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How to Play Roulette – Rules and Tips

Sergio Zammit
Sergio Zammit | Verified by Mark Hoover
Last updated: | 16 min read

Roulette is one of the most popular table games at online and land-based casinos. If you want to learn how it works, you’re on the right page. Here, we’ll explain how to play roulette and all the other details you need to know about the game.

While casino table games like blackjack, baccarat, and poker usually involve cards, roulette takes a different route, as it features a gaming wheel. To play, you simply need to bet on what part of the wheel the ball will land on after spinning. But there’s more to it if you want to know how to play roulette and win. You’ll need to learn the basics, wheel types, table setups, betting process, and strategies. We’ll cover all of that in this detailed guide on how to play roulette.

Understanding the Roulette Wheel and Table

The roulette wheel is the primary component of the game. It differs depending on the variant, with traditional European roulette typically featuring a wheel with 37 pockets: 36 numbered pockets and one 0 pocket. In American roulette, there are 38 pockets, with an extra 0 pocket. The numbered pockets alternate between red and black, while the zero pocket is to play roulette roulette table

Besides the wheel, the next important component of roulette is the ball. When the game starts, the dealer spins the wheel in one direction and the ball in the opposite direction. The number on the pocket where the ball lands wins.

Regarding the table, it’s simply where you place bets. It typically features different sections for varying bet types, like inside bets and outside bets. Most traditional roulette tables also come with dozens and columns that offer additional betting options. From the table, you can measure the odds of each outcome while the wheel spins. For instance, inside bets usually have lower winning probabilities compared to outside bets.

Overview of Online Roulette

Many players also want to know how to play online roulette since online roulette sites are more popular now. Well, online roulette isn’t much different from that at land-based casinos; it’s simply a digital version of the wheel game. However, you’ll typically experience faster rounds with online roulette, as everything is fully automated.

Online casinos employ Random Number Generators (RNGs) to ensure results are completely random and not manipulated in any way. As a result, if the site is legit, you can be 100% assured of unbiased gameplay. Furthermore, online roulette is available in many more variants with diverse themes than offline.

The Basics of Roulette

While the aim is to be a pro on how to play roulette, you can’t skip the basics. It’s important to understand the different wheel types and table layouts. We explain all of it in the below sections.

Types of Roulette Wheels

There are two popular types of roulette wheels: American and European. However, the French roulette wheel is also a favorite of some players. Here’s how each differs:

  • European roulette wheel: This is the traditional roulette wheel with 37 pockets — 36 numbered and one 0 pocket. With just one 0 pocket, this roulette wheel has a fairly low house edge of around 2.7%.
  • American roulette wheel: Here’s the roulette variant popular in the United States. It comes with 36 numbered pockets and double 0 pockets (00). That makes 38 in total. Notably, the two 0 pockets increase the house edge to about 5.26%.
  • French roulette wheel: This roulette version is very similar to European roulette. The wheel design is the same, and the house edge is around 2.7%. However, it comes with two unique rules: “La Partage” and “En Prison,” which favor players. Applying either of these rules can reduce the house edge.

Layout of the Roulette Table

On the roulette table, you’ll find grids, known as pockets. Each pocket features a number and a color. For instance, you may find a pocket labeled 15 and colored black. Generally, the pockets featuring numbers (1 to 36) are colored red or black, while the zero pockets are green.

how to play roulette american roulette table

How the Game Works

Roulette is a straightforward game. Unlike other table games like blackjack and poker, it requires less strategy and more luck. To play, you simply need to bet on where the ball will land and wait for the dealer to spin the wheel.

You can bet on a single number, a group of numbers, odd or even numbers, and colors. Some roulette tables will also support betting on high or low numbers. Generally, numbers from 1 to 18 are considered low, while 19 to 36 are high.

Note that the payout you receive if you win depends on your bet type. A straight-up inside bet (picking a single number) offers the highest profit in roulette, as it typically pays 35 to 1. Meanwhile, an outside bet, like betting on a column, pays much lower at 2 to 1. If the ball lands on a 0 pocket, the casino takes all winnings.

Rules of Playing Roulette

Roulette doesn’t come with a lot of rules. If you want to learn how to play roulette for beginners, you will find it is relatively easy. Nevertheless, there are some little details you still need to know. Find out more below.

The Betting Process

Players are required to place their bets before the dealer spins the wheel and ball. For that, you only have to select your chips and place them on the table in the positions that correspond with the outcomes you want to bet on. The minimum and maximum amount you can stake depends on the casino you’re using and the particular table you are playing on. Some casinos also have varying limits for different bet types.

how to play roulette european roulette table

After everyone has placed their bets, the dealer will spin the wheel and the ball. Usually, you can still change your bets. However, at a point, the dealer will announce the betting closure, meaning no one can place or change their stakes. The dealer will settle all bets once the ball and wheel stop moving. You’ll get your payout if the ball lands on an outcome you bet on.

Types of Roulette Bets

When playing roulette, you usually choose between inside and outside bets. These differ in terms of winning odds and payouts. Let’s explain.

Inside Bets

If you want to get higher payouts from playing roulette, you’ll want to place inside bets. However, note that they have lesser probabilities, which means more risk. Here are the popular inside bet types and their payouts:

  • Straight-up bet: 35 to 1
  • Split bet: 17 to 1
  • Street bet: 11 to 1
  • Corner bet: 8 to 1
  • Six-line bet: 5 to 1

As mentioned earlier, a straight-up bet pays the highest. You can get $3,500 from a $100 bet.

Outside Bets

These bets have lower payouts with higher probabilities. You can check out common outside bets below and their payout rates:

  • Dozens bet: 2 to 1
  • Column bet: 2 to 1
  • Even-Money bets: 1 to 1

Understanding the Odds

Like in other forms of gambling, roulette odds represent the likelihood of winning each bet. These vary depending on the variant you’re playing. For instance, odds for the same outcome will be higher in European roulette than in American roulette, since the latter has a higher house edge.

When learning how to play roulette, the odds are quite easy to calculate. Consider the straight-up bet, where you pick a single number. Here’s how to compute the odds:

  • European roulette: There are 37 pockets, so the odds of landing one is 1/37, which equals 2.7%.
  • American roulette: There are 38 pockets, so the odds of getting one is 1/38, which equals 2.6%.

How to Play Roulette: A Step-by-Step Guide

You’ll likely go with the online game if you want to play roulette, as it’s a lot more convenient. If you want to kick-start your journey as an online roulette player, simply follow the steps below.

Find a Roulette Game Online

The first step in how to play online roulette is to locate a suitable game. Particularly, you’ll need to register with an online casino that offers many roulette variants. There are many such sites available, so it shouldn’t be difficult. However, if you want to play roulette and win real money, ensure you go with a legitimate, licensed casino operator.

how to play roulette french roulette table

Place Your Bets

Next, it’s time to set your bets. As you load the roulette game, that’s the first option that usually comes up. You can bet by placing chips on different outcomes on the roulette. Ensure you check the minimum and maximum bet limits to ensure they suit your budget. Some casinos have high-roller tables that only allow high-value bets.

The Role of the Dealer/Croupier

The dealer or croupier at the roulette table is in charge of organizing the gameplay. They collect bets, spin the wheel and ball, and settle payouts once the round is over. Note that dealer is a general term used for the person in charge of table games. However, it’s more native to card games like blackjack and poker — because they “deal” cards. Croupier is native to roulette, but you will find some people still use the term dealer.

The Spin and Outcome

With your bets placed, you’ll wait for the dealer to spin. Notably, he’ll spin the wheel in one direction and the ball in another. When both slow down and eventually stop, the ball will land in a particular pocket on the wheel. The pocket determines the outcome, and the dealer will settle payments to players who won.

Strategies and Tips for Playing Roulette

Roulette largely depends on chance, but over time, players have developed some strategies that serve as helpful guides. If you want to know how to play roulette to win, you need to understand more than just how the game works. So, let’s look at the most popular strategies and other tips for improving your game.

how to play roulette roulette statistics

Popular Roulette Strategies

The Martingale betting system, D’Alembert, and Fibonacci systems are the key techniques to learn if you want to know how to play roulette strategy. All three focus on how you manage your bet to maximize your winning chances and reduce loss. Find out how each works below.

Martingale System

Martingale system  is one of the best roulette betting strategies, and it involves betting progressively, as you double your bet after each loss. It may sound like you’ll risk a lot of money, but the goal is to recover your previous losses and make profits. Typically, you’ll start with a small bet and increase with each round. You can rely on this strategy in the short term, but remember that it’s not ideal if you can’t risk a substantial bankroll. This system is often used in blackjack strategy and other casino games.

D’Alembert System

You’ll prefer the D’Alembert system if you’re more conservative. If you are learning how to play roulette strategy with this technique, the goal is to achieve a balance. You increase your bet after each loss and reduce it after each win. While it still has its risks, your budget should last longer than with the Martingale system.

Fibonacci Strategy

Here, you’re using more math. The technique follows the Fibonacci sequence, where each number is a sum of the two previous ones. So, if you have 2 and 3 in a sequence, the next number will be 5.

You’ll use the pattern to decide the next number on the wheel to bet on. If you lose a round, you move to the next number, but if you win, you go back two steps in the sequence. It’s not a perfect strategy, but many players consider it conservative.

Managing Your Bankroll

Learning how to play roulette and win also involves managing your bankroll. At the end of the day, roulette is still gambling. So, the idea is to not lose more than you can afford.

First of all, you have to specify a budget that defines how much you’re willing to bet per round. Then, try not to exceed the limit for any reason. Likewise, you should set loss limits. That way, you’ll know when to walk away if you’re making profits or not.

Furthermore, it’s always advisable to start with small bet sizes. Placing large bets from the kick-off can quickly empty your bankroll. With small bets, you can manage losses and stay at the table for much longer.

Understanding House Edge

In all casino games and all fiat and bitcoin gambling sites, the casino has an advantage over players known as the house edge. That’s what ensures they can make profits long-term. In roulette, the house edge is determined by the green 0 pockets.

European roulette had one 0 pocket, so it has a low 2.7% house edge. So, if a player bets $100, the casino can expect to make $2.70 as profit on average. When playing American roulette, the house edge increases to 5.26%, since there are two 0 pockets. Hence, from a $100 bet, the casino will be expecting to make $5.26 on average.

Variations of Roulette Games

You’ll find different variants when playing roulette, especially at online casinos. We’ve already highlighted some of them — like American and European roulette — and their primary differences. Nevertheless, you can find out more details about each below.

American Roulette

This roulette variant, the standard in the United States, features two green 0 pockets on the wheel, and 38 pockets in total. Hence, there’s a 2/38 chance of the house winning, which means a 5.26% edge. In contrast, players who bet on a single number have a 1/38 chance of winning, meaning around 2.6% odds.

European Roulette

Here’s the popular variant across Europe. It favors players more, as there’s only a single 0 pocket and 37 pockets in total. In other words, the house has a 1/37 chance of winning, which equals a 2.70% edge. It’s the same for players betting on a single number, so the European is fairly balanced.

French Roulette

With this variant, players get the same wheel setup as in the European version. What sets it apart are two unique rules, including:

  • La Partage: This rule returns half of a player’s even-money bet if the ball lands on a 0 pocket.
  • En Prison: This rule also applies to the even-money bet, but it doesn’t return any amount. Instead, the game “imprisons” the bet for the next round. If the bet wins in the next spin, then the dealer will return the full amount.

Clearly, both French roulette rules work in favor of players. When you play with La Partage or En Prison, the house edge reduces to 1.3% and 1.35%, respectively.

Other Innovative Online Variants

You’ll come across several innovative roulette variants at online casinos. However, the most popular ones are multi-wheel and mini roulette. From their names, you can easily guess how they work.

  • Multi-wheel has more than one wheel, so you can bet simultaneously on multiple outcomes. It’s important to note that each wheel is independent, and the spins don’t affect each other.
  • Mini-roulette features fewer pockets than the standard 37 or 38. For instance, you may find 13 pockets with 1 to 12 numbers and a single 0.

If you know how to play roulette on the traditional wheels, you’ll have no issues playing these innovative games.

how to play roulette multi wheel roulette table

Roulette Responsible Gaming Tips

Since roulette is a game of chance, it’s crucial to follow responsible gaming practices while playing. That’ll help you avoid making huge losses and also prevent the risk of addiction. Here are some tips you can employ as you play:

  • Ensure you fully understand the game before you begin playing. We recommend experimenting in demo mode before you bet real money.
  • Set limits on how much you’ll bet per session. This will ensure you don’t lose more than what you can afford.
  • Manage your time and know when to leave the table. It always helps to take breaks, especially when the rounds are unfavorable.
  • Don’t chase losses by betting more. This can be tricky, especially if you’re using expert roulette strategies. Nevertheless, it is inadvisable to bet with the sole aim of recovering your previous losses, as it can lead to more setbacks.
  • Remove emotions from the roulette table. You must recognize that the outcome is 100% random and not dependent on any factor.

Leveraging Bonuses and Promotions

At safe online casinos, you’ll typically find several bonus offers when you register to play roulette. Claiming these promotions can help boost your bankroll. Some even allow a risk-free betting chance. Let’s look at the various types you can expect as you play.

Types of Online Roulette Bonuses

Below are the most common bonus offers you can expect when playing online roulette games at casino sites:

  • Welcome bonus: You’ll claim this promo immediately after you register your account and make your first deposit. Usually, it’s a percentage match of your first deposit — a 100% bonus up to $1,000, for example,
  • No deposit bonus: This offer is available to claim without making any payment. You can receive a cash bonus, but the value is usually low.
  • Cashback: Here’s a bonus that can help reduce the effect of losing. An online casino may offer a 10% cashback on lost bets. So, if you lose $100 at the roulette table, you can get back $10.
  • High roller bonus: You can expect this promo if you make large deposits or bets while playing roulette. You can be offered free cash, spins, cashback, or other rewards.

How to Pick the Best Promotions

Bonuses can help if your aim is to learn how to play roulette and win. However, for that, you must pick the right offers. Above all, you should read the terms and conditions to understand the requirements you have to meet.

The wagering requirement is the most important, as it specifies how many times you must bet the bonus amount before withdrawing any winnings. If it’s too high, you’ll hardly get any value from the promotion unless you’re a high roller. The best approach is to weigh the wagering condition against the total bonus value to know if the offer is worth claiming.


At this point, you should know all there is to learn about how to play roulette. The game is relatively simple compared to other casino table games. There are some expert tips and strategies, as we explained in this guide, but winning depends on chance. So, ensure you stay responsible and manage your bankroll as you play the spinning wheel game, whether online or at land-based casinos.

How to Play Online Roulette FAQ

How do you play roulette for beginners?

To play roulette for beginners, you bet on an outcome on the wheel. You can bet on numbers, colors, odds or evens, columns, and a few others. If the ball lands on any outcome you pick, you win.

What are the basic rules of roulette?

The basic rule of roulette is to place your bets corresponding to an outcome on the wheel. Then, the dealer spins the ball and the wheel while you wait for the result. You win if the ball settles on the outcome you bet on.

What is the best strategy to win at roulette?

The best strategy to win at roulette differs depending on your playing style. Some players use Martingale, D’Alembert, and Fibonacci strategies. However, it’s important to note that winning comes down to luck.

What is the safest bet in roulette?

The safest bet in roulette is an outside bet. Such a bet will have a high winning probability, so there’s less risk involved. However, note that it’ll also carry low odds, so the payout won’t be high.