Roulette Gameplay

Even though roulette is largely based on chance, taking the time to learn how the game works and the types of bets one can make can help gamers make smarter plays and improve their chances of heading home with more money. While the game may seem simplistic, it can take a lifetime to learn, so players new to the table will want to brush up on a few of the basics of the game.

The Wheel

Unlike many other tabletop casino games, roulette requires specific equipment to be played, and can therefore be easily identified in a busy casino. Atop the felt-lined table will be a large, convex wheel that a collection of numbered grooves with alternating colors.

Depending on what style of game you are playing, there may be more or fewer numbers, as well as different layouts to the wheel. The most common forms of the game include the classic European Roulette, which bears the numbers one through 36 as well as a green 0, and American Roulette, which adds 00 to the mix. It’s important to note that these numbers are not consecutive, and the placement of any given value can vary between the different types of wheel.


The Board

The goal of the game is to correctly name the number on which the ball will land when the wheel stops spinning, and this can be accomplished by placing wagers on the board found beside the wheel. Players make bets by placing chips on corresponding positions for specific numbers, groups of numbers, odd or even distinctions or the color of the winning number.

Players stepping up to board for the first time will notice two distinct betting areas. The inner section has individual numbers from 1-36, as well as places for 0 and 00. There are also three columns with 12 rows, allowing gamers to bet on three separate numbers in a row at once. Wagers made in this area are known as “inside” bets, and tend to have longer odds but better payoffs.

The outer betting section has larger boxes with different groups of numbers, including slots to wager on groups of 18 numbers at a time. Wagers in this area, also known as “outside” bets, are more broad than their inside counterparts, and include spaces for odd, even, red and black wagers.


Buying In

Since multiple players can try their luck at the same time, each player is given specifically colored chips when they step up to the table. Unlike other games that involve chips, such as poker, every chip in a player’s stack will have the same value and a uniform color. This is to allow the croupier to instantly distinguish what players have won or lost without having to perform complex payout calculations each round.

While tables will have a set minimum and maximum bet, wagers cannot be combined to meet the table minimum. For example, if the minimum bet is $10, you have to bet $10 for each individual wager, rather than say $5 on a number and another $5 on a color. The maximum and the agreed upon chip denomination for your stack will also govern how many individual bets you can make on any given round.


Prior to the beginning of each round, the croupier will allow for players to begin placing their bets on the board. The game begins in earnest when the croupier spins the wheel in one direction, while sending a small ball spinning in the opposite way. After a few seconds have passed, the dealer will then announce that no further bets can be made and wave his hand over the board.

Once the ball has stopped in a numbered slot, the dealer will announce the winning number by placing a special marker on the board before clearing all the losing bets. With those chips removed, the dealer will then pay out every winning wager before eventually beginning a new round of betting and repeating the process.

Placing bets
Bets in roulette should never be thrown in, but carefully placed on a number or color. If you cannot reach, simply ask the croupier to place your chips for you. The croupier will also announce the beginning or ending of betting periods, and any wagers made outside of those times will be treated as invalid – this includes chips not cleared and replaced between rounds. When placing bets, it’s important to know what your options are. Here is a list of the some of more common wagers at the Roulette table:

Outside Bets


Different outside table bets.

  • Color: There are 36 spots with red or black backgrounds, with half painted red and the other half black. As both the 0 and 00 numbers will be painted green, no red or black bets will win in this situation. These bets pay even money.
  • Odd or even: Similar to the color specific bet, if you correctly guess that the winning number (1-36) is even or odd, you will win this bet. These wagers also pay even money and do not pay in the event of a 0 or 00 spin.
  • Section of numbers: On a Roulette table, players can place bets on whether a spin will end on a number between 1 through 18 or 19 through 36. These bets also pay even money.
  • Columns: As the roulette table is divided into three columns with various numbers and colors, players can bet on one of these sections. There are 12 rows of three numbers beginning with one, two and three. The numbers in the columns are each three more than the one before it (i.e. 1,4,7.etc.). These bets pay 2 to 1.
  • Dozens: A bet on a “dozen” means placing a wager on the first, second or thirdgroup of 12 numbers.

Inside Bets


Different inside table bets.

Single number: Players can place a bet on 0, 00, and any number between 1 and 36. These bets pay out 35 to 1, though the odds are actually worse than that due the inclusion of 0 and 00.

  • Split: A split is a bet on any two numbers and is made by placing chips on the line between the two numbers. Pays 17-1.
  • Street: A street bet is made by putting a chip on the line that separates inside bets from outside bets. Depending on the placement, these wagers claim a particular row of three consecutive numbers. As such, it pays out 11-1.
  • Double Street: This bet is similar to a street bet with one exception; It is placed on the line that separates the outside bets from the inside bets and consists of six numbers.
  • Just as on the street bet, place a chip on the line separating the outside from the inside, but let it sit on the horizontal line between two rows. That gives you six numbers in two consecutive three-number rows and pays 5-1.
  • Corner: A corner bet is placed on the horizontal and vertical juncture between four numbered boxes. It pays 8-1.