How To Play Roulette

Learn how to play roulette in Vegas or at an online casino. Our detailed guide covers everything from the basics to which bets have the best odds, the wheel differences, and the layouts.

In addition, we provide recommendations for increasing your winning chances and other important information about roulette.

Basics of Roulette

Whether you’re learning how to play roulette at a land-based or online casino, the roulette rules will be the same. Here are the basic elements of roulette:

  • roulette wheel in front of cash
    Roulette wheel

    The roulette wheel is split into black, and red pockets randomly numbered from 1 to 36. Depending on the roulette variant, there is also a green 0 (single zero) and 00 (double zero) pocket.

  • table layout
    Table layout

    This is the betting area on a roulette table. The numbers on the roulette table correspond to the numbers on the roulette wheel and additional sections on the outer edge of the numbered area.

  • chips
    Chips

    Roulette chips are used to make bets on the roulette table layout. They come in various denominations from 0.10 to 1K and allow you to adjust your bet size.

  • roulette wheel in front of cash
    Ball

    The ball determines the outcome, depending on which pocket it will land on the roulette wheel. It spins in the opposite direction of the wheel’s rotation.

  • limits
    Limits

    Each roulette game has a min/max table limit per game round. The overall table limits usually start at $0.10 and can go up as high as $10,000. However, there are also limits applied to different bet types.

How To Play Roulette Online?

While roulette at first can seem a little intimidating at first, betting on roulette is very simple. Even if it’s your first time placing a bet, you’ll get used to it very quickly. To get you started with the betting process, we’ve prepared a quick guide on how to play a round of roulette:

1
place bet
Select chip value

Select the value of your bet from the chip selector. The selected chip will be raised.

2
roulette wheel in front of cash
Place your bet

Place chips by selecting positions on the table, or on the racetrack. Note the min and max bet and table. limits.

3
roulette wheel in front of cash
Spin the wheel

Once you’re done with placing your bets, spin the wheel by clicking on the ‘Spin’ button.

4
stopwatch graphic
Wait for the outcome

Once the ball comes to a rest, the winning number will show up. The win amount depends on the size and type of bet.

5
roulette wheel in front of cash
Spin again

Click the “rebet” button to place the same bet or the “clear’ button to clear previous bets and place a new bet.

Complete Guide to Roulette

Now that you know the basics of roulette and how to place your first bet, we can look at the game’s rules, how to place bets, and other essential aspects. The guide below covers everything you need to know to start playing.

Knowing how the game works, the differences in wheels and the table layouts, including which types of bets have the best odds, can give you the best possible edge when playing online roulette for real money.

Objective

The main objective of roulette is to guess the spin’s outcome accurately, whether it’s the correct number or color that will come up next.

You can place bets on individual numbers, groups of numbers, and even roulette wheel sections.

If your selection is successful after the ball comes to rest on the wheel, the winning bet will be multiplied by the win odds.

Remember that the chances of getting a particular outcome are always the same after the start of each round.

The Layout

The roulette tables are composed of two sections, the wheel and the betting area, known as the roulette layout.

There are two layouts of roulette:

  • Single betting table and a roulette wheel at the end (American and European Roulette)
  • Two betting areas and a roulette wheel in the middle (French Roulette)

The betting layout is split into two sections: the inside and the outside. The inside area has 36 numbered squares which are either red or black. The outside area covers a broader range of numbers, like even and odd.

Depending on the type of the whee used, there’s also a “single zero” or “zero and double zero” on top of the numbered area. You can bet on any of the squares inside the table or a combination.

The other difference is that French and European tables include “a racetrack” or a unique betting section.

Racetrack bets are not available in American tables. However, some online variants of American Roulette still allow one type of racetrack bets – The Neighbours.

The Wheel

There are two roulette wheels: the French wheel, which contains 37 pockets, and the American wheel, which includes 38 pockets.

The pockets are numbered from 0 to 36, with 18 red and 18 black pockets and a single green 0. The wheel on American Roulette is the same, but it has an additional “double zero” pocket.

The numbers on the wheel are placed in a mathematically balanced pattern. Due to the additional zero, the number sequence on the wheel in American Roulette does not follow the same order as on the French counterpart.

Firstly, the numbers alternate between red and black. In addition, the even and odd numbers are also balanced out; there shouldn’t be two adjacent odd or even numbers.

The wheel also aims to balance high (19-36) and low (1-18) numbers. This balance is almost perfect in European and French Roulette, while in American, the “00” makes balancing harder. This lack of equilibrium contributes to the higher house edge.

Bet Types

Regarding bets, roulette is a very versatile game, and you’ll be able to make many different types of bets.

Some are riskier but come with higher payouts. In contrast, others come with humble payouts but more frequent wins. Nonetheless, the bets you choose will depend on your bankroll and experience.

Understanding what each type of bet means and how they affect your odds of winning roulette at the casino is vital to ensuring you have a great gaming experience.

They are divided into three main categories, which are listed below.

Inside Bets

Inside bets refer to bets made in the inner section of the table and are placed directly on one or more numbers.

Here’s a complete list of inside bets:

Bet TypePaysDescription
Straight Up35:1Bet on any number, including 0 and 00, by placing a chip on top of the number.
Split17:1Bet on two numbers by placing a chip on the dividing line between two neighbouring numbers.
Street 11:1Bet on three numbers by placing a chip on the boundary line at the edge of the corresponding row. There's also a trio variation of this bet, which involves at least one zero.
Corner8:1Bet on four numbers by placing a chip on the intersection where the numbers meet.
Five6:1Bet on five numbers (0, 00, 1, 2 and 3) by placing a chip on the corner that touches the box labeled '1st 12'.

Line5:1Bet on six numbers by placing a chip on the inner boundary line where two rows intersect.

These bets have lower chances of winning in terms of payouts, and your predictions must be precise. However, they do bring higher payouts.

This roulette bet type is more suitable for experienced players or players keen on taking higher risks and having a larger bankroll.

Inside bets pros
  • Higher payouts
Inside bets cons
  • Lower winning chances
  • Require more risk
  • Suitable for experienced players

Outside Bets

Outside bets are bets made on the outer section of the table and are placed in prepositions such as red-black, odd-even, high-low, first dozen, and so on.

As the zero is neither odd nor even, it is excluded from outside bets and causes them to lose when the ball land on it.

Let’s take a look at different types of outside bets:

Bet TypePaysDescription
Column2:1Bet on twelve numbers by placing a chip on one of the boxes labeled '2:1' to bet on that column. 0 and 00 are not included.
Dozen2:1Bet on a group of twelve numbers by placing a chip on one of the boxes labeled '1st 12', '2nd 12', or '3rd 12'. 0 and 00 are not included.
Snake2:1Bet on twelve numbers by placing chips on on 1, 5, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 23, 27, 30, 32, 34, resulting in snake shape.
Red/Black
Even/Odd
Low/High
1:1Bet on eighteen numbers by placing a chip any of the outer labeled boxes. 0 and 00 are not included.

These types of bets offer higher winning chances, as they are based on a broader category of numbers instead of a specific one, but the payouts are also lower.

This is perhaps the roulette bet you should start with if you’re a roulette beginner. However, it’s also suitable if you’re not keen on taking risks and want to extend your playtime.

Outside bets pros
  • Higher winning chances
  • Require less risk
  • Suitable for beginners
Outside bets cons
  • Smaller payouts

Announced Bets

Announced bets, also known as “called bets” or “French bets,” refer to inside bets on a series of numbers available in European and French roulette.

These types differ from the rest of the roulette bets as they are grouped according to the range of numbers they cover and have unique names.

Here’s a complete list of announced bets:

Bet TypePaysDescription
Voisins8:1
11:1
17:1
Bet on series of seventeen numbers: 0/2/3 (trio), 25/26/28/29 (corner), 4/7, 12/15, 18/21, 19/22, 32/35 (split).
Tiers17:1Bet on series of twelve numbers: 5/8, 10/11, 13/16, 23/24, 27/30, 33/36 (split).
Orphelins17:1
35:1
Bet on series of series of eight numbers: 6/9, 14/17, 17/20, 31/34 (split) and 1 (straight-up).
Jeu Zero17:1
35:1
Bet on a series of seven numbers: 0/3, 12/15, 32/35 (split) and 26 (straight-up).
Neighbours35:1Bet on five (or more) numbers - one number, plus the next two numbers (or more) on either sides of it on the wheel.

Similar to outside bets, announced bets have good winning odds as your predictions are broader. However, they also have smaller payouts.

Announced bets pros
  • More table coverage
  • Good odds of winning
  • Suitable for beginners
Announced bets cons
  • Smaller payouts

Keep in mind that depending on the type of roulette, you can make other special bets such as:

  • Several inside bets of the same type (red and black splits)
  • Combinations of different inside bets (finale plein, finale cheval, finale plein/cheval)

Betting Limits

Similar to other types of casino games, players are expected to stay within the minimum and maximum limits of the table.

These are usually stated on a small plaque. The average min/max table limits range from $0.10 to $5,000 at many US online casinos. As usual, the limits for live dealer roulette are higher and start at $1 up to $10,000.

However, these are just the limits per spin. There are limits for each type of bet, and they work differently from blackjack and baccarat.

Bet TypeMin betMax bet
Straight Up$0.10-$0.50$50-$100
Split$0.10-$0.50$100-$200
Street$0.10-$0.50$150-$300
Corner$0.10-$0.50$200-$400
Five$0.10-$0.50$250-$500
Line$0.10-$0.50$300
Column$0.10-$2$300-$1,200
Dozen$0.10-$2$300-$1,200
Snake$0.10-$2$300-$1,200
Red/Black
Even/Odd
Low/High
$0.10-$5$300-$2,000

Many brick-and-mortar venues prohibit players from placing minimum table bets on Column, Dozen, and Even-Money numbers. Players must wager at least five times the table minimum in many cases with such bets.

However, this is not the case if you play the game online, as the RNG roulette variations let you bet minimum table wagers on Columns, Dozens, and Even-Money bets.

Roulette Rules

Apart from the basic rules on how to play roulette, some rules in roulette can change how the game is played. Here are some of the best-known roulette rules:

  • pattern showing USA flag in round shape
    La Partage

    “La Partage| is usually used on many French Roulette tables. With this rule, if you place an even-money bet, you can get half of your wager back if the balls land on zero.

  • pattern showing USA flag in round shape
    En Prison

    “En Prison” is similar to “La Partage” but with a twist. Here, instead of getting half of your wager back on even-money bets, the wager stays on the table (“imprisoned”) after the ball lands on zero. The wager is then used in the next round, and if it wins, the initial wager is returned to you.

  • pattern showing USA flag in round shape
    Surrender

    The Surrender rule is used exclusively in some American Roulette tables. It’s almost the same as “La Partage” rule, but it applies to both 0 and 00. If the ball lands on one of the zeros, half of each even money will be returned to you.

These special rules can help you by reducing the house edge, which ultimately will help you lose less money in the long run. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye out for one of these rules.

Roulette Variants

Although there are many roulette games to play online and at land-based venues, these are the three main and most popular variations. Let’s compare the key differences between them:

 American RouletteEuropean RouletteFrench Roulette
Pockets383737
ZeroDoubleSingleSingle
Announced bets?Only NeighboursYesYes
House edge5.26%*2.70%*2.70%*
Avg. payout per $100$9.47$9.73$9.73

*In American Roulette, with the Surrender rule applied, the house edge can be reduced to 2.63% on all even-money bets, while in European/French, it can be reduced to 1.36% with the En Prison/La Partage rule.

Roulette Odds, House Edge, and Payouts

Now that you’re acquainted with the different types of bets you can make in roulette and their limits, we can focus on the mathematical aspects of roulette.

It’s essential that before any real-money wagers, you understand the odds and probabilities of winning each bet, as well as the house edge of each roulette game.

How to calculate probability?

Probability of winning = ways to win / total number of outcomes

For example, the probability of winning a two-number bet in American Roulette is: 2/38 x 100 = 5.26%

How to calculate roulette odds?

Odds for winning = ways to win / ways to lose

For example, the odds of winning a four-number bet in American Roulette is: 4/34 or 4 to 34

This will enable you to balance out the risks and potential profits and implement a suitable strategy to minimize your losses in the longer run.

Odds, Probabilities, and Payouts

To calculate how likely it is for your bet to win, we’ll need to look at the concept of probability. Then, you can evaluate if the bet is worth making based on its return and the probability of winning with it.

We also need to look at the true odds for winning, representing the number of ways to win versus the number of ways to lose.

However, to see the discrepancy between the true odds of winning a roulette bet and what the casino pays you, we have to consider the reversed odds – odds against winning.

How to calculate roulette payouts?

Payouts in roulette are given the form of ‘x to 1’. This means that for every $1 bet you make, you’ll earn the ‘x’ amount plus your initial stake.

Roulette payout = (36 / (number involved in the bet) ) – 1

For example, the payout odds of a single number bet in American Roulette are: (36/1)-1 = 36-1 = 35, so that’s 35 to 1. If you bet $10 on a single number and have a winning bet, you’ll get back $350 plus your $10.

How to calculate odds against winning?

Odds against winning = ways to lose / ways to win

For example, the odds against winning a single number bet in American Roulette is: 37 to 1

Have a look at the odds and probabilities for each roulette bet, including the payouts.

Bet TypePayoutProbabilityOdds against winning
Straight Up35 to 1American: 2.63%
European: 2.70%
American: 37 to 1
European: 36 to 1
Split17 to 1American: 5.26%
European: 5.40%
American: 18 to 1
European: 17.5 to 1
Street11 to 1American: 7.89%
European: 8.10%
American: 11.66 to 1 European: 11.33 to 1
Corner8 to 1American: 10.53%
European: 10.81%
American: 8.5 to 1 European: 8.25 to 1
Five6 to 1American: 13.16%
European: n/a
American: 6.6 to 1
European: 6.4 to 1
Line5 to 1American: 15.79%
European: 16.21%
American: 5.333 to 1
European: 5.166 to 1
Column2 to 1American: 31.58%
European: 32.43%
American: 2.166 to 1
European: 2.083 to 1
Dozen2 to 1American: 31.58%
European: 32.43%
American: 2.166 to 1
European: 2.083 to 1
Odd/Even1 to 1American: 47.37%
European: 48.65%
American: 1.111 to 1
European: 1.055 to 1
High/Low1 to 1American: 47.37%
European: 48.65%
American: 1.111 to 1
European: 1.055 to 1
Red/Black1 to 1American: 47.37%
European: 48.65%
American: 1.111 to 1
European: 1.055 to 1

From this table, we can conclude that the lower the likelihood of winning with a roulette bet, the greater the return the house offers, and vice versa.

You can also notice that the casino pays out winning bets at reduced odds, which do not necessarily match the mathematical probability of winning with a given type of bet.

Outside bets generally have lower payouts, as they have a higher likelihood of happening, and the probability of the roulette ball landing on any of them is 48.65%.

Moreover, the fewer numbers in your bet, the more money you’ll win. This is because the odds of winning a single number are far lower than the odds of winning 18 numbers.

Let’s have a look at the odds and payouts for announced bets, for comparison.

Bet TypePayoutProbability
Voisins8:1
11:1
17:1
European: 45.94%
Tiers17:1European: 32.43%
Orphelins17:1
35:1
European: 21.61%
Jeu Zero35:1European: 18.90%
Neighbours35:1American: 13.16% - 44.73%
European: 13.51% - 45.94%

We can see that the Voisins offer the best chance of winning, as they cover more numbers than most common roulette bets, except for the 18-number bets, but they come with reduced payouts.

House Edge

In terms of the house edge, roulette is a mid-range game. However, the house advantage varies depending on which roulette game is played.

The house edge in roulette comes because of the zero pockets. If there wasn’t a zero on the roulette wheel, you’d have better chances of winning both inside and outside bets.

In American Roulette, for example, there are two zero pockets on the wheel, increasing the house edge to a significant 5.26%.

As there are 38 pockets in total, and you place a Straight Up bet on any given number, mathematically, your odds against winning will be 37 to 1.

This is what the true odds are. However, the casino holds players at a slight disadvantage as it pays only 35 to 1 for winning Straight Up bets. This is the casino odds.

How to calculate the roulette house edge?

(odds against winning – casino odds) x probability of winning

For example, the house edge for a single number bet in American Roulette is: (37/1 – 35/1) x 1/38 = 5.26%

As you can see, the difference between the odds against winning and the casino odds in American roulette is equal to two units. With only one zero, this difference in European and French Roulette is just one unit, equaling a reduced house edge of 2.70%.

Bet TypePayoutHouse Edge
Straight Up35 to 1American: 5.26%
European: 2.70%
Split17 to 1American: 5.26%
European: 2.70%
Street11 to 1American: 5.26%
European: 2.70%
Corner8 to 1American: 5.26%
European: 2.70%
Five6 to 1American: 7.89%
European: n/a
Line5 to 1American: 5.26%
European: 2.70%
Column2 to 1American: 5.26%
European: 2.70%
Dozen2 to 1American: 5.26%
European: 2.70%
Odd/Even1 to 1American: 5.26%
European: 2.70%
High/Low1 to 1American: 5.26%
European: 2.70%
Red/Black1 to 1American: 5.26%
European: 2.70%

Please keep in mind that the house edge in roulette remains the same, even though the payouts for different bets fluctuate.

In double 00 games, you should avoid the Five Number bet because it is anything but profitable. The probability of winning with one such bet is only 13.16%, while the house edge reaches a shocking 7.89%.

Knowing the house edge in the roulette game is essential as it will allow you to make more informed bet placement decisions and minimize your losses over extended periods.

If you take house edge into account, you can calculate how many losses you will face for every $1,000 you bet on roulette, which will be $270 on European Roulette, and $526 on American Roulette.

This makes it very clear why European Roulette is the better choice if you want to cut on losses in the long run.

How Roulette Rules Influence House Edge?

We already explained that roulette has special roulette rules that apply to even-money bets. The table below presents how these rules influence the house edge.

Bet TypeHouse Edge influenceHouse Edge
European Roulette + "La Partage"-1.34%1.36%
European Roulette + "En Prison"-1.34%1.36%
American Roulette + "Surrender"-2.63%2.63%

As you can see, these rules decrease the house edge to your benefit. So, if you’re playing roulette with any of these rules at hand, remember that they are more beneficial in the long run.

How to Play Roulette and Win?

As it is impossible to win regularly in roulette, there are certain things you can do to have the best possible edge when playing. It all starts with understanding the roulette basics and how certain things, such as the type of bets or wheel differences, can work to your advantage.

  1. Play single-zero roulette – Single-zero roulette, like European and French Roulette, are more profitable in the long run as they come with a lower house edge of 2.70%.
  2. Stick to outside bets – If you’re a beginner, stick to outside bets such as even/odd and red/black. They have a higher likelihood of happening and can give you the chance to make a small profit in the long term.
  3. Understand the bet odds – Each bet comes with its payout and odds for winning. Typically, outside bets will pay 1:1, and have higher odds for winning, while inside bets will pay anything from 35: to 6:1, and have lower odds for winning.
  4. Look for games with “Surrender” or “En Prison” – If 0 or 00 hits, these rules further decrease the house edge to 2.36% in American Roulette and 1.36% in French Roulette, returning or “imprisoning” half of the even-money bets.
  5. Practice on free roulette games – Experirement between different roulette games, explore the different types of bets and get familiar with their odds.
  6. There are no due or lucky numbers – At the beginning of each round, any number on the roulette wheel is just as likely to come up as any other number.
  7. Try a combination of bets – Once you feel more comfortable and have the bankroll, you can consider making different bets in one round. This bet covers more numbers and comes with bigger payouts.

Don’t forget that roulette is a chance-based game; skill and strategy are not as involved as in, for example, blackjack.

It makes no difference if you win 3 times in a row or 30 times in a row; your odds at each spin are always the same. You only have control over how much you bet, how long you play, and how frequently you play.

Ready To Play Roulette?

Learning to play roulette is easy, especially if you understand how the game works, what types of bets you can make, and the differences in wheels.

We advise to start with European Roulette, which has a house edge of just 2.63% and very simple rules to follow. Then start with simple bets like outside bets. Once you feel more comfortable, you can move on to riskier bets such as inside bets.

Last but not least, master the odds and payouts of each bet, so you have a strong understanding of the risk you’re taking.

FAQs

The amount of numbers available on the wheel depends on the roulette game. American Roulette has 38 numbers, while European Roulette has 37. This small difference in pockets greatly affects your odds of winning, which are in favor of the house in American Roulette.

You must register a free account at any top-rated US online casinos to play roulette online. Before launching any available roulette games, you’ll be required to make a real money deposit. Note that some operators also offer “demo mode”, which lets you try out the games before wagering real money.

Placing a bet on online roulette is very simple. For the best experience, you should be familiar with different types of bets, like the Pass and Come rolls. In any case, we offer a step-by-step guide on how to place bet, and what are the things you need to look our for.

The best bet in roulette is the single-number bet or the Straight Up bet. The odds against winning this bet are 37 to 1 in American Roulette ad 36 to 1 in European Roulette. With this said, the odds of winning a single number are lower than those of winning 18 numbers.

The safest bet in roulette is the even-money bet. By betting on red/black, odd/even, or high/low you’ll have the highest chances of winning (almost 50%). However, this will bring the lowest possible payout available in the game.

The five-number bet, available in American Roulette, should be avoided at all costs, as the house edge on that bet jumps to an astonishing 7.89%. No wonder it’s called “the beast”.

The house edge varies in Roulettte between variants from 2.70% in European and French Roulette to 5.26% in American Roulette. The house edge can be further reduced using rules such as La Partage, En Prison in French, and Surrender in American Roulette.

For a better chance of winning, play single European and French Roulette and stick to outside bets. These games lower house edge compared to American Roulette. Moreover, outside bets come with better winning odds than inside bets, but they pay less. Here’s a complete list of roulette tips.