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How to Play Roulette – Rules and Beginner Guide

Roulette is a simple yet fascinating game of chance that is extremely popular around the world – both at land-based and online casinos. I doubt there is a person on this Earth that hasn’t heard of it and doesn’t have the slightest idea of how to play, yet if you’re planning on playing for real money, I would recommend that you explore the rules of the game as well as possible because in some cases that might actually give you better chances for a win.

The Basics

The rules of roulette are quite straightforward. In this game, you have a wheel that features red and black slots that have the numbers from 1 to 36 on them, and one or two green zero slots – depending whether you’re playing European single zero roulette or American double zero roulette. Except for the wheel, you have a table which also features the numbers and several additional sectors on which you can place bets. After all the participants in the game have placed their bets on the table, the dealer spins the wheel and throws in a small ball. Whichever is the number of the slot the ball lands in is the winning number.

According to the type of roulette game you’re playing, there might be some differences in the wheel and table layout, but that’s nothing to worry about as it doesn’t impact in any way the outcome of the game. Something that is important to know, though, is the type of bets you can place when playing roulette. Let’s take a closer look at them.

Types of Bets

In roulette, you can bet on a single number or on different groups of numbers. There are many betting combinations all of which bring you different odds for winning and different payouts. All in all, the more numbers you bet on, the bigger are your chances for a win and, therefore, the lower are the payouts that the game offers. Other than that, all bets are divided in three main categories: inside, outside and announced bets. The first two categories are the basic ones that are offered by all roulette games and that you should definitely know inside out, whereas the third is more advanced and featured only in select roulette variants. Now let’s start with the basic roulette bets and I’ll leave it up to you if you want to continue and learn more about the advanced ones.

Inside Bets

If you take a better look at the roulette table layout, you’ll notice that the main part consists of the numbers from zero to 36 and the rest are sectors for betting on groups of numbers: odd/even, red/black, 1-18/19-36, columns and dozens. The bets that you place on the numbers themselves are called inside bets, whereas the bets that you place on the other sectors are called outside bets. There are seven types of inside bets, as described and illustrated below:

#Bet NameCovered Numbers and Chip Placement
1StraightThis is a bet that covers only one number. In order to make this bet, place the chip inside the square of the number.
2SplitA bet on two numbers which are adjacent on the table, made by placing the chip on the shared line of the two numbers’ squares.
3StreetA bet on three consecutive numbers located on the same line. Make the bet by placing the chip on the outer corner of the row.
4Six LineA bet on two adjacent lines. In order to make this bet, you have to place the chip on the common outer corner of the two lines.
5CornerThis is a four-number bet, placed by putting the chip on the common corner of the four numbers. Also called ‘square’ bet.
6TrioA three-number bet that includes the zero or zeros. Place the chip on the line shared by the zero box and the two other numbers.
7BasketBet on 0, 1, 2 and 3 with a chip on the corner shared by the zero box and the first line. In American Roulette, it includes the double zero.

As you can see, the inside betting combinations are quite logical and easy to remember. As we already mentioned, they bring you different chances for a win and different payoffs, but if you’re playing at legal and fair online roulette sites, then you can leave that up to the software. If you, on the other hand, decide to play at a land-based casino or at an online live dealer table, then I would suggest you read up on the subject, as the dealers are humans and as such might make a mistake. For such cases, I advise you to also check out our article on the odds and probabilities that the different roulette bets bring you.

Outside Bets

As we already mentioned, the outside bets in roulette are those bets that are placed outside the number field, on the sectors that cover the bigger groups of numbers. There are five common types outside bets:

  • Red or Black – Bet on the colour of the winning number
  • Odd or Even – Bet on whether the winning number will be odd or even
  • 1 to 18 or 19 to 36 – Bet on whether the winning number will be low (lower than 19) or high
  • Dozens – Bet on one of the three dozen that are found on the layout of the table
  • Columns – Bet from which of the three columns will the winning number be

There’s another bet that is considered to be an outside bet but is available only in certain roulette variations. It’s called the snake bet and it covers the red numbers 1, 5, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 23, 27, 30, 32 and 34, creating the shape of a snake. In this bet, all the numbers are covered by one chip. Some games also feature a black snake bet which again resembles a snake but consists only of black numbers: 2, 6, 8, 10, 13, 17, 20, 24, 26, 29, 28, 31 and 35. In the black snake betting combination, the 17/20 numbers and 26/29 are split bets, while all the rest are straights.

Announced Bets

The announced bets are special betting combinations most commonly featured in French Roulette though also often present in online European Roulette variants. And since they are most commonly featured on French Roulette, they all have their individual French names.

Let’s start with the Voisins du Zéro bet, also known as the Neighbours of Zero. This bet covers the zero and the 7 numbers on each side of the zero – from 22 to 25 on the wheel. This makes for a 15-number bet which is made of 9 chips:

  • A trio covering 0,2,3 – 2 chips
  • Five splits: 4/7, 12/15, 18/21/ 19/22, 32/35 – one chip each
  • One corner: 25/26/28/29 – 2 chips

Another bet, which just like the Voisins du Zéro is covering quite a bit of numbers, is called Le Tiers Du Cylindre. It’s located opposite on the wheel compared to the Voisins du Zéro and covers 12 numbers – from 27 to 33 on the wheel. This is where the name of the bet comes from – it literally translates to ‘One Third of the Wheel’. All the numbers covered by this bet are: 27, 13, 36, 11, 30, 8, 23,10, 5, 24, 16 and 33. This is a 6-piece bet. One chip is placed on the table for each of the following splits: 5/8, 10/11, 13/16, 23/24, 27/30 and 33/36.

Another popular announced bet is called Orphelins. This is pretty much the bet that covers what is not covered by the Voisins du Zéro and the Tier bets combined. This bet covers 8 numbers: 1, 6, 9, 14, 17, 20, 31 and 34. This is a 4-chip bet consisting of one straight on the number 1 and four splits on 6/9, 14/17, 17/20 and 31/34.

Furthermore, there’s also the Jeu Zéro bet, also called the Zero Game. This bet covers 3 neighbours of the zero slot on each side of the wheel. It’s a 4-piece bet – there’s one straight on the number 26 and 3 splits on 0/3, 12/15 and 32/35.

A very common announced bet that you can place on roulette is the neighbours. This is a 5-number bet that covers a certain number and 2 neighbouring numbers on each side. For example, the bet ‘5 and the neighbours’ covers the numbers 5, 24, 16, 10 and 23. In order to place this bet, you’ll need the special ‘racetrack’ betting section (see the picture above) which is available in most online roulette variations but not in all of them. Some online games even allow you to chance the number of neighbours you want to cover on each side of the number you’ve chosen, up to 8. A very useful bet, indeed, especially when you’re playing live roulette and discovered some pattern in the dealer’s actions which leads you to believe that the ball will fall in a certain section of the wheel.

Other special bets include the Finals or Finales and the Red/Black splits. The Finals let you bet on what will be the last digit of the winning number. For example, if you bet on Finale 4, then you will place a 4-number bet on 4, 14, 24 and 34. This bet is also called Finale Plein, so that it differs from the Finale a Cheval which lets you bet on two potential final digits of the winning number. As far as the Red/Black split bets go, they are exactly what the name says: combinations of all the splits of the same colour that you can find on the table.

As online there are no boundries, there are many interesting and innovative roulette variations that feature even more types of bets. For example, Microgaming’s Premier Roulette Diamond Edition features the ‘Chip Bomb’ bet which allows you to easily place a bet on a certain number and all of the numbers that surround it on the table layout. Furthermore, most virtual roulette games allow you to create your own betting patterns and save them in a special tab of the layout for easier access when you later want to repeat them.

Choosing Which Bet to Make

Now that you know about all the possible bets in roulette, it’s time to try the game for yourself. But how do you choose which bet to make? Well, it all depends on the roulette strategy that you want to adopt. If you would like to try the classic progressive betting systems Martingale or Fibonacci, then you should pick one of the so called ‘even money bets’ that cover half of the numbers on wheel, when you exclude the zero: odd/even, red/black, 1-18/19-36. The strategy you choose will also help you in picking the amount you want to bet. In the same example, you should start from a very low bet so that you have the room to increase the stake after each loss.

Speaking of stakes, you should also take into account that each roulette game has its own betting limits which differ for the various types of bets. Considering what is the amount you’re willing to spend and the strategy that you’re about to adopt, you should choose a game with betting limits that fit your need. If you’re a low roller and you’re looking for tables that allow very small bets, then make sure you visit our low stakes roulette article. If you, on the other hand, consider yourself a high roller and want to experience the thrill of betting large amounts of money on your favourite game of chance, then our article on the best high limit online roulette tables is the read that you are looking for.

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