Learn how to play roulette like a pro, from mastering the rules for each different version to employing betting strategies for better odds of winning at the casino.
Last updated: August 02, 2023
Roulette is one of the most popular and beloved casino games in the world, enjoyed by both recreational gamblers and high-stakes sharks in casinos in every corner of the planet.
The game offers numerous betting options, a variety of different versions, and an adrenaline rush that few other games can match.
But before you play roulette for real money, you should ask yourself whether this game offers favorable odds and what roulette strategies can be applied to minimize your losses.
Like all other casino games, roulette also holds an edge over the player, and in this roulette guide, we will show you how big that house edge is, how it can be minimized, and whether or not you should choose roulette as your favorite casino game.
If you are new to the game, we will also teach you how to play roulette, how to make roulette bets, and what strategies you can apply at the table, whether you are playing online or in-person at a live casino.
Perhaps the most important question you should ask yourself before playing any casino games is: how big of an edge does the casino have against me in this game?
The answer to that question varies wildly between different games, with some offering a house edge as low as 0.5% and others having an advantage of 20% or more.
For that reason, you should always be aware of the house edge you are up against and any possible strategies that could minimize that edge.
Conversely, you should also be aware of the game’s return to player percentage (RTP), which signifies the percentage of all bets that are returned to the players.
In the classic roulette game, the house edge stands at 2.70%, while the RTP stands at 97.3%. These numbers may seem favorable, but they fade away compared to the likes of blackjack or baccarat, which feature a significantly lower house edge.
You should also understand that different variations of roulette are available and that the house edge can be higher and lower, depending on the wheel you play at.
The three most popular versions of roulette are:
As you can see, American Roulette features a house edge of 5.26%, caused by adding an extra number to the roulette wheel. By having that extra number on the wheel, the house nearly doubles the amount of money it wins off of every player in the long run.
That single piece of information is enough for us to tell you to avoid playing American Roulette in any casino that offers other roulette versions, as the increased house edge makes it even less likely you will win.
On the other hand, French Roulette offers a more favorable house edge of just 1.35%. It is worth noting that this lowered house edge is only in play when you make even odds bets (red/black, odd/even, etc) due to the application of La Partage and En Prison rules, which are unique to this roulette version.
Online casinos also offer a number of other roulette variations, most of which come with an even higher house edge and lower RTP, which means you should avoid them for the most part.
The major takeaway from this is that you should always play European or French Roulette while avoiding American Roulette and other novelty roulette versions if you are playing for real money.
Now that we have discussed the house advantage of roulette and its implications let’s look at the game’s basic rules and how to play roulette in the first place.
The game of roulette consists of two main components — the roulette wheel and the roulette betting table. In each roulette round, the croupier will spin the wheel and roll the ball in the opposite direction. The wheel and the ball will spin until the ball eventually stops in one of the numbered sockets.
Your goal in roulette is to make bets that correspond to the socket in which the ball eventually lands. You may choose to bet on specific numbers or make other bets that include multiple numbers at once.
All bets are placed before the ball has landed, and betting stops when the croupier announces, “No more bets.” Once the ball has landed, all players with bets corresponding to the winning number are paid accordingly.
Now, let’s take a look at all the roulette bets you can make, including all inside and outside bets.
In order to play roulette, you will need to know what betting options are at your disposal. All roulette bets belong to one of the two major groups — inside bets and outside bets.
Inside bets are all bets made on the inner part of the betting table. These include bets made directly on a single number or on any of the edges between the numbers.
Outside bets are made by placing chips on the outskirts of the betting table. These include bets like red/black, odd/even, high/low, and more.
It is important to note that the house edge in roulette is exactly the same on all bets, which means you cannot improve or lower your winning odds by making certain bets.
The only exception to this rule is in French Roulette, where making outside bets with even odds takes the house edge down to 1.35%.
First, let’s look at all the inside bets you can make. To make these bets, you will place chips on the part of the betting table where the actual numbers are displayed
Straight-Up Bet (En Plein)
The straight-up bet is the simplest roulette bet of them all. You make this bet by placing chips on a single number on the betting table, and you win if the ball lands in that exact socket.
Note that you are allowed to make multiple straight-up bets and bet on any numbers you want for each spin. Making multiple straight-up bets does not increase or decrease the house edge.
In European Roulette, you will be paid 35:1, while your chances to win are 1/37.
The split bet is a bet that includes two adjacent numbers on the betting table. To make a split bet, you will need to place chips on the line between these two numbers.
You are allowed to make multiple split bets for the same spin. Once a split bet is made, you will get paid if the ball ends up in either of the two sockets.
In European Roulette, you will be paid 17:1 on your split bet, while your chances to win are 2/37.
The three-number bet includes three adjacent numbers on the roulette betting table. To make a three-number bet, you will need to place chips on the outside line below the three numbers.
You can make multiple three-number bets in roulette, and you will get paid if the ball lands in any one of the three sockets you bet on.
In European Roulette, you will be paid 11:1 on your three-number bets, while your chances to win are 3/37.
The popular “Carre” bet, also known as the square, includes four adjacent numbers on the betting table. To make the square bet, you will need to place your chips on the intersections of the lines between the four numbers, also known as the corner.
You are allowed to make multiple square bets, and your bet will be a winner if the ball lands in any one of these four sockets.
In European Roulette, you will be paid 8:1 on your square bets, while your chances of winning are 4/37.
The Six Line bet is a relatively unpopular roulette bet that many players don’t even know is available. To make this bet, you will need to place your chips on the outside border of the six numbers you are looking to bet at the exact intersection of the lines.
If you make this bet, you will win if the ball lands in any of the six sockets. In European Roulette, this bet pays 5:1, and your odds of winning are 6/37.
A unique roulette bet that only exists in American Roulette, the five-number bet includes five adjacent numbers, namely 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3.
However, there is a trick with the five-number bet and a reason to never make it. This bet pays at 6:1 if the ball lands in one of the five sockets, and your odds of winning are 5/38.
This means that making the bet actually increases the house edge to 7.89%, as opposed to the usual 5.26%. While we don’t recommend playing American Roulette in the first place, if you do play at one of these wheels, make sure to avoid “the monster” by all means.
An alternative to this bet is to place single chips on the individual numbers or make other bets (such as split bets) on the numbers, thus reverting the house edge back to the original 5.26%.
Now that we have covered all the inside bets you can make, it is time to look to the outskirts of the betting table, where you will find betting spaces such as red, black, odd, even, and others.
Let’s take a look at your outside betting options and find out what they entail and what the winning odds are.
If you have ever seen the game of roulette in the movies, you have probably seen the characters bet on red or black. In truth, this is one of the least volatile bets in the game, but it has made quite a few appearances in popular culture.
You make the red or black bet by placing your chips on either the red or black betting slot on the outside of the table. You are also allowed to place chips on both red and black during the same spin.
If the ball lands in a socket of the corresponding color to your bet, you will be paid 1:1 on your money, while the odds of winning in European Roulette are 18/37.
The odd or even bet is very similar in practice to the red or black bet. You make this bet by placing your chips on the fields marked odd or even, and you are betting on just under half of all the sockets on the wheel.
If the ball lands in a socket that is either odd or even, depending on what you bet, you will be paid at 1:1, while the odds of winning in European Roulette are 18/37.
Much like the odd or even bet, the high or low bet includes 18 numbers in total. If you place your chips on low, you are betting on numbers between 1 and 18, while betting on high means betting on numbers between 19 and 36.
You will be paid at 1:1 if the ball lands in one of the sockets that your bet includes, and your winning odds in European Roulette are 18/37.
The roulette betting table is split into three columns, with each consisting of 12 numbers. You can place your column bets by placing chips on the fields that indicate each column or row.
Your column bet will be a winner if the ball lands in any sockets belonging to the given column. In this case, you will be paid at 2:1, and your winning odds are 12/37 in European Roulette.
The dozens bet is very similar to the column bet in that each dozen is made up of exactly 12 numbers. The first dozen include numbers between 1 and 12, the second contains numbers between 13 and 24, and the third column contains numbers between 25 and 36.
If the ball lands in any of the sockets belonging to your column, you will be paid at 2:1, and the winning odds in European Roulette are 12/37.
Note that you are allowed to make multiple dozens or column bets for the same spin, as well as any mix of these and other outside and inside bets.
NowScouring the internet, you may find a lot of talk about different roulette strategies or ways to beat roulette and make money playing the game. The truth is that there is no way to decrease the house edge in roulette, and the casino will always have an edge over you, regardless of the strategy you apply.
However, your approach to the game and betting strategy can impact the roulette variance. For instance, betting a single number on each spin will result in high variance and very few wins, while betting on even money bets such as red/black will result in more winning spins.
Some players also choose to apply progressive roulette systems such as the Martingale system or Reverse Martingale system to maintain a steady stream of small wins.
However, beware that progressive betting systems like Martingale are highly flawed, as they disregard the betting cap and your limited bankroll. Since long streaks of numbers of the same color are not as infrequent as you may think, every player trying to use such systems will eventually go bankrupt.
While you can choose to apply any particular betting strategy you wish, keep in mind that the odds never change in roulette and that the house always retains an edge of 2.7% in European and 5.26% in American Roulette.
If you want to limit your roulette losses, we highly recommend limiting the size of your bet per spin, and in the long run, this will result in a smaller overall loss.
Using casino bonuses and other promotions can also help offset some of the casino edge, making roulette a less unprofitable game.
However, at the end of the day, remember that roulette is all about entertainment and enjoying the adrenaline and that it’s not really possible to make a long-term profit playing this casino game.
Roulette is one of the most exciting casino games you can find, and it allows you to set up your bets in ways that create a higher or lower variance, depending on your preference.
With a house edge of 2.7% (or even 5.26%), roulette is certainly not in the top echelon of casino games in terms of expected loss, as other games, like blackjack, video poker, or baccarat, can offer a house edge of less than 1%.
However, roulette can be a lot more entertaining to play than these card games, and catching a winning streak in roulette will give you a rush that most other casino games can’t really do.
If you are looking for fast-paced action and a chance to spin up a big win in a matter of a few winning spins, roulette is certainly a game you should try, but remember to play responsibly and only risk the money you are comfortable with losing, as playing roulette in such a way can lead to long losing streaks and a lot of variance.
Learn more about the Best Online Casinos in the US in our complete guide!
The house edge in roulette varies between 1.35% and 5.26%, depending on the version you choose to play. French Roulette offers a house edge of 1.35% on even money bets, while all bets offer a 2.7% house edge in European and 5.26% in American Roulette (with the exception of the monster bet).
French Roulette provides the best RTP rate when making even money bets such as red/black or odd/even. Thanks to en prison and la partage rules, this game will allow you to save some of your losses whenever the ball lands in the zero socket.
The main difference is that American Roulette features an extra 00 socket on the wheel. By adding an extra number and keeping the same payouts, American Roulette nearly doubles the house edge, making it a lot less favorable for the player.
Yes! French Roulette is the same as European Roulette in every regard, but one, and this one works in the player’s favor. While all other payouts are the same, betting on red/black or odd/even will allow you to make use of special rules that diminish house edge and give you money back when the ball lands in the zero socket.
Inside bets are those made on the inner part of the table, where the numbers are displayed. Outside bets are those made by placing chips on the various fields on the outer part of the table, such as red, black, odd, even, high, or low. All bets in roulette fall into one of these two categories.
The maximum amount you can win on a single bet is 35:1 on the money you wagered. For example, if you make a $1 straight-up bet on the number 12 and get lucky, you will receive $36 back for a $35 profit.