How to Play Online Roulette

How to Play Online Roulette

If you’re going to be playing online roulette for real money in Canada, it’s best that you learn the rules and the odds before you sit down to play. Fortunately, roulette is an incredibly easy game to learn and master, so it won't take long to familiarise yourself with the game.

Read on to learn the rules of the game, find out about some variations, and discover which bets are best suited to your style of gameplay.

Get to Grips with the Basics

Roulette is fairly straightforward. It consists of a wheel with 37-38 numbered pockets and a board on which to place bet units. Each spin of the wheel, players can wager on a single number or group of numbers. When the ball finally lands in a pocket, the croupier/dealer either collects losing bets or awards payouts for winning bets. Of course, automated versions do this without a dealer.

Canadian players must follow these simple rules:

  • Before beginning, choose a bet amount that meets the minimum bet requirement. This should be clearly indicated.

  • Place your bet unit(s) on as many bet options as you wish. Each option offers different odds and potential payouts.

    The riskier bets involve fewer numbers and have higher payouts. The low risk bets usually involve many numbers and offer lower payouts. Whatever you choose, your total bet must meet and the minimum/maximum bet requirement listed at the table.

  • If playing Live, once all players are done making bets, the dealer will set the wheel and ball in motion. Depending on where it lands, you will either lose your bet or collect a payout.

    If playing and automated version, you set the wheel in motion by clicking the spin button. Losses and payouts are automatically deducted or added to your balance.

While there are different types of roulette, these basic rules apply across variations.

Types of Bets

Roulette bets are divided into 2 main categories: inside and outside. Inside bets are located on the inner portion of the table. These are less likely to win, but offer a higher payout. Outside bets are located on the outer portion of the table and are more likely to win, but offer a lower payout.

Inside bets include: Straight-Up, Split, Street, Trio, Corner, Double Street, and Basket. Each involves either a single number or a combination of up to 5 numbers. Payouts range from 35/1 to 5/1.

Have a look at how each compares in terms of payout and likelihood to win. The odds of winning listed below include a 5.26% house edge on American tables and a 2.7% edge on European tables.

Inside Bets Description Payout Odds American Odds European
Straight-up A bet placed on an individual number. This is the riskiest and highest paying inside bet. 35/1 2.6% 2.7%
Split A bet placed on 2 adjoining numbers, either vertical or horizontal, such as 14-17 (vertical) or 7-8 (horizontal). 17/1 5.3% 5.4%
Street Also known as a 'Row,' this bet is placed on a 3 number row, such as 10, 11, 12. 11/1 7.9% 8.1%
Trio A bet placed where 3 numbers intersect such as 0, 2, 3 or 0, 1, 2. 11/1 7.9% 8.1%
Corner Also known as a 'Quad,' this bet is placed on 4 numbers connected by a corner, such as 3, 6, 2, 5. 8/1 10.5% 10.8%
Basket Also known as First Five, this bet covers 0, 00, 1, 2, 3. This only applies to American tables. 6/1 13.2% x
Double Street A bet placed on 2 rows to cover a total of 6 numbers. 5/1 15.8% 16.2%

Outside bets include: Black, Red, Even, Odd, High 18, Low 18, Columns, and Dozens. These low risk bets cover multiple numbers on the wheel and payout 1/1 to 2/1. Have a look at how each compares:

Outside Bets Description Payout Odds American Odds European
Even/Odd Placing a bet on either the Even or Odd space of the board will allow you to cover 18 numbers. 1/1 47.4% 48.6%
Red/Black A bet placed on the either the Red or Black space will cover 18 numbers. 1/1 47.4% 48.6%
High/Low High 18 allows you to cover numbers 19-36 on the board, and Low 18 covers 1-18. 1/1 47.4% 48.6%
Columns There are 3 columns containing 12 numbers on the board. Choosing a column that allows you to cover about a third of the board at once. 2/1 31.6% 32.4%
Dozens Placing a bet on the First (1-12), Second (13-24) or Third Dozen (25-36) space will also allow you to cover 12 numbers at once. 2/1 31.6% 16

"Though Canadian roulette sites feature a plethora of betting options, learning how to play the classic casino game is simple and quick, but mastering one's strategy takes perseverance and practice."

Minimum & Maximum Bets in Roulette

Canadian players should be aware that at a land-based or internet casino there are minimum and maximum wagers enforced. These rules apply separately for all of a player's inside or outside bets for each spin. Some land-based casinos use separate colored chips for inside bets, but online casinos have no need for that as betting is done with the click of a mouse.

Explore Roulette Variations

The main variations include American, European, and French roulette. Each differs either by the number of zeros on the wheel or special rules that directly impact the odds of winning.

American Roulette

The house edge is determined by the number of zero pockets on the wheel. American wheels have both 0 and 00 pockets bringing the house edge to about 5%.

American roulette also allows Basket/First Five bets which include betting on both zero pockets and 1-3. However, this type of bet boosts the house edge to nearly 8% and only pays 6/1.

European Roulette

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, European wheels commonly had 38 pockets with 0 and 00 included. The European wheels of today have only a single 0 pocket reducing the total number of pockets to 37. This gives a 2.7% house edge.

French Roulette

French roulette further reduces the house edge on even-money bets with special rules that effect the 0 pocket of a European wheel.

The 'En Prison' rule imprisons all even-money bets when the 0 is selected allowing the bet to ride for another spin. If another 0 appears, then half of all the imprisoned even-money bets are returned to players. If no 0 appears, then the entirety of each imprisoned bet is returned.

Commonly, casinos modify this rule by allowing the imprisoned bets to be returned if the second spin results in a win instead of requiring another 0 to appear.

The 'La Partage' rule allows 50% of all even-money bets to be refunded every time the ball lands in the 0 pocket. This reduces the house edge to 1.35% for even-chance bets.

Variation House Edge
American 5.23%
European 2.7%
French 1.35% on even-money bets

Are There Live Dealer Alternatives?

Live Dealer Roulette allows you to play on a real roulette table in a real casino with a real croupier spinning the wheel. The addition of this option at online casinos gives players more diverse gameplay choices.

For those that miss the human interaction from playing at a brick ‘n' mortar casino, but also love the convenience of playing at home, Live Dealer Roulette provides the perfect compromise. It also suits those who don't totally trust the Random Number Generators governing automated online roulette games.

Our Top Tips

If you’re the kind of person that likes to play a fast-paced game with easy-to-learn rules, roulette is definitely your game. Here are some parting tips:

  • Remember, the best odds are found at European roulette tables as they have only a single 0 lowering the house edge to 2.7%.
  • Even better, play at a European table with La Partage or En Prison rules.
  • Outside bets (Red/Black, Even/Odd, High/Low) give the best odds to win making them a great choice for beginners or anyone looking to win small amounts frequently.
  • Set a spending limit and stick to it. Chasing your losses comes with no guarantees as this is a game of chance.
  • When playing online, choose a casino with a great deposit bonus. When combined with strategy and luck, your roulette experience can be a lucrative adventure.

This is all of the information you need to start playing roulette. Check out our section about roulette bets to learn one or two good "starter bets". If you want to learn more, here are some related topics: