How To Play Roulette
Roulette is essentially a game of chance. But in order to improve your chances of winning a game of roulette, knowledge of the rules and odds crucial.
On this page, we’ll cover everything you need to get started playing roulette, from the very basics to all the different bet types, including the best strategies and tips you can employ.
Roulette Game Rules
At its very core, roulette is a game based on chance. However, its widespread appeal lies in its simplicity – to accurately predict where the ball will land on the roulette wheel.
Every roulette game, whether it’s online or in a land-based casino, requires there are a few pieces of equipment that you should know about:
- Roulette Wheel
It is an essential piece to any roulette game, and it’s divided into black and white slots. These are randomly numbered from 1 to 36. There is also a green zero slot, or more depending on the online roulette game.
American Roulette, for instance, has a double zero. European Roulette wheels, on the other hand, have one zero pocket. The more ‘0’s a table has, the worse your winning odds will be.
- Roulette Board
The roulette board is a table displaying the roulette numbers, including additional sectors such as columns, rows and outside bets. This is where you place bets.
- Rolette Ball
Once all bets are placed, the wheel spins and the ball (either physical or virtual) will be dropped into the centre of the wheel and eventually land on one of the numbers. The number where it will come to rest will determine the outcome of the betting round.
- Roulette Chips
Before you make any predictions on where the ball will land, you’ll need to place chips on the roulette board.
Guessing the exact number will offer the highest payouts, but it also comes with the biggest house edge. It’s also possible to bet on specific areas of an online roulette wheel, as we’ll explain further below.
Placing Your First Bet
After reading the section above, it’s clear that the rules and aims of this game are straightforward to grasp.
Before we dive into the finer details, all new roulette players should take a look at our step-by-step instruction:
- Choose a roulette table from the casino lobby
- Select a bet size according to your bankroll
- Pick one or more bet type
- Make sure you’re meeting the min/max betting limits
- Hit the spin button/wait for the dealer to spin the wheel
- Wait as the wheel comes to a stop
- Collect your winnings if you’ve guessed correctly
- Place another bet and try again
Bets in roulette are split into two main roulette bet categories known as Inside and Outside Bets. Inside bets are more specific and come with a greater level of risk, while outside bets are less specific, but they have lower payouts.
However, depending on how you’ll place your bet on the roulette table, you can make the following bets:
To provide you with more insight into how to pick out the best roulette bet types depending on your betting style or the roulette variant you’re playing on, we’ll provide key details for each bet type you can come across at roulette sites.
As we already mentioned above, inside bets are placed directly on one or more numbers. They present all the possible bets located in the inner section of the table.
In terms of potential returns, these bets offer a higher payout when winning. However, the chances of winning are lower, as your predictions are extremely specific. For example, betting on a single or small group of numbers.
Considering the above, this particular betting type is probably more suitable for more experienced players or players that are keen on taking risks and have a larger bankroll.
Below we’ll discuss the different inside bet types:
Straight Up Bet
A straight-up bet is when you put a chip on top of the number. The winning payout is 35 to 1. For example, placing a bet on Red 21. It’s a simple bet. However, the chances of winning are more difficult, but the potential reward can be huge.
- Winning Payout: 35:1
This is a double straight-up bet, meaning you place your wager on two neighbouring numbers, which is between the numbers. For example, 14 and 17. The winning payout for this type of bet is 17 to 1.
- Winning Payout: 17:1
Also known as “side bet”. It is a bet on three numbers in a single row. You make a bet by placing your chips on the outside border of the three numbers. For example, 4, 5 and 6. A winning bet will pay off at 11 to 1. The “trio” variation of this bet involves at least one zero. For example, 0, 1, and 2.
- Winning Payout: 11:1
Also known as “the square”. It’s similar to the street bet, but here you’re betting on four numbers. It’s done by placing the bet on the intersection or ‘corner’ where the four numbers meet. The payout ratio is 8 to 1. The “first four” variation of this bet is available on single-zero tables only, and it allows bets on 0, 1, 2, and 3.
- Winning Payout: 8:1
Five Number Bet
This type of bet is only available on American Roulette tables. It is also known as “basket” or “the beast”. It involves placing a bet on the following numbers: 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3. It’s done by placing a wager at the corner next to 0 and 1 or 00 and 3. This is the only bet with a different house edge from the other bets — 7.89%. The winning payout is 6 to 1.
- Winning Payout: 6:1
The line bet involves betting on two rows, meaning it’s a six-number bet. It is also known as “six line bet” or “double street”. The bet is made, by placing a wager on the outside border of the six numbers, between each other. This bet pays off at 5 to 1.
- Winning Payout: 5:1
Outside bets are placed on propositions, such as first, second, dozen, high-low, odd-oven, red-black etc. They present all the possible bets located in the outer section of the table.
These types of bets offer a have higher chances of winning. Since they are based on a broader category of numbers rather than a specific one, they are easier to win.
Therefore, if you are a beginner, this betting type is great for those new to roulette. In fact, this is a good betting strategy if you like playing more conservatively so that you can have longer gaming sessions.
With that said, we’ll be going over different outside bet types you can make:
This type of bet involves betting on 12 numbers in a column. You can place this bet at the bottom of the column that you think will win. The 0 or 00 are not accounted for this bet. The winning payout is 2 to 1, and the table coverage for European Roulette is 32.4% and 31.6% for American Roulette.
- Winning Payout: 2:1
The Dozens bet allows you to bet 12 numbers for each spin. The bet is done by placing a chip on either the “1st 12 box”, the “2nd 12 box”, or “3rd 12 box”. Again, the 0 and 00 are not considered. This bet pays off at 2 to 1, with 32.4% coverage for European Roulette and 31.6% for American Roulette.
- Winning Payout: 2:1
This is a special 12-number bet, allowing you to make snake shape across the board. The bet is made by placing chips on the following numbers: 1, 5, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 23, 27, 30, 32, and 34. The winning ratio is 2 to 1.
- Winning Payout: 2:1
Odd or Even Bet
This bet can be placed on either the odd or even section of the layout. There are 18 odd numbers and 18 even numbers. The winning payout is even money or 1 to 1. The table coverage is 48.6% for European Roulette and 47.4% for American Roulette.
- Winning Payout: 1:1
High or Low Bet
You make a bet on either 1-18 (Low) or 19 to 36 (High) section of the layout with this bet. This bet covers almost half of the numbers on the wheel. The payoff is once again even money, or 1 to 1.
- Winning Payout: 1:1
Red or Black Bet
This is one more even money bet that allows you to pick the colour of the number that will hit. It includes betting on either red or black numbers. There are 18 black numbers and 18 red numbers. This bet pays off at 1 to 1.
One of the pros when making an even-money outside bet is that you can take advantage of the “la partage” and the “en prison” rules when you’re playing on a French Roulette table. These rules allow you to get half of your bet back if the ball lands on 0.
- Winning Payout: 1:1
Some roulette games also have special betting combinations known as announced bets or called bets, available on the European or French variations of the game.
Called bets differ from the rest of the bets because they are grouped according to the section on the classic roulette wheel rather than the table.
Here are two main categories of called bets:
Fixed Called Bets
- Voisins du Zero aka Neighbours of Zero
This roulette bet covers 17 numbers, on each side of zero, that lie between 22 and 25 on the wheel: 22, 18, 29, 7, 28, 12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32, 15, 19, 4, 21, 2 and 25. The payout for this bet will differ depending on the number combinations that win. The maximum return is 17:1.
- Jeu Zero aka Zero
This type of bet features 7 numbers near to zero: 12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32 and 15. As this wager combines splits and straight-up bets, the payouts are 17:1 or 35:1, respectively.
- Le Tiers du Cylindre, aka Third of the Wheel
As the name suggests, this roulette bet covers 1/3 of the wheel, covering 12 numbers on each side, between 27 and 33: 27, 13, 36, 11, 30, 8, 23, 10, 5, 24, 16 and 33. Bets are placed as splits, which meant the potential payout is 17:1.
- Orphelins aka Orphans
This bet covers all of the numbers not covered by the other bets: 17, 34, 6 and 1, 20, 14, 31, 9. This bet is a mix of splits and straight-up bets, meaning the payouts are 17:1 or 35:1.
When playing online roulette, you can place them in the “racetrack” submenu. The racetrack providers variety of pre-defined options. Once you select your bet, the chips will be automatically placed on the main table.
For your reference, we have outlined the details for each fixed called bet:
Variable Called Bets
- The Neighbors
This bet covers 5 neighbouring numbers. One number that is chosen by the player, together with the two numbers on either side of it on the wheel. For example, "0 and the neighbors" is a 5-chip between 3 and 15: 3, 26, 0, 32, and 15.
- The Finals
This bet covers numbers with the same last digit, and it’s only available on single zero roulette tables. For example, Finale 5 would be a bet on 5, 15, 25, 35. As singles, these wagers have a payout of 35:1.
These type of bets are similar to dozen bets but cover a much broader selection of numbers. Because these bets aren’t always visible, you may have to announce them, especially if you’re playing live roulette or call up a submenu if you’re playing online.
Odds & Payouts
As you can see above, there are many different types of bets that you can place and that the payout depends on the bet type you placed. This ultimately means that some bets pay more than others.
Outside bets typically have smaller payouts with better odds at winning. For example, a red/black bet is almost a 50/50 wager as the odds of the roulette ball landing on either of them is 48.60% on a European table.
Below we have prepared a roulette payout chart featuring the most common bet types you can expect to come across at roulette sites and the respective odds and payout of each:
From the table above, it’s clear that the fewer numbers in your bet, the more money you'll win. That's because the odds against winning a single number are way lower than winning 18 numbers.
We also covered the odds and payouts for each announced bet below:
From the table above it’s clear the Voisins offer the best chance of winning from all announced bets. In general, these bets are good options for novice players, as they cover more numbers than most common roulette bets mentioned before, except for the high/low, odd/even and red/black bets which cover 18 numbers each.
Calculate Your Winnings
As you can see above, odds in roulette come in the form of ‘x to 1’. This means that for every dollar (or other currency) bet that you make, you'll win the 'x' amount, plus your initial stake.
So calculating the payout revolves around a simple multiplication, you just have to multiply your bet with the payout odds.
For example, if you wager $10 on a single number (with a payout of 35:1) and win the bet, you’d receive $350 in winnings (10x35), plus your $10 stake.
In land-based casinos, these calculations are usually done by the croupiers, but when you're playing online roulette, the payouts are automatically calculated by the game software.
Minimum and Maximum Limits
Now that we’ve covered all the different kinds of bets you can make and their odds, we should point out that the payout will also depend on the size of your bet. In practice, the amount of the bet will be up to you.
However, you should know that every roulette game has its own limits. Minimum bets for online roulette range between $/£0.1-$/£5, while the maximum bets vary greatly from one game to another. These limits are usually specified clearly on the table.
For example, there are unique variants like Super Stakes Roulette which can have maximum bets of up to $/£20,000 and more. In contrast, games like Low Stakes Roulette like the 20p Roulette table will have minimum bets as low as $/£0.10.
Keep in mind that there some bet types that have their own limits. For example, on European Roulette by NetEnt, where each bet type has its own minimum and maximum bet limits. In general, outside bets have higher betting limits as opposed to inside bets.
There are several different kinds of roulette variants, each one of them with its own specific wheels, rules, and house edges. This ultimately means that some roulette variants are better than others.
However, to get to the bottom of why you should always choose European over American Roulette, we'll have to take a look at key roulette table layouts:
This is by far the most popular type of roulette game. The European Roulette wheel has only one zero. This means that there are 37 slots on the wheel. Since it has only one zero slot, the house edge is significantly lower when compared to American Roulette, at 2.7%.
This is a variation similar to European Roulette. French Roulette also has a single zero on the wheel and uses French bet names on the table, with the addition of “En Prison” and “La Partage” rules. These two rules work in the player’s favour and reduce the house edge on even-money bets down to 1.35%.
Both rules mean that players only lose half of their bet if the ball lands on zero. The only difference is if a player loses, they can collect half their bet with the “En Prison” rule, while with the “La Parage” rule, they have to leave half their bet on the table for the next spin.
Also, it’s good to mention that if you’re playing European or French Roulette, you can also place announced bets. This can be done on an additional betting table known as racetrack. This table contains fields for all possible called bets.
This is the famous Vegas variation, which has a double zero added to the wheel. This means that there are 38 slots on the wheel. American Roulette is also known as “double zero roulette”. This added zero slot increases the house edge to 5.26%, which means that the odds on European Roulette are better for you.
Being one of the most popular casino games out there, roulette has been the subject of analysis of many mathematicians, statisticians and people that like to think outside the box in general. However, there’s no foolproof way to win at roulette.
As this a more advanced subject, we’ll cover each particular strategy on our dedicated roulette strategies page, where we explain all the pros and cons of each betting system.
Here we’ll share the most popular roulette strategies that have proven they can bring success and profit to roulette players:
- Martingale Betting System
This is the most popular betting system out there. And it’s one of the easier betting strategies you can employ. The basics of this betting strategy are simple: each time you lose a bet, you should repeat the same bet but with 2x the money. By doing this, as soon as you win just one bet, you’ll break even and recoup all your previous losses.
- Paroli Betting System
Also known as the Reverse Martingale system. It follows the same idea as the Martingale Betting system, but in reverse. Instead of doubling the bet after each loss, you should double the bet after every win. The main purpose of this system is to generate small wins consistently and eliminate the risk of huge losses.
- D’alembert Betting System
The D’alembert it’s the second most popular betting system. It also one of the easiest betting strategies for roulette. It bears the same logic as the Martingale, with a slight adjustment: doubling your bet after each loss and decrease the bet after every win. This system is most effective for generating short-term profits.
- Labouchère system
Unlike the betting systems above, the Labouchère is a more complex system. If you adopt this system you must increase your bet after each loss and decrease the bet after every win. The main difference between Martingale and Labouchère is that this one aims at recovering consecutive losses through multiple winning bets.
Tips on Roulette
While learning everything about roulette will certainly help you to maximize your chances of success, roulette is still a game of chance. However, we’ve narrowed down a list of the best 8 roulette tips you should keep in mind:
1. Prioritize single-zero wheels
You'll benefit from the lowest house edge by opting out for single zero wheels like European/French over American, which is 2.7%. In the case of American Roulette, the house edge is 5.26%, which is almost double from European and French Roulette games. This means that you stand a better chance of winning with single-zero roulette wheels.
2. Play outside bets over inside bets
The best way to win more games on roulette (and avoid losing your bankroll fast) is to stick to outside bets. They offer lower payouts but come with a higher chance of winning. This is because outside bets pay out more frequently than inside bets.
3. Manage Your Money
The key to success in any game is effective bankroll management. Before the betting round starts, think about how much you can afford to bet before the and never go over past that limit. Experienced roulette players usually start small, with a bet unit that ranges between 2% and 5% of their overall bankroll. Besides this, don’t try to chase your losses and never bet what you can’t afford to lose.
The best roulette sites offer wager and loss limits, which will help you stay in better control of your budget.
While there is no guarantee that discipline will considerably increase your winning chances at roulette, it can definitely increase your chances of making a profit and minimize your losses. It’s one of the key traits of successful roulette players, as it will allow you to be rational and avoid making any miscalculated decisions.
5. Know When To Stop
We urge all players to be responsible, not only when playing roulette but other games as well. If you manage to multiply your initial budget, we recommend you to cash out your winnings and come back with the initial budget. This way, you guarantee yourself a profit, at the very least a breakeven.
6. Skip Some Betting Rounds
If you’re unsure what kind of bet you should place next, especially if you’re playing live roulette, it’s just better to just sit out some roulette spins. Keep in mind that the more you play, the more the house edge will hit your bankroll.
7. Play Live Dealer Roulette if possible
If you want to experience a genuine casino atmosphere, then live dealer roulette tables are the way to go. Real-life dealers host these games, and the action is streaming directly from the studios in real-time. Besides, live casino roulette games feature many convenient features that will greatly improve your gaming experience.
8. Choose carefully where you play
Always make sure the casino you choose is reliable. The best roulette sites are licensed by a reputable gambling authority like the UKGC and MGA, which have strict safety and player protection policies. Also, you should always choose a casino that uses a random number generator that’s audited by an external entity.
It's highly recommended that before placing any real-money wagers, you should get to know the basics of roulette, all of the bet types available and the payouts for each.
However, if you're already an experienced player, then getting acquainted with the most popular betting systems, although there's no winning roulette strategy, they can increase your chances of making a profit.
If you want to increase your winning chances, then skipping double zero roulette wheels, and focusing only on bets with the best odds to win, are some of the most useful roulette tips that you can follow.
How To Play Roulette FAQs
- What's the best bet on roulette?
- The answer depends on what you expect to get from this bet. If you expect a big payout, then the best bet is a single number wager, with the odds of 37 to 1. However, if you want higher chances to win, the safest bet you can place is high/low or any other outside bet.
- How to bet on roulette?
- Placing your first roulette bet is an easy process. You start by selecting your bet size, then you place the bet simply by clicking the relevant part of the roulette board. After this, you click on the spin button or you wait for the dealer to spin the wheel in a live casino. Then you wait on the outcome, and you collect the winnings if you have predicted the outcome correctly.
- What kind of bets I can place on roulette?
- You can place many different types of bets in roulette. Depending on where you place the bets on the roulette board, you can select either inside or outside bets. Each of these bets have their own odds and payouts. Keep in mind that some European and French Roulette tables let you place special bets called announced bets.
- How many numbers on roulette are there?
- The amount of numbers available depends on the roulette variant. French and European Roulette wheels have 37 slots, while American Roulette has 38 slots because of the additional "double zero". There is also "no zero" and even mini roulette which has only 13 numbers to bet on.
- What are the odds on roulette?
- The odds on roulette depend on the bet type that you'll place. Each bet type comes with odds in form of ‘x to 1’, meaning you’ll win ‘x’ amount for every dollar bet. For example, a single number bet has odds 35 to 1. If you were to bet $1 and win, you’d receive your wager, including $35 in winnings.
- How to win at roulette?
- It is impossible to devise a plan on how to always win at roulette, as the winning numbers are always random. By checking our roulette player tips you can check way to be at a small advantage when you place your next bets. But we strongly suggest that you gain some knowledge on its various bets and their payouts, including specific roulette strategies that will help you minimize your losses.