How to Play Roulette - Roulette Rules

Much loved by millions of casino goers the world over, roulette is one of those casino games which is largely dependent on luck and where unfortunately, the house does in fact have an edge. The roulette wheel which is basically a spinning disk with divisions or pockets around its edge that revolves around the base of a bowl has become so iconic that if you asked anyone young or old to mention just one casino game, it would probably be the one they choose. The luck factor is so entirely part of the roulette deal that once a ball is spun around the outside of the bowl, there is no set of roulette rules or strategy which can control in which pocket it finally comes to rest.

Indeed, the only thing one can control how to play roulette is by deciding where to place their bets and this is done by players laying down their chips on the numbers, colours, or sections where they think they will have the greatest chance of getting a return. In addition to this, odds are also increased or decreased depending on whether one is playing European or American roulette. Although traditional roulette wheels are numbered from 1 to 36 in a seemingly random pattern and are alternately red and black, European roulette wheels have a single green pocket which is numbered 0 whilst American tables have a second extra green pocket marked 00. It is this extra green pocket which gives American roulette a greater house edge and it is for this reason that the American version of roulette is harder on your pocket that its European counterpart. Understanding how to play roulette is in part down to understanding subtle differences like this.

Due to the fact that roulette is a game of French origin, many of the French terms are still used to describe the roulette rules and strategies that one can employ to further his chances of winning. These frenchified roulette rules that will guide you how to play roulette at an optimum level will further be discussed on this page and you can also find short explanations of them on our roulette terms page.

Roulette Rules: How to Play Roulette

If roulette is your game, you're in luck. The game is featured at most, if not all casinos online. If you THINK roulette may be your game, but you don't know how to play it or aren't sure how it would work online, here are the basics:

When you approach a roulette table, you will see a layout with the numbers 1 through to 36 plus a 0 pocket if you’re going to be playing European roulette (as aforementioned, if you choose to play American roulette your wheel will also have a double zero pocket as well as the standard single zero one). 

The object of roulette is to guess where the ball will end up on the next spin of the wheel and players can bet on red or black, a single number, or a group of numbers, with the odds becoming greater or lesser accordingly. A simple rule of thumb to trying to understand how to play roulette and how the odds work is this: the greater the chance of you scoring a win, the lower the payout will be.

Roulette Odds: The Truth

A roulette layout is numbered 1 to 36 which should imply that each number should show up on average once every 36 times. For every time any specific number comes up, that number should supposedly not come up another 35 other times.  Therefore, the odds on a number should be 35-to-1, which is exactly the payoff for hitting one number. Similarly, hitting one of a two-number spread is 17-to-1, and a four-number spread 8-to-1. Hitting a number in one of the three columns pays 2-to-1. Hitting red or black pays even money for a 50-50 shot. So far, so golden. However, the problem with this scenario is the fact that this isn’t an accurate picture of everything as we’ve failed to account for the presence of the green zero (and double zero) spaces on the wheel which is ultimately where the casino house edge is found. It’s the green zero pocket which makes the difference because it’s where the casinos actually makes money. It is because of these spaces that the odds of hitting an individual number are actually 37-to-1, not 35-to-1 (and so on throughout the layout).


Betting Options in Roulette: The Only Game where you’re spoilt for choice!

In many casino games, different bets have different returns and these are usually based on how much the player is willing to invest. In craps for instance, a certain bet can offer a house edge of around 2%, whereas other bets have a house advantage of over 10% - the trick is always to read the rules well so that you will be able to plan your course of action accordingly and decide whether the particular game that you have your eye on is actually worth your time and energy.

Unlike many other casino games, in roulette, the house advantage is always the same whatever bet you make, however, just because that is the case, it doesn't necessarily mean that the odds of winning are the same for all the bets you can make and when learning how to play roulette it’s important that you keep this in mind. If you bet black, you will almost certainly win almost half of the time (the zeros stop you from having a fifty per cent chance of winning), but if you bet on a single number you will only win one time in 37 or 38 depending on which wheel is used. Bets with higher odds pay off better, but in the long run, the result is the same wherever you put your chips. So what are your betting options in roulette? In the list below we show the odds of winning on both American and European roulette wheels as well as the actual payouts you will receive for those wins. As you can see, the true odds of the European games are always closer to the actual payouts because of the lack of double zero on the European roulette wheel.

Straight Up: A bet on one, single number
Odds of winning (Am wheel): 37 to 1
Odds of winning (Eu wheel): 37 to 1
Payouts:  35 to 1

Two-number split: A bet on two numbers
Odds of winning (Am wheel): 18 to 1
Odds of winning (Eu wheel): 17.5 to 1
Payouts:  17 to 1

Street bet: A bet on three numbers
Odds of winning (Am wheel): 11.67 to 1
Odds of winning (Eu wheel): 11.33 to 1
Payouts:  11 to 1

Square bet: A bet on four numbers
Odds of winning (Am wheel): 8.5 to 1
Odds of winning (Eu wheel): 8.25 to 1
Payouts:  8 to 1

Five numbers: A bet on five numbers
Odds of winning (Am wheel): 6.6 to 1
Odds of winning (Eu wheel): N/A
Payouts:  6 to 1

Line bet: A bet on six numbers
Odds of winning (Am wheel): 5.33 to 1
Odds of winning (Eu wheel): 5.17 to 1
Payouts:  5 to 1

Dozen bet: A bet on the first, middle or last twelve numbers
Odds of winning (Am wheel): 2.17 to 1
Odds of winning (Eu wheel): 2.8 to 1
Payouts:  2 to 1

Even/Odd bet:  A bet that the number is odd or even
Odds of winning (Am wheel): 1.05 to 1
Odds of winning (Eu wheel): 1.01 to 1
Payouts:  1 to 1

High/Low bet:  A bet on either the first or last 18 numbers
Odds of winning (Am wheel): 1.05 to 1
Odds of winning (Eu wheel): 1.01 to 1
Payouts:  1 to 1

Red/black bet:  A bet on the color of the number
Odds of winning (Am wheel): 1.05 to 1
Odds of winning (Eu wheel): 1.01 to 1
Payouts:  1 to 1

European Roulette Rules: Always go European if you can!

Right, so now that we’ve taken a look at all the betting options and their odds, let’s take a closer look at the roulette rules which if you understand properly, you can literally rule the day and the table with. Despite what you may have heard on the mean casino streets, roulette is essentially a trivially simple game to play which is why so many people have grown to love it. Not only can the player choose and change the direction he wants to go in with each spin of the wheel, but as soon as all bets have been put on the table using coloured chips to distinguish each player, the croupier will halt the betting, spin the great wheel, and roll the ball. It is only when the ball comes to its final resting place in one of the pockets that the croupier will announce the result, collect all the losing bets, and give the winner his due.

Of course, the fun doesn’t end here and in fact, there are additional roulette rules which some casinos and houses allow such as the “La Partage” and “En Prison” roulette rules which we will be tackling individually shortly and which make how to play roulette a more interesting journey. Both the “La Partage” and the “En Prison” roulette rules effectively halve the casino edge on even-money bets which means that they are handy things to have access to and if you ever have an online choice, or even if you’re just playing a quick game of roulette at home, decide at the very beginning which of the following roulette rules you would like to incorporate into your game and get playing!

“En Prison” Rule

When it comes to this particular roulette rule, the player must keep in mind that it can only be applied to even-money bets, if and when a zero comes up, the player has two options:

  • He can either reclaim half the bet and lose the other half OR
  • Leave the bet “en prison” (in prison) for the next spin of the roulette wheel for an all or nothing gamble. Unfortunately, if the next spin is another zero, or does not match the imprisoned bet, then the entire bet is lost. However, if the subsequent spin's outcome matches the bet, the player will get his money back.

“La Partage” Rule

Reminiscent of the aforementioned “En Prison” rule, the player loses half their bet and doesn’t enjoy the option of leaving their bet “En Prison” for a later spin. “La Partage” is used for ‘outside’ even-money wagers: Red/Black, High/Low, Odd/Even, and can also apply when the result is zero.

Maximum and Minimum Stakes: What’s the Big Deal?

Some casinos post a maximum and a minimum stake for a roulette table in order for players to know what they will have to wager. This can be particularly helpful for people who take money management seriously and want to budget accordingly (read more about roulette money management here). Typically, the total amount of a player's inside bets must exceed the minimum stake at each spin of the wheel, however, the maximum stake usually shows only the maximum allowed for a single number "Straight Up" bet. The maximum stakes change in accordance to the bet made proportionately – an example of this is the following: Let’s say the maximum bet allowed for a pair of numbers is double the maximum “Straight Up” bet, the maximum allowed for a “Corner Bet” is four times the “Straight Up” maximum and so on. Thus, this limitation is really on the amount that the casino can lose. For more information about the aforementioned terms, please read our page on roulette terms.


American Roulette Rules: They’re not for everyone!

In both North America and the Caribbean, you will find that roulette wheels have a double zero and that all bets (except direct bets on the selected zero) are lost when either zero turns up. Of course, this sadly results in significantly worse odds for you the player and an increase in the casino’s edge. It is for this reason more than any other that roulette is less popular here than it is in other parts of the world.

On top of all this, some American casinos also allow an additional bet called a “Basket Bet” which is staked by placing chips in the same way as for a “Line Bet” on the outside of the dividing line between the zero row and the row featuring 1, 2 and 3. This bet normally pays out 6 to 1 which give it odds worse than any other roulette bet. Keeping all this in mind, I think most of you will conclude that it doesn’t really pay to play the American way!

Don’t be left out in the cold, play roulette online TODAY!

Maybe more than any other casino game out there, when it comes to roulette, one must really pick which casino to play at with the utmost caution and ensure that he can actually sit down to a European wheel rather than an American one to increase his odds of making a good win. On top of all this, avid roulette players must also ensure that their chose casino is Random Number Generator certified which means that the result they get on the spin of the wheel truly will be random. Since roulette truly is all about Lady Luck, you do need to make sure that that luck isn’t actually being controlled by some bigwig hungry to make his already fat wallet even fatter. All the casinos in our toplist have been especially chosen for their fairness as well as their excellent bonuses and frequent payouts so if cheating is a worry for you, we at CasinoTop10.net can assure you that thanks to our meticulous planning and searching, you will have no such troubles and will be able to play with your mind completely at rest.

Of course once you’ve read through the terms and conditions that each casino offers and picked the one which best suits your needs, the rest is plain sailing as roulette truly is one of the simplest games to play on the net and in fact, all you need to do to play roulette online is just click and drag the amount you want to bet onto the number or group where you want to place your bet and spin the wheel. After that, luck is all you can hope for. A final word of advice that we at CasinoTop10.net love to give to all players is the following – always scout high and low for the best deals before you start on your roulette champion journey as if you actually play towards a bonus (and nowadays many casino are practically throwing bonuses at their players willy-nilly), that bonus will both help you as well as decrease the house edge as you will be getting “extra” money which is not dependent on how well the game goes for you and how lucky you are. So sit back and start scrolling through our specially compiled toplist and don’t forget, playing roulette is not just about winning but it’s about how you use your roulette rules to play the game.


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