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How to Play Roulette

by Staff

Roulette is one of the most popular casino games both in land-based and online casinos. The rules of roulette are simple and the game is familiar to most people from movies. It is a game of chance so it doesn’t require any skill from the players but understanding the odds, the payouts and the differences between roulette variants are important nevertheless. In online casinos, players can usually try free roulette games to get a bit of practice and this is a great way of getting yourself familiarised with online roulette.

How to Play Roulette

Roulette is played with a roulette wheel and a ball on a green felt-covered roulette table where different bets are marked – the betting area. The traditional roulette wheel has 37 numbered divisions. One of them is the green-coloured zero-field while the other 36 are alternating red and black with one number marked on each of them from 1 to 36. The roulette wheel is spun and so is the ball in the opposite direction. When the motion of the wheel and the ball slows the ball will settle in one of the slots.

The objective of the game is to try to guess which number, colour or group of numbers the ball will land on. After each outcome players win or lose and a new game starts. In a land-based casino, the croupier will collect your chips if you lost and give you chips if you won. In an online casino, you select the wagers yourself and place the bets yourself. When you win, the virtual chips are added to your player account.

Types of Bets in Roulette

There are no complicated rules in roulette. All you have to do is guess where the ball will land and the rest depends on lady luck. However, there are very many bets you can place in roulette. As with any other casino game, the more you risk the more you can win. On the other hand, if your risk appetite is low, go for bets that have great odds – these bets will not pay you much though.

When you look at the betting mat, it is easy to understand your betting options. Players can bet on a single number, a colour or a group of numbers. Bets are categorized into inside bets and outside bets. Inside bets are groups that have 6 numbers or less, while outside bets have more than 6 numbers. There is a third category – announced bets. However, these bets are not available in every casino in every roulette game.

Inside Bets

Inside bets carry a high risk but the rewards are big if you are lucky and get to win. With inside bets, you are betting on less than 6 numbers. You can place the bet on a single square or several of the intersections between squares inside the rectangular grid – hence the name, inside bets.

Placing a bet on a single number. You’ll need to place the chip in the box of the number


Placing a bet on a pair of numbers by placing the bet on the line dividing the two numbers

Placing a bet on one row of three numbers. You’ll need to place the chip on the row

Six Line

Placing a bet on six numbers that are placed in two neighbouring rows


Placing a bet on four numbers. You’ll place the chip on the middle of the 4 squares

Betting on either 0, 1 and 2 or 0, 2 and 3


Betting on numbers 0, 1, 2 and 3

Outside Bets

The outside bets are familiar to most people as they are so often featured in movie scenes. They are called outside bets because the betting area of these bets is placed outside of the main grid. Roulette originates from France and for this reason, the terms of the outside bets are often displayed in French.


Red or Black: Rouge or Noir

As the name suggests, this means betting on the colour of the slot the ball will land in.

Odd or Even: Impair or Pair

Another straightforward bet. Players are betting on whether the number is going to be an odd or an even one.

1 to 18 or 19 to 36
Low bets or Manque are numbers between 1 and 18.

High bets or Passe are numbers between 19 and 36.

Dozens: Douzaine
Placing bets on numbers 1-12, 13-24 or 25-36.

Columns: Colonne

Placing bets on one of the three columns of 12 numbers at the bottom of the grid.


Announced Bets

Jeu Zéro (Zero Game)

Betting on the numbers that are closest to 0 on the roulette wheel.

Le Tiers du Cylindre (Third of the Wheel)

Twelve numbers that lie on a certain side of the wheel between 27 and 33.

Orphelins (Orphans)

Betting on a total of eight numbers that are made up of two slices of the wheel.


Voisins du Zéro (Neighbors of Zero)

Betting on one number and its two neighbours on each side of the wheel.


Step-by-step Roulette Guide

Playing roulette in a land-based casino or online has the same basic rules and gameplay. When you play virtual roulette, the computer replaces the croupier and you place your bets yourself. The gameplay goes like this:

  • Players pick a number, colour or group of numbers they want to bet on
  • They chose the wager amount (virtual chips) and place them on the betting mat
  • Players wait for the ball to spin and see what the outcome is
  • If you won you will now see your balance increase
  • Place a new bet on the next spin

Roulette Odds and Payouts

The odds of winning in roulette comes down to probability calculations. A French or a European roulette wheel has 37 numbers. The zero slot represents the house edge in roulette. If there was no zero slot, the house edge would be 0% on even money bets and players would have exactly a 50% chance of winning. However, on every spin, there is a 1/37 chance that the ball will land in zero giving the house a 1/37=2.70% edge.

American roulette on the other hand has a zero and a double zero field which raises the house edge. The chances of landing a zero or double zero are 2/38 which translates to 2/38=5.26%. This means that when you play American roulette, your chances of winning are lower than in the French and European variants.

Bets that cover half of the 36 numbers (such as Black or Red, Odd or Even, 1 to 18 and 19 to 36) have the highest odds. The payouts of even money bets are the same (1 to 1), regardless of which variant you play so it is best to stick with the ones that have a single zero field.

When you place bets on fewer numbers, your odds will decrease but the payout will be higher. The odds of winning are the lowest if you bet on one number. Your odds are 1:36 in European roulette and 1:37 in American roulette and the payout is 35 to 1.

Roulette Versions

Online casinos usually offer several types of roulette. You can go for online roulette, where you play against the computer. Here, a random number generator determines the outcome of the spin and this technology ensures that all outcomes are random and fair. Those who like the real casino experience can opt for live dealer games. These games are set in a real casino environment with a dealer who spins the wheel and announces the results. Both live dealer games and virtual games exist with the three main variants of roulette that are:

European Roulette

  • This type of roulette gives players great odds as it comes with a low house edge.
  • European roulette has only one 0 on the wheel so whatever bets you place your odds are better at winning.

French Roulette

  • Similarly to the European roulette, this version only has one 0 slot on the wheel
  • There are two additional rules that help players win. The En Prison and La Partage rules come in handy when you place even money bets. If number 0 is spun you get half of your stake back (according to the La Partage rule) or it stays “in prison” for the next game (as per the En Prison rule).

American Roulette

  • In the Americas and many other places around the world, this version is considered the standard roulette.
  • The roulette wheel has a regular 0 field and a double 0 field.
  • The house edge is higher and your odds are lower in American roulette than in the European and French versions.

Other Roulette variants

In online casinos, you’ll find plenty of other roulette variants and innovative new games. There are games that have several roulette wheels ensuring that the action never stops and you can place bets in a speedy way.

Double ball roulette uses two balls and lots of interesting bets can be placed on these games. In Immersive roulette, the host alternates the direction of the spinning of the wheel in each game. In Lightning roulette multipliers are used so payouts much larger than 35 to 1 are on offer. When it comes to roulette, there are so many types, that anyone should be able to choose a version that suits them.

Roulette strategies

Roulette is a game of chance and you cannot influence the outcome of the game. Every spin is random (both in virtual and live dealer roulette) and past outcomes don’t influence future results.

There is no trick that will help you win consistently, however, you can minimize your losses and enjoy the gameplay longer if you place your bets with discipline. Many roulette players use roulette strategies to keep their gameplay in control and minimize damage to their bankroll. You can try one of the following:

Martingale system

This is the most popular roulette betting system internationally. With this strategy, players simply  double their wager after every loss. This way the first time you win, you will recover the previous losses plus you get a profit equal to the original bet. The risks of this system are running out of money or reaching the table limit.

Labouchère system

This system is a cancellation system. The player determines how much he wants to win and writes down a row of numbers that total in that figure. On the first bet, the player wagers a sum equal to the first and last numbers on the list. If they win, they cross out two numbers from the list and if they lose, they write the lost amount at the end.

The process finishes when all the numbers are crossed out and the player won the desired amount or when the player runs out of money.

D’Alembert System

This system is about minimising the losses. Players start with one unit of bet and after each loss, they add one unit of bet and after each win, they deduct one. This system is similar to the Martingale system, but players don’t have to double their stake after every loss which lets the bankroll last longer.

Fibonacci system

This mathematical system is used in many areas of life and is based on the Fibonacci sequence. Similarly to the Martingale system, players must increase the wager every time they lose according to the Fibonacci sequence.

No matter which system you use, keep in mind that the house edge is there to ensure that in the long run, the casino wins.

Basic roulette tips

  1. Play outside bets rather than inside bets: Outside bets have a lot better odds than inside ones so you will not lose your money quickly.
  2. Place small wagers when you are starting out: You can get to practice for a long time if you are only placing small wagers e.g. $1/bet.
  3. Practice in free games: Most casinos offer free roulette games. It doesn’t harm to practice a little to see how long your bankroll would last in real-money games.