Roulette Rules


If you wish to become a successful roulette player, it’s important to be very familiar with all the rules of the game, from beginning to end. After playing a few times, whether online or in a casino, the rules will become second nature. Roulette traces its roots back to France, when a mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal accidentally invented the spinning wheel in his attempt to invent the perpetual motion machine. Just as the game of roulette has evolved over the years, so have the rules. You’ll find this game in casinos all over the world, from Monte Carlo to Las Vegas as well as online. Here are the rules of roulette:

The Basics

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A roulette wheel has numbers from 00 to 36.

Roulette is played with players standing – in the case of online casinos, sitting – around the roulette table. Seats at the roulette table are for players only.

The Wheel

There is a wheel with the numbers 00 to 36. In casinos, the wheel is three feet in diameter, but online, its size is dependent upon your screen size and resolution. Thirty-eight numbered pockets line the perimeter of the wheel. Half of the numbers have a red background and the other half have a black background. Traditionally, the 0 and 00 slots have a green background. Play begins after the dealer has cleared off all losing bets and paid all winners from the previous spin.
As the wheel spins, the small ball starts spinning in the opposite direction. When the wheel slows, the ball will drop into one of the numbered slots, which players have placed bets on. Each player uses different colored chips so bets don’t get mixed up.

Object of the Game

In order to make a bet on your desired number, you put your chips on that number’s particular spot. The object is to correctly guess which number will hit after the ball lands in one of the slots. At the end of play, if you own, you exchange the colored chips with cash chips. However, winning is easier said than done, and luck often plays a part in the game. Some players bet on previous winning numbers, calling them ‘hot numbers’ because the players believe they’re more likely to come up. Other players take a different route, betting on numbers that haven’t shown up yet, believing that their turn is now due.

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A roulette game features both a spinning wheel and a game table for bets.

In reality, every number has the same chance of being rolled every time the wheel is spun.

Betting Rules

Roulette includes 11 types of bets, each with its own odds and payout. Players may place as many bets as they would like on each spin, and the table minimum applies to the total of all your bets, not individual wagers. When betting, the dealer will normally give the players about 60 seconds to put down their wagers. Players can still lay down bets when the ball is moving, as long as the croupier (the person who spins the roulette wheel) has not waved his or her hand over the table. There are two types of bets in roulette: inside and outside bets. Inside bets are made on the layout, or number grid. An outside bet takes part on the outside of the table, outside of the layout.

Table showing five different inside bets.

Table showing five different inside bets.

Inside Bets

Straight up Bet: You bet on a single number.
Split Bet: You bet on two numbers by placing a chip on the line, separating the two values.
Corner Bet: You bet on four numbers by placing a chip at the center of the 4 number block that you wish to bet on.
Street Bet: You bet on a row of three numbers, like 1, 2 and 3.
Special Line Bet: You make this bet by placing a chip on 00, 0, 1, 2 and 3.

Table showing five different inside bets.

Table showing five different outside bets.

Outside Bets

Dozens: You’re betting that the ball will land on a number between 1 and 12, 13 and 24 or 25 and 36.
Odd or Even: In this case, you place a wager if you believe that an odd number will be rolled. You place a bet on the odd zone in the outside part of the table.
Red or Black: You bet on a red number to appear, or a black number.
Column Bet: This is similar to a dozen bet – you’re betting on one group of numbers to be rolled.
High/Low Number: Low numbers refer to 1-18, excluding 00 and 0, and high numbers refer to 19-36.

When betting and playing roulette, there are certain rules that can apply, depending on the casino or table at which you’re playing. Here are a few of the most common:

Surrender Rule

Most American roulette tables allow the surrender rule. If you placed an outside bet, if the ball lands in either 0 pocket, you surrender half your bed, instead of your entire wager. This reduces house advantage significantly on even money, outside bets.

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The surrender rule applies when the ball lands in a 0 pocket.

‘En Prison’ Rule

This is a rule that affects only even money bets. When the ball lands on a 0, there are two different routes that the player can take:

Get Back Half of your Initial Wager

Leave the bet for the following turn of the wheel. Of course this would be a gamble because if the spin lands on 0 again, or does not match the imprisoned bet, then the whole wager will have been lost. However, if the outcome of the spin matches the bet, the player will get his or her money back.

‘La Partage’ Rule

This rule is similar to the ‘En Prison’ rule. Although, with this variation, the player loses half the bet and does not have the option of leaving the bet in prison for another spin. This refers to the outside, even-money bets like red or black, high or low and odd or even and applies when the outcome is zero. Both the ‘En Prison’ rule and the ‘La Partage’ rule essentially cut the casino edge on the even-money bets in half.

Minimum and Maximum Stakes

When playing roulette, you’ll find that the casinos will usually offer a maximum and minimum stake for a table, which is generally done for recreational play as well. For each spin of the wheel, the whole amount of a player’s inside bets must surpass the minimum stake. Oftentimes, the listed maximum stake shows the limit allowed for a single number inside wager. For other types of bets, the maximum stakes increases proportionately.