Overview of Roulette

Overview of Roulette

Roulette has been called “the king of casino games,” and gamblers have been enjoying its charms for centuries. The game has its roots in Europe, and for years it was only available in Monte Carlo and Las Vegas. Global gambling saw a major increase in the 1970s, however, and now roulette is a common sight in hundreds of casinos around the world.

Below we offer a complete overview of Roulette. We discuss topics such as how to play the game, the different types of bets involved and even some so-called strategies that can be used.

How to Play Roulette

The game of roulette is played with a wheel that has colored pockets alternating red and black. The European version of the game has 37 pockets with numbers from 1 to 36 and a green pocket marked 0. The American version, meanwhile, has 38 pockets with numbers from 1 to 36, as well as green pockets for 0 and 00. As you might expect, the American version of roulette has a higher house edge thanks to the extra pocket.

The American wheel has numbers in the following clockwise order:

The European wheel has numbers in the following clockwise order:

The goal of the player is to attempt to guess which pocket the ball will land in. This can be done by wagering on a single number, a group of numbers, or even the color of the pocket. Bets are made by placing chips on the section of the table known as the “layout.”

While player’s place bets, a casino employee known as a croupier will start the wheel to spinning. A small white ball is then placed in the wheel and spun in the opposite direction.

Betting continues until the croupier announces “No more bets.” The ball eventually slows enough that it drops into the lower section of the wheel, bounces about, and lands in a pocket. At this point, losing wagers are raked off the table and winning bets are paid to players.

Types of Roulette Bets

This section includes all wagers available to players during a game of roulette. These fall into three categories, and we’ll deal with each in turn.

Inside Bets
These wagers often feature bigger payouts, although the odds of winning aren’t as strong.

  • Street – This wager is on three numbers on the layout that form a horizontal line. Offers an 11:1 payout.
  • Six Line (aka Double Street) – Two street wagers are combined for this bet. Offers a 5:1 payout.
  • Split – Two numbers are selected that are next to one another on the layout (vertically or horizontally). Offers a 17:1 payout.
  • Straight Up (aka Single) – With this option, the player choose a single number and receives a 35:1 payout if successful.
  • Corner (aka Square) – In order to make this bet, the player chooses four numbers that form a square on the layout. The payout is 8:1.
  • Trio – The player wagers on one of the following three-number combinations: 0/1/2 or 00/2/3. Provides an 11:1 payout and is only available in the single-zero version of the game.
  • Top Line – Available on the double-zero layouts, this is wager on the following numbers: 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3 – the payout is 6:1.
  • Basket (aka First Four) – In the single-zero version of the game, this wager is on the following numbers: 0, 1, 2, and 3. Pays 11:1.
  • Basket – In the double-zero version of the game, this wager can be made on one of the following three-number combinations: 0/1/2, 0/00/2, or 00/2/3. The payout is 11:1.
Outside Bets
These bets usually carry better odds, although their payouts tend to be smaller.

  • 1 to 18 – The player is betting that the winning number will be from 1 to 18 on the wheel. Pays even money.
  • 19 to 36 – The player is betting that the winning number will be from 19 to 36 on the wheel. Pays even money.
  • Even or Odd – Another even money payout, this wager allows the player to choose whether the winning number is going to be even or odd.
  • Red or Black – An even money wager that pays if the player can successfully predict the color of the winning pocket.
  • Dozen Bets – The player wagers on 12 numbers that are situated within the same vertical line on the layout. The payout is 2:1, and the possible combinations include 1-12, 13-24, and 25-36.
  • Column Bets – This wager selects a single, vertical column on the table layout and wagers on all 12 numbers. The payout is 2:1.
  • Snake Bet – A special dozen bet that contains the following numbers: 1, 5, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 23, 27, 30, 32, and 34.
Called Bets
These bets are often available at tables with higher betting limits. Instead of placing chips on the table, the player often calls out these wagers to the croupier.

  • Orphans – If you place this call bet, you are wagering on the following eight numbers: 17, 34, 6, 1, 20, 14, 31, and 9.
  • Neighbors of Zero – This bet is comprised of all the numbers from 22 to 25 on the wheel, which includes the following: 22, 18, 29, 7, 28, 12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32, 15, 19, 4, 21, 2, and 25.
  • Tiers – All the numbers on the wheel from 27 to 33 are part of this wager, including the following: 27, 13, 36, 11, 30, 8, 23, 10, 5, 24, 16, and 33.
  • XX and the Neighbors – This bet allows the player to choose any number on the wheel, and they’ll also get the two numbers on either side. If, for example, the player wanted to wager on 17, they would call out “17 and the neighbors.”

Roulette Strategies

There’s no way to consistently predict where a roulette ball is going to land, but that hasn’t kept players from developing a number of systems and strategies over the years. The following are some of the leading options:

Bet on Red

The wheel has 18 red pockets, so there’s a 47.37% chance of the ball landing on red during each spin of an American wheel. There’s a 50% chance of the ball landing on red a minimum of 18 times during 38 spins.

House Numbers

Some players refer to the 0 and 00 as the “house numbers,” and they believe that betting on these numbers will impart the house edge on the player. The math, however, does not back up this theory, so the player is far more likely to lose money over the long term. Still, some roulette fans continue to swear by this strategy.

Maximum Boldness

This strategy recognizes that roulette is a losing proposition, so it attempts to limit losses by encouraging the player to make larger bets. Assuming that some of these wagers are successful, the player is then encouraged to stop play before the odds of the game drain their bankroll.


According to this betting system, the player is supposed to double the size of their wager following each loss. When a win does occur, it’s supposed to be large enough to cover the losses that came before. This, of course, assumes that the player wins enough to make up for all the losses, which isn’t guaranteed.

1st and 3rd Column

The player wagers an equal amount on the first and third columns of the layout, which covers most of the red numbers. Another wager of equal size is made on black to serve as insurance. The main point of this strategy is to break even in the long term, so those looking for a major payday should probably find a different method of play.

Roulette Chips

While the same chips are used for gaming at most parts of a casino, this isn’t the case at the roulette table. When playing this game, the customer is expected to place cash on the table and receive custom chips in return.

Each player is given chips with a specific color, which makes it easier for employees to identify them during the payout phase. Never share your chips with someone else, even if you happen to be married to them. Otherwise, you run the risk of causing a great amount of confusion.

When a player begins a session at the table, they’ll also be asked to choose a denomination for their chips. This can be as low as $1 or as high as $100 (or more at high roller tables). When you’re ready to retire from the table, you’ll be paid based on the denomination you selected and the number of chips. Always remember to cash out before leaving the table, as roulette chips are worthless anywhere else in the casino.

Roulette Etiquette

When you play online roulette, you don’t have to worry about what to wear or how to act. A land-based casino is different, however, as rules are in place to ensure at least a modicum of social civility. In addition, some casino games also carry their own unique rules when it comes to determining what’s acceptable from the players. This section offers advice on the general and the specific, with the goal being to keep you from making a fool of yourself at the roulette table or having to deal with security.

  • When standing at the table, don’t place bags or other large items in front of you. Otherwise, someone could accuse you of trying to steal chips.
  • Don’t hold food or drinks over the table. This is just a mess waiting to happen.
  • Always treat the casino employees in the same manner that you would want to be treated. Nobody likes a jerk, and the same social rules apply during a game of roulette. While flirting with an attractive employee isn’t out of bounds, just remember that anything can be taken too far.
  • Prior to a spin, the croupier will announce that betting is over for the moment. After this point, don’t touch any of the chips on the table.
  • Put up your camera or cell phone before playing, as these devices are not allowed at the table for both reasons of security and courtesy.
  • If you need to count your money, do it away from the table. I suggest either heading to the bathroom or retiring to your hotel room. If you do it in the open, you run the risk of attracting the wrong sort of attention.
  • Don’t toss your chips on the table, as you may disrupt other bets that have already been placed on the layout.
  • You should always tip at the roulette table, and this applies regardless of your current streak. I suggest at least $5 per hour of play, although you should also consider sharing the riches on any big wins.
  • When asking for chip changes or cash, always wait until the current spin has ended.
  • Once a chip has been placed on the table, a bet has been established with the casino and can’t be taken back. Do not try to remove a chip once it’s been placed down.
  • If you can’t reach the table to place a chip, you can verbally make a wager. Keep in mind, however, that “call bets” are only valid if the croupier can process them before the spin.
  • A lot of casinos offer free drinks, but be careful about taking advantage of this perk. Getting sloppy drunk at the roulette table (or anywhere else in the casino) is bad form, especially if you start disrupting the enjoyment of your fellow patrons.
  • Never place cash directly in the hand of an employee at the roulette table. Instead, place it on the table and allow them to pick it up.

While roulette isn’t the best game for advantage players, it still remains a favorite option due to its aura of fun and sophistication. Fortunes have been won or lost on a single spin of the wheel, and the 50/50 odds of betting on red or black appeal to almost anyone who’s ever dreamed of being a big shot. I don’t suggest roulette for long-term sessions, but wagering on a few spins is almost mandatory for serious casino gaming enthusiasts.