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How to Play Roulette: Basic Strategy for Beginners

If you’ve never played roulette before, it can feel like a pretty intimidating game. After all, how do you know if you’re playing it correctly? Luckily, there are a number of basic strategies that are useful for new players of any experience level.

These tips will help you find the best way to play roulette and ease your nerves while playing so that you can start beating the house! Read on to learn more about these strategies and some roulette basics if you want to up your game as quickly as possible.

What is roulette?

Roulette is a game played with a roulette wheel and a set of colored betting chips. The roulette wheel is spun and stops on a number between 0 and 36, which corresponds to a specific number of “houses” that the ball stops at. The roulette wheel is then surrounded by a number of betting circles, each of which has a certain price on it depending on the color of the chip inside. Deciding which color to bet on is one of the most important parts of playing roulette.

Since the ball may land on any of 36 different numbers, it’s incredibly important for a player to know which numbers are favored by the house, or which numbers are expected to be low. The way you decide which numbers to bet on is called “variation selection” and is one of the most important parts of playing roulette.

The odds of winning at roulette

One of the most important facts about roulette is the expected return on your bet. That is, if you bet RM100 that you will land on a number worth RM120, you will only get RM120 back but still have to pay RM100 to start the game. If you bet RM1,000 that you will win RM1,500, you would still only make RM1,500 even though you would have paid RM1,500 to play.

However, the odds of winning on a roulette bet are still fairly high if you play correctly. For example, if you bet RM100 that you will land on a number worth RM120, there is a 16.7% chance that you will win. If you bet RM1,000 that you will win RM1,500, there is still a 16.7% chance that you will win.

Best ways to play roulette

Because roulette is such a high-variance game, most players try to focus on low-risk strategies. While it’s true that a few big wins can turn thousands of dollars into a few hundred in a very short time, most roulette players try to minimize their risk by only betting on low-house numbers that are expected to come back as wins. Of course, there are many more ways to play roulette than just these low-risk strategies.

  • Single Zero – The single zero strategy is the best way to play roulette if you want to minimize your risk while maximizing your returns. Low-number roulette bets are expected to come back as red zero, meaning that the payout on these bets is 0! This means that you will both reduce your risk by not risking much money and receive a payout of zero if you win.
  • Multiple Zero – Sometimes, a single zero bet won’t even cover the cost to spin the wheel and set the ball back in motion. In these situations, spin the wheel again and make multiple zero bets. This can be especially helpful if you are on a particularly busy roulette table and the ball is bouncing around a lot, causing it to land on other low numbers.
  • Odd/Even Bets – Odd/even bets are very similar to single zero/multiple zero bets except that you can only make bets on even-odd black/black combinations. Similarly to single zeros, you will be expected to lose on these bets but will have a better chance of covering your bets.
  • 1-Number Bets – A final low-risk roulette strategy is to simply bet on one number. If you bet on, say, the green 7, you will win only RM7 if the ball lands on that number. However, you will walk away with RM7, meaning that you will only lose RM100 if you lose.

Basic Strategy for Roulette: Variants and Betting Limits

Roulette has a fairly high expected return as long as you know how to play it correctly. However, it also has a lot of variances, which means that it’s hard to predict how much you will win and how often you will lose. One way to reduce your risk and maximize your chances of winning is with roulette variants. These are bets that modify the standard rules of roulette but change the expected payout or have higher wager limits.

  • European Roulette – European roulette is played with a slightly smaller wheel with 0-36 numbers. This allows for a few more even-odd black/black situations, which is a category of roulette where the ball lands on the same number multiple times, but not on a single number. European roulette is also played with a single zero bet, meaning that there is a slightly higher expected return.
  • American Roulette – American roulette is played with the standard 36-number wheel. This allows for significantly fewer low-house numbers, making it a safer and more predictable game of roulette. American roulette is also played with a single zero bet and is therefore expected to have a slightly lower expected return.

Advanced Roulette Strategies

Now that you have a basic strategy down for roulette, it’s time to start playing with some of the advanced strategies for roulette. While most of these strategies aren’t necessary for low-risk players, they can help you find the best roulette system for you and give you a better edge in a high-risk game.

  • Crying Wolf – Crying wolf is when you make multiple variations of the same bet that end up coming up red zero and losing you a lot of money. To avoid this, make one variation after another and quickly change the bet before the ball lands on any of the already-cursed numbers.
  • Sticky Roulette – Sticky roulette is when the wheel continues to land on certain numbers after a player has spun it. While this can be somewhat annoying, it can also be beneficial. If the wheel lands on a low number that is expected to come back as a win, you can spin again and have the wheel land on a high number, allowing you to win with a higher bet.
  • Odd/Even Roulette – Finally, if you are playing roulette that is odd/even, it’s worth playing an even/odd roulette system. These bets are slightly riskier but are also slightly more likely to come back with a payout.

The Bottom Line

Playing roulette is a high-risk game with a lot of variances. However, it’s also a game that can be played for fun, for money, or for both. If you want to play roulette but are a little intimidated by the risk, take a step back and remember that it’s a game of odds. Simply try out a few of these basic strategies, wait patiently at the table, and you just might be able to win some bets and have a good time doing it.