How to Play Roulette 2024

How do you play roulette and win? Our casino experts have years of experience and have put together an expert guide to explain all things roulette. You can look forward to finding out all about the simple roulette rules, what bets you’ll be able to place to increase your chances, the different types of roulette and much more. So, before you take on the little wheel, give our guide a quick spin and up your game.

What is Roulette?

Roulette is a game of chance, played at online and land-based casinos throughout the world. It was first played in the late 1700s in Paris, and by the 20th century had spread throughout the world. Nowadays, a casino simply isn’t a casino without at least one roulette table on offer.

There are three main variations of the game: American, European, and French. Each has subtle differences that every roulette player needs to know about. The world of online casinos has spawned many new variations as well, increasing the variety and excitement of roulette even further.

The basic premise of roulette is that you’ll need to predict which number a ball will land on when the roulette wheel is spun. You do this by placing bets on a roulette board, which contains 37 or 38 numbers, depending on the version you’re playing, and several different betting options. If your bet is a successful one, you’ll get paid.

There’s no skill involved at all, as the game is based entirely on chance, meaning even complete beginners have a chance of winning some money when they play.

How to Play Roulette in 5 Easy Steps

We've broken down how to play roulette for beginners in five simple steps so that you can feel confident when playing roulette online.

Step 1: Choose a roulette variant

Choose the type of roulette game you want to play and pick your table. It's a good idea to compare the house edge for different roulette games so that you can choose the best one. European usually offers the lowest house advantage and is therefore a good choice for players.

Step 2: Place your bet
Step 3: Spin the wheel
Step 4: Wait for the result
Step 5: End of the round

How to Play Roulette Online

Roulette might look daunting at first, but it’s an exceptionally simple game to play. Every version of roulette always starts with you picking one or more bets to make. You do this by clicking on the part of the board that represents your chosen bet.

You’ll have an unlimited amount of time to place bets in standard online roulette, but those playing live dealer roulette will have to make their bets within a time limit. Once you’ve finished placing your bets, you’re ready to spin the wheel.

Just click the relevant button to get the wheel spinning or wait for the live dealer to do it. Look out for the ball which will be spinning around the wheel. This is the part where you should hold your breath as you wait for it to land on one of the numbers… If the ball lands on your number, you’ll get a cash prize!

Sound exciting? You’ll be glad to know you can find a great selection of free online roulette games right here on this site, giving you the chance to practice playing without having to spend a cent of your own money.

That’s the basics of how to play roulette explained. You can now spin the wheel at some of our free games, or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can play for real money at one of the top roulette casinos online.

How to Play Roulette at a Casino

If you want to know how to play roulette at a casino, we have good news for you – it’s almost the same as playing online. Instead of clicking on your device to play bets though, you’ll need to place the chips on the table yourself.

First off, it’s important to know that your chips will be a different color or design from the other players’ chips, making it easier for both yourself and the dealer to keep track of individual bets.

In a live casino, the croupier (dealer) will spin the wheel and you’ll only have a set period to place your bets. As soon as the croupier closes betting, you won’t be able to place any more bets. Then, as in the online roulette game, the ball will land on a number and you’ll be paid if any of your bets are winners.

Once you’re finished playing, just pick up your chips and leave the table. Don’t forget that it’s always a nice touch to leave the croupier a small tip before leaving the game. You do this by passing back one of your chips or however many you like.

If you can’t make it to a casino but want to experience the excitement of playing roulette live, you should try out live dealer online roulette which uses a webcam to bring the action of live roulette to you.

Types of Roulette

There are many types of roulette, however, the three main types are American, European and French. They’re very similar to each other, however American roulette has a double-zero on the wheel, unlike the other two versions. French roulette games, on the other hand, feature the la partage or en prison rules, which are beneficial to the player.

The double zero, la partage, and en prison rules are the only aspects that cause the gameplay to differ. This means that if you know how to play one version of the game, you’ll easily be able to make the transition to playing other versions.

Find a breakdown of each of the three main versions of roulette below.

Feature American Roulette European Roulette French Roulette
Number of Pockets383737
Zero PocketsDoubleSingleSingle
House Edge5.26%2.70%1.35%
Average Payout for 10094.70%97.30%98.65%

American Roulette

American Roulette

Introduction to American Roulette

Although roulette originally came from Europe, it arrived in America by the late 19th century. The game was popular in Louisiana and Mississippi riverboat casinos, before spreading through the United States. Today, you can play American roulette at tons of online casinos, for free or real money. Modern European roulette tables have 37 slots on the wheel, early tables had 38 thanks to two separate zero slots. This is the version that was brought to America and is still used in American roulette today.

American Roulette Rules

The rules of American roulette are simple. An American roulette table has 38 pockets: numbers 1-36 are red/black and the two zero slots are green. You place your bets on which pocket the ball will land on, and the dealer or croupier spins the wheel. Wherever the ball settles decides if you win your bet. There are loads of interesting ways to bet too, each with different odds of winning. However, the house edge of 5.3% in American roulette never changes.American roulette is distinguished from the other versions of the game by the double zero on the wheel. This double zero unfortunately reduces the odds of you winning, with the house edge of this game being 5.26% which is far higher than that of the other two roulette variants. If you’re trying to learn how to play roulette and win big, we suggest that you avoid this version.

In American roulette, you’ll lose your money when you place an even money bet and the ball lands on zero or double zero.

European Roulette

European Roulette

Introduction to European Roulette

The history of roulette begins in Europe, but it arrived in America in the late 19th century. The game was popular in Louisiana and Mississippi riverboat casinos, before spreading through the United States. Today, you can play European roulette at tons of online casinos, for free or real money.

Although modern European roulette tables have 37 slots on the wheel, early tables had 38 thanks to two separate zero slots. This is the version that was brought to America and is still used in European roulette today. European roulette only has a single zero, which immediately makes the game more favorable to players. In fact, just removing the double zero from the reels takes the house edge down to a much more respectable 2.7%.

The house edge still isn’t as low as it is for French roulette though, as there’s no la partage or en prison rules to help the player even further. This means the player loses their even money bet when the ball lands on zero.

Understanding The Roulette Wheel

The roulette wheel will have either 37 or 38 numbers, depending if there's a double zero or not. The numbers on the wheel are listed randomly and alternate between black and red, except for the zero(s) which are usually green.

The wheel will spin in one direction while the ball spins in the opposite direction. These things might not seem important when playing online, but it's still good to know some of the details of the game.

As you start to learn how to play roulette online, you'll also notice that the actual wheel may be completely still at first. It will spin after you've locked in your bets. But before you can do that, you need to know how the betting board works.

French Roulette

French Roulette

Introduction to French Roulette

France looms large in the history of roulette. An early version of the game was developed by the famous French mathematician Blaise Pascal, while François and Louis Blanc created the modern European roulette table in around 1840.

French roulette has slightly better payouts than standard European roulette. This is due to two rules that appear in French roulette: La partage and en prison which mean the house edge is 1.35%. Online French roulette is very popular, and if you're not used to the slightly different rules, you can always try them out for free.

French Roulette Rules

A French roulette table has 37 pockets. The numbers 1-36 are red and black, while zero is green. Players can bet which pocket they think the ball will land in before the dealer or croupier spins the wheel and everyone waits to see where the ball settles. Unlike other variations, with French roulette, you don't necessarily lose your even money outside bet if it lands on 0.

Either your bet rolls over to the next spin (“En Prison”) and if 0 comes again you lose, or you get half your money back (“La Partage”). It’s the best form of roulette in terms of your chances, with a minuscule house edge of 1.35%.

This low house edge is present because there’s no double zero pocket, plus the game will feature the la partage or en prison rule. Find out what each one means below:

  • La partage: Translated as “sharing”, this rule means that players betting on an even money bet will receive half their stake back if the ball lands on zero.

  • En prison: This rule would replace la partage and simply means that the player’s half is left on the table (or in prison) for the next bet, instead of being returned to them.

roulette image

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Types of Roulette Bets

The game of roulette features a lot of different types of bets. Each bet type has its own odds of being successful, as well as its unique payout. You’re able to make as many bets as you want when playing roulette, so don’t feel restricted to simply placing one bet on the table.

While there are many bets, they generally fall into two distinct types: inside bets and outside bets. Don’t worry, we’ve broken them all down below so you can understand how to play roulette easily.

Inside Bets

An inside bet is one made on the numbered section of the roulette table which, as the name suggests, is the inner section of the table (closer to the center). These bets generally offer a lower chance of winning, but higher payouts.

1. Straight Up
  • A bet on one single number on the board

  • To place the bet, place your chip directly on your chosen number

  • You win if the ball lands on that specific number

  • 2.70% chance of winning with this bet in European and French roulette

  • 2.60% chance of winning in American roulette

  • This bet has a payout of 35 to 1

Straight Up
2. Split
3. Street
4. Corner
5. Basket
6. Line

Outside Bets

An outside bet is one made on an option found around the outside of the board. They generally have lower payouts than inside bets, however, they have a higher chance of being successful.

1. Red/Black
  • A bet on whether the ball will land on a red or a black number

  • Place a chip on the red or black section of the board

  • You win if the ball lands on a number with the color you’ve chosen

  • 48.65% chance of winning in European and French roulette

  • 47.37% chance of winning in American roulette

  • This bet has a payout of 1 to 1

2. Even/Odd
3. High/Low
4. Column
5. Dozen

The Best Bets for Beginner Roulette Players

Looking to find out how to play roulette online and win? If so, you’ll need to pick the best bets.

It might not be the kind of adrenaline-pumping roulette you were hoping for, but those looking to win should stick to only placing even money bets such as red/black, odd/even and high/low. Despite having the lowest payouts, these are the bets with the lowest house edge. This means that, over time, they give you the best chance of making some money.

But what if you’re looking for something a little more exciting than even money bets? Well, if you’ve had a sudden rush of blood to the head, or perhaps have the kind of bankroll mere mortals can only dream of, why not try a straight up bet? We’ll level with you, your chances of winning aren’t high, however, the payout of 35 to 1 can lead to some massive prizes.

It’s also important to reiterate that beginner players looking for the best chance of winning should play French roulette, as it has the lowest house edge of all three major versions.

Where to Play Roulette

If you’re still unsure of how to play roulette, why not try out the free roulette games we offer? They’ve got exactly the same gameplay as real money games but won’t cost you a thing to play, you can get that practice in and try a few different types of bets.

Feeling confident and want to play roulette for real money? If so, you should head to one of our recommended roulette casinos, all of which offer the top roulette games, fair bonuses and high levels of security.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the safest bet in roulette?

The safest bet in roulette is an even money bet. These are red/black, odd/even, and high/low. These might offer the lowest rewards, but they also have the highest chance of winning. When the numbers are evaluated, even money bets come out as having the lowest house edge of all the roulette bet options.

Can I play roulette online?
Is there a trick to win roulette?
How is roulette played to win?
How do you play roulette at the casino?
How does European roulette work?
What's the best European roulette bet?
How does American Roulette work?

About the author

Lauren Le-Hair
Lauren Le-Hair

As an experienced online gambling writer, Lauren’s passion for casino gaming is only exceeded by her love of writing. While she’s a keen blackjack player, Lauren also loves spinning the reels of thrilling online slots in her spare time.

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