How to Play Roulette

When it comes to iconic casino games, Roulette has to be one of the games near the top of the list. There is something quintessentially classic about the wheel, and even those who have never set foot in a casino are usually familiar with the basics of the game.


Play RouletteWhether it’s from the classic scene in Casablanca or the unforgettable scene in Indecent Proposal where Woody Harrelson and Demi Moore lose all their money on a single spin of the wheel, thus setting them on the path to meet Robert Redford, everyone seems to have a frame of reference for the game.

Roulette has a reputation of being one of the easy games to play in any casino, whether it be online or in a brick and mortar casino. There isn’t a lot of skill or strategy involved, but that doesn’t mean there is none. To help you with this, we will go over some ways you can increase your chances of success at the wheel.

We will also cover the history and the basics of the game, as well as the different variations you will find out there, to hopefully help you profit and enjoy your time at the tables even more!

A History of Roulette

Amazingly, the game dates back to the late 18th century. 1796 in Paris to be exact. Almost a hundred years before the car is invented, people in Paris were playing a variation of the same game we still play today. Hard to believe, isn’t it?

The early versions of Roulette in the United States had an American Eagle on one of the slots, which represented the house edge. All players lost if the ball landed on the Eagle. This version of the game didn’t last long, and by the time Roulette became wildly popular in the United States in the 19th century, the game only had numbered wheels.

European Roulette wheels have always been known for their single zeroes, however American versions of the game mostly all include two zeroes, the single zero and the double zero. The single zero dates back to the middle of the 1800’s in Monte Carlo. Most European casinos still have the single zero to this day. American and Canadian Roulette wheels traditionally still have two zeroes.

How Do I Play Roulette?

HistoryThe concept behind Roulette is simple. There is a wheel with slots numbered 1 through 36, 0 and 00. Half the numbers are red and the other half are black. The two zeroes are both green. The dealer spins the wheel one way, and then spins a small ball in the other direction. The ball falls into one of the numbered slots and any players that have bets corresponding to that number win.

There are a number of different bets the player can make on a Roulette table. There are two main categories of betting: inside bets and outside bets. This refers to the different areas on the Roulette table. The inside bets refer to betting a number “straight up” or in small groups of numbers that are beside each other on the table. The outside bets refer to bets on large groups of numbers and also the even money bets.

Betting minimums differ for inside and outside bets. If a table minimum is 10 dollars, a player must bet 10 dollars on every outside bet. However, for inside bets, a players bets must total 10 dollars. So you could bet 10 numbers straight up at 1 dollar each (or any combination of inside bets, as long as the total is at least the table minimum).

Inside Bets:

Straight bet: betting a single number by placing the chip right in the middle of the number square. Traditionally pays 35 to 1.

Split bet: betting on two adjacent numbers by placing the chip on the line between them. Pays 17 to 1.

Street bet: betting on three consecutive numbers by placing the chip on the outer edge of the line of numbers. Pays 11 to 1.

Corner bet: betting on four numbers that meet in a square by placing the chip on the corner between all four numbers. Pays 8 to 1.

Double Street bet: betting on six consecutive numbers in two horizontal lines by placing the chip on the outside corner between the two farthest left or farthest right numbers. Pays 5 to 1.

Trio bet: betting three numbers that include at least one zero by placing the chip on the shared corner. Pays 11 to 1.

Basket bet: betting on the first four numbers (single zero only) by placing the chip on the shared corner. Pays 6 to 1.

Top Line bet: betting on the first five numbers (both zeroes) by placing a chip on the shared corner. Pays 6 to 1.

Outside Bets:

Red or Black: betting on which color the winning number will be (does not include zeroes). Pays even money.

Even or Odd: betting on whether the winning number will be even or odd (does not include zeroes). Pays even money.

Low or High: betting on the first half or second half numbers (1 to 18 or 29 to 36), not including the zeroes. Pays even money.

Dozen bet: betting on which dozen will contain the winning number (the 1st dozen is 1 to 12, the 2nd dozen is 13 to 24 and the 3rd dozen is 25 to 36). Pays 2 to 1.

Column bet: betting on a third of the board, divided lengthwise. Pays 2 to 1.

What’s New and Exciting in the World of Roulette?

The newest advancement in Roulette tables is the introduction of electronic tables, commonly called Rapid Roulette. There are two versions of Rapid Roulette, those having a live dealer and the purely electronic version. You do not handle real chips in Rapid Roulette, instead each player sits in front of an individual touch screen and all bets are made via this screen. There is one shared Roulette wheel in the middle of all the screens and the ball is spun either by a live dealer or electronically. These tables generally have lower minimums and the game is often played faster than the traditional tables.

Online gaming sites also offer some different variations of Roulette, though you’ll likely not find them in real casinos. One example of this is the mini Roulette game. This game is played with a 13 number wheel (commonly numbers 1 through 12 and a single zero). Most payouts are the same, except traditionally the 2 to 1 payouts pay 3 to 1 on mini Roulette. And the straight up bets pay 11 to 1.

Another gaming site variation is multi-wheel Roulette. The premise is exactly the same as traditional Roulette, except instead of playing with only one wheel, it involves playing with 6 (or sometimes even 8) different wheels all at the same time. This makes wins much more likely and will definitely give you more bang for your buck!

Some online gaming sites also offer progressive jackpots on certain Roulette games. It’s worth investigating to see if your site of choice has progressives before starting to play a game of Roulette…you may as well play for a jackpot if one is offered!

How Do I Increase My Chances of Success?

TipsThere are a couple of different variations of the classic Roulette game that can influence you chances of success. Each variation has different payouts and odds, therefore changing your personal chances of turning a profit.

The main types of wheels in contemporary casinos are American Roulette, European Roulette and French Roulette.

The house edge on an American Roulette table is 5.26%, mainly because of the two zeroes. This is a very high house edge. If you can find a European Roulette table, you will drastically increase your chances of success. The European Roulette games half that edge down to 2.63% thanks to the single zero. This makes the European Roulette tables much more coveted in the United States, but also much less common.

There is only one Roulette table more coveted than European Roulette. This is the holy grail of Roulette tables: the French Roulette table. Considering France is where Roulette began, it’s only fitting that the very best Roulette game be the French version. Like European Roulette, the French Roulette tables also have a single zero. However, unlike the European Roulette tables, the French Roulette tables cut the house edge in half yet again, to 1.32%.

How do they do this?

By paying players back half their even money bets if the ball falls in the single zero. If you happen to stumble across a French Roulette table in your travels, you’ve basically already won a prize…so why not double up on that win and give it a try!

There are a number of documented Roulette strategies that some serious players swear by, and if you find one that works for you, then by all means stick to it! But for the most part though, you are at the mercy of the spin of the wheel and not much that you can do will influence the results.

Say for example you see a Roulette table that has hit a red number the last 10 spins in a row. You’d think that it would be a smart strategy to bet your whole bankroll on black, because the odds must be in your favor. But in reality, each and every spin of the wheel has the same chances of hitting red or black, so the chances don’t increase based on the previous spins. Each spin is independent and should always be treated as such. Don’t be fooled by other players that say they have a guaranteed strategy to win at Roulette…they have exactly the same chances of winning as you do.

Should I Play Roulette Over Other Casino Games?

What is house edge and how does it impact you? House edge is defined as the statistical financial advantage that the casino (or the “house”) has over the player over time. The higher the house edge, the more money the casino is likely to win from the player as they play. So you always want to try and play the games with the lowest house edge for profit.

When it comes to house edge, Roulette has one of the highest ones at 5.26%. The house edge of craps is between 1.36% and 1.41%, and it can get as low as 0.8% depending on the house rules. Blackjack’s house edge depends greatly on how the player plays, but with proper textbook play the house edge is as low as 0.5%.

Comparing the house edge of Roulette to these other common casino games makes it clear that Roulette is not the best choice for profitability. Even a single zero Roulette wheel with a house edge of 2.63% doesn’t come close to the house edge of these other casino games (and single zero games are very rare these days!)

However, if looked at for purely entertainment value, there is a lot to be said about sitting at a Roulette table with a group of friends and rooting for the wheel to hit your lucky numbers. When trying to strictly turn a profit, the other casino games are definitely a more educated choice. But when you’re enjoying a fun night out with friends, house edge shouldn’t be your deciding factor. So by all means, have a great time and enjoy a fun game of Roulette with friends!