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roulette rulesRoulette is ranked among the simplest games in the world. It is very popular and played both online and in land-based casinos. This fun-to-play game involves a roulette wheel with 37 or 38 coloured and numbered slots.

The rules are simple and straight to the point, although they do depend on whether you are playing European roulette – also known as French – or American roulette, well known as double zero.

In the European version of the game, numbers coloured red or black are marked between 1-36 while green ‘belongs to the house’. In the American version, numbers coloured red or black are marked 1-36. 0 and 00 belong to the house.

What Does Roulette Involve?

what does roulette involveBesides the wheel, there is a table that features the same numbers and other additional elements that help you place your bets. The game’s participants place their bets on the table. A roulette bet can be placed on a single number or a group of different numbers. The dealer throws a small ball into the spinning wheel and the number on which the ball lands is the winner.

The History of Roulette

the history of rouletteThis is a very popular wager game that has existed in almost all casinos for centuries. Interest in the game has rarely fallen, so it is here to stay. This game’s origins are mysterious, with a few versions here and there trying to explain how it came to be.

One of these versions states that it was invented in the 17th century by Blaise Pascal, a French mathematical genius. He was working hard trying to come up with a perpetual motion machine, and roulette came out of this process (or so the story says!).

There is evidence to show that for a long time, games that are similar to roulette have been played. Some of these include:

  • Chinese game – It is believed that the game originated from a Chinese board game that was played by arranging 37 animal figurines in a magic box with 666 numbers in total. Unfortunately, the origin of this game is unknown.
  • War in Ancient Rome – Roman commanders allowed their soldiers to have fun during their free time. They used to spin their shields and chariot wheels in a similar game to roulette.
  • Spinning in Greek – Greek soldiers used to draw symbols inside a shield then place it facing the ground with an arrow next to it. They would then spin the shield and bet on which symbol would fall in front of the placed arrow.

But, the modern game does seem to have originated in France. There were two popular games in the 17th Century that could have influenced it. These games were known as Roly Poly and Even-Odd. They both involved wheels spinning and betting on the possible results of each spin.

The game’s structure was similar to that of roulette including the betting options, numbers (1-36 and 0 or 00 pockets) and red/black colours. Later on, two French men by the names Francois and Louis introduced the game to the rest of Europe. They removed the double zero from the game and invented what is now the European version of the game.

In the 19th century, European settlers in America introduced the game there. The casino dealers were unhappy with the 5.26% house edge the European rules provided and wanted to increase it. They removed the single zero and embraced the double zero style that brought about the American version, which gives the house a greater edge.

Types of Roulette Bets

1. Basic Bets

Let us have a look at the basic bets.

Inside bets

roulette rules inside betsThe main part of the table layout consists of numbers from 0-36. The others are sectors that allow you to bet on a group of numbers i.e. 1-18/19-36, odd/even, columns/dozens, and red/black. Bets that are placed on the numbers are referred to as inside bets.

Bets placed on the other sector of a group of numbers are known as outside bets. Inside bets are simple and easy to apply. They allow you different winning chances as well as payoffs.

There are seven types of inside betting:

1. Straight – this bet covers a single number. You need to place the chip inside the square of this number to place this bet.
2. Split – this is a bet placed on two adjacent numbers on the table. Place the chip on the line shared by the squares of the two numbers.
3. Street – this is a bet placed on three consecutive numbers in the same line. Place the chip on the row’s outer corner to make this bet.
4. Six Line – this bet is placed on two adjacent lines. Place the chip on the outer corner that is common to the two lines.
5. Corner – this bet is also known as the square bet. It involves placing the bet on four numbers. To make this bet, place the chip on the four numbers’ common corner.
6. Trio – as the name suggests, this bet involves three numbers, including the zeros. Place the chip on the common line between the zeros and two other numbers.
7. Basket – this is a bet on 0, 1, 2, and 3. Place the chip on the corner shared by the first line and zero boxes. This includes 00 in American roulette.

Inside bets odds, payouts, the chances of a win and returns to the player of each bet are represented in the chart below:

BetPayoutChance of win (European roulette)Chance of win (American roulette)RTP of the bet (European)RTP of the bet (American)
Straight up (1 number)36x bet1/371/3897.3 %94.74 %
Split (2 Numbers)18x bet2/372/3897.3 %94.74 %
Street (3 Numbers)12x bet3/373/3897.3 %94.74 %
Six lines (6 Numbers)6x bet6/376/3897.3 %94.74 %
Corner (4 Numbers)9x bet4/374/3897.3 %94.74 %
Trio (3 Numbers)12x bet3/3797.3 %
Basket (4 Numbers)9x bet4/3797.3 %
Topline (5 Numbers)7x bet5/3892.1 %

Outside Bets

Outside bets are bets on those sectors that lie outside the number field, meaning they cover a larger group of numbers. There are five types of outside bet:

  • 1-18/19-36 – in this bet, the player bets on whether the number that wins falls below 19 or higher.
  • Odds/evens – in this bet, the player bets on whether the number that wins will be even or odd.
  • Red/black – in this bet, the player bets on whether the winning colour will be red or black.
  • Dozens – the player bets on one of the three dozens available on the table layout.
  • Columns – the player bets on whether the winning number falls on any of the three columns.

roulette rules outside betsOn top of the common types of outside bets, there is another bet known as the snake bet. This bet is only available in some variations of the game. It involves the red numbers that create the shape of a snake and include 1, 5, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 23, 27, 30, 32 and 34.

All these numbers are covered by one chip. There is another bet involving the black numbers that also create a snake shape. These numbers include 2, 6, 8, 10, 13, 17, 20, 24, 26, 28, 29, 31, 35. In this bet, 17/20 and 26/29 are split bets while the rest are straight bets.

Here are the details about outside bets:

Bet# of covered numbersPayoutChance of win (European roulette)Chance of win (American roulette)RTP of the bet (European)RTP of the bet (American)
Red/black182x bet18/3718/3897.3 %94.74 %
Even/odd182x bet18/3718/3897.3 %94.74 %
High/low182x bet18/3718/3897.3 %94.74 %
Dozen123x bet12/3712/3897.3 %94.74 %
Column123x bet12/3712/3897.3 %94.74 %
Snake bet123x bet12/3712/3897.3 %94.74 %

Announced Bets

roulette rules announced betsAnnounced bets are common in French roulette and sometimes feature in online European roulettes. They are also known as call bets. In most cases, the name ‘announced bet’ is the correct term to use.

This is because the participant announces the bet before placing the amount of money and before the outcome. In this type, the player announces to the dealer before placing the chips.

These bets have French names:

  • Voisins du Zero (Neighbors of Zero) – it covers the zeros and the seven neighbouring numbers 22 to 25 on each side of the zeros. This creates a 15 number bet that is made up of 9 chips.
  • Trio – this covers 0, 2 & 3 chips and is made of two chips.
  • 5 splits – 4/7, 12/15, 18/21, 19/22, 32/35 and is made up of one chip.
  • One Corner – 25/26/28/29, made of two chips.
  • Le Tiers Du Cylindre – this bet is also referred to as ‘one-third of the wheel’. It is just the same as Voisins Du Zero. The only difference is that Le Tiers covers quite a few numbers and is located opposite on the wheel. Numbers covered on this bet include 27, 13, 36, 11, 30, 8, 23, 10, 5, 24, 16 and 33. It is a six-piece bet with a single chip placed on for each split, including 5/8, 10/11, 13/16, 23/24, 27/30 and 33/36.
  • Orphelins – this bet simply covers the numbers that are not included in the Voisins and Le Tiers. It involves eight numbers: 1, 6,9,14,17,20,31 and 34. It is a four chips bet, with one straight bet on number 1, while the rest are split bets 6/9, 14/17, 17/20, and 31/34.
  • Jeu Zero Bet (Zero game) – another popular announced bet which covers the three numbers neighbouring zero on each side of the wheel. It is a four-piece bet involving one straight bet on number 26 and three other split bets: 0/3, 12/15 and 32/35.

The type of game you play depends on the wheel and table layout. There are cases where bets can be placed before the wheel is spun and cases where you bet as the wheel is spinning and the ball is rotating.

The dealer announces when to place the bets and when betting is closed.

2. Special Roulette Rules

We have had a look at the basic rules of the game. Let us now see what the special rules are. The three rules that are most popular are:

  • ‘La Partage’
  • ‘En Prison’
  • ‘Surrender’

The above rules are advantageous to the participants. They safeguard the player from greater losses. It is wise to choose a game that involves any of these rules. Before you choose to play the game, find out whether these rules apply as they are only available in some casinos.

roulette rules la partageRule number one – La Partage

This rule applies to a bet popularly referred to as even chance bets. In this game, you select either odd or even, red or black, numbers 1-18 or 19-36. These selections have the same chances of winning or losing. In case the ball lands on 0 and the player placed an even chance bet, he/she takes back half of the wager. La Partage is commonly used on French tables.

Rule number two – En Prison

This rule can well be described as a more advanced or complicated version of La Partage. In this case, half of the wager for an even chance bet does not return to the player. After the ball lands at 0, the bet remains on the table and the dealer places a marker on the bet indicating that it is ‘in prison’.

The bet pushes on to the next round. At this time, if the previous bet happens to win, the original bet amount is returned to the winner. In the case of the ‘in prison’ bet not winning, the player loses the money.

La Partage and En Prison are more or less the same in terms of the outcome but have a slight difference. The two rules are mostly used in European and French roulette.

roulette rules surrenderRule number three – Surrender

This rule is commonly used in the American version. This means that you find this rule mostly in American casinos. This rule is more or less the same as La Partage and applies on both 0 and 00. Therefore, if the ball lands on any of the two numbers, half of each even chance bet returns to the player.

Roulette Rules in California

In California, any casino game in which winning or losing is determined by balls or dice is not allowed. This means that the games normally found in other casinos are not conducted in this state. To get around this, in California, instead of using wheels and balls, roulette games are played with cards.

The bets are conducted the same way as in American roulette, but things change when the bets come to an end. No wheel spinning or ball rotation determines the outcome. Instead, 38 cards that are similar to the wheel are used. An automatic card reshuffle selects cards randomly, representing the outcome of the wheel spin.

The rules in Californian casinos are different from the rules explained above. In this state, the rules do not change the roulette odds.

Roulette Rules in North America

roulette rules north americaIn North America, there is the double zero on the wheel. All bets in this game are lost when either of these zeros turns up, except for the direct bet where zero has been selected. The game is not as common in North America and the Caribbean as it is in other parts of the world.

The American rules are similar to those of the European version of the game except that in North America, 00 works the same as 0. In some American casinos, there is an additional bet referred to as basket bet. The chips are placed the same way as in the line bet.

How to Choose which Bet to Place?

You are now familiar with the types of bets to expect in the game. You are ready to approach the wheel and try your luck. The biggest question now is how to choose the best bet to make. It is simple. The bet to make depends on the roulette strategy you choose to follow. The strategy you go for will also help you choose the amount to bet.

It is advisable to start with a low amount to give yourself room to increase the stake in case you lose. Keep in mind that each game has its betting limit. This limit differs depending on the type of bet you choose to make.

After choosing the suitable strategy to adopt and the amount, it is important to choose betting limits that go in hand with your betting needs.

Maximum and Minimum Stakes

maximum and minimum stakes in rouletteMost casinos normally post minimum and maximum stakes for a roulette table. Every time the dealer spins the wheel, the participant’s total betting amount should be above the minimum stake. The maximum stake represents the maximum amount allowed when placing a one number straight-up bet.

In other types of bets, the maximum stake increases in proportion. This means that the maximum allowed bet on two numbers is double that allowed on straight-up bets. For a corner bet, the maximum is four times that of the straight-up bet.

Roulette Bets, Odds & Payouts

So far, you already know all types of bets and the amount you can win for every bet you place. It is also important to familiarize yourself with the odds and roulette payouts. The chart below has a summary of roulette odds and roulette payouts:

BetPayoutEuropean roulette oddsHouse edge (European roulette)American roulette oddsHouse edge (American roulette)
Colours reds/blacks1:148.65%2.7%47.37%5.26%
Lows/highs (1-18 / 19-36)1:148.65%2.7%47.37%5.26%
6 Line (6 Numbers)5:116.22%2.7%15.79%5.26%
Top line (5 Numbers)6:113.16%7.89%
Street (3 Numbers)11:18.11%2.7%7.89%5.26%
Split (2 Numbers)17:15.41%2.7%5.26%5.26%
Straight (1 Number)35:12.70%2.7%2.63%5.26%
  • Odds refer to the chances of winning.
  • The house edge refers to the advantage the house holds over participants.
  • A roulette payout of 1:1 means that you get one chip plus your original bet.
  • A roulette payout of 5:1 means that you get five chips plus your original bet.

The House Edge

roulette rules the house edgeThe house edge refers to the mathematical advantage that the casino (house) has over the players. On the American wheel, the house edge is 5.76%. On the European wheel, it is 2.7%. This means that the advantage of the house is greater at the American wheel than it is on the European wheel. The casino having a small edge is not a problem though.

Unless the player’s prediction is accurate, the casino has the chance of enjoying the profits for a long time. The thinking of the house is focused on the thousands of players who will bet on thousands of games but not on individual players. The only time the house focuses on an individual participant is in cases where they are using a professional system.

Bets with the Best Roulette Odds

The odds of a win are different from the actual roulette payouts and edge. You could place a bet on each edge and win every bet so your odds would be highest.

On the other hand, you could still lose a lot of money because you would have been paid an unfair amount known as ‘the house edge’. Therefore, it is important not to consider the best odds but consider the house edge. From the above chart, the house edge is similar all through the bets.

How to Avoid Common Misconceptions

roulette rules how to avoid misconceptionsThere is one common mistake that most roulette players make: increasing the number of bets after making losses without considering or predicting the winning number. As we have learned, these games are all about predicting the number that could possibly win. This is the whole idea behind placing the bets.

In general, the system does not pay attention as to why the balls lands where it ultimately does. On average, players who place these bets do not even consider the variables that determine the outcomes.

Ideally, a simple bet could be placed but, in case of a loss, you could be tempted to increase the bet size. The theory behind this is that increasing the bet size would increase the winning chances and recover back losses. The reality is different. Increasing the bet size simply increases the betting amount for the next spin. If there is more on the table, there is more to lose.

Difference between American, European, and French Roulette

The above-mentioned games are very similar. They are all played by spinning the wheel with a small ball, with participants choosing an outcome for every spin. These games involve the same process, but it is worth noting that some differences do exist.

Let us have a look at these differences.

Rules and odds difference

rules and odds differenceA single zero roulette has a total of 37 numbers – one number fewer than that of the double zero roulette. It is important to note that despite the 00 roulette having more numbers, the payout ratio is still the same as that of a single zero roulette.

This clearly explains that the American version is not good for the player. In this aspect, French and European roulettes have a higher return to player and a lower house edge. This is good for the player. The RTP of French roulette is rated at 97.3% while that of American roulette is at 94.74%. That tells you that it is wise to go for the European version of the game if you have a choice.

In regards to other aspects of the games, they are more or less similar, although the American version has a special bet known as the top line that involves numbers 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3.
The trio (0-1-2 and 0-2-3) and basket (0-1-2-3) bets can only be made on French and European tables.

French roulette normally follows the rule ‘La Partage’, which changes the RTP of certain bets. There are also other rules that change the manner in which bets are placed, or that alter the roulette payouts given to the participants for certain games.

Wheel and Roulette table layout differences

The differences between American and European roulette wheels are as follows:

1. The American roulette has a double zero wheel that has a total of 37 numbers, including 1-36 and a zero.
2. The European and French roulette wheel has a total of 38 numbers, including 1-36 and a zero and a double zero.

On top of the layout of the wheel, the table layouts are also slightly different. The only difference between the two tables layout is the 00 section available on the American table layout. Another difference could be on the language used on the tables’ layout.

You find that in most cases, French table layout has French as the language on it regardless of the part of the world you find the table in.

roulette wheel layoutRoulette wheel layout

The wheel layout marks the most important aspect of this game. This is where you find all the numbers participants place their bets on. These numbers are not arranged in ascending or descending orders, neither are they randomly placed. How the numbers are placed on the wheel is very important.

The main purpose of the wheel layout is to evenly distribute the numbers.

Alternating red and black numbers

On American, European or French wheel layouts, you will never find two black pockets and two red pockets following each other. The wheel layout is arranged in a way that red and black numbers alternate.

Evenly distributed even and odd numbers

Unlike red and black numbers, even and odd numbers do not alternate. They are evenly distributed whereby you find two odd numbers and two even numbers positioned next to each other.

Alternating low (1-18) and high (19-36) numbers

This works well on a single 0 roulette wheel. It is done close to perfection except for the two low numbers (5 and 10) that break this rule. This is because the two are positioned next to each other. When it comes to a 00 roulette wheel, there is an imbalance in this respect.

It’s difficult to understand the sequence

It is not easy to understand the sequence of a wheel layout. You cannot just look at the wheel and understand the sequence. It is worthwhile familiarizing yourself with it.

european wheel layoutEuropean and French Roulette Wheel Layout

This game is played with one zero wheel with a total of 37 numbers. These numbers include red or black numbers 1-36 and one green number 0.

The sequence of a single zero roulette wheels is as follows:


American Roulette Wheel Layout

This wheel’s layout differs from that of European and French. It contains a total of 38 numbers including numbers 1-36 (red and black) and 0 and 00 (green).

The sequence is as follows:


Roulette Table Layout

The differences in the layout of the wheel play a major role in the game. On the other hand, tables’ layouts are minor and are not so important to the game.

The differences are as stated below:

  • The American table layout contains a double zero that cannot be found on any single zero roulette table.
  • The layout for outside bets might be a bit different. The sectors might be positioned in different locations even though there is always a sector for outside bets.
  • European and American roulette tables’ language is normally English, while the French tables are normally in French.

Roulette Racetrack Layout

roulette racetrack layoutFor announced bets, there is another part of the game’s table layout known as the racetrack. This name is derived from the similarity it has to a racing circuit. It is a representation of a number sequence with a section for each of the announced bets.

These bets are then directly placed on the table after the player’s announcement. The racetrack simplifies these bets and allows the players to know that they have the option to place these bets. This is necessary because announced bets are not available on every roulette wheel.

The rules for the racetrack vary from one casino to another. The wording also varies, although there are some areas that remain the same:

  • Series 5/8 (orange) area is as follows:
  • Splits (two numbers): 5 & 8, 10 & 11, 13 & 16, 23 & 24, 27 & 30, 33 & 36.
  • ‘Orphelins’ (green) area is as follows:
  • Straight (one number): 1
  • Splits: 6 & 9, 14 & 17, 17 & 20, 31 & 34
  • Series 0/2/3 (orange) area is as below:
  • Streets (three numbers): 0, 2, 3
  • Splits: 4 & 7, 12 & 15, 18 & 21, 19 & 22, 25 & 28, 26 & 29, 32 & 35
  • 0-Game is as below:
  • Straight: 26
  • Splits: 0 & 3, 12 & 15, 32 & 35

Neighbours Bets on the Race Track

neighbours bets on the race trackThis refers to a bet on one number on the race track. In a land-based casino, a bet on a single number splits the betting amount between 5 numbers. That includes the number you have selected on your bet plus the two numbers on each of its sides. When betting online, when you click on the number, the software automatically places a chip on that number and two numbers on its sides.

In some land-based casinos, for varied reasons, neighbour bets pass through the dealer, who informs the boss of this bet. The first main reason for this is to help the house identify professional players who place their predictions on the section.

Secondly, your bet becomes clear to everybody to avoid misunderstandings. Misunderstandings relating to where players wanted to place their bets can lead to arguments, so are best avoided.