Roulette is an incredibly simple game. Whether you’re completely new to the game or haven’t played in a while you can pick it up instantly. We break down all aspects of the little wheel and the many types of bets you can place on the table.
Recommended online roulette casinos
Background of roulette
Roulette is a casino game of chance that originated in France in the late 18th century. It is played using a small ball and a large spinning wheel, accompanied by a matching table layout/betting board.
The wheel contains ‘pockets’ numbered 0 (and possibly 00) through to 36. Numbers 1 to 36 are divided evenly into red and black slots, while 0 (and 00) are green. The layout of the board corresponds with the numbers on the wheel.
The wheel is spun by the controlling croupier, and the ball is then introduced on to the wheel, spun in the opposite direction in which the wheel has been spun. Eventually, both will lose momentum, and the ball will come to rest in a specific numbered pocket. As players, our aim is to bet on any areas on the table layout we believe will be covered by the number on the wheel which the ball lands on; thus the number the ball lands on determines who wins their bets, and who loses.
There are two main forms of roulette played globally, distinguished by the make-up of the wheel and table layout. European roulette features 37 pockets in total, with the 36 numbers and a single zero. An American roulette wheel and its corresponding table layout have 38 pockets; numbers 1-36, along with a single zero and a double zero (0 and 00).
The make up of all single-zero roulette wheels have the following order of numbers:
The make up of all double-zero roulette wheels have the following order of numbers:
How To Play
A roulette table in a land-based casino will usually accommodate up to a maximum of seven or eight players. Players will also generally exchange their regular house chips for colour-coded ones, to avoid confusion over who placed what bets. For example: Player A might hold green chips, Player B might have yellow chips, and so on.
There are two kinds of bets any player can make known as inside bets and outside bets – see below for further explanation.
Players place their bets before the wheel is spun, up until the croupier/virtual dealer declares ‘No more bets’, when the ball begins to lose pace and is nearing its drop from its track on the wheel. When the ball finally settles in a slot, the winning number and respective colour will be announced, and a marker (called a dolly) will be positioned over that number on the table.
All losing bets are cleared away, while the winners are paid out. When the dolly is lifted, players can commence betting for the next spin.
Inside bets are placed on the part of the table/board layout where all the available numbers are arranged in a grid.
There are several different types of inside bets, ranging from betting on one number up to a group of six numbers, and each type offers different odds, and thus different payouts, based on the probability of those combinations coming up trumps.
The following is a run-down of the various kinds of inside bets we can play:
As the name suggests, this is a wager on any single number, from 0 and 00 through to 36. Also called a straight-up bet.
A bet on two adjacent numbers, made by placing chips on the line between those two numbers (for example, 21 and 24, or 0 and 1).
A bet on three numbers in a horizontal row, made by placing chips on the edge of the line of the number at the end of the chosen row, usually the outer edge of the left-sided number (for example, 10, 11 & 12).
Sometimes known as a square bet, here you place your chips at the intersection of a horizontal and a vertical line between four numbers (for example, the intersecting point of 31, 32, 34 & 35).
Betting on six numbers from two adjoining rows, i.e. covering two streets. To do this, you place your chips on the edge of the line where the two desired rows intersect; in between where two street bets would be placed (for example, a bet covering the numbers 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 & 21).
Specific to a single-zero layout game (European Roulette) where you place your chips at the intersection between either 0, 1 and 2, or 0, 2 and 3.
American and European set-ups both have basket bets, but they differ slightly. A European basket is where you bet on 0, 1, 2 and 3 (also called a non-square corner, and placed on the outer edge intersecting line of the zero, and the numbers 1, 2 & 3; i.e, comparable to a six line bet, just with four numbers). An American basket is where you wager on any of the following: 0, 1 and 2; 00, 2 and 3; or 0, 00 and 2. By looking at the layout as shown above, you can see where the intersections are for you to place this unique American bet.
This is specific to the double-zero American layout, where you bet on 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3 by placing chips on the outer edge, intersecting line of either 0 and 1, or 00 and 3 (like a six line bet, just with five numbers).
Outside bets offer much shorter odds than inside bets, and therefore lesser payouts. However, the probability of winning is far greater.
1 to 18 & 19 to 36
Called ‘Manque’ and ‘Passe’ respectively, and is a bet on either the ball landing on the numbers 1-18, or on the numbers 19-36.
Evens & Odds
A bet on the ball landing on an even number (2, 4, 6, 8, etc) or an odd number (1, 3, 5, 7, etc).
Red & Black
A bet on either a red number or a black number coming up. Red numbers are: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 16, 18, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 30, 32, 34 & 36. Black numbers are: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 29, 31, 33 & 35.
A bet on the first ‘1st 12’ numbers (1 to 12), the ‘2nd 12’ numbers (13 to 24), or the ‘3rd 12’ numbers (25 to 36).
A bet on all numbers in any of the three vertical lines as seen on the grid above (placed in the pocket which reads 2 to 1). The first column includes the numbers 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28, 31 and 34. The second column includes the numbers 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 23, 26, 29, 32 and 35. The third column includes the numbers 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33 and 36.
The snake bet, only offered by some casinos, is effectively a dozen bet, but covers the numbers 1, 5, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 23, 27, 30, 32 and 34. It is called a snake bet because the placement of those specific numbers form a zig-zag pattern across the layout. Some layouts which allow such a bet depict a two-headed snake, with one head located above and to the left left of the number 1 and the other head located below and to the left of the number 34.
A complete bet is where you wager on every possible inside bet involving one particular number. For example, if you were to place a complete bet on the number 5, you’d be making all of the following bets for one spin:
2 and 5
4 and 5
5 and 6
5 and 8
4, 5 and 6
1, 2, 4 and 5
2, 3, 5 and 6
4, 5, 7 and 8
5, 6, 8 and 9
1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6
4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9
High-stakes players will often use full complete bets, where each individual wager is played to the maximum possible amount. This can be a huge risk-reward move in European games which feature progressive betting scales (different maximums for each kind of bet).