Complete Expert’s Guide to Roulette

As one of the most popular and easy to learn games in the casino, roulette has been a patron favorite for as long as we can remember. Fun, strategy and tons of bet choices all lead up to the exciting spin of the wheel where winners and losers are determined by a matter of a few bounces of the almighty white ball.

If you’ve never played roulette before, or you are an experienced player returning to the action, our experts have put together a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know to be a master roulette player at the tables.  We’ll cover the basics of how to play the game and expand into some more advanced concepts and explanations to get you ready!

Why Play Roulette

Picking out your favorite casino game can be a challenge sometimes as there are so many options and variations to choose from. If you’re new to casino gambling, roulette may be the perfect first stop for you. There’s a reason that anytime you walk by roulette tables they’re usually packed full of smiling players. Here are a few reasons why.

Specialty GamesThe easiest game to learn

Many casino games are tough for players to get interested in or enjoy because they are way too complex and require constant thinking and attention. Sometimes we just want to gamble and relax. Thanks to tons of different betting options, roulette can be as simple or as complex as you’d like for it to be.

According to Caesar’s Palace, it takes only four minutes to learn how to play roulette.

Specialty GamesTons of different bet choices

One of the coolest things about playing roulette is there are tons of different and interesting ways you are able to place your bets. You can keep it simple and pick red or black, or odd or even, and just let the wheel do all of the work. If you’re looking for a little more risk and excitement, you have the options to bet individual numbers, combinations of numbers, or many other options available to players. These options are more challenging to win, but the payouts reward you handsomely. This sort of flexibility makes roulette one of the most versatile and entertaining games offered in live or online casinos.

Roulette gives you the option to win in small increments or take risks to win big. Your simpler bets are typically low risk and payoff with you winning double your bet. This is great for the casual player who likes to take their time and enjoy the whole experience. The other, more risky bets, allow players the option to take a chance to win big with payouts as high as 35 to 1! These bets are great for risk takers, excitement seekers, or just the casual player that wants to take a small shot.

Specialty GamesPlay as long or as short as you’d like

Never feel like you have to leave or have to stay when you’re playing roulette. As each spin of the wheel is a completely independent and separate game, you can stay for one roll or stay for hours. If you’re on a roll, literally, you can keep playing and try to put together a big winning session. If things aren’t quite going your way, you’re under no obligation to stay past one roll. This sort of flexibility also allows you to get in a quick session if you need a rush but don’t have a lot of time.

How to Play Roulette

As we’ve mentioned several times already, roulette is probably the easiest game in the casino to learn how to play. A roulette table will always consist of a wheel, a small white ball, and a table printed with all of your betting options. You will also have a dealer present live in the casino or an electronic dealer if you’re playing online. Each game will consist of a round of betting, and then the dealer will spin the wheel, drop in the white ball, and wait to see where it lands. The object of the game is to try and predict with your bets what number the white ball is going to land on. After each spin of the wheel, the game resets completely and starts over with a new round of betting.

It’s important to note that you don’t have to guess the number exactly, but you can guess characteristics of the number and still get paid. For example, if you choose to bet that the number rolled will be odd; you will get paid if the number determined by the white ball is odd. It doesn’t matter to you if it’s 13 or 31, you will still get paid on your bet.

Each of the numbers on the wheel is also marked by alternating colors between red and black. Players are able to bet on the color outcome of the roll as well. Again, guessing the actual number is not required with this bet, but merely getting the color correct will make you a winner.

Before the game starts, players are instructed to place their bets. This is the time that you get to choose what you would like to wager on for the next spin. We will go over the different bet types and options available to you in depth later. Bets are made by placing your chips onto the felt in the area designated for the bet you would like to make.

For example, if you would like to bet that the outcome of the roll will be black, you would place your chips in the space marked for black on the felt. If you would like to bet that the outcome of the roll will be a specific number, you would place your bet right on top of that number on the felt. Want to make multiple bets? No problem. Let’s say you wanted to bet on black and you also wanted to bet on the number 31. You would place one bet onto the black section and then place another bet on the number 31 directly.

If you’re playing at a table live in the casino or online with multiple players, you can imagine that it is important to keep track of whose bets are where. For this reason, casinos will exchange your money for colored chips to keep track of your bets. For example, if there are three players at a table, one player might have red chips, one might have yellow chips, and one might have purple chips. This makes it very easy for you and the dealers to know whose bet belongs to whom.

These are the basics of getting started with roulette. If you would like an even more in-depth look at the rules, nuances, and game flow of the game, we break down every single aspect in this section.

Different Types of Roulette Bets

The purpose of roulette is to try and predict the outcome of where the white ball will land on each spin of the wheel. If we could only try to guess what number that was, the game would be a bit boring as there would be no variety and it would get way too repetitive. Fortunately, the designers of the game have built in tons of betting options for us to make the game much more exciting, versatile, and downright fun. Let’s take a look at a few of the different categories of bets you can make.

Individual Number Bets

This is the most basic bet you can make in the game of roulette. You are betting on one particular number, and you can only win if that number is spun. If you bet that the number 13 is going to come out, you only win if the number 13 is rolled. As you can imagine, this is fairly tough to pull off. For that reason, though, you’ll get paid $35 for every $1 you bet when it hits. This bet is riskier but offers an enticing payoff.

Groups of Numbers Bets

This betting option is one of the most diverse offered with several different options. Basically, instead of just betting on one number, you have the option to bet on a group of numbers. This can be as wide of a range as 1-18 or 19-36, or as tight of a range as picking two numbers like 1 and 2. Ranges in between are also available for players to choose.

As you might guess, the wider the range, the lesser the payout you will receive. For example, if you chose to bet 1-18 and won, you would get even money on your bet. Subsequently, the tighter your range of numbers, the higher the payout you will receive. If you were to bet the two numbers like in our example, the payout would be 17:1, significantly higher.

Characteristic Bets

These are the best bets we recommend for beginners who want to get more comfortable with roulette. (This does not mean they aren’t great bets for seasoned players as well.) Instead of betting on specific numbers or groups of numbers, you are betting on what we have termed, ‘the characteristics’ of the number.  This would include betting on the color of the number or on the evenness or oddness of the number. These bets always pay even money and are as simple as they sound. If you bet black and a black number rolls, you win. If you bet even and an even number rolls, you win. It’s that easy!

This is just a brief look at the 20 different types of bets that exist in roulette. If you’d like to learn more and really become an expert, we’ve provided an in-depth look into the types of bets, how to make them, and the associated payouts.

Variations of Roulette

Like most casino games, there are a few different variations of roulette that you will come across depending on what part of the world you are in and what type of casino you are playing at. If you’re scared we’re about to complicate this easy to learn game, don’t worry; the differences in the variations of these games are extremely small but important enough to point out.

The three main versions of roulette are European Roulette, American Roulette, and French Roulette. American Roulette, as you might have guessed, is the version of roulette that is typically played in American casinos. The only real difference between American Roulette and European Roulette is that the American version has a single zero and a double zero, where the European version only has a single zero. This doesn’t affect gameplay at all but does have an effect on some of the payout odds.

French Roulette is almost the same as European Roulette except that the betting board is laid out in a different manner and there are a few small rules differences. These rules, known as the “La Partage” rule and the “en prison” rule, are optionally used in some casinos. These rules do have a more significant effect on gameplay, so if you are going to a casino that offers this variation, we recommend clicking below for more comprehensive details.

If you’d like to learn more about the variations of roulette, specifically how odds and gameplay are affected, check out this information our experts put together to break down every detail.

Roulette Strategy

So you’re ready to learn how to beat the house at roulette? Unfortunately, in the long run, the house is going to have an advantage as is the case with all casino gambling. This does not mean you can’t be a winner and also does not mean you can’t employ a few strategies to give yourself a better chance of winning. Our experts present and analyze some of the most popular betting and strategy methods so you can decide if you’d like to employ them or not.

Top Tips for Playing Roulette

In addition to the strategies we discussed, there are several tips you can employ right away to improve your odds and experience playing roulette. These tips can be applied to every variation of the game and should be practiced every time you play.

Don’t Bet Against Yourself

This is hands down the most important tip we can give you. It’s shocking how many times you will see people do this at the tables.

Make sure that all of your bets are working together.

What does this mean? Let’s look at an example that should make this very clear.

Let’s say you decide that you want to place a bet on the number 6 and you want to place a bet on the color red. Sounds like a great bet, right? Wrong. It is physically impossible for you to win both of your bets. If the ball rolls red, you’ll win your red bet, but you can’t win your 6 bet. Why? 6 is a black number. If the ball rolls on the 6, you’ll win your individual number bet, but you’ll lose your color bet as 6 is always black.

If you bet $1 on the number 6 and $20 on the color red, the most that you can win is $35 (by hitting the 6).

Let’s change our red bet to black to correct this and get our bets working together. Now, if you bet $1 on 6 and $20 on black, you can win $55 (by hitting the same number 6)!  You’re allowing yourself the potential to win an additional $20 each spin you place this bet. Don’t be a sucker and give the casino a higher advantage than they deserve.

Don’t Pay for a “Winning” System

This seems to be a tough one for people to comprehend for some reason. The real reason is people probably wish it weren’t the case. Vegas was not built on winners. Casinos will ALWAYS have the long term advantage and will ALWAYS win in the long run. This means that there is no system that is capable of overcoming the power of statistics and math. If anyone ever tries to sell you or convince you that they’ve figured out a system to beat the odds, they’re lying to you and trying to rip you off.

Does this mean you can’t ever win at roulette? Of course not! The casino advantage is very small and refers to the long-term edge over thousands and thousands of spins of the wheel. Plenty of people play roulette and are big winners in the game. Just remember that the whole point of gambling in the casino and online is to have fun, relax, and enjoy the ride.

Learn the Rules

This tip is so straight forward but is still extremely important to point out. You should never play a casino game or gamble until you completely understand and are comfortable with everything that is going on. Even as simple as roulette is, it’s important that you take the time to read up before playing. Once you’ve finished reading through this guide, you should be extremely comfortable with every aspect of the game and ready to try your luck.

If you’d like to read some more great tips for playing roulette, we’ve included a complete list of our tips for you.

Online Roulette vs. Live Roulette

Thanks to the advances of the internet, we now have several different options of how we can play our favorite casino games. As one of the most popular games out there, roulette can be found in almost any live casino and certainly on every online casino out there. While the game is exactly the same live and online, there are several differences that will lead to a bit of a different experience. Here are some of the pros and cons of each of the different ways to play.

Live Roulette

Live roulette in a casino is a great game for those looking for a social outing and the live casino experience. If you like getting dressed up and heading out to the casino on a Friday night, live roulette might be the better choice for you. Many people have also expressed that they enjoy physically placing their bets. Something about manipulating and moving all those chips around adds to the rush for some.

The only real drawbacks to live roulette deal with logistics and crowdedness. As it is such a popular game, you can expect most tables to be pretty packed most of the time and especially on peak nights. This can make it challenging to get a seat and can overwhelm some people as the tables will typically get quite crowded with people reaching over you to make bets.

You’ll also probably have trouble reaching the other side of the betting felt. If you want to place a bet that is on the other side of the table, you may have to try and get a dealer or another patron to help you place your bet. This can be frustrating at times and cut into the relaxation and enjoyment of the experience.

Online Roulette

Online roulette is great for players who like the convenience and the ability to dictate how their experience goes. With online roulette, you get the ability to play at any time and from anywhere with an internet connection. You never have an issue getting a seat, and you don’t have to worry about reaching the other side of the betting felt as you place all of your bets with the click of your mouse.

One of the other advantages of playing online roulette is that you can play without leaving the comfort of your own home. You don’t have to deal with the traffic and parking at the casino, the smoky air, or pushy and rude people who are trying to reach over and place their bets. You’re also able to play at your own pace without feeling rushed by the other players or by the dealer. Did we mention you don’t have to put pants on either if you don’t want to?

The interface is also extremely easy to use and has the same look and feel of a real live casino. Here is a screenshot to show you exactly what it looks like to play online roulette.

Online Practice Play Roulette at Bovada

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions about Roulette

Can I win at roulette?

Of course! It’s important to note that in the long run, the casino does have a house edge. This does not mean, though, that you can’t be a winner at the game. Lots of people play roulette and win big all the time!

Here’s an amazing story of a guy who bet his life savings on one spin of the roulette wheel! Note, we do not recommend this AT ALL!

How do you win at roulette?

The point of roulette is to properly predict the outcome of where the small white ball will land with each spin. The more accurately you are able to predict this, the more you will win! You also have 20 different types of bets you can make on each spin, so the sky is the limit with options.

Is online or live roulette better?

This is completely a matter of preference. Live roulette is great for a social experience but at times can feel a bit crowded and overwhelming. Online roulette is great for convenience and comfort, not to mention you don’t have to leave your house and can start playing right now!

What’s the difference between American, European, and French roulette?

The three variations of roulette are all extremely similar with a few small differences. American Roulette is the only version that has a single and a double zero slot on the wheel. This puts the player at a slightly worse disadvantage. European and French Roulette are nearly identical with only the single zero slot on the wheel. French roulette does have a few slight rule variations that you should scroll up and read about if you happen to be playing somewhere that offers it.

Should I look for patterns in the numbers to get an edge?

A lot of players like to watch the past few spins and look for a pattern to try and predict the outcome of the next spin. You’ll see people wait until there are a bunch of red spins in a row and then start betting black heavily because they feel it is much more likely to come out. While this can be a fun strategy and make the game more entertaining, it won’t give you a mathematical edge over the casino. Each spin is 100% independent of the last. This means that no matter what was spin before, the next spin will be completely random.

Is there anywhere I can play for free to learn the game?

You bet! Most of the online casinos on our preferred list offer play money tables to allow you to practice and get comfortable with the game before you play for real. In case you’d like to practice but with a little bit of “skin in the game,” they also offer super low limit tables.

What sites do you recommend to get started playing online?

We’ve put together a list of our favorite trusted online casinos here for you. Take a look around at each of the ones we have listed and find the one that fits your personality best. Each casino will have a bit of a different look and feel and will offer different bonus options and variations of roulette. That being said, any of the sites on this list would be a great place for you to get started with roulette or to pick back up right where you left off!