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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.

All our recommended casinos offer roulette. Some casinos have only digital roulette while others have both digital and live dealer roulette. Use the table to compare casinos to find the best roulette casino with the variants, bonuses, and deposit methods you want most.

Whether 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. Here is everything we cover in our guide.

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 why roulette tables are usually packed full of smiling players. Here are a few reasons why.

The 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 Caesars Palace, it takes only four minutes to learn how to play roulette.

Tons of different bet choices

One of the coolest things about playing roulette is that 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 option to bet individual numbers, combinations of numbers, or many other options. 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 pay off 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 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.

Play 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. Because 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.

Roulette Basics

One reason we like to play roulette for real money is because it’s not hard to learn. It might look confusing because there are many types of bets you can make. But appearances are often deceiving.

You can learn how to play roulette online for free at one of our recommended casinos (they all have “practice” tables). Odds are you’d pick up the game in minutes, and with zero risk to your bankroll.

The Roulette Wheel

A roulette wheel has numbers arranged in a circle. The numbers 1-36 are either red or black, and there are one or two green zero slots.

American Roulette wheels have two green slots; one slot has a single zero(0) and the other a double zero (00). European Roulette wheels have one single zero green slot.

The green slots ensure the casino always has an edge. Otherwise you’d breakeven on all your bets (in the long run).

For example, you could bet on red or black, which are 50% to win or lose. In the long run, neither you nor the casino would win. The zeroes shift the odds ever-so-slightly in the casino’s favor.

Here is how much the single and double zero slots increase the odds against you winning:

Bet Payout Odds of Winning
Straight-up (a single number) 35:1 37:1
Split (covers two numbers) 17:1 18:1
Street (covers three numbers) 11:1 11.66:1
Corner (covers four numbers) 8:1 8.5:1
Column or Dozen 2:1 2.16:1
Red/Black, Odd/Even, High/Low 1:1 1.11:1

The odds of winning are slightly worse than the payouts because of the green slots. This puts you at a subtle disadvantage over the long run.

That’s why it’s much better to play European Roulette. The odds are slightly better as there is only one green slot compared to the two green slots on the American Roulette wheel.

The Roulette Board

The roulette board is where you place wagers. The layout may vary when you play online, but the basics are the same. Here is an example of what a roulette board looks like.

American Roulette Betting Board

You can bet on everything you see here. You can also make bets on lines that straddle two or more numbers. We’ll talk more about betting and the types of roulette bets you can make in the next section.

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 to 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 the 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 of 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 directly on the number 31.

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, we break down every single aspect in this section.

Different Types of Roulette Bets

The purpose of roulette is to try to 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 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, 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 from.

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 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 twenty 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

Many software developers provide quality real money roulette games and the online casinos gladly offer them to their customers. As a result, there’s a good choice of tables in terms of rules and gameplay.

There are a few roulette variants that are extremely popular can be found in most of the leading online casinos. Let’s take a look at them, so you know what to expect.

European Roulette

The standard version of the game that has only one zero and no special rules is called European Roulette. The house edge is 2.70% which is decent and better than many other casino games.

If there are no better versions, European roulette is a solid choice that can be found in all of our recommended roulette casinos.

American Roulette

The American version of the game is technically one to avoid. It comes with two zeros and the house edge is almost double that of European roulette at 5.26%.

You should only really play American Roulette if there are no other variants. It’s usually one of the worst options that is offered online. With that said, it’s still a lot of fun!

French Roulette

The roulette variant you should actively look for is French Roulette. It’s identical to European Roulette with one major exception. There is a rule that returns half of your bet when the zero is hit if you place a wager on one of the even-money options.

That reduces the house edge to only 1.35% and makes the French Roulette an excellent choice in the long run. Unfortunately, even some of the best casinos for real money online roulette don’t offer this variant.

Other Roulette Variants

The number of variants offered by some of the top roulette sites is truly staggering. Here are some of the less popular forms of the game that are still available in many places on the web.

  • Multi-ball Roulette
  • Multi-wheel Roulette
  • No-Aero Roulette
  • Mini Roulette
  • Progressive Roulette

They all provide different twists that change the gameplay of roulette and can be a lot of fun.

The good news is that many of the top developers of real money online roulette products are constantly working on new versions of the game. They experiment with new mechanics and additions that bring variety to the whole experience.

Roulette Strategy

Once you accept that you’ll never be able to guarantee consistent winnings from playing roulette, you can focus on the most important things:

    • First, you should be thinking about what you can do to maximize your chances of winning. If you can’t be sure of winning, you should at least try to give yourself the best chance.
    • You should try to see playing roulette as a form of entertainment and view any winnings you do make simply as a welcome bonus. The question is what you can actually do to improve your chances, as we’ve established that the house edge is against you and that you can’t reasonably expect to predict the outcome of a spin or series of spins with any accuracy.
    • In our opinion, there’s only one real strategy that will definitely give you a better chance of winning, and that’s money management. We don’t believe it really matters what method you use to select which wagers you make, and we don’t believe it really matters if you choose to use a betting system or not. The thing that genuinely matters and will help you to walk away a winner is having the discipline to manage your money properly.
    • Perhaps the biggest mistake people make when playing roulette is not knowing when to stop. The fact is that, while it’s very difficult to stop when you’re winning, it’s possibly even harder when you’re losing. You absolutely have to try to stop at the right time. You should ideally have stop limits in place so that once you’ve won or lost a certain amount, you simply walk away from the table.

There’s no particular formula for setting these limits; it’s really just a matter of what you’re comfortable with.

By simply being disciplined with your money and knowing when to quit while you’re ahead and when to cut your losses, you’ll almost certainly do better in the long run. It’s all too easy to start chasing losses when you’re behind, but this tends to end badly.

You’re not certain to start winning just because you’ve been losing, and if you keep increasing your stakes and continue to lose, then you’ll go bust eventually.

It’s just as easy to want to keep on playing when you’re winning, too. Your luck is quite likely to turn at some point, though, so it really is a good idea to try to stop before you give everything back.

If you really can’t stand the idea of stopping when on a winning streak, then you should at least have some kind of system that makes you take a certain percentage of your money off the table after winning a certain amount and then just play with the amount you have left.

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 while 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).

Instead, change your red bet to black to correct this and get your 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 on each spin when 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 that people probably wish it weren’t the case. Vegas was not built on winners. Casinos will ALWAYS have a 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 straightforward 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.

Play European or French Roulette If You Can

There are a few different versions of roulette, with the two most common being European roulette and American roulette. The single biggest difference between these two versions is that the European wheel has only a single zero, while the American wheel has a single zero and a double zero.

This might not seem like something that really matters, but it actually makes a noticeable difference to the house edge.

Don’t Chase Your Losses

If there’s anything that you can do to improve your chances of winning money at roulette, it’s to be disciplined with your money. It can be very tempting to start increasing your stakes if you go on a losing streak, but this can end in disaster if your luck doesn’t improve.

You should never, ever chase your losses, and that applies to all forms of gambling.

If you’re disciplined with your money, then you’ll stand a better chance of winning money overall. By cutting your losses and knowing the right time to stop, you preserve some of your bankroll to try it another time.

Chasing your losses, on the other hand, might work sometimes, but sooner or later, you’ll lose everything.

Quit While You Are Ahead

Just as important as cutting your losses at the right time is knowing when to quit while you’re ahead. It can be very difficult to stop playing if you feel you’re on a lucky streak, but good luck rarely lasts forever.

There are few things more frustrating in roulette than winning a load of money and then giving it all back by playing too long.

You don’t necessarily have to stop completely as soon as you’ve won some money. The best approach is to set yourself a target that you would be happy with and then stop if you hit that target.

Alternatively, once you have won a certain amount, you could “bank” a percentage of your winnings along with your original stake money. You can then play with the winnings, and regardless of what happens, you still can walk away with some profit intact.

Online Roulette vs. Live Roulette

Thanks to the advances of the internet, we now have several different options for 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 in 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 to get a dealer or another patron to help you place your bet. This can be frustrating at times and can 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, 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 that you also don’t have to put pants on if you don’t want to?

The interface is also extremely easy to use and has the same look and feel as 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

Frequently Asked Questions About Roulette

Can I win real money at roulette?

AOf 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 real money 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?

AThe 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 twenty different types of bets you can make on each spin, so the sky is the limit with options.

Is online or live roulette better?

AThis 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!

Can I play roulette online for high stakes?

AYes! You can definitely find a place online to play for high stakes. The important thing is to find a site that you feel very confident in that you can trust it with your money. With all of the shady practices that have been reported out there and because we feel that safety is so important, we wrote a page specifically about online roulette and where to play at.

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

AThe 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?

AA lot of players like to watch the past few spins and look for a pattern to try to 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?

AYou 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 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?

AWe’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!

Are there profitable systems for online roulette?

AThe simple answer is no. If someone is promising you a system that guarantees profits from playing roulette with real money online, he’s either misleading you or simply clueless. No system can eliminate the advantage of the casino.

What types of offers or perks do casinos offer high limit roulette players?

AThis is sort of a two-part answer. The first part – you can get all the same offers and deals available to everyone else. That means the welcome bonus, comps program, reload bonuses, free spins and so on. Those probably aren’t as exciting because they may not even amount to what you’d spend on ONE roulette bet, but the option is there.

The second part – this is harder to answer because high limit players are often treated like special snowflakes. Every high limit player has a different spending threshold than the next. So, casinos treat each player differently. We’ve not seen a casino unwilling to cater to VIP players. So, when in doubt, reach out to casino support before you decide to join. Let them know you want to play for high limits, and then go from there.