How To Play Roulette Guide

How to Play Roulette

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Updated on: 11 Mar 2024
Hans-Martin M

Roulette is a guessing game where you place bets based on what you think the outcome of each spin will be. This guide will teach you the basics needed to play the game, and you'll also find links to continue exploring each topic covered in this article more in-depth by following the "Learn more"-links.

The basics of playing Roulette

Before a round of Roulette starts, players must place their bets.

  • The table Croupier lines up a ball into the spinning roulette wheel, and players are still allowed to place bets.
  • At one point, the Croupier will announce "No more bets," and players can no longer place any further bets.
  • Once the ball loses enough momentum, it drops into the wheel and settles in one of the pockets.
  • The table Croupier pays winners their winnings according to bets and odds (numbers, sections, colors).

Types of roulette bets

There are over twenty kinds of Roulette bets, depending on whether you're playing European (French), American, or other casino-specific Roulette types. The different types of bets belong to two main categories: inside bets and outside bets.

Learn more: Find an explanation of all types of Roulette bets here

Outside bets

You place outside bets on the outside of the rectangle of the Roulette table layout.

The outside bets available are:

  • Red/Black
  • Odd/Even
  • High/Low
  • Columns
  • Dozens
  • Imprisonment bet or La Partage

Inside bets

You place inside bets inside of the rectangle of the Roulette table layout.

The inside bets available are:

  • Straight up
  • Split
  • Street
  • Corner
  • Line
  • Five-number
  • Basket
  • Snake bet

Call bets

Call bets are grouped with inside bets as betting on these is done within the same rectangle on the Roulette table layout. They're only available on European and French Roulette tables, not American ones.

The call bets available are:

  • Voisins du Zero
  • Jeu Zero
  • Tiers du Cylindre
  • Orphelins
  • Neighbors
  • Final Bet
  • Full Complete or Max bet

The game layout of Roulette

Although there are three distinct variations and many more casino-specific Roulette variants, the game layout always includes a wheel and a section for placing bets.

Wheel layouts

There are two Roulette wheel types; American and European. Their only difference is the number of zeros on the wheel.

  • European Roulette has 37 pockets (0-36 numbered and one zero).
  • American Roulette has 38 pockets (0-36 numbered and two zeros).

Table layouts

The Roulette table layout is standardized, making it instantly recognizable regardless of whether you're playing American, European, or French Roulette. There are, however, minor differences depending on what variant you're playing.

  • European Roulette has 37 "straight up" bet fields.
  • American Roulette has 38 "straight up" bet fields.
  • French Roulette has 37 (same as European), but the names of each area you can place a bet on are in French.

Roulette rules

Besides the basic flow of the game, as covered at the beginning of this article, there aren't many other rules to consider when you're playing online. The exception is that each Roulette table played online might have different rules that cover payout structures, special bonuses, minimum and maximum wagering limits, and what happens if there's a technical error or a voided game.

Roulette house edge

The term "house edge" refers to the casino's mathematical advantage over players playing their games. In the case of Roulette, the house edge is 2.60% for European Roulette and 5.25% for American Roulette.

In short, the house always wins in the long run as it'll profit between 2.60% and 5.25% of all wagers placed on its Roulette tables given an infinite period and spins.

Learn more: Roulette house edge explained

Roulette variations

There are three distinct, standard variations of Roulette available to players; European, American, and Roulette. The difference between these is minuscule, yet many sub-variations of the standard ones are available.

Roulette systems and strategies

There are countless Roulette betting systems and strategies available out there. Please make no mistake, however, as none of them work. The reason is simple: Roulette is a minus EV (expected value) game, where the odds always favor the house. There is no strategy out there that, in practice, will allow you to beat the game consistently. Anyone who says otherwise is flat-out lying to you.

Perhaps you've heard of the Martingale system or the Fibonacci strategy? Alluring as they may be, you'll quickly discover the threat they pose to lighting your bankroll on fire just after a couple of "unlucky" streaks.

Knowing what strategies and betting systems are available for Roulette, though, and understanding how they work, will help you save money and time not wasted on doing something that doesn't work.