How to Play Roulette

Roulette is a relatively simple casino game but is also one of the most popular. Most players can generally walk up to a table and play without having to learn the game. However, it never hurts to be prepared, especially with a game in which, statistically, you will lose over the long term.

Basics of Roulette

Roulette consists of a wheel, a ball, and a table where you place your bets. The wheel features slots that are numbered and colored, while the table features the same numbers and colors, along with sectors for different types of bets.

A player places their bet on the table based on where they believe the ball will land. The dealer then spins the wheel and throws the ball into it. You can bet on a single number or on groups of numbers.

Bets can be placed until the moment the dealer announces betting is closed, which can take place even once the ball has been thrown into the spinning wheel.

Payouts differ based on the risk. Thus, you will win more if you bet on a single number because the risk is higher that you will lose.

Types of Roulette

There are really only two types of roulette, namely European and American. However, some also recognize a third type, and that is French roulette.

It should be noted that there really aren’t any differences in the gameplay between French and European roulette games, though the layout of the table might differ somewhat. For this reason, we’ll be treating them as the same game.

In terms of European and American roulette, the latter has an extra number, namely “00”, and a different layout for the wheel.

So, European roulette has the numbers 1 to 36, which are either red or black, and 0, which is green. American roulette has the same 1 to 36 and 0, but it also has a green 00.

While both games are played exactly the same, European roulette does have slightly better odds since it has one less number to bet on.

How Betting in Roulette Works

There are a variety of bets available in roulette. Essentially, they all allow you to place wagers on single numbers or groups of numbers. The higher the risk of loss involved, the higher the payout.

So, betting on a single number, for example, will net you higher winnings per single bet than betting on all even numbers.

Overall, there are three categories of bets, namely, inside bets, outside bets, and announced bets. Inside and outside bets are the standard. Announced bets are usually connected to European and/or French games and are not available at all casinos.

Inside Bets

Inside bets refer to the wagers that you place directly on the numbers on the table. The name comes from the fact that the numbers are on the “inside” of the table layout, surrounded by other sectors.

There are a number of different types of inside bets:

  • The Straight Up: you bet on a single number with a payout of 36x your bet.
  • The Split: you bet on two adjacent numbers on the table by placing your chip on the line between the two. The payout is 18x.
  • The Street: you bet on a row of three numbers by placing your chip on the outer border of the numbers. The payout is 12x.
  • The Corner: you bet on four numbers that form a block by placing your chip on the point where all four numbers intersect. The payout is 9x.
  • The Six Line: you bet on six numbers arranged in two adjacent horizontal rows by placing your chip on the intersection of the outside borders of the rows you want to wager on. The payout is 6x.
  • The Trio: you bet on 0, 1, and 2 or 0, 2, and 3 by placing your chip at the intersection of the numbers. Only available in European/French roulette with a payout of 12x.
  • The Basket: you bet on 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4 by placing your chip on the point where 0 intersects with the outside border of the first row of numbers. It only applies in European/French roulette and has a payout of 9x.
  • The Top Line: you bet on 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3 by placing your chip on the outer border where the two rows intersect. It’s only available in American roulette and offers a payout of 7x.

Outside Bets

As the name implies, outside bets are those where you use the sections surrounding the numbers themselves to wager. Essentially, these sectors provide different groupings of numbers you can bet on that you wouldn’t be able to physically place a single wager on by using the numbers themselves.

They have lower payouts than inside bets because you have a higher chance of winning. It should be noted that none of these bets include 0 for European/French roulette, or 0 and 00 for American roulette. If either of these comes up, the house wins.

Thus, the available outside bets are as follows:

  • Red or Black: you bet on any black or red number. The payout is 2x.
  • Even or Odd: you bet that an even or an odd number will come up. The payout is 2x.
  • High or Low: you bet that a number between 1 and 18 will come up or between 19 and 36. The payout is 2x.
  • The Dozen: you bet that a number out of three different blocks of a dozen numbers will come up. These blocks are 1 to 12, 13 to 24, and 25 to 36. The payout is 3x.
  • Column: you bet on any one of the three columns on the table. The payout is 3x.

Announced Bets

Announced bets cover a portion of the wheel itself. Since you wouldn’t be able to place them on a regular table due to how the numbers are set up on the wheel, you have to “announce” your bet, which basically means telling the dealer.

Some tables, however, have a special area known as the racetrack with a depiction of the wheel where you can place these bets.

These types of bets are usually associated with European/French roulette and are not available in all casinos.


Roulette is a simple game to play, and it can be great fun. While it doesn’t offer players the best odds of all the games in a casino, you still have a decent chance of winning. However, like with any casino game, it’s wise to learn when to walk away, especially if things aren’t going in your favor.

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