How to Play Roulette
is not a very difficult game to learn how to play and it
can be very fun and rewarding. In roulette the players
play against the house by betting on the outcome of
colored numbers on a wheel. The casino is represented by
a croupier, also known as the dealer or banker, who
spins the roulette wheel and handles all wagers and
payouts. After you place your bets, the dealer spins a
small white ball in the opposite direction of the
turning wheel. When the ball comes to rest in one of the
slots, the dealer will call out the winning number and
settle all bets. To win at roulette a player must
predict where the ball will land at the end of each
The roulette wheel itself has 37 or 38 numbered slots,
numbered 1 through 36, zero, and sometimes double zero.
The double zero is only on American roulette wheels.
Even numbers are colored red and odd numbers are colored
black. Zero and double zero sections are green. The
house advantage is 2.7% for single zero tables (European
wheel) and 5.26% for double zero tables (American
table usually accommodates 6 to 8 players at one time. Each
player is assigned a different color chip to place bets with.
This is done to keep track of which player is placing each bet.
When you initially put down your money the croupier will give
you a corresponding number of chips in one color. Each colored
chip represents one betting unit for the denomination roulette
table you are playing on. If the table is a $1 table then each
chip in worth $1. When you win you will be paid in colored chips
until you are ready to collect your winnings and move on.
If you're just passing through and you want to place a quick bet
on a certain number or on one of the other areas of the layout,
you don't have to ask the croupier for a color. It is perfectly
acceptable to put the house's chips, or even cash, down on the
layout. If you win you will be paid in casino chips. However, if
you're planning to play awhile it's best to sit down and get a
There are several different bets in roulette. There are bets on
individual numbers or groupings of numbers, called "inside
bets". There are also more general bets on large sets of
numbers, called "outside bets". These are discussed in more
detail in the next lessons.
As you play you will need to meet the posted minimum bet
requirement. If the minimum bet is one dollar and you are
playing 25-cent chips you need to play at least four chips
bringing your total bet to $1. Many tables separate the outside
from the inside when meeting the minimum bet requirements which
means you are not allowed to split the minimum bet between the
inside and outside betting areas. If you chose to play both you
must meet the minimum both inside and outside. For example, on a
$1 minimum table you must play at least $2 if you want to play
both the inside and the outside betting areas, at least $1
inside and at least $1 outside. Also, each individual outside
bet must usually meet the minimum requirement. If you want to
bet on Even and Red you must bet at least $1 on each bet.
Players place their bets on the roulette table themselves before
each spin. A few moments after the croupier starts the spin the
ball will begin to drop. At this point he will call "no more
bets" and wave his hand across the table. No more bets can be
placed and the bets on the table cannot be changed in any way.
If you try to touch your bet after this point the croupier will
not be very happy with you.
When the ball drops onto a number the croupier will place a
plastic marker on the winning number on the roulette table,
collect losing bets and pay winning bets. You must wait until
the croupier removes the plastic marker before picking up any
winnings or placing the next bet. Not being patient and waiting
is another good way to get on the croupier's bad side. Roulette
tends to be much slower paced than most casino games.
Always remember that roulette play is completely random and has
nothing to do with any previous spin outcomes. Just because red
came up the previous six times doesn't mean black is "due" to
come up. The roulette wheel is completely unbiased, has no
memory, and no target payout percentage.
A roulette table displays the numbers 1 through 36 in
twelve horizontal rows and three vertical columns. The
first row contains 1-2-3, the second 4-5-6, and so on.
This section on the table plus a green section for
single and double zeros constitute the inside betting
area. There are several different inside bets that can
A one-number bet is made by placing chips in the middle
of the section displaying that number. This is the
highest paying bet in roulette. It is also called a
straight-up bet. The bet pays 35 to 1.
You can bet on two numbers by placing your chips on the
line shared by two adjacent numbers, for instance 1-2 or
1-4. This is called a split bet. The payout for a split
bet is 17 to 1.
A three-number bet is called a street bet or trio bet.
This bet is made by placing your chips on the outside
edge of a row, for instance 7-8-9. This bet pays 11 to
A four-number bet is made by placing your chips on the
corners of a block of four intersecting numbers, for
instance 2-3-5-6. This is known as a corner bet. The
corner bet pays 8 to 1.
bet on six numbers by placing your chips on the edge of
two adjacent rows, covering the shared corners, for
instance 1-2-3-4-5-6. This is known as a line bet. The
payout for this bet is 5 to 1.
You can also bet on inside numbers in combination with
the zero sections. This can result in a five-number bet
with a payout of 6 to 1. Betting on single or double
zero is the same as betting on any other number.
Along the left side and bottom of the inside numbers are
the outside bets. There are several different kinds of
outside bets you can make. All outside bets can be made
by simply placing your chips in the betting area.
bottom of the inside betting area are the column outside
bets. There is one outside betting section for each of
the three columns of numbers. A bet on one of these is a
bet that one of the 12 numbers in this column will come
up at the end of the spin. The column bet pays 2 to 1.
The rest of the outside bets are located along the left
edge of the inside numbers. There are three outside bets
called dozen bets on groups of twelve numbers, low
(1-12), middle (12-24), and high (25-36). This bet pays
2 to 1.
There are also three kinds of even bets. These are Even
or Odd, Red or Black, and Low (1-18) or High (19-36).
Each of these bets pays 1 to 1, even money.
There are two special rules sometimes offered for even
bets. Not all casinos offer these rules. The 'en prison"
rule allows the player to take back half of his bet or
leave the bet if the outcome of the spin is zero or
double zero. If the bet is left and the next spin is
again zero, the whole bet is lost. The 'la partage' rule
is similar to the en prison rule only the player
automatically loses half the even money bet, with no
option to leave the bet for another spin. Both of these
rules lower the casino's edge. On a single zero table
the house advantage is cut to 1.35% and 2.63% on a
double zero table.
Roulette Odds and Strategy
You can get
favorable odds at roulette. Lots of ways. I'll show you several,
along with the associated probabilities. Over 50 percent means
you can expect a result more than half the time. And the higher
the percentage, the greater the chance you'll win.
Approaches fall into two general groups. Multiple-bet methods
give you a greater chance to win than lose on every spin.
Sequential-bet techniques offer more chance to win than lose on
a series of spins that comprise a round of play.
Multiple-bet #1: Drop $12 on "red" and $1 each on any 12 black
numbers. If the ball lands in red, you win $12 and lose $12 - a
push. The other 20 possibilities offer 60 percent chance to win
$12; this, when one of your 12 selected black spots hits since
the winner pays $35 but you lose $11 on the other numbers and
$12 on "red." The downside is a 10 percent chance to lose $18 -
$6 of the $12 on "red" and $12 on the selected black numbers -
when the call is a green 0 or 00, and a 30 percent chance to
lose all $24 when the result is one of the six unselected black
Multiple-bet #2: Bet $5 on "1-12" and $5 on "13-24." You have 63
percent chance to win $5; this occurs when the result is from 1
to 24, since you win $10 and lose $5. You have 37 percent chance
to lose $10 if the ball stops in any of the 14 other grooves.
Multiple-bet #3: Bet $10 on "1-12," $10 on "13-24," and $1 each
on any 10 numbers from 25 to 36. If the result is between 1 and
24, you win $20 and lose 20 -- a push. The remaining 14
possibilities afford a 71 percent chance to win $6; this, when
one of the 10 selected numbers hits because the winner pays $35
but you lose $9 on the other numbers and $10 each on "1-12" and
"13-24." You have a 29 percent chance to lose $30; this, when
the ball lands in one of the four non-selected grooves outside
the 1-24 range.
Sequential-bet #1: A round is three spins. Bet $1 on each of 10
numbers. End the round profitably if you win; repeat the bet for
the next spin if you lose. You have 60 percent chance of $6 to
$26 profit per round, depending on which spin is successful. You
have 40 percent chance to lose $30 with no hits in three spins.
Sequential-bet #2: A round is seven spins. Bet $1 on each of
five numbers. End the round profitably if you win; repeat the
bet for the next spin if you lose. You have 63 percent chance of
$1 to $31 profit per round, depending on which spin is
successful. You have 37 percent chance of losing $35 with no
hits in seven spins.
Sequential-bet #3: A round is 35 spins. Bet $5 on a single
number. End the round if you win; repeat the bet if you lose.
You have a 61 percent chance of $5 to $175 profit, depending on
which spin is successful. You have a 39 percent chance of losing
$175 with no hits in 35 spins.
With these techniques, you can expect to win 60 percent or more
of your bets. The catch? Your losses on individual spins or
rounds when you fail generally exceed your wins when you
Strategies to get favorable odds at roulette should appeal to
solid citizens who enjoy frequent small wins and are content to
quit with modest profits. Within this framework, multiple-bet
approaches keep amounts and chances uniform while sequential
methods preserve a slim shot at a moderately large payoff
balanced by a greater chance at correspondingly smaller returns.
What if your motivation for gambling is a shot at a big payday
and you know you won't quit with a modest profit? Then accept
having to fight the odds with bets the house is favored to win,
knowing that a few hits can send you over the top.
To the casual
observer it would appear that the numbers on the wheel are not
organized and seem to be distributed randomly. The only obvious
patterns are that red and black numbers alternate and that
usually two odd numbers alternate with two even numbers. However
the distribution of numbers was carefully arranged so that the
sum of the numbers for any given section of the wheel would be
roughly equal to any other section of equal size. Most numbers
are part of a pair, with one number between them. These pairs
add to either 37 or 39.