How To Play Roulette

Roulette is probably the simplest casino game available. This page explains the basic rules, and is designed for people that have never played roulette before. If you are looking for professional roulette systems that work, visit the home page. If you are looking for basic rules for roulette, this page and the roulette odds, bets and payout page is all you need. But if you want to know how to play roulette professionally, take the time to read this entire site.

The Two Types Of Roulette Wheels

The two types of roulette wheels: European Single 0, and American Double 0

The two types of roulette wheels: European Single 0, and American Double 0

Learning how to play roulette starts with recognizing the wheel type. The two types of roulette wheels are the American 00 wheel, and the European Single 0 wheel. All that’s different about them is the order of the numbers on the wheel, and the American version has an extra pocket (00). The casinos advantage is higher with the American roulette wheel, so it is preferable to play on European wheels, which have a single green zero.

Many casinos offer betting terminals where you sit at a computer screen, and the winning number is determined by a computer, instead of a real roulette wheel. This is called RNG roulette, and RNG stands for “random number generator”. It is important to understand that this is not roulette at all – it is a slot machine with computer animations of a roulette wheel. It is exactly the same thing as playing a slot machine. While the convenience of RNG may be appealing, you cannot beat it long-term. The only roulette you can beat is real roulette, and that involves a real physical roulette wheel.

The Betting Table

The betting table is where you place all bets. It is fairly self-explanatory. There are many different types of bets, with the simplest being a flat number. Also see the section that explains types of bets. But a summary is there are two types of bets:

Inside bets: These are bets on individual numbers, two numbers, four numbers etc. One chip can be positioned to bet on multiple numbers.

Outside bets: These are actually the worst type of bets from a professional player’s view. If you’ve read a site advising these as safe bets, they are wrong, and probably referring to there being less time before winning bets, at least on average. Types of roulette bets include red and black (most popular), the 1-18 and 19-36 (betting that one number between each of these values will spin), odds and evens (odd or even number), the dozens (1-12, 13-24, 25-36). If you bet on any of the outside areas, you will lose if the winning number is green zero.

Is there a bet roulette bet? Well besides betting based on sectors of the wheel, not really. If you are playing just for fun, one bet is just as good as another. But if you are playing professionally, then you need to apply roulette physics to predict where the ball is most likely land. And you can achieve a reasonable player edge by predicting wheel sectors, or areas around the wheel. For this purpose, it is convenient to use what’s called “neighbor bets”.

Joining a Table

Before you play roulette, first you must convert cash to casino chips. To do this, usually you place your money flat on the table after the dealer calls “place your bets”. They’ll then ask you what value chips you wish to buy. For example, $1, $5, $25 etc.

You can usually choose either coloured chips, all the common the casino chips. The common chips have a dollar amount specified on them, and you can use them at any game in the casino. The colour chips can be assigned virtually any value you want. They are specially coloured to help you track which chips are yours on the betting table. If you become a professional roulette player, you will later learn it is best to avoid the colour chips because they also help casinos track your winnings.

If you are playing with the view to play professionally, everything must start with correct wheel selection because you cannot beat all wheels. This is for a variety of reasons, with the most common being practicality. For example, a wheel that spins once every 5 to 10 minutes is far too infrequent, and this kind of frequency does happen on busy Friday and Saturday nights. But at the same time, you don’t want to choose a table that is too quiet, because then your winnings are more noticeable for casino staff. When selecting the actual wheel, there are a variety of procedures to determine which wheel is most likely to produce the most predictable spins.


Procedure For Betting

Basically when the dealer announces “place your bets”, you place your chips on whatever numbers you want. Every betting table has minimum and maximum bets, and they are different for each type of bet. The betting limits are displayed at every table. If you bet outside the limits, the dealer will physically move your bets and tell you the bet was rejected.

Next, the dealer picks up the ball and spins the wheel. In most casinos, the dealer waits for the ball to slow down towards the end of the spin before calling “no more bets”. At this point, the dealer ways their hands over the table to signify no more bets are permitted for that particular spin.

When the ball lands, the dealer places a marker to identify the winning number on the betting table. The dealer then pays out winning players. When they are complete, the dealer calls “place your bets” at which point you can collect your winnings, and the process repeats.

Dealers and Pit Bosses

The dealers are also known as croupiers, and they spin the wheel. But it is not uncommon for the wheel to spun automatically by a robot. The pit boss is the supervisor that overseas operations of usually 2 to 4 wheels. It is their responsibility to ensure procedures are followed. They also have a direct link to the casino surveillance staff, who may instruct the pit boss to take particular action, or keep an eye on specific players.

Contrary to what you may think, most dealers and pit bosses want players to win. It is not their money at risk, they hate to see people lose a lot of money. If you are winning discretely, most casino staff are happy to let you continue to do so, provided you don’t make them look incompetent. We know this because many of our team members are ex-casino staff. However, of course every individual is different, and there are always staff members that do their job properly.

Cashing out winnings

If you have chosen coloured chips, you will need to have them converted to the standard denomination casino chips, which are assigned a dollar value. Once this is done, you may leave the table and approached the cash out register. If your winnings are above a particular threshold, photo identification must be shown, and in some cases payouts must be via written check only, and not cash. If you are playing professionally, it is absolutely critical to avoid detection, and you will need to carefully cash in amounts that avoid the threshold. There are many tips and tricks to avoiding detection from casino staff, but this is one of the obvious ones.


The procedures and rules for playing roulette are the same wherever you go in the world. The exceptions are if you play rapid roulette, or on automated roulette wheels. These usually have automated systems that collect your money. They also offer print out receipts for you to cash out at the cashier.

Roulette Odds and Payouts

Bet Payout European Roulette Odds (Chance of Winning) American Roulette Odds (Chance of Winning)
Reds / Blacks (colour) 1:1 48.65% 47.37%
Evens / Odds 1:1 48.65% 47.37%
Lows / Highs (1-18 / 19-36) 1:1 48.65% 47.37%
Dozens 2:1 32.43% 31.58%
Columns 2:1 32.43% 31.58%
6 Numbers (6 line) 5:1 16.22% 15.79%
5 Numbers (top line) 6:1 13.16%
4 Numbers (square) 8:1 10.81% 10.53%
3 Numbers (street) 11:1 8.11% 7.89%
2 Numbers (split) 17:1 5.41% 5.26%
1 Number (straight) 35:1 2.70% 2.63%
Examples:1:1 payout means you receive 1 chip PLUS your original bet5:1 payout means you receive 5 chips PLUS your original bet

Types Of Roulette Bets:


The two main types of bets are “inside” and “outside”, as shown in the image left. There are different betting limits for each type of bet. Usually you can bet much higher on outside bets. This is for a few reasons, but mainly because the payouts are much higher on inside bets.

The Types of Bets and Chip Placement

Refer to the second image and the below for an explanation of the types of bets:

(1) Straight (1 number): 35-1 payout (pays your original bet PLUS 35 units). The example covers number 25.

(2) Split (2 numbers): 17-1 payout (pays your original bet PLUS 17 units). The example covers numbers 20 & 23.

(3) Street (3 numbers): 11-1 payout (pays your original bet PLUS 11 units). The example covers 13, 14 & 15.

(4) Square (4 numbers): 8-1 payout (pays your original bet PLUS 8 units). The example covers 7, 8, 10 & 11.

(5) Six Line (6 numbers): 5-1 payout (pays your original bet PLUS 5 units). The example covers numbers 1 to 6.

(6) Colours (18 numbers): 1:1 payout (pays your original bet PLUS 1 unit). The example covers all red numbers.

(7) Dozens (12 Numbers): 2-1 payout (pays your original bet PLUS 2 units). The example covers numbers 25 to 36.

(8) Highs / Lows (1-18 or 19-36): 1-1 payout (pays your original bet PLUS 1 unit). The example covers numbers 19 to 36.

(9) Odds/Evens (18 numbers): 1-1 payout (pays your original bet PLUS 1 unit). The example covers all odd numbers.

(10) Columns (12 numbers): 2-1 payout (pays your original bet PLUS 2 units). The example covers numbers 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33 & 36.

Avoiding Common Misconceptions

One of the most common mistakes a roulette player will make is to increase bets after losses, without any consideration to predicting the winning number. It should be obvious that roulette is all about the winning number. And the idea is to bet on the winning number. But almost every roulette system does not even consider why the ball lands where it does. It sounds ridiculous but it’s true.

For example, a simple system may be to bet on red but increase your bet size after a loss. The theory is that increasing the bet size will allow you to win back any losses. But the reality is you are simply increasing the amount you wager on the next spin. Each spin has no correlation to the following spin, at least not in the way that such a betting system assumes.

Another example is consider 10 reds spinning in a row. One roulette player says “red is on a streak, I must bet red”. Another player says “black is due to spin next, so I’ll bet black”. So who is right? Neither of them. This is because the odds of red or black spinning are still 50/50 (neglecting the existence of zero for now). It’s amazing how every player at the table things either one way or the other when there is a long streak of a particular colour. Meanwhile the casino owner is sitting back rubbing their hands, grateful that the players have no idea that the illusion of streaks or due events is all in the player’s head.

What is the best roulette bet?

The best bet is wherever the ball lands. Duh, right? But let me explain more . . . Firstly, realistically you can’t know exactly what number will win on every spin. But on most wheels, it is at least possible to predict which area the ball will bounce to, and you can have at least better than random accuracy. You need to understand the house edge with roulette is only small, and you only need to have slight accuracy of predictions to put the edge in your favor. You’d think it would be impossible to predict where the ball bounces, and you’d think the dealer’s spin speeds would control it all. But take your time to read this website and understand the principles that make roulette a much more predictable game than you may think.

How Important are the Odds?

The odds simply tell you how often you can expect to win if the accuracy of your bet selection is no better than random. If you apply advantage play methods that use physics to predict the winning number, then the odds change, although generally the player edge becomes the focus.

European and American Double 0 Wheel Layouts

The American wheel has both single and double 0 pockets, whereas the European wheel only has a single green 0. The layout of each wheel type is below:

Single-zero (European) wheel: 0,32,15,19,4,21,2,25,17,34,6,27,13,36,11,30,8,23,10,5,24,16,33,1,20,14,31,9,22,18,29,7,28,12,35,3,26

Double-zero (American) wheel: 0,28,9,26,30,11,7,20,32,17,5,22,34,15,3,24,36,13,1,00,27,10,25,29,12,8,19,31,18,6,21,33,16,4,23,35,14,2

The House Edge

The house edge is the normal edge the casino has over players. On the European wheel, it is -2.7% and on the American wheel, it is -5.26%. So the advantage the casino has over players is much greater with the American wheel. However, in either case it’s still only a minor advantage the casino has. But unless the accuracy of the player’s predictions is better than random, this small edge is enough for the casino to reliably profit over the long term. It is inevitable that some players will win in the short-term, but the casino thinks in terms of tens of thousands of spins and thousands of players, not individual players. The only time casinos consider individual players is if they appear to be using a professional roulette system.

Call Bets

Called or announced bets are bets that are made by speaking them, without actually placing the bets. These type of bets are not permitted in all jurisdictions, mostly because it creates opportunities for cheating players to place bets without having any money.

Neighbour Bets

These are typically used by professional players to bet on particular physical sectors of the roulette wheel. For example, a neighbour bet on zero for the European roulette wheel will typically cover numbers 3,26,0,32,15. This is because sector based bets are used in advantage play methods. In particularly the European casinos, a neighbour bet must be given to the dealer, who then announces the bet to the pit boss. From a professional player’s perspective, it is not wise to do this too often as it attracts attention. Neighbour bets are placed on a circular representation of the wheel situated on the betting table, called the race track.