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How to Play Roulette: Essential Rules & Expert Tips

Roulette how to play and win

Roulette is probably the simplest game to understand in the internet casino but it also has one of the worst odds in casino gaming. If you are looking for a game that is easy to understand, but you are willing to sacrifice on the house edge, then roulette might be your game. Let’s start with a short explanation of what the game Roulette really is.

What is Roulette

Roulette is a casino and gambling game named after the French word meaning “small wheel”. In the game, a croupier spins a wheel in one direction, then spins a ball in the opposite direction around a tilted circular surface running around the circumference of the wheel. The ball eventually falls onto the wheel and into one of 37 (in European Roulette) or 38 (in American Roulette) coloured and numbered pockets on the wheel.

The Roulette Wheel

American & European Roulette Wheel Image
The main pockets are numbered from 1 to 36 alternating between red and black, but the pockets are not in numerical order around the wheel, and there are instances of consecutive numbers being the same colour. There is a green pocket numbered 0, and in American Roulette, there is also a second green pocket marked 00.

Roulette Table Layout

Roulette Table Layout

Players can place a variety of ‘inside’ bets (selecting the number of the pocket the ball will land in, or range of pockets based on their position), and ‘outside’ bets (including bets on various positional groupings of pockets, pocket colours, or whether it is odd or even).

The payout odds for each type of bet are based on its probability. There are usually posted rules for table minimum and maximum bets, and these rules usually apply separately for all of a player’s ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ bets for each spin.

Progression of the Game

In Roulette, the first thing that has to be done is a bet has to be placed, that is, the amount of money that you are going to wager, and where you want to place the bet, i.e., which number or combination of numbers.

The dealer will spin the wheel, which will spin multiple times until the ball finally chooses a slot to drop into, which will become the winning number.

Players can bet on an individual number, any combinations of numbers, red or black and odd or even numbers. If a player bets on an individual number and the number is where the ball drops, then the payoff is 35 to 1.

Players can also choose to bet a combination of numbers if they wish as well. For instance, a player may want to bet on four numbers and can’t decide which one so he may place the bet in the corner of all four numbers. For example, 10-11-13-14 corner and if one of the numbers is the winning number on the spin, then the wager will pay off at an 8 to 1 payoff.

The Roulette wheel’s bets payoff anywhere from 2 to 1 all the way up to 35 to 1.

Most online tables will indicate what the table minimum is as well as reinstate the rules of the game through the help function.

Roulette Betting Types

Inside Bets

  • Straight Bet: a single number. The chip is placed entirely on the middle of a number square.
    Straights Bet Roulette

  • Split Bet: a bet on two adjoining numbers, either on the vertical or horizontal (as in 14-17 or 8-9). The chip is placed on the line between these numbers.
    Split Bet Roulette

  • Street Bet: a bet on three numbers on a single horizontal line. The chip is placed on the edge of a line of a number at the end of the line (either the left or the right, depending on the layout).
    Street Bet Roulette

  • Corner Bet (or square): a bet on four numbers in a square layout (as in 11-12-14-15). The chip is placed at the horizontal and vertical intersection of the lines around the numbers.
    Corner Bet Roulette

  • Sixline Bet (or ‘sixaine’): a bet on two adjoining streets, with the chip placed at the corresponding intersection, as if in between where two street bets would be placed.
    Sixline Bet Roulette

Outside Bets

  • Even Money Bets: a bet on 18 numbers. This is placed in the box representing the attribute (black/red/low/high/even/odd) that you wish to bet on.
    Even Money Bets

  • Group Bets: a bet on the first, second, or third group of twelve numbers.
    Group Bets Roulette

  • Column: a bet on all 12 numbers on any of the three vertical lines (such as 1-4-7-10 on down to 34). The chip is placed in the space below the final number in this string.
    Column Bets Roulette


Advanced Betting Options

Once you have mastered the basics of the roulette wheel, why not take a look at some of the more advanced betting options available to you.

Many casinos have an Advanced Betting section that allows you to place 1 bet which will place chips of an equal value on numbers relevant to that type of bet.

This is best in French roulette, which has 1 zero as opposed to American roulette which has 2. The odds are, therefore, better. We would always advise steering away from American roulette when you have the option.

A lot of players who enjoy roulette feel that the advanced bets available in French roulette, and often on European roulette online too, enhance the chances of winning as you cover a particular area of the wheel as opposed to random numbers. They feel that in a land-based casino if the dealer spins the ball in the same direction and at the same speed each time, it will finish an equal number of slots away as the previous spin, and by covering this area they maximize their chances of getting a win. This doesn’t apply to a casino website which uses a random number generator to provide results, but many players follow this type of bet online too.

Some players also feel that rules, known as En Prison and La Partage in French Roulette, give an enhanced payout as well. Many people attribute the introduction of these to the increasing interest in Roulette both online and offline as more and more players decide to try the game.

The bets mentioned above are Call Bets but are often referred to by players as Special Bets. They back a set amount of Straight numbers as opposed to Even Chance Bets or Corner Bets, so the payouts are reasonably high despite the number of bets used.

Voisins du Zero, Tiers du Cylindre, Orphelins in Plein and Orphelins en Cheval are the 4 most common Special bets found in casinos both online and offline. These are all French terms although English speaking players are better off using the relevant translations in order to better understand how these Special Bets work.

Voisins du Zero

This means essentially ‘Neighbours of zero’. This is a bet which covers all the numbers adjacent to zero on the wheel.

Voisins du Zero

When we mention a Neighbours bet, we are referring to all the number either side of the relevant number, including the number itself, as you will see from the image above.

See the above table layout for detailed instructions on how to play. Normally, of course, you will just select this bet from the expert menu if you are playing online roulette, or you will just call it out to the croupier.

The Voisins Du Zero is a 9 chip bet that covers 16 numbers on either side of the zero. Including 0 itself, it covers 17 numbers. The further away you get from Zero, the fewer chips are bet.
Starting from 22 on a wheel, it covers 18, 29, 7, 28, 12, 35, 3, 26, the number zero, 32, 15, 19, 4, 21, 2 and 25.
9 chips are on split bets, the trio, and a corner bet. (or multiples of 9, if you were to bet 18, for example, it would double the amounts bet on the below example)
split bet
On the above example, we have bet
10 chips on the 0,2,3 trio
5 on the 4/7 split
5 on 12/15 split
5 on 18/21 split
5 on 19/22 split
10 on 25/26/28/29 corner
5 on 32/35.

Although it looks complicated and time-consuming when viewed as above, especially as there is often little time between spins, it should be noted that there is normally an Advanced option when playing online which will automatically allow you to bet the above with one click. Similarly, if you ask a croupier to place a Voisins Du Zero bet in a land-based casino, they will be able to do so in double-quick time.

Tiers Du Cylindre

This is a similar kind of bet to the Voisins Du Zero bet but covers 12 numbers on the opposite side of the wheel.

Starting at the number 33, it covers all numbers round to 27.
Tiers Du Cylindre

The range is 33, 16, 24, 5, 10, 23, 8, 30, 11, 36, 13 and 27.
These are all Split bets of equal amounts. The total bet is 6 units and returns 18 units, including your stake if any of the numbers come in.

split bets of equal amounts
This is the 2nd most popular Special Bet behind the Voisins Du Zero and comes in 32% of the time.


You may have noticed that the Voisins du Zero and Tiers du Cylindre bets cover a lot of numbers between the remaining numbers, 8 in total, are covered by another bet, the Orphelins. This literally translates to the Orphans bet.

It covers 2 sections on the wheel, from 17 round to 6 (17, 34 and 6) and on the other side, 9 round to 1 (9, 31, 14, 20 and 1).

Orphelins bet

There are 2 different types of Orphelins bet which differs in terms of the chips and types of bet, although the numbers are the same in both.

The most common is the Orphelins en Cheval bet. It covers 8 numbers with 5 chips using a combination of Split and Straight Up bets.

The only Straight Up bet covers the number 1 with 4 Split bets covering 6 & 9, 14 & 17, 17 & 20 and 31 & 34.
Straight Up-bet

Orphelins en Cheval bet layout

The main difference between this and the other Orphelins bet, the Orphelins en Plein bet, is that this one uses only Straight Up bets. It does cost more but the rewards are greater on all except the 1 (which is covered as a Straight bet in Orphelins en Cheval) and the 17 (this is covered twice as a Split bet in Orphelins en Cheval).

Straight Up-bet

Orphelins en Pleit layout

As with the other Special bets, there will be a section in the Advanced Options when playing online to place either of these with one click, or in a land-based casino, the croupier will be happy to help place the bet/s quickly for you.

The next strategies are much easier to learn and we recommend them to our beginner players.

Roulette is a game that is easy to understand, but most of the time the easier the game is to understand the greater the house edge and with roulette, this is no different. Ever since the roulette wheel was invented in the 17th-century people have been trying to beat the house edge with their betting systems. While betting systems can increase the fun level of gambling and might give you an edge, do not expect to get rich on them. You can win in the short term but it has been proven the casino usually wins in the end. With our roulette strategy we will show you:

  1. Two strategies that work

  3. How to use every edge to increase your odds

  5. A good short-term Roulette strategy


Roulette Rules

As you can see, roulette is not all about picking a number or a section, giving your chips to the dealer and just standing there watching what will happen. There are some rules that you need to follow which will be explained below:

Rule #1 – How to get chips?
The roulette chips in most casinos differ from the chips used for other table games. In fact, roulette chips are in several colours and can be of any denomination you want. You need to sit at the roulette table and show the dealer the money you want to play with. Tell the dealer how much you want the chips to be worth. The dealer will correspondingly give you your chips with the same value you wanted.

Rule #2 – How to determine the value of the chips?
The common denominations of chips for other table games are $1 (white chips), $5 (red chips), $25 (green chips) and $100 (black chips).

Now, roulette chips are the coloured chips which can have the denomination you want. The thing is, each player at the table can have a different denomination for, say, the red chip. This may get confusing at times, especially for the dealer who needs to keep track of every player’s chip colours and values all the time. One idea is to mentally label them going from your less favourite to your most favourite colour. Make the less favourite colour $1, say, then continue to your favourite colour which will be $100. Whichever strategy you choose to memorize them, make sure you remember the denominations and not get confused, since the dealer will only know the amount of bet you want to place from the colours of the chips you’re selecting.

Rule #3 – When to bet?
You cashed in and now you are waiting for the betting time to begin. A small object on the table called a “puck” or a “buck” indicates the last number that was hit. When the dealer removes it from the object, you may start betting. If you cannot reach the section or number you intend to bet on, the dealer will help you out.

Rule #4 – How to bet that bet or those bets?
You need to know where to put your chip depending on the section or number you want to bet on. If you’re betting on a number or numbers, you put your chips straight on the number(s). However, if you’re betting on propositions outside the layout, such as high/low, odd/even, red/black, you place the chips right on the proposition. You place your chips exactly on the proposition if you’re betting on the first, second or third column or dozen. When betting on two numbers next to each other, you put your chip on the line between them. You place your chip on the outside border of the three numbers if you’re betting on a Street. If betting on Corner or four numbers that form a square, you need to place the chip at the intersection. To place a Sixline Bet, you put your chips on the outside border on the intersection where the two streets meet.

Rule #5 – When you must stop betting?
When the wheel is spun, and there are still people placing chips, the dealer will wave with the hand over the layout and say “No more bets” and that will be your cue to stop betting. If you don’t, the dealer will disqualify your bet.

Rule #6 – How to handle other players at your table?
Sometimes, some players on the table can get over-excited to place their bets or are just impatient, so they shove or push other players to get their bets down. If you bump into such a player, gently ask them to please place their bets less aggressively, or ask the dealer to do so. If nothing works, leave the table and find another one to join, with less annoying players.

Rule #7 – What happens if you win?
When the number hits, the dealer will call it out, put the “puck” or “buck” on the number, and remove the losing bets from the table. Then, the dealer will pay the winning bets.

Rule #8 – What happens if you lose?
If you lose, you still wait for the dealer to remove the losing bets, yours included, and pay the winning ones. You need to wait for the next betting round if you wish to proceed, or you can leave the table if you wish to stop playing.

Rule #9 – When to start betting all over again?
Only when the dealer has removed the “puck” or “buck” from the winning number you may resume your betting.

Most strategies involved in Roulette are related to which bets to place. We will discuss this next in Part II.

Part II – Roulette Strategy & Tips
Part III – Roulette Payouts & Odds

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About the author

Richard Grant
Richard has from an early age been interested in casinos and the thrill of playing casino games. After finishing his degree in Law and business he started this platform in 2007 as a complete resource to online gaming with the primary objective of reducing the house edge for players. Specializing in game guides, reviews, and strategic insights, Richard is devoted to helping you hit the jackpot.



What is Roulette?

As many of you might already know, roulette is a popular casino games, involving a numbered wheel and a small white ball. When the wheel is spun, the ball is thrown, and gamblers place money on the outcome.


Where does the name “Roulette” come from?

The word roulette comes from French. In translation it would mean something akin to little wheel, or wheelie. As you can see, it is the perfect name for a game that revolves (no pun intended) around spinning a small wheel.


Where does Roulette originate?

The game has its origins in France. However, there are two distinct, popular versions of the game. French or European roulette has 37 numbers on the wheel (18 black, 18 red, and a 0). The American variant of the game has 38 numbers on the wheel (18 black, 18 red, 0 and 00).


What is the difference between American and French Roulette?

The difference is in the numbers placed on the wheel. As we said, the French version of the game has 37 numbers. Eighteen of them are black, eighteen are red, and one is the 0. The American version has 38 numbers, featuring both a 0 (zero) and a 00 (double zero).


Is French Roulette Better Than American?

We can’t really make qualitative statements. However, we can give you the facts. Both games come with a house advantage (as all gambling games do). In French roulette, the house advantage tends to be around 2.7%. In American roulette, however, the house odds are more almost double that, at 5.26%. So, from an odds perspective, players have a better shot at winning in French roulette than in American roulette.


Are there ways to win in Roulette, other than luck?

As with any game played in a casino, one needs luck in order to win. However, it is a mistake to think that roulette is a purely luck-based game. There are certain strategies that one can follow in order to improve their chances at winning in roulette.


What is the most popular strategy for winning at Roulette?

The most popular strategy, used by professional gamblers, seasoned and new, is the Fibonacci system. For those that do not know, the Fibonacci sequence of numbers is a sequence in which the next number in the string equals the sum of the previous two. When playing roulette, you can add the previous two bets together. This is why the strategy is called Fibonacci.


Other than Fibonacci, what are other popular Roulette strategies?

Other than the Fibonacci strategy, other popular roulette systems are the D’Alembert and the Martingale system. When it comes to online roulette, the Martingale strategy is even more popular than the Fibonacci system. The Martingale strategy dictates that after every loss, you should increase your bet. By doing so, when and if you eventually win, you get a return on all the cash you lost. After that is done, you just start betting with the initial amount again.


What is the most popular number to hit in Roulette?

Someone who has never played roulette might imagine that it is the number 0 that is the most popular one to hit. But, in reality, the most popular number to hit is 17. It has been shown that most people tend to hit 17 over any other number. The reason for this may be because 17 is associated with quite a few historical wins in the game.


What is the color that comes up least in Roulette?

There are 18 reds and 18 black tiles in roulette. In American roulette there are an additional two green tiles (the 0, and the 00) and in the European variant there is only one. This means that the green tile is the least likely to come up, purely based on the fact that there are much less green tiles than red or black ones.


What happens if you do hit a green tile in Roulette?

If you’ve bet on a 0 or a 00 in roulette, and manage a win, the win pays out at odds equal to 35/1. So, in other words, if you’ve bet $100 on a green tile, you will be paid out $3.500.

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