How to Play Roulette

Considered to be around ever since the 18th century, roulette is one of the most longevous and popular casino games. Many historians consider Blaise Pascal as the father of the roulette mechanism, while the casino games itself appeared by mixing the wheel with the Italian game of Biribi. Even though it’s around for over 200 years, the question of How to play roulette? will always pop-up since new players want to learn the rules and enjoy the thrills offered by this casino game. Therefore, we invite you to explore a thorough guide to roulette covering the bets available, game mechanics, roulette types, and answers to the most frequent questions. 

How to Play Roulette at the Casino?

Before jumping into types of bets, differences between various roulette versions, and more intricate matters, let’s start with the basics of how to play roulette at the casino. The action to start a roulette game is quite simple. You have to place chips on various numbers or bet types before the dealer starts to spin the ball on the roulette table. 

Outside Bets

The outside bets are the simplest types of wagers a player can use in a roulette game. That’s what makes them ideal for beginners and we’re starting this casino roulette guide with them. 

  • Red or Black – just like the name suggests, this bet type means you will wager on the outcome that the ball will stop on either a black or red pocket, no matter the number on it. You can easily spot this bet type on the roulette table looking for a red and black rectangle or even the words “black” and “red”. A red or black bet comes with odds of almost 50% and pays 1:1, or even money.
    • Odd or Even – playing such a bet means that you can predict if the ball will land on an odd or even number on the roulette wheel. The “Odd” and “Even” spots on the roulette table are usually located on the right and left sides of “Black”/“Red”, and this bet also has odds close to 50% while paying 1:1.
  • Low/High – another 50/50 split of the numbers on the roulette table sees them split into Low and High categories. 1 to 18 are considered Low while 19 through 36 are referred to as High numbers. Just like the bet types discussed so far, this one has an odd of around 50% and pays even money as well.
  • Dozens – another type of roulette bet that means pairing the numbers into groups. This time, it’s in batches of 12. So, you have the 1st Dozen ( 1 through 12), 2nd Dozen (13 through 24), and the 3rd Dozen (25 through 36). The odds for this bet type are slightly lower (around 32%) and it pays 2:1, meaning that you will win €20 for a €10 wager placed on dozens. 
  • Columns – the numbers on a roulette wheel can be divided into three columns as well. So, the 36 numbers are split into three columns that you can bet on by placing a chip on the far-right side of the table, above the three rows of 12 numbers. Just like the Dozens bet, this one pays 2:1 for a winning wager

Inside Bets

We’ve seen how you can place bets on larger groups of numbers on the roulette wheel through outside bets. On the other hand, inside bets offer a closer look at how to play roulette numbers in smaller clusters and even single-number bets. 

  • Straight up – this is the definition for placing your chips on a single number of the roulette table. You should place your chip on the center of the spot you feel the ball is going to stop on. Betting on a single number is the wager with the highest payout, at 35:1 but with odds of just 2.70% as well. 
  • Split – these bets are placed on the border of two adjacent numbers on the roulette table. Since you’re betting on two numbers at once, the odds increase slightly to a 5.4% odd while the payout gets cut in half for a 17:1 for a winning bet. 
  • Street – moving on to an inside bet type that involves three numbers, we have street wagers. You can place such a bet by putting your chips on any of the three-number rows on the table (similar to what you’d do for a Column bet, but on a row). The odds for such a wager are 8.1% and you’ll get 11 times your stake if the wager wins. 
  • Corner – also known as “square bets” these wager types mean placing your chip on a square of four numbers. To correctly place a corner bet, you need to place the chip on the intersection of the vertical and horizontal borders of the four numbers. The payout for such a wager is 8:1 while the odds grow to 10.8%.
  • Line – this type of bet is placed on two adjacent rows, so it’s like placing two street bets with a single chip. Place your chip on the intersection of two rows to place a line wager and expect a payout of 5:1 for a successful prediction. Also, the odds jump to 16.2% for this one.
  • Five numbers bet (basket) – roulette players can only place one five-number bet, which can only occur in American roulette. By placing your chips on the left border intersection of 0 and 1, you wager on 00,0,1,2, and 3 for a payout of 6:1 and odds of 13.5%
  • Snake – here’s one very interesting roulette inside bet. Placing a Snake bet ( also called a red snake since all the numbers are red) means putting your chips on 12 adjacent red numbers on the table. Drawing a line across these numbers creates an S shape, hence the “Snake” nickname. The odds stand at a little over 32% while the payout for such a wager comes out to 2:1.

European Roulette

No guide on how to play roulette for beginners is complete without exploring the various types of roulette tables as well. So, let’s start with European Roulette’s particularities and how it compares to the American one.

The main difference between European and American roulette comes from the absence of the “00” pocket on the wheel, present in the latter. While playing with a total of 37 numbers instead of 38 may not seem like such a big deal, if you go into details, this difference is quite an important one. First of all, the extra “00” pocket means the odds for each type of bet are lower. However, the most important aspect is the difference in vig for the two roulette types. While for the European Roulette the vig (or house edge) is 2.7%, the extra pocket on American Roulette takes the edge to 5.26%. 

French Roulette

Very similar to European Roulette, the French version of the game can seem identical to the untrained eye. The pockets are identical and, apart from the different language on the table layout, things don’t seem to be one bit different. However, the “En Prison” and “La Partage” rules of French Roulette make it a very advantageous version for players. With “En Prison”, if you placed an “Even” bet and the ball stops on 0, you have the chance to get half of your stake back. There’s also the option of leaving your stake untouched for the following round. However, if it hits 0 again, the “Even” wager is lost. The “La Partage” rule doesn’t give players the option to withdraw half their wager if the ball lands on 0, 50% of the stake is automatically returned to them in this situation.

These two extra rules of French Roulette makes it the best type out there. However, the downside is that you’ll rarely find it at online casinos. Even so, it’s good practice to go through these online roulette tips for beginners and be prepared in case you do find such an opportunity. 

American Roulette

With the extra 00 pocket, the American roulette should usually be avoided when playing online. Sure, you have one extra number that can give you a 35:1 payout. However, because of that extra pocket, the odds of that happening are lower, and the house edge is higher compared to European Roulette. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the minimum amount you can bet in roulette?

It all depends on the type of roulette table you join. The minimum bet on a standard roulette game is usually €0.20 or the equivalent in other currencies. However, VIP or high-stakes tables can start with a €5 minimum.

What is the maximum amount you can bet?

Once more, it’s all about the type of table you join. While regular roulette tables cap maximum bets at €500 or €700, high roller games can accept wagers as high as €75,000. 

How many numbers are there in a roulette wheel?

The European and French Roulette wheels have 37 numbers – from 1 to 36 plus  0 – while American also features the 00 pockets taking the total to 38. 

What do the 0 and 00 pay?

Betting on 0 or 00 at a roulette table generates the same payout as any other straight bet – 35:1. So, while the 0 and 00 pockets have a special feel to them, the payout is identical.

Do any numbers win more frequently in roulette?

There’s no statistic or pattern out there supporting the idea that the ball lands more frequently on certain numbers. However, some dealers tend to send the ball on specific number tiers. 

Do casinos cheat players in roulette?

There’s no reason for casinos to cheat players in roulette. The law of large numbers, together with the house edge, guarantees a profit for the dealer. However, illegal casinos may resort to cheating as well, to boost that profit.