Millions of players can now enjoy online roulette thanks to the sensational rise of internet casinos. The timeless game’s classic formula has transferred seamlessly to the modern online world.
But how do the tactics of today’s on-screen games differ from the old-school games of roulette that could once only be found in physical casinos?
It’s worth looking back over the extraordinary rise of roulette to see how it has changed its image over the last century.
It was 1891 when a portly little British businessman strode purposefully into the only legal venue allowed to host gaming in all of Europe. Charles Well was little known when he walked into the Monte Carlo Casino – but when he left he became world famous.
He had won more than a million pounds by betting very boldly – and having incredible luck. Wells became famous as The Man Who Broke The Bank at Monte Carlo – the subject of a music hall song that became the first-ever worldwide hit.
Wells bought himself a huge steam yacht and hosted lavish parties in Monte Carlo harbour. Then he largely disappeared from history.
The lasting legacy of his exploits however was that the previously simple wooden tables housing spinning roulette wheels became thought of as the classic, most opulent, high-rolling casino game.
Roulette became synonymous with all the finest glamour and excitement of visiting casinos. Blackjack and poker have their appeal but when anyone thought of the height of gaming it was roulette that filled the bill.
That’s why the spinning wheel appeared in crucial scenes in movies, from Humphrey Bogart’s Casablanca to many James Bond films. Roulette became THE game of chance.
There’s a reason that Russian Roulette isn’t called Russian Poker or Russian Blackjack. Because of the breaking of the bank at Monte Carlo, roulette has become the most iconic casino game of all time.
All over the world, ordinary players have been inspired to try to follow in Charles Wells’ footsteps. If he could become rich and famous perhaps they can too.
But let’s look a little closer at what Wells really did at Monte Carlo. Are there any tips can we pick up?
The newspapers at the time report that he went straight to the roulette table and placed the maximum bet on one number: five. That in itself is a very risky game strategy.
Roulette offers players the chance to take high or low-risk tactics. Low risks include predicting whether the ball will land in a red or a black pocket, an odd or even number, or a range of numbers.
The highest risk with the longest odds is choosing one specific number. Depending on the version of roulette you play and how many zeros are included, the odds against winning are at least 36 to one.
So when Wells won it was a great piece of luck. But what followed was extraordinary and we hesitate to recommend it as a strategy.
Many experienced players know to walk away when they are ahead. You can’t keep winning forever.
But Wells had other ideas. He retained his maximum stake on one number for the next spin. And he left on exactly the same number: five.
Of course, the reports say, the room erupted when he won a second time on the same number. The atmosphere must have been electric as everyone gathered around to see what Wells would do next.
The bravado required to keep the stake on number five again was immense. But Wells found the boldness from somewhere and did just that – and won on five for the third time.
The croupiers must have been flabbergasted as Wells repeated this two more times until the management declared the bank was broken. They could pay out no more and in a dramatic gesture ordered the croupiers drew a black shroud over the roulette table.
It was an amazing story then – and would be now. But what tips can we draw from it?
The fast, slick game of online roulette seems so different now. There’s no need to iron a shirt and travel to a casino.
You don’t have to buy chips and find a seat at a table. You don’t even have to buy a James Bond-style Martini cocktail (although if you’re playing on the sofa at home you can drink whatever you like!).
Today’s online roulette can be played anywhere, any time. The game’s success has always been down to its simple formula that has transferred seamlessly to the online environment.
Both old-school physical roulette and modern online roulette rely on the same easy gameplay.
You predict where the ball will come to rest in the spinning wheel. Then have a tense exciting moment waiting to see if you were right.
Where roulette differs from other games is that you can make predictions with very differing odds. If you want to spread your budget out to enjoy playing for as long as possible, it makes sense to go for the low-odd options.
If that’s your aim choose red or black. It’s similar odds to tossing a coin.
But if you fancy being the next Charles Wells, roulette offers the chance to really go for it. Putting everything on one number is the quickest way to run through your budget – because the odds are heavily against you.
But if you do get lucky and win… forget the steam yacht, you could be heading for a great holiday in the sun instead.