Live Dealer Roulette

“Live dealer roulette” is an expression used by Internet users to distinguish Webcam based games from games powered by a random number generator. In the early days of Internet gambling, almost all casino games were powered by a computer program called a random number generator (RNG). Advances in technology have allowed online casinos to offer more authentic style games.

In the case of roulette, the typical online game is powered by one of these RNG programs and resembles a video game more than anything else. But this computer program duplicates the actual odds of getting any particular result as a real roulette wheel would. We’ll explain more about RNG’s work and how they’re different from games with live dealers below.

On this page you’ll find information about these areas: How Roulette Works | RNG vs Live Dealer | Betting Actions | Where is the Dealer Located? | Roulette vs Other Games | House Edge in Roulette | American vs European Roulette | New Roulette Variations | Conclusion.

Live Dealer Casinos Live Provider USA? Play now!
Rich Casino is our top choice live blackjack site for USA players VIG Accepts US players Play at Rich Casino!
Winward Live Casino VIG Accepts US players Play at Winward Casino!
21 Dukes Casino VIG Accepts US players Play at 21Dukes Casino!

How Roulette Works

A Live Dealer Roulette Wheel in ActionIn a traditional brick and mortar casino, roulette is a staple. The game has been played for hundreds of years, in fact–it’s older than blackjack, and it’s far older than slot machines or video poker, which are relative newcomers to the casino scene. It’s a simple enough betting game, but its rules, design, and approach make it something special.

Here’s how the rules work:

The game consists of a table where you can place bets on the outcome of a spinning wheel and a ball that lands on that wheel. The wheel is divided into 38 pockets, and the ball has an equal chance of landing in any of those pockets. Each of those results has a number and a color.

Two of the numbers on the wheel are green–the 0 and the 00. The other numbers are numbered 1 through 36. Half of those are red, and half of them are black.

The variety of bets available should be obvious. You can bet on a specific number, for example–that should be obvious. But you can also bet on whether or not the number will be even or odd. You can bet on whether it will be red or black. You can bet on whether the number will be high (19-36) or low (1-18).

The payoffs for these bets are determined by the odds of winning the bet, but they’re skewed slightly in favor of the house. For example, the odds of winning a single number bet are 37 to 1. You have 37 results that are possible losers, and only one result that’s a winner. That bet pays off at 35 to 1. (If it paid off at 37 to 1, the casino would make no profit over the long run.)

Random Number Generators versus Live Dealers

A random number generator (which is how MOST online casinos generate results) is programmed to run through a list of numbers constantly. When you press the “spin” or the “bet” button on your computer, the random number generator stops on whatever number it’s at that millisecond.

With a reputable casino, the odds are the same. You still have a 37 to 1 shot at winning a single number bet, for example. Casinos have no real reason to cheat at this aspect of the game, because the payouts are set up in such a way that the casino always has an unassailable mathematical edge over the player.

Live Dealer Roulette in the 1800sLive roulette, on the other hand, is played EXACTLY like roulette in a brick and mortar casino, with only one major difference–the presence of the Webcams. A human dealer (in this game, she’s called a “croupier”), spins the wheel and handles all the bets. You watch the action from your Internet connection.

Betting Action in Live Dealer Casino Games

Placing bets in this live dealer style game is just as easy as it is in the more common RNG powered casino game format. You just click on the bet you want to place. Your bankroll is constantly updated as you get your results, both wins and losses.

Depending on where you’re playing, the graphics of the animated casino games might be more or less realistic. But never are these animations as realistic as a real table with a real wheel and a real croupier. And you can be sure that with a real metal ball and a real wheel the results are going to be what you’d expect from a real roulette game.

One perk to playing live dealer roulette that other writers don’t mention is the fact that you’re playing with other players. One of the pros of playing roulette compared to other gambling games like slot machines or video poker is the social aspect of the game. It’s just plain fun to gamble with other people.

Where’s the Croupier? Where’s the Roulette Wheel?

Most Games Take Place in EuropeMost live online roulette games are played on the soil of other countries. Sometimes these are in Europe, but they might also take place in South Africa or some island in the Caribbean. That’s because there are laws regulating who can run a gambling operation and where.

One place you can be certain these games aren’t taking place–at least physically–is on United States soil. The USA has an interesting history of dealing with online gambling operations, but the upshot of it is that it’s illegal for an American company to take bets from an American player. (There are now exceptions in three states, but most of the United States is still unable to legally launch an Internet casino.)

Other Live Dealer Games and Operating System Options

Roulette, by the way, isn’t the only casino game available to play via Webcam. Live blackjack and live baccarat are also hugely popular with discriminating gamblers all over the world. But roulette is probably just as popular if not more popular than either of those other games.

It also doesn’t matter what operating system you’re using. You can play live casino games from any OS, including Mac and/or Ubuntu.

The Pros and Cons of Roulette versus Other Casino Games

We always like to include a list of advantages and disadvantages for any game we write about. The pros and cons of roulette are easy to write about, because the game is pretty straightforward.

In the pros column, roulette requires no skill to play. Nothing you do can affect the odds of any particular outcome. This isn’t blackjack, where you have to worry about whether or not you made the right decision when you hit that hard total of 16 versus the dealer’s 10 upcard. You place your bet and accept your results.

Also, many roulette players like to use complicated betting systems. These usually involve raising and lowering the size of your bets based on the results of the previous spins. It’s nice to be able to focus on the details of the betting system without having to worry about other decisions.

This also goes in the cons column, though. Here’s why:

Some players LIKE to make decisions. And they prefer playing games where those decisions matter to the math. These players might find roulette to be deadly dull.

Also, those same players are usually convinced that no betting system, including the Martingale, can improve their odds of walking away a winner. They’re right about this, but betting systems like the Martingale can be fun. And at the end of the day, it doesn’t even matter, because any time you play a game where the house has an edge, you will eventually lose all your money if you keep playing. It doesn’t matter how much skill or strategy you employ.

Avoid the Basket Bet

As with most generalizations, though, there is an exception. One decision available to roulette players that is a clear mistake over other decisions is the placement of what’s called a basket bet.

This bet pays off at 6 to 1 if the ball lands on any of the following numbers:

  • 0
  • 00
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

The house edge for every bet on an American roulette table is 5.26%. But the house edge on the basket bet is the exception–it’s 7.89%.

How the House Edge Works in Roulette

The house edge is the long term expected amount of each bet that the casino expects to win. In the short run, anything can happen, which is why players sometimes walk away a winner. But the more repetitions you look at, the more likely you are to see results which resemble the mathematical expectation.

In the case of a standard roulette game, the house edge is 5.26%. This means that for every $100 you wager, the casino expects to win $5.26. That’s impossible on a single bet, of course, but when you average it out over thousands of spins, you’ll eventually see your results get closer to that number.

American Roulette versus European Roulette

This seems like an appropriate time to start discussing the differences between American and European roulette. Until now, we’ve been discussing American roulette, because it’s the most commonly found version of the game. But European roulette is better in almost every respect–if you can find it, you should play it.

The main difference between American roulette and European roulette is the number of 0s on the wheel. On a European roulette wheel, they remove the 00. This changes the game from one with 38 numbers to one with 37 numbers. But the payoffs on the bets remain the same.

This has the effect of cutting the house edge almost in half, from 5.26% to 2.70%. And the nasty basket bet isn’t even an option on a European roulette wheel. And some European games offer additional options to player which improve the odds even more.

One of these is called the “en prison” rule. If you’re playing in a game which allows this, when you place an even money bet (like red or black), and the ball lands on the green 0 symbol, you don’t lose your bet. It’s placed “in prison” until the result of the next spin.

This rule cuts the house edge even further–to 1.35%, in fact. At this point, you’re playing in a gambling game that’s almost as good as some versions of blackjack. Not bad for a game with no decisions to make, huh?

New Roulette Games and Variations from Extreme Live Gaming

For a long time, roulette has more or less been limited to a handful of variations–mostly American vs European, along with a couple of rules variations like “en prison”. But with the rise in live dealer roulette games come competition, and with competition comes innovation. Extreme Live Gaming is planting itself firmly in first place with their new roulette games.

We’ve included descriptions of these new Extreme Live Gaming variations for your review:

Golden Ball Roulette

Golden Ball Roulette is basically a roulette game with a tournament format. You’re competing with other players, ad the player with the highest total amount wagered for 20 consecutive games wins. Depending on the casino, the payouts can be for up to 4 different players. Some casinos might only pay off the winner, while others might have payoffs for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.

The payoff isn’t just a cash amount or a certain number of chips, though. It’s the opportunity to spin the “Golden Ball”. (See where the game gets its name?) Depending on where the ball lands, you get a bonus payout according to the game’s pay table. Also, the other players at the table get to see that you’re spinning the Golden Ball, but their bets are paid off normally.

It’s been a popular variation so far. The promotional materials from the game’s manufacturers indicate that turnover and player participation in these games skyrocketed. It doesn’t take a nuclear physicist to realize that this is good for the online casino. But it also means that players think it’s fun. If it’s fun, it’s worth a try.

Reel Roulette

Multiple versions of Reel Roulette are available. These include:

  • Dolphin’s Pearl Roulette
  • Lucky Lady’s Charm Roulette
  • Ra Roulette
  • Sizzling Hot Roulette

Reel Roulette offers side bets with symbols based on various slots games from Novomatic. These are added to the roulette layout so that you can bet on the symbols, which are chosen by a random number generator. The slot reel animation is on-screen next to the dealer. You win payouts based on the likelihood of hitting those symbols.

Regardless of which version of Reel Roulette you play, the game-play is more or less the same. The difference lies within which slot machine game’s symbols are represented. It’s a fun way to get a shot at a large bonus jackpot. Think of it as the opportunity to play slots and roulette simultaneously.

Club Roulette

Club Roulette takes a stab at adding a social element to the game. When you’re playing Club Roulette, you get to choose an avatar. Then you can engage with the croupier and the other players while you’re playing. Some of the casinos using this software create “Roulette Clubs” with entry conditions based on how much you play and how much you wager.

If you’re a fan of online bingo, where you spend a lot of time chatting with the other players, you’ll probably love Club Roulette.

New Roulette Games and Variations from Evolution Gaming

Another company blazing new trails in the roulette industry is Evolution Gaming. We’ve included detailed descriptions of some of Evolution Gaming’s variations below:

  • Immersive Roulette
  • Double Ball Roulette
  • Dual Play Roulette (Dragonara Casino Roulette)
  • Slingshot Auto Roulette

Immersive Roulette

You’ll see plenty of casinos touting their games as “award-winning” and “state-of-the-art”. Not surprisingly, many of these claims amount to nothing more than hyperbole. But in the case of Evolution Gaming’s Immersive Roulette, it’s not hype but reality.

This isn’t so much a variant as an advancement in how the game is played online with a live dealer. This version of the game features multiple Hollywood-style camera. The video is as high-definition as you can imagine at 200 frames per second. (By comparison, modern movies are filmed at 24 frames per second. Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit movies were filmed at 48 frames per second and were only displayed in a handful of theaters at that frame-rate because most movie theaters don’t have the technology to accommodate such high-definition images.)

To top it off, there’s a slow-motion replay of the ball coming to rest in the winning number slot.

EGR awarded Immersive Roulette Game of the Year in 2014. This is the Academy Awards of online gambling, and, like the Oscars, the awards are voted on by some of the most important people in the industry–the casino operators themselves.

Some participating casinos use “Immersive Lite”, which includes multiple camera angles but leaves out the slow-motion replay. It’s still a more dynamic way to play live dealer roulette than the old-school Webcam games most players are used to.

Double Ball Roulette

Double Ball Roulette is a unique variant that’s only available at Evolution casinos. The gimmick is having two balls instead of one during the spin. The gizmo that launched the two balls is patented. But with two balls, additional betting opportunities become available, some with payouts as high as 1300 to 1.

Double Ball Roulette is also available in some traditional land-based casinos, but Evolution is the only licensor to offer the game on the Internet. Games Marketing co-produces this game with Evolution.

Dual Play Roulette (Dragonara Casino Roulette)

Dual Play Roulette combines live brick-and-mortar casino roulette with online roulette in a way that might seem obvious at first. But no one has thought of it until now.

Here’s how it works:

Players at a real casino play roulette. Online players are allowed to participate in the same game. You can play from the casino bar or restaurant via your mobile device. Or you can just play from home. Dragonara Casino is one of the primary venues featuring this  game.

Slingshot Auto Roulette

Slingshot Auto Roulette is an alternative to both live dealer roulette and animated random number generator roulette. You don’t have an actual person dealing, but you do have a real roulette wheel operating robotically. This patented machine runs 24 hours a day and spins the wheel an average of 70 times per hour. Yes, this game is faster than traditional live dealer roulette, although it’s not quite as fast as a cartoon RNG game.

 

Conclusion

You’ll find two kinds of roulette available on the Internet:

  1. Animated
  2. Live Dealer

The animated games are fine, and they can be a lot of fun. In fact, they’re a lot more readily available than the live dealer games. But some players prefer playing with a live dealer.

For one thing, live dealer roulette is more realistic–at least it feels that way. And of course it does–after all, it’s just the same game played over a Webcam. It doesn’t relay on a computer program for the outcome.

Most real hardcore roulette fans prefer this. It’s just plain more fun. And roulette is all about fun.

You can’t use any kind of strategy to win at the game, so you might as well focus on having the most realistic and entertaining experience possible. That’s what live dealer roulette has to offer.

Some paranoid players feel like a game with a real wheel is also more fair and since the games are streamed live it should remove any doubts about them potentially being rigged.


Leave a Reply