Roulette Wheel and Numbers

Wheel-based casino games can be traced back hundreds of years to the 17th century, when French scientist Blaise Pascal was on the hunt for a perpetual motion machine. Though he wasn’t successful in his search, he did manage to combine a wheel with existing board games to come up with the roulette wheel.


Modified roulette wheels of the 18th century featured only 28 numbers, plus 0 and 00.

Early Roulette Wheels

By the late 18th century, roulette, which is French for “small wheel,” gained popularity throughout Europe, including Russia, and Turkey. The game was already quite similar to what we see in modern casinos: The wheel featured 36 numbers in red and black, plus the 0 and 00, and the types of bets used today were present.

If you walk into any American casino today, you will find a roulette wheel that features 38 slots. However, this wasn’t always the case. When roulette was introduced to the United States at the end of the 18th century, it came up through Louisiana along with French immigrants. Eventually, the game spread throughout the American territories, where it gained popularity in the West by the early 19th century.

These roulette wheels were modified, and looked quite different from those of  the 18th century. These wheels only featured 28 numbers, plus 0, 00 and an additional pocket with a picture of an American Eagle. However, it was decided that this system gave the casino too much of an advantage and ultimately done away with.


The modern American roulette wheel has numbers 00 through 36 as shown.

Modern Roulette Wheels

On an American roulette wheel, there are 38 slots. The numbers featured are 1 through 36, plus 0 and 00. They can be found on almost all wheels in the following order, starting at 0 and going clockwise:

0, 28, 9, 26, 30, 11, 7, 20, 32, 17, 5, 22, 34, 15, 3, 24, 36, 13, 1, 00, 27, 10, 25, 29, 12, 8, 19, 31, 18, 6, 21, 33, 16, 4, 23, 35, 14, 2

Both 0 and 00 are in green, while the rest of the numbers alternate between red and black.

For numbers between 1 and 10, as well as 19 to 28, the odd numbers are red while even numbers are black. The remaining numbers – 11 to 18 and 29 to 26 – show even numbers in red and odds in black.

Inside Bets and their Odds

When betting in roulette, you have a variety of choices, all of which come with various odds.

For example, if you bet on any one number, the chance of it hitting is 2.63 percent. As you can see, the odds are not in your favor, though you do get a 35-1 payout should it hit.


Tale showing a straight bet, street bet, and a corner bet.

But just laying some chips on a single number is far from your only option when it comes to betting in roulette. There are a variety of ways to increase your chances of winning, though you will naturally decrease the amount you will win.

Split Bet:

If you chose to place a split bet, you’re betting that one of two numbers will come up. You can do this with a huge combination of numbers, as long as they are adjacent. For example, you can bet on 5 and 2, 5 and 4, 5 and 8, or 5 and 6. The probability that you will win on this bet is, logically, double that of a single bet at 5.26 percent, and your winnings will be reduced to 17-1.

Street Bet:

A street bet gives you the chance to bet that one of three numbers will come up. These are always placed on a row of numbers, so you can bet that 1, 2 or 3 will come up, or 4, 5 and 6, all of the way down to 34, 35 or 36. These bets will give you a 7.89 percent chance of winning, and you’ll be paid out 11-1.

Corner Bet:

To bet on four different numbers, you can place a corner bet. There are 22 different combinations to be played on the board: 1, 2, 4 and 5 or 2, 3, 5 and 6, for example. If you hit, the payout is 8-1, and the probability that you hit is up to 10.53 percent.

Five-Number Bet:

This is, mathematically, the worst bet you can make in roulette. Every play on the board gives the house an edge of 5.26 percent except for a five-number bet, which bumps house edge to 7.89 percent. If you chose to make this bet, you are looking for 0, 00, 1, 2 or 3 to hit to pay you out 6-1. The probability that you win this is 13.16 percent.

Double street:

Here, you’re betting that one of six consecutive numbers will hit. Because you’re putting your chips on two rows, the bet can be on 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 or 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, and so forth. Your probability to win is 15.79, and it will pay out 5-1.


Table showing a dozens bet, odd bet, and a black bet.


Outside Bets and their Odds

These bets can be broken up into two categories: those that pay 2-1 and those that pay even money. The two ways to win 2-1 odds are to bet on columns or dozens.


These are a bet on an entire column, and if any one number in that column hits, you’ll win. you have a 31.58 percent chance of winning with a column bet.


These give you the same probability of winning as the columns, but the thirds are broken up by dozens: 1-12, 13-24 and 25-36.

Finally, a bet on Red, Black, Odds, Even, 1-18 or 19-36 all offer a 1-1 payout, and you have a 47.37 percent chance of winning. The reason you don’t have a straight 50/50 chance of winning on one of these outside bets are the 0 and 00. Should either of those hit, all outside bets lose.