How To Play Roulette

  • Updated
  • By Rachael Phillips
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Roulette is one of the oldest and most popular games found in both online and traditional casinos. It’s a game of luck, which makes it the ideal game for both beginners and regulars alike.

What is Roulette?

Roulette originates from a French word meaning “little wheel”. It works by inviting players to place bets on a variety of outcomes.

To decide the winning bet, the croupier (someone appointed at a gambling table) will spin the wheel in one direction while spinning the ball in the opposite direction. 

The ball then runs around a tilted circular track on the outer edge of the wheel, before losing momentum and falling into one of the 37 or 38 pockets on the wheel.

Where does Roulette come from?

Roulette was first developed in France in the 18th century. Due to its popularity, it later spread to the rest of Europe and North America.

The roulette wheel has had a few upgrades since the game was first played. The original wheels from the late 1790s used red for the single zero and black for the double zero causing some confusion. To avoid any problems, the zeros were replaced with the colour green in the early 1800s.

Although Roulette is a favourite across the world, most casinos host European roulette. This is because the American version increases the chances of the house winning by adding another zero on to the wheel – also known as the double zero or “00”.

What is a layout?

Alongside the wheel, there is a cloth covered area known as a “layout”. This area is where gamblers will place their bets by putting their chip(s) on either their desired number, colour or odd/even bet.

The most popular layout is the American-style. It has the roulette wheel at one end with the cloth joining. The French-style table, on the other hand, has the wheel in the middle, but can still be found in some Monte Carlo casinos.

How is the roulette wheel numbered?

The pockets of the roulette table are numbered from 0 - 36. Or in the American version 00 - 36.

Numbers 1 - 10 and 19 - 28: odd numbers are red and even numbers are black.

Numbers 11 - 18 and 29 - 36: odd numbers are black and even numbers are red.

The zeros are in a green pocket numbered 0 (with the American style 00 being in a second green pocket). Pocket numbers in the majority of casinos adhere to a clockwise flow.

Roulette Bets

Both online and traditional casinos have the same betting options and payouts. Variations only apply between American and French roulette. This is because American roulette has that sneaky double zero.

Since European roulette is the most played variant, the bets and payouts we're going to share with you will be based on that version.

In the game of roulette, the two main betting types fall into two categories: inside and outside.

Inside bets

The most popular inside bet (also known as a straight) is when you place your bet on one number to win. Of course, inside bets mean that the odds are stacked against you, but the payouts are higher.

Payout: 35/1

Other inside bets include:

Split: You can also split your bet by placing your chip on the line in between the numbers to bet on the two numbers at the same time.

Payout: 17/1

Quad: The quad bet is when you put your chips on a corner where four squares meet – meaning you're betting on all four numbers.

Payout: 8/1

Row: You can place your chip on one of the three rows at the bottom of the table. This bet covers all the numbers in that row.

Payout: 2/1

Outside bets

Outside bets allow you to bet on black or red, even or odd, and any of the columns. They tend to have lower payouts because they are lower risk because the chances of you winning are higher.

Payout: 1/1

Other outside bets include:

Column: A bet placed on the left-hand side of a column to cover all three numbers in that column.

Payout: 11/1

Double column: A bet placed on the left-hand side of the inside table between two rows and will cover six numbers at a time.

Payout: 6/1

Column plus zero: This is when a bet is placed in the top left-hand corner between one and zero. This bet will cover numbers zero to three.

Payout: 6/1

Red/Black: You can place your chip on either red or black which will cover half of the table. Zero will be a loss on this type of bet.

Payout: 1/1

12’s: This is a bet placed on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd 12’s to cover 12 numbers at the same time.

Payout: 2/1

18’s: A bet placed on the first and last 18’s to cover 1-18 or 19-36.

Payout: 1/1

Roulette strategies

Although roulette is a game that relies on luck rather than skill, there are some strategies you can use to help you increase your profits.

One of the most popular strategies is the Martingale strategy which has a standard and advanced version.

Standard Martingale Strategy

This is also known as a double up or a progressive system. You win by placing bets on only even numbers.

For example, choose the lowest possible bet on the table, which in most cases will be £1. You then choose an even bet option such as 18’s, red/black or odds/evens. Once you’ve selected your option you need to stick with that choice until you win.

If you win, you then place the lowest possible bet again while keeping the winnings. If you lose, instead of placing another £1 bet, you place a £2 bet. If you lose again, the next bet is £4, then £8, and so on.

The theory is that when you do win, then you will get back all the bets you’ve already placed and lost, making £1 profit.

If you follow this strategy then you have to stick to the formula. You can't lower your bet at any stage, as this will decrease the payout you'll receive.

Advanced Martingale Strategy

You may think the Martingale strategy involves a lot of risk for such a low profit. That’s where the advanced strategy changes things, as you play for higher profits.

To begin, follow the directions above but start with a higher value and simply double up. With this method, you also include very small increases after every second increase.

For example, let’s say you decide to start with £2 this time. You double up after the first bet to £4 but you also add a £1 so you play with £5.

If that bet then loses then you need to double to £10. If you lose again then you double up to £20 but you add £2 so you’re now playing with £22. And so on until you win.

It’s important not to increase the values by huge amounts when following this strategy. You need to slowly raise the amount to avoid pricing yourself out of the game.