Online Roulette

Master the wheel with RightCasino’s expertly-written roulette guide.

Roulette is one of the most popular and iconic casino games in the world – and its barely changed in hundreds of years. Our roulette guide provides a straightforward, step-by-step introduction to the game, steering you through the rules, odds and variations through to incredible new ways of playing.

By the time you finish the last lesson, you’ll know how to handle the wheel like a pro!

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About roulette

Roulette is a very simple gambling game that relies purely on luck. When you play roulette at a casino, a croupier is in charge of the gaming table, which consists of the playing area where the players make their bets and the roulette wheel itself.

The playing area is a grid-like pattern divided into lots of squares. The main playing area is a 3×12 grid containing thirty-six numbers. There are additional areas where you can place bets on ‘black or red’ or ‘odd or even’ and other collective bets.

The players make bets by placing chips on the playing area. You can bet on a single numbers by placing your chips in their respective squares. You can also bet on groups of numbers by placing your chips on the intersections of lines. If, for example, you place a chip or stack of chips at the point where the corners of four numbers meet, you are betting on all four numbers at the same time.

After a short period of time the croupier will announce ‘no more bets’, meaning that no more bets can be placed. They will then spin the roulette wheel (in modern casinos the roulette wheel is motorised and spins continuously at a set velocity) in one direction and a small metal ball around the wheel in the other. Within the roulette wheel are a number of different numbered slots in which the ball can land. Half of these slots are coloured red, and the other half black (aside from ‘0’ and ’00’, both coloured green). When the ball has landed in one of the slots the croupier will announce the winning number.

A small weight is then placed on the playing area to indicate where the ball ended up. All losing chips are cleared off the table, and all winning bets are paid. The croupier will announce ‘place your bets’, and the whole cycle begins again.

The history of roulette

Roulette was invented in France (‘Roulette’ is French for ‘little wheel’) as a combination of several other similar games that were played at the time. There are historical literal references to roulette as early as 1758.

Originally, the French roulette wheel had thirty-six numbers, a zero and a double-zero. The zero was coloured red and the double-zero black, but eventually both numbers came to be coloured green.

In 1843 a pair of French brothers named François and Louis Blanc introduced a new roulette wheel to a casino in the German spa town of Bad Homburg that dropped the double-zero. This increased the chances of players winning and this new wheel swiftly became the most popular type of wheel used across nearly all casinos in Europe.

When roulette reached America via New Orleans and the Mississippi, the original double-zero wheel was chosen. Casinos in the US and indeed all over the Americas still prefer to use the double-zero version of the roulette wheel to this day.

Roulette – the casino version

Roulette is a very profitable game for casinos, as the odds are weighted slightly in the casino’s favour. The probability of correctly guessing the winning number are 36-1 (or 37-1 in the American version), yet the casino only pays back 35-1. The casino’s advantage is 2.70 percent in the French or European version of the game, and 5.26 percent in the American.

The range of possible bets in roulette are as follow:

TypeDescriptionOddsOdds (US)Payout
Straight upAny single number36-137-135-1
Row0 and 0018-117-1
Splitany two adjacent numbers35-218-117-1
Basket0, 1 & 2 (or 00, 2 & 3 or 0, 00 & 2 in US)34-335-311-1
Streetany three numbers in a single row11-134-335-3
Cornerany four numbers in a block33-417-28-1
Top line0, 00, 1, 2 and 333-56-1
Six lineany six numbers in two horizontal rows31-616-35-1
Columnany one of the three columns of numbers25-1213-62-1
Dozensany of the three sequential groups of numbers25-1213-62-1
Odd or even19-1810-91-1
Red or black19-1810-91-1
High or loweither 1 to 18 or 19 to 3619-1810-91-1

In French or European roulette there is often a secondary betting table where players can place bets based on the sequence of numbers around the roulette wheel itself, as opposed to their numerical sequence. These are typically known as ‘French Bets’, and are explained below:

  • Voisins du zéro – this is a bet on seventeen numbers: zero, plus the seven numbers to the right of zero on the wheel, and the nine numbers to the left. This bet takes nine chips – two on 0/2/3, one apiece on 4/7, 12/5, 18/21, 19/22 and 32/35, and two on 25/26/28/29.
  • Jeu zéro – also known as zero spiel. This is a bet on zero, the four numbers to the left of zero on the wheel and the two to the right. The bet takes four chips – one on 26 and one apiece on 0/3, 1/15 and 32/35. Some casinos offer ‘zero spiel naca’ which adds an extra straight up bet on 19.
  • Le tiers du cylindre – this bet involves twelve numbers on the opposite side of the wheel to zero and involves six chips, each bet on splits 5/8, 10/11, 13/16, 23/24, 27/30 and 33/36. There are two associated bets: ‘Tier 5, 8, 10, 11’ which adds four straight up bets on those numbers, and ‘Giocco Ferrari’ which adds straight up bets on 8, 11, 23 and 30.
  • Orphelins – this is a bet on the eight numbers not included in either voisins du zéro or le tiers du cylindre. It involves a straight up bet on 1 and splits 6/9, 14/7, 17/20 and 31/34, for a total of five chips.
  • … and the neighbours – you can bet five chips on any number plus the two numbers to the left of it on the wheel, and the two numbers to the right. For example ‘1 and the neighbours’ would be a five chip bet on 16, 33, 1, 20 and 14.
  • Finaal – a bet on all numbers that end in the same digit. A finaal bet on 6 would cover 6, 16, 26 and 36. Finaal bets on 7, 8 and 9 only cover three numbers.
  • Split Finaal – a bet on all splits based on two numbers. For example a ‘2/5 split finaal’ covers 2/5, 12/15, 22/25 and 32/35.
  • Complete – a bet which covers ALL inside bets (i.e. straight up, splits, streets, corners and six lines) that involve a specific number.

Roulette in popular culture

Roulette has been used in movies and TV shows countless times, and some famous examples are given here.

  • In the classic movie Casablanca, a young Bulgaria refugee couple lose all their money playing roulette at Rick’s café. Rick – played by Humphrey Bogart – takes pity on them as they need the cash for a bribe and tells the male half of the couple to bet on 22 and let it ride. The number comes up twice in a row, and the newly-happy couple make their exit.
  • In 2009 UK illusionist Derren Brown persuaded a member of the public to bet £5,000 on 22 while playing roulette. Brown predicted he could use the laws of physics to estimate where the ball would land. In the end the ball landed on 8… right next to 22.
  • In the 1998 German crime thriller Run, Lola, Run, the heroine has to make 100,000 German marks in 20 minutes else her boyfriend dies. She manages to persuade a member of staff at a casino to give her a 100 mark chip, which she places on 20. She wins and lets it ride. She wins again, and now has 129,600 marks – enough to save her boyfriend’s life and treat him to a celebratory dinner too.

Roulette at online casinos

Virtually every online casino offers at least one form of roulette, and most of them offer several. Some even offer live varieties where you can play with a live croupier at an authentic casino table – the actions is fed to you via a live video stream.

One thing to note when choosing a version of online roulette to play is that you should always choose European or French roulette over American. The house edge is twice as great with American roulette because of the use of the ’00’.

How to play roulette

Familiarise yourself with roulette rules and odds and become an ace at the wheel!

Roulette is a deceptively simple game, in spite of the intricate equipment involved. Our first lesson will take you through the fundamentals of this casino classic, teaching you the rules and showing you the odds attached to all possible betting options.

How to play

The rules of roulette are very simple. There’s no real strategy involved, you just place your bets and cross your fingers.

Roulette is made up of two components, the wheel and the table (see diagram below) In live games, the wheel is manned by a croupier, while in virtual games the wheel is controlled by a computer. The rules on this page are based on casino roulette.

As you can see below, the wheel contains numbered red and black pockets around the rim, with a green ‘0’ pocket in French and European roulette and an additional ‘00’ pocket for American roulette.

The table is where players place their chips. Its surface contains numbered/coloured segments that correspond to the pockets on the roulette wheel (this is called the layout). In virtual roulette, the physical table is replaced with an electronic interface.

The wheel

The table

Placing bets

Between spins, the croupier will invite players to bet by placing their chips on parts of the table that correspond to numbers/segments of the wheel. The time between spins will vary and casinos will usually set different min/max bet limits.

Ball hits the wheel, ‘No more bets’.

Once the croupier throws the ball into the wheel, they will declare ‘no more bets’ (traditionally: ‘rein ne va plus.’) The ball will be thrown in the opposite direction to the spin of the wheel. Deflectors in the centre of the wheel will knock the ball around and randomise its movement as its momentum decreases…

The winning pocket

Eventually, the ball will slow to the point that it is captured by one of the pockets around the circumference of the wheel. When it settles, the croupier will declare the winning number and colour.

Winnings distributed

The croupier will collect losses and distribute winnings according to the outcome of the spin, paying-out according to the probability attached to players’ bets. The process will then repeat.

En prison

Some, but not all, casinos employ the ‘en prison’ rule. This only applies to even bets (e.g. red/black, odd/even) and is enforced when the ball falls on a ‘0’ or ’00.’ If this happens on a losing bet, you will be able to reclaim half your initial bet or keep it all in play for the next spin. Your cash will be kept ‘in prison’ for as long as the ball keeps falling in a green pocket.

Available bets and payout odds

There are two main types of bets in roulette: inside bets with long odds and outside bets with shorter odds. In the following section you will find an overview of all the different types of bets and their corresponding odds.

Inside bets

These bets are so called because they are placed on the inside of the roulette table and include individual numbers or small groups.

Straight up

A single number – chips are placed in the centre of a numbered square.

Split bet

Two numbers – chips are placed on the line between two numbered squares.

Street bet

Three numbers – chips are placed on the edge of a row of three numbered squares.

Corner bet

Four numbers – chips are placed on the adjoining corner of four numbers.

Line bet

Six numbers – chips are placed on the line separating two rows of three numbered squares.

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Last number bet
Groups of numbers that end with the same digit: e.g. 7, 17, 27 and 37 – French roulette only.

–>

American roulette bets

The following three bets are only available if you’re playing the American version of roulette.

Row bet

A bet on both 0 and 00.

Basket bet

There are three possible basket bets: 0, 1 & 2; 0, 00 & 2 or 00, 2 & 3.

Top row bet

A bet on 0, 00, 1, 2 & 3.

Outside bets

Outside bets are placed on the outside of the table and have much shorter odds for the player.

Dozen bet

12 numbers grouped sequentially (1-12, 13-24 or 25-36) – chips are placed in the table squares marked ‘1st 12’, ‘2nd 12’ and ‘3rd 12′.

Column bet

12 numbers grouped in a column – chips are placed in the table squares marked ‘2 to 1’.

Colours bet

18 numbers grouped by colour – chips are placed in the table square containing a red or black diamond.

High/low bet

18 numbers grouped sequentially – chips are placed in the table squares marked ‘1 to 18’ and ‘19 to 36’.

Odds/Evens Bet

18 numbers grouped according to ‘even’ and ‘odd’ value – chips are placed in the table squares marked ‘EVEN’ and ‘ODD’.

Odds

Type of betPay-outOdds of winning (American)Odds of winning (European/French)
Straight up35 to 137 to 136 to 1
Split17 to 118 to 117.5 to 1
Street11 to 111.667 to 111.334 to 1
Corner8 to 18.5 to 18.25 to 1
Line5 to 15.33 to 15.167 to 1
Column2 to 12.167 to 12.083 to 1
Dozen2 to 12.167 to 12.083 to 1
Even / Odd1 to 11.111 to 11.055 to 1
High / Low1 to 11.111 to 11.055 to 1
Coloured1 to 11.111 to 11.055 to 1

Roulette strategies (and why they don’t work)

If you’ve got any experience of online gambling, you’ve probably come across roulette ‘strategies’ – D’Almbert, Fibonacci, Martingale etc. While sticking to these systems can be a fun way to organise your play, doing so will not actually make you more likely to win. Therefore, if you see a website promising ‘winning roulette strategies’, don’t be fooled – there is no such thing. This lesson will prove it …

No strategy? What do you mean?

Roulette is designed to make the outcome of spins as random as possible, using deflectors to bash the ball around the inside of the wheel to ensure unpredictable results.

While no game is ever perfectly random, you’d need a high-speed camera and a team of analysts to even get close to guessing the winning half of a live wheel, let alone the winning pocket.

The random number generation software used to determine the outcome of virtual roulette games is also impossible to defeat with human brainpower alone.

Even if you assume that the outcome of a roulette game is random, some players will argue that you can improve your house edge by betting in certain ways: doubling up on losses, or ‘going hard’ with inside bets on streaks and recovering with outside bets when your game slows down.

However, no matter how you play, the house edge will never change. This is because every spin is independent from the last, making each roulette session a mathematically distinct event with no statistical relation to the rest of the game.

As a result, all betting systems for roulette stem from the ‘gambler’s fallacy’.

Roulette Systems (aka Hell on Wheels)

Roulette systems have a lot in common with astrology – although there’s no evidence that either work, they’ve both had vast amounts of attention and money lavished upon them.

More extraordinary still is the vast array of systems that exist in the gaming world. Here are some of the best known. And remember – although they might claim to open the doorway to untold riches, the numbers simply don’t add up.

Labouchiere System
A progression system whereby a line of numbers is used to determine the betting amount following a win or a loss. Based on the infamous Martingale System (see below), the Labouchiere usually involves the gambler adding the numbers at the front and end of the line to determine the size of the next bet. The system is such that, by the time the gambler has won a third of his bets, he will be ahead. At least, that’s the idea.

The Martingale
A strategy that dates back to 18th century France, the Martingale employs ‘intuitive analyses. This is a fancy way of saying that, in a situation where one is betting on heads or tails – or, in the case of roulette, red or black – you double your bet after every loss. Considered a sure thing by the wealthy gamblers who first advocated it, it’s anything but – a fact the many people bankrupted by the Martingale strategy could testify to. You don’t have to be too smart to understand what an alternative known as the Reverse Martingale entails. It might be the opposite but the results are invariably the same.

D’Alembert System
A pyramid system based on a mathematical equilibrium theory devised by the man it’s named after. Known in France as ‘Montant et Demontant’ (literally, ‘up and down’) the D’Alembert is mainly applied to even money outside bets, and is the preferred method of gamblers keen to keep the size of their bets and, therefore, their losses to a minimum. Since it’s based on the illogical notion that a gambler is more likely to follow a win with a loss and vice versa, the only thing that’s inevitable here is you ending the day out of pocket.

The Fibonacci
Italian Leonardo Fibonacci calculated his famous sequence way back in 1202. An equation that describes such natural phenomena as snail shells, the sequence has proved something of a boon for gamblers who have applied it to both baccarat and roulette. Ultimately, it is but a less aggressive version of the Martingale, with the value of a bet being increased whenever it follow a loss. As with the Martingale, there is also a ‘reverse’ version. Use either at your peril.

Law Of The Third
A principle that governs a range of systems (the Pivot, ‘Tier et Tout’), the law is based upon the notion that, following 37 spins, a third of the numbers on the roulette wheel go ‘cold’. As such, it is down to the player to ‘fish’ for ‘hot numbers’. Adapted umpteen times, no matter what the refinement, the system remains just as fallible. However, the talk of ‘hot numbers’ will be familiar to anyone who’s watched the National Lottery draw and listened to Alan Dedicoat pick it apart with a fervour usually reserved for conspiracy theories.

The ‘Loophole’
A simple streak system, the ‘Loophole’ is noteworthy, not because of its complexity – it’s very simple – but because it landed its creator in trouble with the Advertising Standards Authority. Claiming that one could win “£200 a day” by applying his system, Rotherham’s Jason Gillon received quite a shock when he found himself subject to an ASA investigation. Acting on a complaint, the Authority demonstrated that Mr Gillon’s claims were false and, as such, must be withdrawn. Less a ‘Loophole’ than a sink hole, then.

The Wizard of Odds beats the Martingale

Still don’t believe us that roulette strategies are nothing of the sort? Michael ‘the Wizard of Odds’ Shackleford is a renowned casino mathematician who conducted a number of experiments to prove that roulette systems have no statistical basis.

As an example, Shackleford chose to tackle the Martingale. He explains how the system is supposed to work:

“This system is generally played with an even money game … the idea is that by doubling your bet after a loss, you would always win enough to cover all past losses plus one unit.

“For example, if a player starts at $1 and loses four bets in a row, winning on the fifth, he will have lost $1+$2+$4+$8 = $15 on the four losing bets and won $16 on the fifth bet. The losses were covered and he had a profit of $1.”

After receiving dozens of emails from gamblers insisting that the system worked, Shackleford built a computer program that simulated bettors using two systems, the Martingale and ‘flat betting’ (the same bet every time) over 1,000,000 sessions.

Shackleford found that the ratio of money lost to money won was almost exactly equal to the expected house edge for both betting systems. On top of that, the average loss for the Martingale bettor was much higher than for flat betting (see table below):

Roulette bots

If you play online roulette you may be familiar with ‘roulette bots’. These can be purchased on the internet and are basically software that automatically place bets according to a roulette system (usually the Martingale).

As we have seen, there is no winning roulette system. Whether it’s being implemented by a machine or human, no strategy will ever overcome the house edge. Roulette bots are a scam, plain and simple.

Enjoy roulette for what it is

Despite roulette strategies being mathematically groundless, many websites continue to claim that these systems will help you win – this is total rubbish.

You’re better off playing responsibly, within your means, with the knowledge that roulette is a game of chance that should be enjoyed on those terms.

Roulette variations

Get the best house edge with these popular roulette variations: play European if you can!

There are four main roulette variants that are common across the gambling world. However, in online casinos you occasionally encounter left-field alternatives such as ‘multi-wheel roulette,’ ‘pinball roulette’ and ‘mini roulette’.

The variants below are the only roulette games legally recognised by all casinos, on and off-line.

European roulette

This game is based on the earliest incarnation of roulette and features 36 numbered pockets and one ‘0’. The house edge in European roulette is 2.7%.

French roulette

French roulette is identical to European roulette with the exception of the ‘called bet’ rule, in which the dealer acknowledges accepted bets by ‘calling’ them back to the player. You are also allowed to place ‘last number bets’ (see below). The house edge is 2.7%.

American roulette

American roulette features a table with one additional ‘00’ slot. While this increases the pay-out on inside bets, it doubles the house edge, meaning you are likely to give away twice as much money on average compared to French and European roulette. The house edge is 5.26%.

Mobile roulette

Everything you need to know about playing roulette on the go.

The magic of modern gambling technology means the majority of online casinos offer mobile-optimised versions of their roulette games. Even live roulette is now widely accessible via a variety of smart devices.

What is mobile roulette?

Mobile gambling has exploded in the last five years, to the point that an estimated $10 billion is wagered annually through mobile platforms alone.

Improvements in 3G and 4G technology have made it possible to bring high-quality roulette gaming to mobile devices around the globe. This ultimate gambling convenience means you can play anywhere, at any time – all you need is a smart device and a decent signal.

iPhone roulette

There are dozens of mobile-optimised roulette games for the iOS operating system, from the popular ‘penny roulette’ to the Paddy Power Casino exclusive, ‘Money-Back Roulette’. The game of roulette is not difficult at all to re-create via software: the wheel spins, the ball rattles around for a bit, then lands, and then you’ve either won or lost money.

Virtually all mobile roulette apps work in the same way. The random number generation (i.e. the number in which the balls lands) is actually done on the host server that you are connected to, and not on your phone. This is so the service provider can maintain an accurate record of your play, just in case of a dispute about winning, or if you manage to ‘crack’ the game and dictate where the ball is going to land.


  • Roulette

  • Roulette Touch

  • Roulette Pro

If you fancy taking mobile roulette for a spin, it’s best to stick with a well-known casino brand. Not only are they much more likely to honour pay-outs, but the software they provide can be trusted, and safeguards will be in place to protect you should you lose your connection mid-spin.

Lots of casinos now also offer the chance for you to play live casino roulette via a video feed. You should only really play ‘live’ if you are certain about the strength of your connection. Not only is it better for you, it’s also better for the players who are at the table with you. It’s frustrating sharing a live table with someone who is continually losing their connection.

Android roulette

You’ll find plenty of roulette games for Android-powered devices. Because Google’s Android operating system is open source, and you can install apps on it from anywhere, there are lots of ‘dubious’ apps out there that are best avoided. It’s always best to stick to casino brands that you know and trust, as your experiences are much more likely to be satisfactory.

As Google Play does not allow online gambling apps to be hosted, you won’t be able to download any Android roulette apps from there – even from major operators. To play, you’ll either be directed to a mobile-optimised site that will load your chosen game in your browser, or be given the link to download an apk (Android package) file which you will need to verify and install yourself.

If you only want to play roulette for fun, you’ll find plenty of apps on Google Play that will allow you to do just that.

Tablet roulette

A tablet is perhaps the best device for playing mobile roulette, as it provides a much greater playing area than you probably have available on your smartphone. Tablet roulette games are available for both iPads and Android-powered tablets. All decent mobile roulette apps will recognise that you’re playing on a device with a large playing area and tailor the experience accordingly. Having the entire playing surface in view makes it much easier to place your bets than having to continually scroll up and down the screen.

One tip – if you’re searching for a version of tablet roulette to play, always choose European or French roulette over the American version. The house edge is lower in European roulette, and even lower in French roulette, which has more options for placing bets.