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.

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’.


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

The right casinos to play roulette

Now that you understand the rules of the game, put your expertise to use at our top-rated casinos for roulette.