How to play roulette?

Roulette has been associated with money, emotions and mystery since the 17th century. It owes its popularity to rules that are simple to understand. Contrary to appearance, it offers many betting opportunities, which means that players can apply literally hundreds of different strategies. Before you bet everything on red or black, learn the basics of this chilling game in this article.


1. Find out what you’re playing.

Roulette in French means literally “small wheel”. Traditional roulette has 36 normal fields and zero, while the American version has also double zero on the wheel. After spinning the wheel, the dealer throws a ball, which will eventually land on one of the numbers. Bets are made by placing chips on the board, either on one of the numbers or on one of the special fields.

Special fields:

  • 1st 12
  • 2nd 12
  • 3rd 12
  • 1-18
  • 19-36
  • Even
  • Odd
  • Black
  • Red

2. Learn inside bets.

In roulette we try to predict the field on which the ball will fall, but we can also bet on groups of fields. In any case, we should know how much we can win. In short, the larger the group of fields, the smaller the odds are. Therefore, we can win the most by betting on a single field. A detailed list is presented below.

  • Straight Up means betting on exactly one field, and odds are 35 to 1.
  • Split betting on two numbers means positioning of a chip on the edge of two adjacent fields, in which case the odds are 17 to 1.
  • Street means betting on a whole row of three numbers. Odds for such bet are 11 to 1.
  • Corner betting is placing a chip at the intersection of four fields, in such case the odds are 8 to 1.
  • Six line betting is to cover the six boxes simultaneously. We have to bet on two adjacent rows. The odds are 6 to 1.
  • Additionally, in American roulette there is a Five-number bet option, which means betting on 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3. Odds are then 6 to 1.
  • The second inside bet offered only by American roulette is a bet on both zeroes at the same time, 0 and 00. The odds are 17 to 1.

3. Get to know outside bets as well.

These bets are made not by selecting specific numbers, but by ranges. We do not place chips on the main part of the board, but on special fields on the side. We have a choice:

  • Color betting – odds are 1 to 1
  • Even or odd betting – also then odds are 1 to 1
  • Column or 12 numbers – in this case the odds are 2 to 1.
  • High or Low – odds are 1 to 1

4. Understand how odds work.

In every roulette variation (as in every casino game) the casino has an advantage over the player. All roulette bets would not have a favorite if there were no 0 (and 00 in the American version). There are theories on how to increase player odds, but none of them work. However, there are some variants that improve a player’s expected value.

In the American version, double zero increases the casino advantage. Single-zero roulette gives the casino a 2.7% advantage. In the case of two zeroes, this advantage increases to 5.26%. It is definitely better to choose a French variety.

Some casinos employ rules to increase the player’s chances of winning. They use the so-called La Partage and En Prison rules. Both of them apply to situations where a ball lands in the zero slot. In the case of La Partage, players who have placed bets from 1 to 1 (odds or even, black or white, low or high) will only lose half their bet. The same applies to the Partage rule, except that the saved amount cannot be taken back to the pot, but must be kept on the board for the next turn.

The roulette game

1. Find the table

Each table carries information about the minimum and maximum possible bet. For example, we may meet with “$1 minimum inside bets, $1 minimum outside bets, $200 maximum inside bets, $200 maximum outside bets”. Usually maximum inside bets are lower than outside bets because odds are much higher.

The tables often display a history of the results of recent results. This may seem tempting on the surface, as intuition tells us that a number that often falls out has a smaller chance of falling out again, but let’s not be fooled by it. Each time the probability of a single field falling out is exactly the same.

2. Watch what’s happening

In theory there’s no way to win with roulette. We can only count on luck, because every field has the same probability of falling out. But for sure?

Sometimes the croupiers have their own habits, maybe they don’t even realize it. They play the ball with the same strength, from the same angle. This increases the probability that the ball will make exactly the same path as in the previous moves. Observe if the ball does not stop too often in one area of the wheel more often than in others.

Wheels are mechanical structures and wear out. If the barrier between two fields is a bit worn, it will increase the probability that the ball will land on the field. However, this requires studying the results of many thousands of spins, and when something like this is observed, casinos will usually be the first to find out.

3. Exchange chips for a dealer

You don’t play roulette with regular casino chips. If that were the case, how would the dealer know whose chips are in the field? Each player at the table has the chips in their own unique color, which they will receive by exchanging traditional casino chips with the dealer. After the exchange, the dealer will place a unique marker on the table next to you so that he can identify you with the color.

Roulette chips do not apply to other casino games. When you leave the table, exchange all the roulette chips with the dealer for traditional roulette chips.

4. Familiarize yourself with the procedure of a round

After the winnings are paid out and the table is cleared of chips, the next round starts. The dealer waits a while for the players to place their bets and spins the wheel. At this point there is still time to bet until the dealer says “no more bets”.

When the ball lands, the dealer places a marker on the board on the winning field (or the chip that covers it). He then takes the chips which are lost and then pays the winnings. The next round begins.

5. Place a bet

To place a bet on a particular number, simply place the chip on a particular field from 0 to 36. If you want to place a bet on a column, place the chips on a special field underneath it. To bet on a dozen, put the chips field P12 for the first 12 numbers, M12 for the middle, or D12 for the last 12 numbers. For outside bets, use fields marked black, red, even, odd, high or low.

Some players imitate the bets of others at the table. They do this because it seems to them that they are using some sophisticated strategies. You can do this, but it will not increase your chances of winning.