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How to Play Roulette - Beginner’s Guide

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Roulette is one of the most popular games in any online casino lobby. The simple rules and easy playing experience are what make it so appealing to players. If you have yet to play this classic casino game and you are thinking “what is roulette” then don’t worry. We are here to guide you through the basics and show you how to play roulette in simple terms. We look into the aim of the game, the flow of the betting process, and the basic betting options. We also have a couple of top tips for you to keep in mind when playing online roulette so that you can always enjoy the experience. So, let’s get started with a brief explanation of what roulette is all about.

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The Roulette Table and Wheel

Playing roulette is all about predicting where the roulette ball will land on the wheel. You have no direct influence on the game or the wheel itself. This is all managed by the dealer or the software if you are playing the RNG (video roulette) version. The betting options range from simple choices between two colors or one single number to bigger groups of numbers. We will explain all the basic bets later on in our guide, but for now, let’s talk about the table itself and what you can expect when looking at the roulette wheel.

Many beginners often want to find out about the table and one of the most common questions people ask is how many numbers are there on a roulette wheel. The roulette table itself is traditionally a green color with a white outlined box holding all the main roulette bets within it. The box is divided into inside bets and outside bets. The inside bets include the 36 single numbers that are color-coordinated red and black with the roulette wheel. 

Another popular question that we hear is “what color is zero on a roulette wheel” and this is easy to remember. Your traditional roulette game provides a green zero and a green double-zero for American roulette tables. So, that is the layout of the table, let’s now look at the betting process.

American vs. European Roulette Wheels

Roulette is a French word that means “little wheel,” so it’s only natural that the wheel is the most important aspect of this casino game. Different versions of the game can have different types of wheels, but there are two kinds that you’ll see most often – the American and European roulette wheel. The wheels on these two games are almost the same, except for one small but very important detail.

In both the European and American roulette wheels, you’ll find red and black pockets marked with numbers from 1 to 36. In addition, you’ll also find one or two green pockets. The European wheel has one green pocket marked with 0, and the American wheel has two green pockets, one marked with 0 and the other marked with 00. This might seem like a minor detail, but since the green pockets represent what’s considered the house edge, this will make a big difference in your chances of winning. We’ll get back to this later in our roulette guide.

Another difference that has less of an impact on your game is that the numbers are placed in different locations on the wheel, depending on whether it’s a European or an American wheel that is being used. This only matters if you want to make bets on numbers based on their placement on the wheel, which are also known as Racetrack bets. This is not a type of bet all casinos allow, but some do.

If you play online, it’s unlikely that American Roulette is the only version of this game any casino you play at will have to offer, and if you have the choice – don’t play it. The payout for all of the bets is the same for American Roulette as it is for European Roulette, and the bets you can place are the same. The only difference is that the house edge is smaller in the European version.

Another thing you should keep in mind is that the European wheel is also commonly used in other versions of Roulette, so just because the wheel and table look like “normal” European Roulette, it doesn’t guarantee that this is the game that’s being played. But, if it’s a different version, the game will be called something other than simply Roulette.

The Basics of Roulette

The betting round for any roulette game lasts from the moment you choose your chips to the moment when your winnings, if any, are paid out. It's a simple process and even a beginner will be able to grasp the basics in just a couple of rounds. The various betting options help to make the process even easier with "bet again" and "clear bets" buttons automating certain areas.

Our step-by-step guide of the betting process is detailed in the next section. First, let's get some of the basics of roulette in place so that you can build a solid foundation for your roulette strategy. The game is made up of two areas. You have a betting table where you place the chips and a roulette wheel which is where the colored number pockets spin within the wheel. The wheel is also where the roulette ball spins and comes to a stop in any one of the numbered pockets. 

Step-by-Step Playing Guide for Roulette

As mentioned earlier, your typical roulette wheel is made up of red and black pockets and each of which is numbered from 1 to 36. The European and French roulette games offer up an extra green single zero pocket. Whereas the American roulette offers two extra green pockets with a single zero and a double zero as well. Each roulette game comes with a slightly different rule set but there is a general flow to any roulette game. We have detailed this in a simple list below:

  • Choose your chip value and place your bets which we will list in the next section. 
  • The betting stage ends once you hit the "Spin" button and no more bets are allowed on the table. 
  • The roulette wheel starts to spin and the roulette ball is released into the wheel.
  • Watch the ball as it comes to a stop inside one of the numbered pockets.
  • All winning bets in relation to where the ball landed will be calculated and paid out.
  • Time for a new round! Play with the same bets or you can choose different bets if you wish.

As you can see, the flow of the roulette game is easy to follow. We mentioned earlier that beginners will quickly learn how to play roulette and pick up where to place the chips on the table. All the winnings are calculated automatically and so you don’t need to worry about any of that. Simply place your bets and wait for the roulette ball to land in a pocket on the wheel. These are the roulette rules in their simplest form and this is all you need to know to enjoy the game.

Your Basic Roulette Betting Options

Next up is the important part of understanding all the different betting options that are displayed on the roulette table. We mentioned earlier in the guide that the roulette table is made up of inside and outside bets and so we will move forward with this idea in mind. We have included the name, a brief explanation, and the odds typically associated with each bet.

Bet Name



Inside - Straight

Betting on a single number is a popular bet but one that comes with greater risk


Inside - Split

A bet that covers two adjacent numbers is a Split


Inside - Street

Betting on three numbers in a single row is known as a Street


Inside - Square

The Square bet covers four adjacent numbers within a square shape on the table


Inside - First Four/Basket

This inside bet is based on the 1, 2, 3 numbers and the zero/double zero

8:1 (6:1 in American roulette)

Inside - Six-Line

The Six-Line bet covers two individual rows of three numbers





Outside - Column

The column bet is based on a total of 12 numbers within a fixed section of the betting table


Outside - Dozen

The dozen bet covers a set of 12 individual numbers within a specific area of the betting table


Outside – Odd/Even

A bet on all the odd and even numbers except for the zero/double zero at the end of the betting table


Outside – Red/Black

A popular bet that covers all numbers under a certain color except for the green zero/double zero 


Outside – Low/High

Another popular outside bet that covers low and high numbers except for the zero/double zero


So, there you have the list of basic roulette betting options with both inside and outside options. For those who are completely new to betting on casino games, let us explain a bit more. The outside bets with odds such as 1:1 and 2:1 are more likely to win than the inside bets with 35:1 and 17:1 odds. 

Betting on the outside bets will also help to keep your bankroll intact longer and so you will enjoy longer gaming sessions. One or two bets on the inside are fine but there is a greater risk with these. So, they should be used sparingly until you feel more confident playing and betting with real money.

French Roulette and Racetrack Betting Options

French roulette is a popular version of the game and those eagle-eyed players will notice some extra betting options on the table. These are displayed in an area above the main betting area which is called the Racetrack. The basic Racetrack betting options are described below. However, we recommend that you stick to the European roulette game, to begin with, and keep your money on the inside and outside bets displayed above. An understanding of the French roulette bets will help your overall knowledge of the game though, and so there is no harm in learning how they work now.

Racetrack Bet Name



Racetrack – Voisins du Zéro

17 numbers on a pre-selected section of the wheel are covered within the Voisins du Zéro bet


Racetrack - Tiers du Cylindre

12 numbers on a pre-selected section of the wheel are included within the Tiers du Cylindre


Racetrack – Orphelins

A total of eight numbers across the wheel are included when you place money on the Orphelins bet


Racetrack - Neighbours

The Neighbours bet consists of one number and two numbers on either side


A Quick Word on Advanced Roulette Strategies

Roulette is a casino game that offers the player no direct influence and so it all comes down to luck. We mentioned that there are strategies available, but we do not recommend them for beginners. There are no guarantees of winning and some of them also require large bankrolls for them to work effectively. Learning how to play roulette is a case of keeping things simple until you become more comfortable with the game. You can then move into advanced betting ideas and bigger bets later on down the line if your budget allows. We have plenty of tips on the advanced roulette strategies here on GoodLuckMate.

History and Strategy

Losing many times in a row can make the Martingale Theory and other roulette strategies very expensive in the long run. A small bet can easily end up costing you quite a lot, but if you also use the history that’s available in the game you can lower your costs. Many players keep an eye on the stats for the table and only bet when one result has been the outcome three times or more.

An example to illustrate this: If the last three rounds were black, you bet on red. If the last three numbers were even numbers, you bet on odd numbers. If the last three numbers were low, you bet on high numbers.

What is important, though, is that as soon as you’ve placed a bet, you need to follow through on the strategy. Breaking the pattern of the strategy will end up costing you a lot long run. Therefore, the goal of playing in this way is not necessarily to win on your first bet but to ensure your bankroll lasts longer by eliminating the first three losses.

The Online Roulette Family

  • European roulette: The best option for beginners with a single zero roulette wheel that offers a low house edge (easier to win).
  • French roulette: Similar to the European table. It includes additional Racetrack side bet options such as Voisins du Zero and Orphelins.
  • American roulette: A game with the double zero betting option that increases the house edge. We advise against playing this game if European or French tables are available.O

Less Popular Roulette Variants

Besides the three leading roulette variants - European, American, and French - there are also several other options beginners should know. These come with interesting rules and provide a breath of fresh air to the roulette we all know and love.

Double Ball

Double Ball Roulette isn’t really a different form of roulette; it’s more like a different way to play the game. This game is played with one wheel, which can be either an American or a European wheel. The wheel itself isn’t what defines the game, even though the European version is, of course, the best game for the player. What sets this game apart from the normal version is that two balls will be spinning on the wheel simultaneously. To ensure that both balls have the same speed so that they don’t meet on the wheel, the balls are shot out of the wheel automatically, at exactly the same speed. So, even though the game is available with a live dealer, it won’t be a dealer that spins the balls.

In terms of rules and betting, there are some special rules since there will be two results, but you’ll only place one bet. If you choose an outside bet, both balls must successfully land in the pockets you’ve bet on for you to win, and the payout will be 3:1 or 8:1, depending on the bet you chose. This means you’ll win 3 times as much as you would in “normal” roulette. For an inside bet, it’s enough that one of the balls is successful for you to win, but you’ll win twice as much if both balls land in a pocket you’ve bet on.

Multi-Wheel Roulette

Multi-Wheel Roulette is simply a game in which you play a lot of game rounds at the same time. It’s played on only one table, so you’ll place one bet that will count for all of the different wheels. The number of wheels you can play simultaneously will vary, and you can often choose this yourself. Some games offer as many as 8 wheels, but you can also play on only two or three if you want to. The wheels themselves can be either a single 0 wheel or a double 0 wheel, meaning either a European or an American wheel.

The benefit of this game is that you can get through a lot of game rounds quickly, but there are also downsides to this. Because you’ll get a lot of different results, you can win on some wheels but lose on others, so it's hard to play with a strategy. Using any of the popular progressive roulette strategies is next to impossible, which makes Multi-Wheel Roulette more a game of chance than a strategic game.

Lightning Roulette

Game developer Evolution Gaming has created a new and exciting live roulette game that’s a cross between a digitally controlled game and a live game. The basis of the game is normal European Roulette, and you play just as you normally would. The difference is that the digitally controlled part of the game also chooses one outcome, or a set of numbers, with a multiplier for each game round. If you’ve chosen to bet on the selected number, and you win, your winnings will be multiplied, which can give you a much bigger win than you’d normally be able to get from playing roulette.

In addition, the numbers are, of course, chosen before the ball stops but after you’ve placed your bet. This multiplier is only valid for the numbers themselves, and you won’t be able to multiply a winning from an entire outside bet or a bet covering more than one number. Since the wheel is actually a physical wheel rather than a digital one, the chosen multiplier numbers won’t have any impact on the winning results.

California Roulette

A fairly unique variation on this game is California Roulette. The gambling regulations in the state of California prohibit a winning result from being decided by a ball or a dice, which means real roulette is outlawed. Since roulette is such a popular game, they have therefore created their own version of it. To get around the legislation, California Roulette works pretty much like American Roulette, but it’s played with a deck of cards. Thirty-eight cards are used, and these are either red or black, and they also have numbers. Basically, all of the pockets on a double-zero roulette wheel are represented in the card deck. So, the bets are the same, and the dealer draws a card from an automatic shuffler to produce the winning result.

This game is, of course, mainly played in California, but you may also find it online. Some casinos choose to call it Card Roulette instead of California Roulette.

Important Betting Tips for Beginners to Remember

Playing roulette is a fun experience and this is the reason why so many players continue to bet on the game all around the world. It is also a game that you can easily get carried away with. So, we would like to reveal some of our top tips to keep your bankroll safe and to keep your roulette sessions enjoyable every time you play. This isn't a sure way to win on roulette, but it still helps in the long run.

  • Stick to European roulette as you begin to play the game. This variant offers simple betting options so that you can quickly understand the rules and the flow of the game.
  • Keep to the outside bets when you begin as you are more likely to land winning bets. One or two single number bets are fine, but you will enjoy a longer gaming session if you keep your money on the outside options.
  • Don’t let the historic results of a roulette wheel dictate your betting. Every spin of the wheel is a separate event and there is no link, no matter what you read.
  • Make the most of the betting buttons that you can find displayed around the game screen. They can make your life so much easier during the betting round.
  • Work out your bankroll and roulette budget and then stick to it when you first learn how to play roulette. Don’t deviate from the betting amount to try and recover lost bets, keep calm and enjoy the fun and remember that you will not win every time.
Steven Ford
Steven FordUpdated: 06 Jun 2022
Steve started his iGaming career back in 2007 and he has not looked back since. Various job roles for both global and startup casino brands have given him a deep and thorough under...

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