How to Play Roulette – Rules and Tips

Roulette is a casino game that is fairly easy to learn. Basic betting starts with betting on a single number, a color or odd/even.

Roulette Rules

The American roulette wheel consists of 38 spaces, numbered 1-36, along with a 0 and a 00. A European roulette only includes a single 0, reducing the house edge.

After bets are placed, the dealer spins the wheel and releases the ball around the rim. Betting is still allowed until the ball starts to slow down (roughly 10 seconds before dropping off of the rim). The dealer waves their hand across the table and no more bets are allowed.

Once the ball drops off of the rim and before it hits the spaces, there are a number of raised “diamond” like notches in the wheel both vertically and horizontally that helps randomize where the ball lands.

When the ball settles in a space, the number is marked on the table. Losing bets are removed and winning bets are paid. Pro tip: Never place additional bets until previous spin bets are made and the marker is removed from the table. You’ll get scolded at best, and at the worse, you could lose your bet!

Roulette Betting Options

For such a simple game as Roulette, there are a number of betting options.

  • Single Number Bet – Bet on any lone number to win.
  • Split Bet – Single bet on a combination of 2 numbers to win. The numbers must be touching on the table.
  • Street Bet – Single bet on a row of 3 numbers to win. The numbers are all in a row on the table.
  • Corner Bet – Single bet on 4 numbers to win. The corners of all 4 numbers must touch on the table.
  • First 5 – Single bet on 5 the first 5 numbers on the table (0,00,1,2,3) to win.
  • 6 Line – Single bet on 6 numbers two win. The numbers are 2 consecutive rows on the table.
  • 1st 12 – Single bet on numbers 1-12 to win.
  • 2nd 12 – Single bet on numbers 3-24 to win.
  • 3rd 12 – Single bet on numbers 25-36 to win.
  • 1-18 – Single bet on numbers 1-18 to win.
  • 19-36 – Single bet on numbers 19-36 to win.
  • Odd – Single bet on an odd number to win.
  • Even – Single bet on an even number to win, not including 0 and 00.
  • Red – Single bet on a red number to win.
  • Black – Single bet on a black number to win.

Roulette Betting Odds  

With all of the different bets available, it is important to know the odds of each bet. Following are the payouts when $1 is bet along with the win percentage and the house edge.

All of the betting options net the same house advantage except for the First 5 bet on an American Roulette table.

Roulette Payouts and House Edge
Bet Type Payout American Roulette House Edge European Roulette House Edge
Single Number Bet 35 5.26% 2.70%
Split Bet 17 5.26% 2.70%
Street Bet 11 5.26% 2.70%
Corner Bet 8 5.26% 2.70%
First 5 6 7.89% n/a
Six Line 5 5.26% 2.70%
1st 12 2 5.26% 2.70%
2nd 12 2 5.26% 2.70%
3rd 12 2 5.26% 2.70%
1-18 1 5.26% 2.70%
19-36 1 5.26% 2.70%
Odd 1 5.26% 2.70%
Even 1 5.26% 2.70%
Red 1 5.26% 2.70%
Black 1 5.26% 2.70%

Roulette Betting Strategy

There are a number of betting strategies for Roulette floating around, but the numbers never lie: no matter what strategy you use, the odds are always the same. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun, and we’d d be remiss if we didn’t offer you the various Roulette betting strategies used.


The Martingale system was popularized in Blackjack betting but also applies to Roulette. If you lose you keep doubling your bet until you win. Two issues with using this method are your bankroll and the table maximum.

If you start betting $1, after 10 losing bets in a row your 11th bet will cost you $1,024. That’s an awful lot of cash to net a $1 profit. Not to mention statistically speaking, a run of 10 losses in a row is not an anomaly.

Table maximums are another factor to consider. If you are playing on a table with a $1 minimum, the maximum bet may top out at $500.

Wheel Tracking

Casinos offer players scorecards or an electronic scoreboard to track the numbers that have hit recently. Tracking the numbers is pure fool’s gold. The odds of a number hitting are the exact same whether it hit the last spin or not.

Roulette Variations

There are several versions of Roulette offered around the globe. Each one has some slight variations.

  • American Roulette – This is the most common version of Roulette in the United States and North America. There are 38 spaces on the Roulette wheel including 0 and 00.
  • European Roulette – Also known as single 0 Roulette, the wheel has 37 spaces including 0.
  • Atlantic City Rules Roulette: American Roulette tables in Atlantic City, New Jersey offers half of your bet back if you wager on an even outcome (Odd, Even, 1-18, 19-36, Red, Black) bet, and the ball lands on 0 or 00.
  • Rapid Roulette – Available for both American and European Roulette wheels, this game is played without a dealer. The Roulette wheel is under glass and players bet on a computer monitor which shows a mini version of a betting table. Without having to pay out chips to players, spins occur more than twice as fast as regular Roulette.

Roulette History

Blaise Pascal was credited with the invention of the earliest form of Roulette wheels, dating back to the 17th Century. Roulette as we know it today was first introduced to the gaming public in 18th Century France. Single 0 or European Roulette was first introduced shortly after that in the mid-19th Century in Germany.

Over the years the wheel has been perfected to create a “neutral” wheel where the odds of landing on all numbers are equal. Roulette wheels in the past were not tested for symmetric characteristics, causing a bias towards certain numbers.

Roulette in Pop Culture

Roulette appeared in arguably the most famous movie of all time, Casablanca. Humphrey Bogart appears in a white tuxedo for some gaming action in this classic flick.