Beginners Guide to Roulette Rules

Level: Beginner
8 m mins read
Page  created  30 Jun, 2022
Who is Heather Ferris?

Heather has over 15 years of experience in the casino industry. She is an adjunct professor at UNLV and is the CEO and founder of Vegas Aces.


Roulette is one of the easiest games at the casino to start playing. The rules of roulette are quick to learn and you could be spinning the wheel online in a matter of minutes. Have a read of our guide to find everything you need to start playing from step-by-step instructions to more sophisticated betting rules and tips; give yourself the best chance of winning by learning how to play roulette online right here.

How to Play Roulette

The roulette wheel is one of the most recognizable icons of any casino floor. Placing your bets on the table and watching the little white ball spin before landing in one of the 36 numbers is sure to give most people a buzz.

Roulette is a great game for novices because it’s fun and easy to play. The rules are even easier to learn too.

The essential aim of the game is to accurately guess the number the ball will land on. The numbers on the roulette table correspond to the numbers on the roulette wheel.

In European roulette, the wheel contains 37 numbers from 0-36 which are color-coded in red and black with green for the 0.

In American roulette, the wheel has 38 numbers from 0-36 also in red and black but this version has an extra 00 green pocket. The numbers on the American roulette wheel are also arranged in a different order to European and other versions of roulette.

These rules and differences appear in both online and in physical casinos.

Understanding the Roulette Wheel

Roulette revolves around a spinning wheel with numbered slots or ‘pockets’. The dealer will take bets from gamblers, and place the ball onto the spinning wheel.

Whichever players correctly guess the color, number or section the ball lands in, wins. In online roulette, the wheel and pocket the ball lands in are controlled by a Random Number Generator (RNG) mimicking the randomness of real-life roulette and ensuring game fairness to online players.

Placing Bets on the Roulette Table

With over 20 different types of bets available, betting on roulette is both varied and exciting. Inside and outside bets are the two main types of wagers that each has their own range of varying payouts and odds from even money all the way up to 35:1.

Inside Bets

To break it down simply, inside bets are placed within or ‘inside’ the roulette table and include bet names such as street, corner, straight up and split. These types of bets are high payouts, long odds. This means you have a much lower chance of winning than with outside bets but the amount you win is much higher.

Outside Bets

Outside bets on the other hand cover the rest of the roulette table, or the ‘outside’, and feature the more recognized bets such as red/black, odd/even, dozen and high/low. These are bets with low payouts meaning that you probably won’t score a huge payout but with higher chances of hitting than inside bets, you can maintain your bankroll for longer.

Which Bets are Best?

There are no best bets in roulette; only good bets that work for you. If you're looking for a big win on a low budget, choose some inside bets and maintain your bankroll.

For a full explanation of all the bets you can make on a roulette wheel, the odds and payouts for each number and expert tips on the dos and don'ts, visit our roulette bets and payouts guide.

Roulette Glossary of Terms

Whether you’re playing roulette online or in a physical casino, understanding the terminology used around the roulette table will allow you to keep track of the game and keep track of your bankroll.

Here, we’ve broken down some of the most common terms and phrases that you might hear while playing roulette:

Term Definition
Corner Bet This is an inside bet that can also be known as square bet, box bet or quarter bet. All names refer to the shape this bet makes. If you place your chips on the position where four numbers meet, you'll have placed a corner bet, making it look like a square or a box.
Croupier This is another name for the dealer and is more commonly found in European casinos or when playing European or French roulette.
En Prison This rule can only be used while playing French roulette, however, it can be hard to find a casino or game that uses it. Essentially, if you have bet on any outside even money sections such as red/black, odd/even, high/low and the ball lands on 0, you have your initial wager ‘en prison’ or ‘in prison’ until the next spin of the wheel. If your original bet wins in the next round, you will get your entire wager returned in full.
Double Zero (00) The 00 is found only on American Roulette wheels and raises the house edge of the game to 5.26%. There are certain bets with American Roulette that allow you to bet on the 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3 of the roulette table.
High/Low High/Low are a type of outside bet and refer to betting on the ball landing on the high end of the table (19-36) or the low end (1-18).
Inside Bets Inside bets are wagers you can make ‘inside’ the roulette table. Here you have all the numbers to choose from; a single number, a set of numbers, or row or even a whole chunk of numbers.
La Partage This rule is valid only when playing French roulette and in most cases is already in play with no action required by the player. If you have placed a wager on the outside even money sections such as red/black, odd/even, high/low and the ball lands on 0, all players will get half their wager returned.
Line Bet This bet can also be referred to as an avenue bet or a double street bet. Here, you bet on two adjoining rows of the table which amount to a total of six numbers.
Neighbors / Voisins du Zero This is a French term that is more common in European casinos while playing European or French roulette but can be found on American double zero roulette wheels too. Essentially, it is a wager on the group of numbers that neighbor the zero.
Odd/Even With this bet, you’re choosing if the ball will land on an odd number or an even number (excluding the 0 and/or 00).
Orphans/Orphelins This bet refers to the section of numbers that are not included in the voisins du zero or the tiers bet. This is more commonly seen on European and French roulette tables but can also be found on some double zero American roulette wheels too.
Outside Bets As opposed to inside bets, outside bets are the wagers you can make on the roulette table that do not contain numbers. They are essentially on the ‘outside’ and around the edge.
Pocket This is the name given to the individual numbered slots on the roulette wheel that the white ball falls into after a spin.
Red/Black Similar to odd/even, this outside bet allows you to bet on the ball landing on a red number or a black one.
Street Bet This inside bet allows you to bet on a ‘street’ by placing your chip(s) on the top of a three-number row on the roulette table.
Straight Up This is a bet on a single number on the roulette table. With a payout of 35:1, this is one of the highest paying inside bets available.
Thirds / Tiers This is a bet that can be made on the 12 numbers opposite the 0. Typically found on the European or French roulette table, you can also play it on certain double zero American roulette wheels too.
Zero (0) A single 0 can be found on all roulette wheels. However, it is only European and French roulette which keeps the single zero. American roulette has both the single and the double 00 which increases the house edge to 5.26%.

Learn more about our roulette bets and payouts, inside and outside bets, and their odds and payout rates.

How to Play Roulette Online

Playing roulette online is not that different to playing roulette in a physical casino – the gameplay is still as fast and fun but with the added benefit of not waiting for your place at a table.

Follow our steps below to get started playing online roulette:

  1. Choose a casino to play with. You can choose to play for free if you want to practice betting and strategies first.

  2. Open an account. Once you’ve registered with a casino and deposited your money, you’re ready to play. Use any welcome or deposit bonuses if they’ve available.

  3. Find a roulette game. Head to the game lobby, choose a roulette game, then start playing.

  4. Place your bet. Simply drag and drop your colored chip (usually found at the bottom of the screen) onto the color, number or section of the roulette table you wish to bet on.

  5. Click the spin button. Watch the ball whizz around before dropping into one of the pockets.

  6. See if you’re a winner. The computer will announce which number is the winner and if you’ve won, you’ll receive your winnings immediately.

  7. Place your bets again. You can also withdraw your winnings to play another game.

Choose the Best Strategies for Winning Roulette Online

Using a roulette strategy can be a tempting option when you're new to playing roulette or want a fast way to win big on the wheel. However, like with all gaming systems and techniques, there can be a level of risk that doesn't always pay off in the long run.

To help you navigate the world of roulette strategies, we’ve created a dedicated guide explaining the most popular roulette systems around from the James Bond and the Martingale strategies to the Paroli and the Fibonacci techniques. Complete with details of how to use them and their pros and cons, this guide will allow you to make the smart choice for you and your bankroll.

Explore roulette strategies >

Roulette Game Variations

There are many different variations to roulette; some use more than one ball, others have more than one wheel and in some cases, the house edge can be less than the ‘regular’ variations so could see you winning more money in the long run.

Explore the different variations below, try them all out and discover a new favorite:

American Roulette

American roulette is one of the most popular and common versions of the game. The wheel features both a zero and a double zero (00), and as a result, the house edge is 5.26%.

Apart from ‘call’ bets, American roulette players can make the same bets as in European roulette.

Find out more about playing American roulette >

An example of the classic American roulette wheel and table complete with both a single zero and a double 0

European Roulette

European roulette only has a single 0 on its wheel, making its house edge 2.7% - one of the lowest of all the roulette variants.

Players can also play with ‘call’ and ‘announced’ bets on the European table, ensuring fast and exciting gameplay online or in a physical casino.

Discover the in’s and out’s of European roulette >

An example of the European roulette wheel and table complete with only one zero and the live dealer call and announced bet racing track wheel.

Royal Roulette

Royal roulette has the same rules and format as European roulette, with the addition of a progressive jackpot bet. Alongside your main bet, you have the chance to make a second wager on either inside or outside bets, or singular numbers. To win the progressive jackpot bet, the number you choose must land five times in a row.

Multi-Ball Roulette

Using a European roulette wheel and table, multi-ball roulette adds as many as 10 balls at once. This increases the number of betting options players can make, making it an exciting and modern update to the classic roulette format.

French Roulette

French roulette uses the same single 0 wheel as European roulette and therefore has the same house edge. However, the French roulette table layout does differ slightly. In this game, the outside bets are split between the two long sides of the board. The bet types are the same as European roulette although of course in French; odd and even are ‘pair’ and ‘impair’, high bets are ‘passe’ and low bets are ‘manqué’.

Also on the board are 12 P (premiere douzaine), 12 M (moyenne douzaine) and 12 D (dernier douzaine). These refer to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd 12s (respectively) on the American or European roulette table.

French roulette also includes the 'En Prison' and 'La Partage' rules which are essentially insurance on even-money wagers if the ball lands on zero. In this case, a player would only lose half their wagered amount.

An example of the French roulette wheel and table complete with the Manque, Passe, Impair and Pair sections

Mini Roulette

Few online casinos offer this scaled-back version of roulette. Only half the size of a regular roulette table and with fewer betting options, it's a good game for new gamblers to practice their betting and wagering skills.

An example of a mini-roulette table and wheel layout with 12 numbers on each instead of the usual 36.

Multi-Wheel Roulette

Keep the fun going with multi-wheel roulette. This version of the game gives you even more chances of winning by playing with more than one wheel. The game also uses the same rules and set-up as European Roulette allowing you to bet on sections of the wheel and the table.

An example of the European roulette table layout with 4 roulette wheels above it that you use to play multi-wheel roulette

Live Dealer Roulette

Players can enjoy the energy and thrill of roulette games online in the comfort of their own homes. The house edge, bet types and rules will be the same in live dealer online roulette games as those in land-based casinos. While these appear less often on casino sites, the best online casinos for roulette will offer live dealer games.

An example of the live dealer roulette wheel and table that you would see online

How to Play Roulette at a Casino

Playing roulette online is extremely similar to playing at a land-based casino, especially if you're playing live dealer roulette.

Some differences include the more prominent use of call bets, which are announced to the dealer rather than placed. However, these are usually only accepted at higher-stakes tables and are naturally less common online.

You also need to remember to ‘color up’ your chips before you leave the roulette table to ensure you can cash your winnings in at the end of the night.


Is roulette easy to learn?

Yes, roulette is one of the easiest casino table games to learn. Essentially, the aim of the game is to correctly guess the number on the roulette wheel that the white ball will land in.

How to learn roulette fast?

Roulette is a relatively easy game to understand but to learn to play quickly (and more effectively), we recommend playing roulette for free online. This way you can get to grips with the gameplay. the betting, the rounds and the odds and payouts in your own time, all without risking your own money.

What is the best way to learn roulette?

The best way to learn roulette is to play roulette. Once you’ve read the rules on this page, give roulette a go on a free version online. We also suggest checking out the roulette strategies available as well as reading our bets and payouts guide too so you can really get to know the game properly.

Is online roulette rigged?

Not at all. The best online casinos are regulated and strictly monitored to ensure their games are as fair as land-based casinos. Online roulette games use Random Number Generators (RNG) to mimic the randomness of a real-life game and ensure there can be no cheating from both the player or the casino.

How can I play roulette online?

Roulette is easy to play online. Check out our list of trusted and vetted online roulette casinos, choose your favorite roulette variant, deposit your money and start betting. You can even play free roulette online too if you want to just practice and see which variant you might want to play for real money.

What are the odds for online roulette?

The true odds in American roulette are 37:1 as there are 38 numbers on the roulette wheel. However, because of the house edge, the actual payout odds are 35:1. In betting terms, this means that the chances of a single number on a straight-up bet winning is 37:1, but you would receive a payout based on odds of 35:1.

What are the best variations of roulette to play?

All roulette variations have their pros and cons; it all depends what you’re searching for in a game. If you’re looking for the classics, then try American roulette. Something more exciting? Have a go at mini roulette or multi-wheel roulette. If you want a game with the best odds, then playing European roulette should be on your list with its house edge of 2.7%. For even better odds, find a single zero roulette wheel that has the La Partage principle added to enjoy a house edge of just 1.35%. Or if you’re wanting to try something new, learning the rules and intricacies of French roulette is ideal for those with a little more experience under their belt.

How do you pronounce roulette?

Roulette is a French word and is believed to mean ‘little wheel’ referring to the creation of the game in the 18th century. The easiest way to pronounce it is to think of the ‘roo’ in kangaroo and the ‘let’ in ‘house to let’ or "let’s go play roulette!"