How to Play Roulette

by | Aug 20, 2022 | Roulette


Roulette is one of the most celebrated table games in history, with a variant of the game existing as far back as the 1700s. The modern version of Roulette retains its place at the casino, being the most popular choice for players alongside blackjack and poker. 

But for new players, the roulette table can be a little intimidating. The game can seem fast-paced, and the sheer number of available bets is just a little overwhelming. Even though the basic concepts are simple, how to play Roulette isn’t always straightforward. 

This guide will take you through everything you need to join a game confidently. It takes time to master Roulette but learning the basics to become a decent player and enjoy the sheer excitement of the wheel will take you no time. 

roulette wheel

The History and Origins of Roulette 

The roulette wheel is now part of the furniture at every casino, but the game’s history does not have an agreed-upon origin. The traditional story holds that Blaise Pascal, the famous mathematician, developed the game when attempting to create a perpetual motion machine. 

However, this is likely just a myth, and the game may trace its roots to Italy. The Italian game Biribi is very similar, making this a plausible alternative theory. 

We know that the traditional roulette game has been around for hundreds of years with little change to the core concepts. Roulette rules, in their present form, have been in place since the late 18th century, with the French novel La Roulette, ou le Jour offering one of the very first descriptions of the game.

Nowadays, every online casino will offer a form of Roulette or roulette variant. 

The Roulette Wheel Explained

two roulette wheels

The standard casino roulette wheel is straightforward to understand: 37 or 38 slots where the ball can land on the spinning wheel. Each space has a number from 1 to 36 (alternating between the colours red and black) and two green slots (0 and 00).  

French/European Roulette (Single Zero)

There are two common types of casino roulette: French/European game and American. The first features the numbers 1-36 and a single zero (0) pocket. With this in mind, the house edge sits at 2.7%. 

French or European Roulette is slightly misleading today, as it’s the standard option in most countries (except the United States). 

American Roulette (Double Zero)

The North American version is almost the same as its European roulette counterpart. The difference? One extra zero pocket – 00. Of course, that small alteration to the wheel does have a significant mathematical consequence: the house edge rises to 5.26%. 

The Roulette Table: Bets Explained 

roulette table with already placed bets

The basic bets are easy to understand; red or black, even or odd. Both American and European Roulette have a bit more to them. Both offline and online Roulette will give you these betting options, generally speaking: 

Inside Bets 

The ‘inside’ bets are those you place on the inner section of the table. The inner areas are where all the numbers are located in the inner sections, and you can do more than just pick an arbitrary number.

En Plein (The Straight Up)

This bet is where to place a chip on a single number on the board. For e ample, you feel that the ball will land on 32. If it hits, you will win at odds of 35 to 1. 

A Cheval (The Split) 

The split is where things get a little more complicated. In this scenario, you place your money on two adjacent numbers, which you signify by placing half your chip on each number.

For example, if you’re feeling good about 17 or 20 hitting, you can place a chip between them, and if you win, the payout is 17 to 1. 

The Street Bet (Transversal, Trio, the Three Number Bet)  

You may be starting to see where this is going, with this being yet another number bet. The Street means you’re placing your money on one of three numbers. If any one of those hits, you win (with all bets paying at 11 to 1). 

The Corner (Carre, Square, the Four Number Bet) 

Place a quarter of a chip on four numbers, and you are going for a Square bet. You g t a payout of 8 to 1 for this one. 

The Five Number Bet 

This bet can only be found in the United States or on the American double-zero wheels. This allows you to place money on 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3. You g t 6 to 1 on this one. 

This bet is also known as “The Beast”, pointing to the huge house edge of 7.89%. Should you place bets on five individual numbers, it drops to 5.26%. It does pay to understand how roulette odds function. 

The Line Bet (Sixain, the Six Number Bet)

This is when players put their chip on the outside border of the six numbers you want to put your money on. At 5 to 1, the edge is 2.7% if on a single-zero wheel. 

Ball in roulette landing on red 25

Outside Bets 

The outside bets are perhaps the easiest to understand at first glance. This is where most people will place their bets, and the odds are near even. Also, the payouts are lower here. You have several options for the outside bets. 

The Colonne (The Column)

There are three columns on a roulette table; this bet pays 2 to 1 if you put your money on a single one. Since the 0 or 00 are not included, there is a 2.7% house edge. 

The Douzaine (The Dozens)

This bet puts your money on a dozen numbers, which are determined by the table layout (i.e. they are not consecutive numbers). Many layers will choose to play two Douzaines at once, with the payout for each at 2 to 1. 

Odd or Even 

There are 18 odd numbers on a roulette wheel, with a matching 18 that are even. You can place your bet on hitting odd or even, but not on the zeroes. The odd or even bet is one of the players’ most common outside bets. 


Another popular outside bet. Each number has a corresponding colour, red or black. You c n choose to place your money on either of these hitting. This is an even money bet, which means you get double what you bet, should you win. 

These ‘even money’ bets carry a house edge of 2.7% on a European roulette setup. If you’re playing on an American table, expect to lose 20 times for every 18 you win (equaling a house edge of 5.26%).


You can place your money on 1-18 or 19-36. Contr ry to Douzaine, these numbers are consecutive. The 0 or 00 are not included here, with the house edge sitting at 5.26% on an American wheel and 2.7% on a European roulette model. 

How to Play Roulette 

a player betting chips on rouletteHere’s the simple part: You must place a bet to play Roulette. Once you put your money on red, black, or one of the other many bets available, you’re in the game. It is that simple. You practically don’t even need to know the rules to get involved.

That’s what makes Roulette so accessible. Roule te is incredibly easy to understand in its most simple format. You don’t need to worry that it’s too complex or that you need to spend hours learning the rules. 

At an online casino, such as SkyCity Online Casino, it’s even easier, mainly if the game is virtual. You don’t need to worry about fellow players in a crowded and loud space; it’s just you and the game where you’re in control. It’s even down to you when the next spin happens, meaning you can analyse spins methodically and at your leisure. Should you have a live dealer, of course, you need to pay a little more attention to how the table works. 

Live Dealer Roulette

When playing live dealer Roulette, the process is very similar to that at a land-based casino. The following is the general ‘process’ you will witness at the table : 

  • The croupier asks players to “place their bets”. You will not have much time, so being ready is essential. 
  • You and the other players quickly place your chips where you think the ball will land. Wheth r it’s red, black, or a single number, place your bets thoughtfully. 
  • “No more bets”. The croupier (also called a ‘dealer’ by some) will spin the wheel and drop the ball deftly. Wager ng can continue whilst the ball is on the outside rim, but they will soon after announce that bets are no longer possible, usually by waving their hands over the table. 
  • The exciting (and nervous) wait. Now w wait for the ball to stop in one of the available pockets on the casino roulette wheel. 
  • Roulette payouts. There is usually always a winner when the ball finally lands. Yes, some people even put money on 0 or 00! 
  • Back to step 1. Once the ball lands, the croupier will place a puck or chess-piece-type object on the winning number. The croupier pays out the winner(s), and betting can commence once more when the puck is removed. 

The Role of the Live Dealer

The croupier, or dealer, is in charge of the roulette wheel and table. They manage the chips, gameplay, and players. They will ensure the game is fair, that players behave, and that bets are paid out and collected correctly and efficiently. 

As a player, you must listen carefully and follow all instructions given by the croupier. It’s a good idea not to get on their bad side! Remem er, whether it’s an online casino or a brick-and-mortar establishment, they are in charge. 

The Odds Explained 

a ball spinning on the roulette wheel

It’s no surprise roulette has a strong link to Blaise Pascal, the legendary French mathematician. Since Roulette is a game built on mathematical principles, a game of probability begins when the wheel spins. The odds remain the same whether you are playing with friends or at an online casino! 

Without the double and single zeroes, the game is easy to understand. If you pick red against black, you have a 50/50 chance of winning. If you want to put your money on a specific number, roulette rules stipulate that you will get a 35 to 1 payout. 

The odds of winning

Of course, when playing Roulette, it is never played without the zeroes. These are responsible for the house edge existing and why it is difficult to win over the long term.  For those wishing to increase their chances, the European wheel is a more attractive option, where the edge is 2.7%.

For a single, there’s a 2.7% chance you’ll win. For 2 number combinations, that number goes up to 5.4%. If yo want to go for a column or dozen, that’s 32.4% winning odds. But if you just want to keep it simple, for example, by betting on evens or black, the odds sit at 48.65%. 

Roulette payouts combine with the zeroes to determine the house advantage. For instance, if you bet on a single colour (red or black), your payout is 1:1. But y ur odds of winning sit at under half, which means the average player will lose money over time. 

In practice, what does the house edge mean when playing at an online casino? Consider the 2.7% house edge. This means that should you place 100 units, are expected to lose 2.7 of them. This may seem like a small edge, but it’s significant. This is why you should try and find a roulette table that offers the lowest house advantage possible. 


Rules of Roulette 

So far, you should understand Roulette’s general process and basic odds. But the ‘rules’ of the game depend on the specific roulette table, the betting limits, and the betting framework. 

The Minimum and Maximum Bets 

Each land-based or online Roulette will set a predetermined minimum and maximum. This means that for a specific individual bet (e.g. red), you will need to place a minimum amount to take part.

For example, a low-stakes table typically asks for a number hovering around $1 or less. Bet values can go up as high as $4,000 for the high rollers amongst you. 

Casinos also set a maximum bet designed to limit their roulette risk. Imagine if a player puts a bet down for millions of dollars and wins. The casino may be unable to pay. This strategy also dampens the efficacy of specific betting strategies, so you must pay attention to the limits set at both ends. 

Online Roulette is your best option if you are just starting and want to limit your exposure. Considering there is no upper limit to the number of players, unlike at a land-based establishment, online casinos can be far more flexible with their limits. SkyCity Online Casino, for instance, offers low minimum bets and caters to a wide range of players. 

French/European Roulette Rules

The French (or European roulette) rules stipulate that the player gets half the bet back on a losing bet, as long as the ball lands on a zero. This is called the en prison rule, also known as the half-black rule. The player must make an even money bet for this rule to apply; in other words, players need to bet on red, black, even, odd, or the betting blocks 1-18 or 19-36. 

Depending on the table, the player may also choose to place their bets ‘en prison’ under these circumstances. Half of the money is not lost, but the whole bet is ‘imprisoned’. If the next spin ‘wins’, the player gets the full amount back. 

The ‘La Partage’ version also does not allow players to place their bets en prison. In this variant, players have no option when the ball lands on 0; half of the bet is simply returned to the player with no choice having to be made. 

Finding an online roulette that offers this version is the best bet available. The house edge is reduced to 1.35%, which is a significant difference compared to American Roulette (where it is 5.26%). In the long run, this difference is noticeable. 

a ball landing on the green zero on a roulette table


American casinos vary on the European roulette rules, as players are offered the surrender option. Should 0 or 00 hit, the player will get half their money back. This option reduces the traditional house edge from 5.26% to 2.63%. 

Many casinos will not explicitly tell you about this available. Before you begin, ask the croupier. You can put it simply: if I hit 0 or 00, do I get half of my money back? It’s a simple question but will significantly affect your bankroll over time. 

Triple-Zero Roulette 

This is a relatively new variant that debuted at the Venetian (Las Vegas) in 2016. The game effectively features three zeroes, with the third one often featuring the casino logo or another unique identifier. 

In this game, the player can place a bet on any green (zeroes), the roulette payout is 11 to 1, and this setup means that the house has a 7.69% edge, which means players should proceed with caution. 

Playing Roulette Online 

Recent years have seen online roulette games grow exponentially. Previously a secondary option for both casual and professional players alike. The games have developed to the point that they’re often preferable to the ‘real thing’. Here’s why you should consider leaning toward online casinos: 

  • You are in charge. Choose your preferred game and take your time to understand the different betting options that exist.
  • Low minimum. Land-based casinos often have far higher minimum bets compared to online alternatives. You c n often bet with just a few cents per spin. 
  • Bonuses. Online casinos can be more generous with their bonuses, meaning you can effectively bump that house edge in your favour. When the house edge is often just a couple of percentage points, this makes a big difference. 
  • Convenience. There s nothing quite like playing from the comfort of your device. 

How to Get Roulette Chips 

bets placed on a roulette table

The standard chip you get at the casino is often not used at the table (although you can use them). Roulette croupiers will have their colourful chips for players to use. 

When you arrive at a given table, you will give your money to the dealer in between decisions. You w ll indicate to the dealer how much your chips will be worth, as long as it’s at least the required minimum bet. The dealer will take care of the rest. 

Playing at an online casino like SkyCity Online Casino, you don’t have to think about getting chips. They are usually at the bottom of the screen, clearly marked according to their value. 

Guide to Roulette Etiquette 

There is a way to behave at the roulette game, and it’s worth investing time in learning some roulette etiquette 101. Wheth r you are playing in a land-based casino or a game of live online Roulette, stick to the following: 

Wait Your Turn 

It’s polite to wait your turn when trying to join a table at a land-based casino. Never barge in, and be mindful that someone else hasn’t been waiting for an open seat. If you’re unsure whether you can join, ask the dealer. Don’t be afraid to look silly; they are there to answer questions and guide players. 

Bet on Time 

You want to ensure you are always ready to bet when it’s your turn. Otherwise, you may lose the opportunity. Once the dealer declares ‘no more bets!’, you’re out of luck. It’s also prudent to have your next move in mind early, as it’ll save you scrambling to put your money down before the dealer shuts you out. 

Be Mindful 

Be polite when you are at the table of a land-based casino. It can often get a little cramped, so you must be aware of your surroundings and the other players. For e ample, if you smoke, consider postponing it (even if smoking is allowed). 

You also want to be mindful of personal space. Posit on yourself sideways, avoid a wide stance, and be considerate. Even f you’re trying to place a late bet, never push players out of the way. Once you’ve gone for a single zero wager, step aside and let others join the game. 

a croupier about to throw a ball on a roulette wheel

Managing your Bankroll

Managing your bankroll is perhaps even more important than specific strategies related to the game of Roulette. In other words, the money that you have set aside with which to gamble. When you are playing at an online casino, it’s easier to do this. 

This can be a sum you carry over from session to session or just a single amount you have for a night at the casino. Wheth r you’re a budding professional roulette player or a one-night wonder, managing your bankroll should always be part of your strategy. 

Why You Need to Manage Your Bankroll 

Approach your bankroll like you do a household budget. If you don’t know where your money is going, chances are you are spending it haphazardly and without a proper strategy backing your moves. 

The result? The q ick and painful slide to 0. This can happen very quickly, particularly at online casinos, where you can easily place multiple bets in quick succession. 

The best roulette players, the professionals, always have a thought-out bankroll management plan. Wheth r you are playing online Roulette or playing casually at a land-based casino, having a pre-planned approach to your bankroll is your best bet. It’s a proven way to limit losses, helps you make decisions based on strategy, not emotion, and ensures you can always walk away to play another day.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to your bankroll. It’s a very individual process, but there are certain general pearls of wisdom you should try and keep in mind. 

Be Prepared to Lose Your Bankroll 

No matter how good you are at roulette games or are a veteran of the online casino, it’s impossible to guarantee a win. Sometimes, you just hit a severe losing streak that you may lose your entire bankroll. 

True, effective management strategies will make this highly unlikely, but you must still be psychologically prepared to lose what you gamble with. The Roulette wheel does not care whether you have lost several spins in a row, the next one can always be yet another lost bet. 

Never Bet More Than 4-5%

One of the keys to winning roulette games is to ensure your bets always represent a small proportion of your overall balance. Don’t burn through your bankroll. Also, don’t be tempted to win big by placing a single all-or-nothing bet. 

Instead, bet small. The individual dollar amount doesn’t matter, as long as you never exceed 4-5%. That’s already quite an aggressive strategy; more conservative gamblers stick to 1-2% when placing a bet at the roulette wheel. 

Track Your Bets

To become a winning gambler, you need to track your bets. Meticulous record-keeping is essential regardless of which system you employ at online roulette games. 

Tracking your bets will augment your knowledge over time, allowing you to audit and refine your performance. What ends to affect your emotions? Does a more aggressive strategy work best, or should you employ a more conservative middle ground? You c n only find out by tracking your betting history. 

Responsible Gambling

SkyCity Online Casino is all about the fun but emphasises the player. The spinning roulette wheel should always be a source of joy, not one where losses are players are chasing losses. Or where players bet more than they can afford to lose. 

It’s easy to lose track of time in the fun of online Roulette. In some instances, this can lead to painful financial losses. Players are encouraged to use the responsible gaming features found at SkyCity Online Casino.

Play Responsibly 

  • Set limits for yourself. As we explained earlier, your bankroll should be an entertainment expense drawn from your disposable income. Never use the money you can’t afford to lose. Limits range from financial limitations to the possibility of self-exclusion.
  • How much time is enough? Setting a time limit also makes sense. At SkyCity Online Casino, players can find the possibility to set a reality check time interval.
  • Breaks are crucial. When you’re gambling, you tend to have a lot of fun. It’s fantastic gameplay; there’s a reason it’s been around for so many years! However, it’s easy to lose perspective if you don’t take breaks. Take time away from the screen, or if you are at a live casino, chat with others, grab a drink, or enjoy people-watching for a little bit. 

Do not consider online Roulette a financial investment but a fun game of chance.  While it is possible to profit, with many professional players out there, the average player shouldn’t jump into Roulette with this approach. 

Play responsibly and enjoy Roulette for its entertainment value. It’s an exciting game, with the rush of the ball landing on where you’ve placed your chips unmatched by even the most advanced AAA video games. However, once your bankroll tells you it’s time to stop, walk away. Remember, the table will always be there, ready for your next bet! 

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