold Rush, but dwindled again after World War II, when Americans found they were losing less money at Craps, and also that Blackjack was a more beatable game. However, many people still play roulette, and it is the oldest existing game in casinos today.
Rules of Play
A number of betting options, each with various sub-bets, are available to people intending to play roulette. You can place inside bets, which are a selection of an exact number or combination of numbers, or outside bets, which are generally 50/50 bets (eg odd or even, red or black etc). The payout odds for each type of bet depends on the probability of it occurring.
Individual casinos and often different tables will have different limits as to how much you can bet as a minimum, and a maximum, and in addition, these amounts can be different for inside and outside bets. To establish this difference, some casinos use different coloured chips for the two types of bet.
In Australian casinos, players often play with their own colour of chip, so there is no confusion over who laid what bet, whereas in Europe and America, everyone will use the same chips, but their colour will determine their value.
Betting takes place both before and during the spin of the roulette wheel and the spin of the ball therein, until the dealer announces "no more bets".
Once the ball has come to rest, the dealer places a marker on that number, and pays out to any winning bets, and removes any losing bets, usually using a special rake. The winning chips remain on the board for the winners to collect.
In Australia, the number sequence around a Roulette wheel is the same as in European Roulette. The pockets are numbered from 0 to 36, starting on green zero and then alternating between red and black.
The pocket number order adheres to the following clockwise sequence: 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.
Aside from the Roulette wheel, the other key component of the table is the layout at the other end of the table. The 37 numbers are laid out in 12 rows of three, with the zero at one end. At the other, you can bet on one of the three rows, while at the sides are 50/50 bets such as odd/even and red/black.
In Roulette, you can either make inside or outside bets, with the payouts dependent on the probability of that number coming up.
Inside bets are those placed on numbers, or combinations of numbers from 0-36 which can be found on the roulette table. You can place a straight up bet on a single number, a split bet on two neighbouring numbers, a street bet on a row of three numbers, a square bet on a box of four numbers or a six-number bet, which is two rows of three numbers.
The payout on each of these gets bigger the fewer numbers you cover.
An Outside bet is when you choose one of the 12 betting options from outside the numbered area of the table. You can bet on red or black, odd or even, numbers 1-18 or 19-36, as well as column bets which cover the three columns on the table, or dozen bets, which cover the first, second and third 12 numbers. The payout on this is either 1:1 or 2:1.
So that casinos do not go out of business, every casino will have a house edge, which reduces your chances of winning. However, they only do it slightly, so that on average, they will come out on top over a long period of time. Today most casino odds are set by law at either 34 to 1 or 35 to 1. This means that the house pays you AU$34 or AU$35 and you get to keep your original $1 bet, when you bet on a single number.
As the actual probability of any one number coming up is 1/38, this gives the house a slight edge. So if you bet $1 on every number on the roulette wheel, you would win $34/$35, but have spent $38.
In even-money bets (black/red, odd/even etc, the presence of the zero and double zero on the roulette wheel gives the casino their house edge, because outside bets will always lose when the ball nestles into one of the green holes.
Roulette can be one of the best games in which to develop a strategy, as you have time to consider your long-term plan, without being rushed into betting by other punters or the spinner. Unlike in Blackjack, where you have to bet or leave the table, you have time to observe trends, decide how much you will bet and when you will stop.
However, although implementing the strategies is easier, the basic strategies themselves remain the same. The first thing to remember is that the only way you will really win at Roulette is by being lucky and knowing when to stop, there is no way to really cheat the system. Despite this, there is a lot of talk of ‘fool-proof’ systems around, that you have to pay to find out more about. In truth, they are all variations on an old theme and will be based on one of the following classic systems.
Both of these systems are based on the Martingale betting system. This dates back about 300 years and is simply a progression system for even-money bets. The Martingale betting system is a progression chain betting on one of two possible outcome, such as Red/Black, Odd/Even etc, and continuing to bet on that outcome. In truth, as the nature of the game is random, it does not really matter which of any two outcomes you bet on.
With the positive roulette system, you increase your bet by your initial bet after every win. So if you bet $10 and win, you bet $15, if you win again, you bet $20, if you lose, you bet $10. In this way the player increases his bet after every win and returns to his original bet after a loss. By increasing your bet by less than your winnings, you can ensure that when you lose, you will still have some winnings.
The theory is that as you are only increasing your bet when you win, you are essentially playing with the Casino's money and not putting your hard earned cash at risk.
Instead, you only raise your bet when you have actually taken money from the Casino with a prior winning hand. At the end of a long winning streak, you will have won a great deal of money. However, during periods where you are trading wins and losses with the dealer, you will lose more money than if you were flat betting each time.
In the negative roulette system, you double your bet each time you lose a hand. So, if you bet $10 and win, you bet $10 again. If you lose, you bet $20. If you lose again, you bet $40. If you win then, you bet $10 again.
In this progression, the player doubles his bet after every loss and returns to his original bet after a win.
The theory is that after you have won a hand, no matter how long it takes, you will have recouped all your losses and will be up $10. The disadvantage of this system is if you encounter a long losing streak, your bet will escalate to impossible levels.
Both of the above systems have their advantages and disadvantages, but are quite intensive ways to play the game and are usually only recommended for serious gamblers.
Instead, you might find more enjoyment, and financial rewards, by scattering the bets across table, to hopefully win at least something in every roll. For example, betting $1 on each of the four corners instead of placing $5 on one number.
The worst bet is usually considered to be the four number bet 0, 1, 2, 3. Also, it is generally considered better to play Australian Roulette than American Roulette. The simple reason is that there is only one zero in European Roulette, rather than two as in American Roulette. So, unless you are betting on zero or double zero, you have a slightly greater chance of winning in the European game.
In some casinos you may find that etiquette goes out of the window, but in the better class of establishment, it is generally advisable to obey some basic codes of conduct.
Place the chips onto the table rather than throwing them down, as tossed chips may knock off other bets or roll into the chipping machine. If you find you cannot reach to where you want to place your bet, tell the dealer what you want to do and he will treat it as a call bet. A call bet is a courtesy bet and only considered valid if both the dealer and inspector have repeated the bet back to you. A bet of this kind will only be taken if the dealer has time to place it.
Never argue with the dealer. It is considered impolite and will usually result in a warning or expulsion from the casino.
If you want to change your chips, you should do this in between spins so as not to distract the dealer from any bets which may be going on during the spin. If you have a complaint, speak to the casino management.
Food and drink is not allowed at the table, and most casinos will fine you for spillages.
Popular convention leans towards leaving a small tip for your dealer when you leave the table, but be aware that some casinos do not allow their employees to take tips.
Roulette in Australia
Nearly all of the major casinos in Australia offer Roulette tables, including Conrad Treasury, Brisbane; Conrad Jupiters, Gold Coast; Jupiters Townsville, Townsville; Reef Casino, Cairns; Star City Casino, Sydney; Casino Canberra, Canberra; Crown Casino, Melbourne; Wrest Point Casino, Hobart; Launceston Country Club Casino, Launceston; SkyCity Casino, Adelaide and Lasseters Casino, Alice Springs.
Burswood Resort Casino in Perth has American-style Roulette, while the MGM Grand Casino in Darwin has Touchbet Roulette.
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