Roulette is a little different from other casino games, in that it does not involve competition between other players at the table, as it is in poker, and it's not a very complicated game, as craps can tend to be for the beginner. By the same token, it is not as simple as playing bingo or keno, although like those games, it involves betting on numbers and hoping that they are pulled up by the game apparatus.
The image that has been created about roulette through the years in the media, and especially the movies, is that it is best played in a bow tie. In other words, that it is a game for the well-to-do. That's a misconception, as we'll see.
The truth about roulette is that it is very accessible for all players, and a game where you can start playing almost immediately after learning the basic rules.
Of course, you have to get familiar with the wheel.
There are 38 pockets on the roulette wheel where the ball can land, at least in the American version of the game, and 37 pockets in the European version.
So what do we mean by "American" and "European"? Well, this is derived from the fact that the game is played by different rules in each place, although many casinos (in fact, most of them) are going to have both variations of the game, and perhaps even more.
There are spaces for numbers 1 through 36 in both versions of the game. Half of them are red and half of them are black. After that, there is the big difference.
You see, the American version of roulette features both a zero (0) and a double zero (00) on the wheel. In Europe, there is no double-zero, but only the single zero. That does indeed make it a little better deal for the online casino player.
Many of the bets are very, very simple. There is the "Red or Black" bet, in which you'll place your wager on whether the number is going to be, naturally, red or black. Along the same lines are the "Even or Odd" bet and the "High or Low" bet. In each of these cases, the field of numbers from 1-36 is divided in half, and that should be self-explanatory. Your chances of winning any of these bets is not 50-50, however, because the presence of the zero and/or double-zero, where you do not get paid on those wagers, makes it actually less than a 50-50 chance that you'll win. The fact that you will be even money is where the casino derives its advantage. Most of the bets of this type in roulette afford the casino an advantage of 5.26%, so a playing strategy, per se, won't really help you.
If you are looking for a longshot bet, you may want to consider a "straight bet" on one number. Any number you choose, from 1-36, is going to pay off at 35-1 if you hit. Again, because of the zero and double zero (depending on which game you're playing), the percentage chance of your number coming out is less than that, and that is where the house edge is derived.
There are plenty of other bets; more complicated but not hard to grasp. But it is important that you start with the basics and go from there, in this game that offers much amusement.