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The Differences Between Video Roulette and Table Roulette

By Randy Ray in Casino
| July 21, 2018 12:00 am PDT
Pros and Cons of Variations of Roulette

Roulette has definitely withstood the test of time. First introduced in Parisian casinos in 1796, this game has enjoyed a prominent place on casino floors for centuries.

As with many other games, casinos are always looking for opportunities to expand their offerings and satisfy more customers. This is where video roulette comes in, which give players a chance to enjoy this classic game through a machine.

Video roulette obviously can’t replace the charm of table roulette. But it does have several other advantages that make it worth considering.

I’m going to discuss how video roulette compares to the table version throughout this post. I’ll also cover why it’s worse than table roulette.

But before this, here’s a look at how you play video roulette and the difference between this and other electronic variations.

How to Play Video Roulette

Video roulette is much like video poker and slots in that it comes in cabinet form. This is fitting because video roulette’s solitude appeals to the slots crowd.

The cabinet features two screens, with one at the top and the other located on the slanted part closest to you.

The top screen displays the computer-generated wheel and results, while the bottom screen shows the roulette table and your betting options.

Video Roulette Machine

Typical video roulette machines.

You begin playing this game by inserting your cash or ticket into the bill acceptor. After inserting money, you’ll see your balance appear on the right-hand side of the lower screen.

You’ll also see a chip denomination selector on the right side. This allows you to choose the size of chips that you wager.

Select the number or section of the table where you want to place your bets. If you’ve chosen a small denomination like $1 or $2, you repeatedly hit the number/section to keep placing more chips on it.

This is essentially like putting chips on a regular roulette table. But the difference is that you need to repeatedly tap the spot because you can’t just grab a stack of chips like in a regular game.

Choose the spin button when you’re happy with your betting selection(s). The ball and wheel will begin spinning in the top screen.

You can see the results of the spin when the wheel comes to a halt. If you win your wager, the amount will be added to your credits on the right-hand side.

You’ll have the option to use the same bet again or clear the table and place new chips for the next round.

Video Roulette vs. Electronic Roulette and Rapid Roulette

Video roulette is like slot machines in terms of the cabinet look and betting process. But video roulette is often confused with two other types of games, including electronic roulette and rapid roulette.

Electronic roulette sees you play on a machine that’s like the video version. You’ll see a collection of electronic roulette games surrounding a single wheel in the middle.

Electronic Roulette

Example of an electronic roulette machine.

Everybody who’s sitting at the bank of machines is betting on the same roulette wheel, which is similar to the table version. It’s also like video roulette in that you use an electronic screen to select the chip denomination and place bets.

But the key difference is that there’s no dealer operating the wheel. Instead, an air tube forces the ball onto the spinning wheel.

Rapid roulette combines elements of video and electronic roulette. Everybody has their own machine and video screen that they can use to place wagers.

But what makes rapid roulette different is that there’s a dealer and real roulette table in the middle. This gives you the convenience of video/electronic roulette, while also including classic elements that make the game such a hit.

Some people refer to all these games interchangeably as either electronic or video roulette. And some of the video version’s pros and cons that I’ll discuss overlap with rapid and/or electronic roulette.

But you can clearly see that video roulette has some differences from the rapid and electronic versions.

Advantages of Video Roulette in Comparison to Table Roulette

The main reason why casinos like video roulette is because it lets them offer the game with lower overhead costs.

They don’t have to pay dealers to run every table. Instead, software handles the bets and runs the games.

But what are the advantages for the player? You can see all the benefits that video roulette offers below.

You Can Play Solo

It takes a certain kind of person to play table games. Specifically, table game players enjoy the social aspect of casino gaming.

But there are plenty of other gamblers who prefer placing their bets in solitude. And this is the crowd that video roulette appeals to.

You don’t have to interact with anybody when you sit down to a video roulette machine. All you need to do is insert your funds and start playing.

Another perk is that you don’t have to worry about leaning over other players when betting. This is a common problem in table roulette, because everybody is placing their wagers on the same board in a short time frame.

Video roulette is more relaxed because it’s just you and the machine.  You can take your time and really think about your bets without being pressured.

Intimidation Factor Is Gone

Some people never play casino games because they find the etiquette and rules to be intimidating. Here are some important roulette etiquette rules.

  • Keep your color-coded chips separated from everybody else’s chips
  • Never wager after the dealer says, “No more bets”
  • Tip the dealer every hour (discussed later)
  • Don’t get overly enthusiastic about wins, because it can be annoying
  • Ask another player to place chips on a certain bet if it’s on the other side of the table

Nobody wants to violate any of the etiquette or regular rules involved with roulette. It’s embarrassing to be scolded by the dealer and/or other players for messing up.

You don’t have to worry about this with video roulette, though, because the machine handles many of the important aspects. All you need to do is choose your chip denomination and place money on your preferred bets.

Nice Way to Learn Roulette

Video roulette makes for a great bridge if you’re interested in playing on regular tables. You can use the video version to learn the bets and where to place your chips.

As you become comfortable with betting on the video roulette board, you’ll have no problem taking the plunge on a real table.

This is also a good way to develop any betting systems or other strategies that you’re interested in. You can use the same techniques when you start playing table roulette.

You Control the Game Speed

My personal favorite thing about video roulette is that you have more control over the game. You choose when spins happen and how long you take in between rounds to wager.

Contrast this to table roulette, where the dealer only gives players a certain amount of time to place bets.

It’s part of the dealer’s job to keep the game moving at a reasonable pace.

After all, the casino makes more profits when there are more spins per hour.

Experienced roulette players normally don’t have much trouble making their bets in time. But things get hectic when there are several players on the table, each reaching across the board to place their wagers.

This brings me to another point in that you can actually reach across the roulette board without any effort on a machine. Regular tables, in contrast, don’t give players on the end access to the full board.

More Stats on Trends

Most roulette tables offer an electronic board that shows the last 10 or 20 winning numbers. This is nice for players who like betting based on trends, where they use past results to determine their next wager.

Some video roulette machines take this even further, though, by offering more statistics.

One example includes the recent percentage of winning bets on red/black, high/low, or odd/even. Another is hot and cold numbers over a certain range of results (i.e., 50 or 100 spins).

You won’t find these stats on every video roulette machine. But they are fun to reference when available.

I don’t personally use past results to determine my next bet, because this doesn’t change the house edge. But again, some players enjoy trend betting and the extra stats that come with video machines.

No Dealer Tips

No casino rule forces you to tip table game dealers. But this is considered good etiquette because dealers rely on tips for a portion of their salary.

The standard is to tip the dealer $5 for every hour that they’re on the table. This allows them to make an extra $30 or so depending upon how many players are at the table each hour.

I don’t mind tipping the dealer if I’m going to play table roulette. But sometimes it’s nice to save the extra $5 per hour by playing the video game.

Lower Minimum Bet

All low-stakes players can appreciate the fact that video roulette has lower minimum bets. The average video machine only requires you to play anywhere from $1 to $3 dollars per wager.

Compare this to table roulette, where you’re often required to bet a minimum of $5 or $25 per round.

This is more than some roulette players are comfortable betting on each turn. But you can stretch a small bankroll further on a video machine.

Drawbacks of Video Roulette in Comparison to Table Roulette

Video roulette has several advantages that players may overlook on their way to the table. But the video version also has its downsides. Otherwise, casinos would just replace all their tables with machines.

I don’t see as many drawbacks to video roulette as advantages. But the following cons will make you think twice before jumping on a roulette machine.

No Social Aspect

The biggest downside to video roulette is that it completely removes the social aspect from the equation.

Earlier, I discussed how some players want to play casino games in solitude, especially when they feel intimidated by the rules and etiquette. But most roulette players want the social aspect, which is why they choose this game in the first place.

Video roulette sees you staring at a machine for countless spins.

Sure, you can talk to the player to your left or right. But you’ll find that most machine players like to be left alone.

Many players will question why they’re even in the casino if they’re only going to play video roulette. After all, you can simply play on your smartphone if you’re happy with a simulated roulette experience.

The casino still offers some sense of atmosphere for video roulette players. But not everybody will find the atmosphere enough when considering that video roulette is an otherwise solitary activity.

Higher Rate of Play

On one side, video roulette machines give you the chance to control the game speed. The drawback is that most players will find themselves playing far more spins than they would on a regular table.

Again, you’re in total control of how fast a video roulette machine plays. But a turn only lasts seconds, meaning you’ll have lots of idle time if you space your play out.

Nobody sits down to a video machine with the intention of waiting 10-20 seconds after their turn is finished. This means that you’ll either play faster or sit around after every spin.

The only bright side is that your losses will still be less than at a normal table. Here’s an example of theoretical losses in video roulette vs. tables.

  • You bet $10 per turn on a roulette table
  • The table sees 50 spins per hour
  • 50 x 10 = $500
  • House edge is 5.26%
  • 500 x 0.526 = $26.30 in theoretical losses
  • You bet $1 per turn on a video roulette machine
  • You make 150 spins per hour
  • 150 x 1 = $150
  • House edge is 5.26%
  • 150 x 0.526 = $7.89 in theoretical losses

You’re losing over three times the amount with the table version, despite the fact that you’re only playing a third of the spins.

Little Presentation on the Spins

One fun thing about table roulette is that you get a closer look at the dealer spinning the ball and wheel. You also watch in anticipation as the ball bounces around and eventually falls into a pocket.

Video roulette affords you a similar experience, because you can watch the ball and wheel on the top screen. But watching computer-generated software spin a fake wheel and ball just isn’t the same thing.

Some players also don’t like how a random number generator (RNG) is determining whether they win or lose.

An RNG simulates the same odds that a regular roulette game offers. But rather than the wheel physically determining where the ball goes, you’re at the mercy of a computer program deciding this fate.

It doesn’t matter if you play at a table or machine in the long term; the odds are the same. But many gamblers enjoy the fact that they can physically see roulette results play out on a real table.

Few European or French Video Roulette Games

European roulette has a 2.70% house edge, while French roulette has a 1.35% house advantage. Both games are better than American roulette, which offers a 5.26% house edge.

You obviously want to play European or French roulette if they’re available because they give you a better chance to win. And you’d think that land-based casinos would offer more French and European video roulette machines, given that they’re saving so much money on dealer salaries.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. I rarely find the top two roulette versions on a video machine.

Instead, the majority of video roulette games that I’ve played feature the American wheel. This means that you’re not getting any house edge benefit when compared to a table.

You can at least find a few European video roulette machines in US casinos. But these are too far and few in between for my tastes.

Conclusion

Video roulette offers players a larger number of advantages. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that video roulette is automatically better than tables.

Whether you like the video variation over the table version depends upon how much weight you put on each pro and con.

Some roulette enthusiasts only play at tables because they don’t see any reason to play if they’re not enjoying the social aspects. This alone negates all the benefits that video roulette offers these players.

Others appreciate the different perks that video roulette offers, including solitude, lower minimum bets, more control, and not bumping into other players when making their bets.

I suggest that you try a video machine at least once in your lifetime. You may ultimately decide that you don’t like the video version.

But just because you try video roulette doesn’t mean you have to stick with it. Instead, this is just a good way to see if you’re interested in supplementing your roulette table play with machines.

If you don’t like video roulette, you still have plenty of other options for trying something different. This includes electronic machines, rapid roulette, live roulette (online), and traditional online roulette.

These games each offer many of the same advantages as the video version, only with a slight twist. That said, you have no shortage of options when experimenting with roulette variations away from the table.

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  1. Neville February 18, 2020 at 8:41 pm

    I would like to play video roulette as I am unable to get to a casino. My concern is that if I was winning or placing maximum bets the computer would alter the outcome to ensure i lost. This obviously can’t be done on a real wheel. Any thoughts on that?

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