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Roulette rules and strategies

Learn how to play roulette just in a few minutes with our video. We discuss bet types, roulette variations, and strategies.

Roulette is a popular casino game that has been enjoyed by gamblers worldwide since its invention in 18th-century France. The game's name is derived from the French word 'roulette', which means 'little wheel'. The objective of roulette is simple: players place bets on the outcome of a ball being spun around a wheel.

To play roulette, follow these steps:

  1. Choose your bet by placing chips on the betting table.
  2. Wait for the dealer to spin the wheel and release the ball.
  3. Observe the outcome as the ball comes to a stop in one of the numbered pockets.
  4. If your bet covers the winning pocket, you receive a payout based on the odds of your bet.

Betting types and chances of winning

The game of roulette consists of two key elements: the roulette wheel and the betting table. The wheel is divided into numbered pockets, ranging from 0 to 36. The table displays the same numbers and additional betting options. To win at roulette, players must predict on which pocket the ball will land.

European roulette table

There are two main types of bets in roulette: inside bets and outside bets. Inside bets are placed directly on the numbers, while outside bets are placed on wider categories of numbers, such as even or odd, red or black, and high or low.

Return to Player (RTP) for Roulette Variants

Variant RTP
French Roulette 98.65%
European Roulette 97.30%
American Roulette 94.74%

As the table shows, French Roulette has the highest RTP. In other words, the casino has the lowest edge with this variant.

Bet Options, Odds, and Payouts

The casino is making a profit in the long run because payout ratios are lower than the odds. For example, if you bet on a number on the European roulette, you have a 36 to 1 chance to win. In other words, you chance to pick the correct number is 2,7%. However, if you win, your payout will be 35 to 1. This is also the reason why having the additional 0 in the American roulette increases the profit for the casino. With the American roulette, you only have a 37 to 1 chance to win, but the payout remains 35 to 1.

The table below summarises the odds of winning and payouts for the most common European roulette bet types:

Bet Option Odds Payout
Black or red 48.6% 1 to 1
Even or odd 48.6% 1 to 1
Low or High 48.6% 1 to 1
Column 32.4% 2 to 1
Dozen 32.4% 2 to 1
Single number 2.7% 35 to 1


Roulette, a casino game known for its unpredictability, has been a subject of various betting strategies aiming to overcome the house edge. Some players have reportedly succeeded by exploiting mechanical flaws in the wheels, while others have relied on mathematical tactics.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Richard Jarecki won a considerable fortune by observing over 10,000 spins on each roulette wheel to identify potential flaws. This strategy led casinos to upgrade their roulette wheels over time. However, the majority of betting strategies, such as the Martingale or Fibonacci system, are predicated on patterns and the Gambler's fallacy - the belief that past results influence future outcomes. These methods often result in players losing money over time due to the inherent house edge in roulette.

Engineering approaches have also been tried to outsmart the game. One notable example is the wearable computer created by Edward O. Thorp and Claude Shannon in 1961, which predicted the ball's landing spot by timing the ball and wheel. However, such a technique could be easily countered by the casino.

In the 1980s and 1990s, strategies evolved to predict wheel performance in real-time or exploit the belief that roulette wheels were not perfectly random. Teams of gamblers from the USA and individual gamblers like Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo won large sums through these methods, leading to significant changes in wheel design by manufacturers and increased vigilance by casinos.

Despite these attempts, no betting strategy has proven to consistently overcome the house advantage. Betting systems fall into two main categories: negative progression systems like the Martingale, which increase the bet size after a loss, and positive progression systems like the Paroli, which increase the bet size after a win. Both have their risks and neither can guarantee long-term profits.

In conclusion, while numerous strategies and systems have been developed to beat the house in roulette, none have been proven to be consistently effective. The game, like all casino games, is designed to favor the house in the long run.