How to Play Roulette – Basic and Advanced Rules and Table Layout

Welcome to my beginner’s guide to roulette, a game that has held a special place in the hearts of casino patrons for centuries. The game’s simple gameplay is enhanced by large potential payouts. The roulette rules are easy, but without an understanding of them, you won’t be able to utilise all of the benefits of this casino favourite.

The above buttons will take you to different sections of this page. Once you’ve read each section, you’ll know how to play roulette like a pro. The page loos first at the different aspects of a roulette table, then explains the basic roulette bets and betting rules. After the basics, you can learn some of the advanced roulette rules. At the bottom of the page, you’ll find some frequently asked questions and a list of helpful roulette books that are useful when learning how to play roulette.

How it Works – Steps of a Roulette Game

Of all the games one can find on casino floor or website, roulette is probably the most straight-forward… well, besides war. Your task is to place a bet on a number, combination of numbers or a colour. After you have done so, a ball is spun around the edge of a spinning roulette wheel, which has numbered pockets. The ball falls into a pocket, and if you bet on the number corresponding to the pocket, you win. If not, you lose. That’s all there is to it.

It doesn’t matter what version of roulette you are playing, each game follows these simple steps. If there are multiple-wheels, multiple-balls or multiple zeros, you’ll still have to wager where the ball(s) will fall. If you want to learn about unique variants, check out my roulette games page. The rest of this page will guide you through the roulette rules basics and the basic roulette bet types. After, we’ll look at some advanced roulette rules, that will help you out once you’ve got your bearings.

The Roulette Table – What You’ll Find on Most Roulette Games

Most roulette tables have two main components: the roulette wheel, and the betting layout. As we have stated above, there are some versions of the game that have multiple wheels, and one variant, called California Roulette, uses cards instead of a wheel and ball to determine the winning number(s). On this page, we’ll focus solely on the traditional roulette game rules, since that is what most gamblers prefer to play with.

The Roulette Wheel

A standard roulette wheel that has only one zero pocket. And red and black numbers ranging from 1-36. It is the wheel that gives roulette its name. Roulette comes from the French word for ‘little wheel,’ because of its prominent role in the game. The wheel comes in many shapes and sizes, but typically it has only 27 pockets, that alternate between the colours red and black. The pockets on a roulette wheel layout are numbered from 1-36.

During the game of roulette, the wheel is usually spun before the ball is thrown. Casinos do this to ensure the randomness of the game results. Otherwise, dealers or players would be able to predict where a ball will fall.

Some dealers will change the direction of the wheel’s rotation between every throw, but this isn’t always the case. The final, or 37th pocket, is represented by a green zero. Amongst the American roulette wheel numbers, you’ll find a second double zero pocket (00).

The Zero and Double Zero: The House Edge Explained

Every roulette wheel layout features at least one zero pocket (or something that acts as such). The reason for this, is because the zero represents the house edge. Without this pocket, the chances of winning at roulette would be 50/50, and if players were to use the Martingale strategy, they would earn unlimited money. The house edge found at a standard single-zero roulette game is 2.70%. A game with two zero pockets has a house edge of 5.3%

Always play a game that has one zero pocket because the house edge is lower.

The Betting Layout

Standard roulette table layout, on which players place their bets. Next to the roulette wheel, you’ll find the cloth covered area known as the table layout. Players place roulette bets on numbers by placing chips on the correct position of the roulette table layout. The layout follows a standard format. The numbers zero through 36 appear in 3 columns in numerical order. Besides the wheel you’ll find the simple chance, or outside betting, options. These chances provide simple roulette odds since they divide the roulette numbers into halves in one of three ways, including red and black, even and odd and lastly, the high and low numbers. There is also the possibility to wager on the first, middle and last dozen, 1st 12, 2nd 12 and 3rd 12 respectively. The table provided will show you the typical European roulette betting layout.

You will notice that the numbers on the roulette wheel are not in the same order as they are on the layout. For this reason, it is vital to accustom yourself with the table arrangement before playing for real money. For the basic roulette betting rules, refer to the next section of this page.

Basic Roulette Betting Rules and Payouts

This section provides detailed explanations of the possibilities of betting. When it comes to the outcome of a roulette game, players can do almost nothing to guarantee a win. The only power a player has, is where he/she chooses to place their casino chips. Although, the betting rules seem a little overwhelming upon first glance, they are quite easy once you play for a little bit. Essentially, the roulette rules state that a player can place a bet on as many spaces as they please as long as the wager amount fits within the game’s designated table limits. Below, you’ll find a handy downloadable chart that you can print out and reference while you learn how to play roulette. On it, you’ll find the basic betting options and payouts.

Roulette Guide

A simple way to think about roulette betting, is to remember that, like with most casino games, roulette payouts usually correspond to the amount of risk involved with the bet. If the chances are high that you’ll win, payments will traditionally be lower. If you place a high-risk bet, the payout will typically be scaled to fit the increased risk involved.

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Look at the clickable chart below to see a full list of the basic roulette bets one can make on a roulette table. You’ll notice that some of the wager names are in French. This is because they refer to the French version of the game. Although the terms are in different languages, they refer to the same roulette bets, and have the same payouts as those of European roulette. The table below is split up between inside and outside betting options.

Inside Bets:
Strait-up/Plein 35:1

A bet where a chip(s) is placed on a single number(s). This bet has the lowest odds, but best payout.

Split/Cheval 17:1

A chip is placed on a line between two numbers, so that the bet is “split.” Thus the payout for a win is half the amount of a straight-up bet.

Street/Transversale pleine 11:1

Bet covers three numbers at once. Chip is placed at the end of a row of numbers.

Corner/Carre 8:1

Chip is placed on a corner between four numbers so that it covers all of them.

First Four/Les Quatre Premiers (EU) 8:1

The bet covers numbers 1,2,3 and 0.

Top Line (US) 6:1

The bet covers numbers 1,2,3 and both zeros.

Six Line/Transverale Simple 5:1

Similar to a split, but the bet it split between two rows of number, covering six in total.

Outside Bets:
Dozen/Douzaines 2:1

Chip placed on either 1st, 2nd or 3rd 12. and covers 12 numbers.

Column/Colonnes 2:1

Chip placed at one of the three edge spots of table. Covers an entire column of numbers.

Black and Red/Noir and Rouge 1:1

Chip placed on either Red or Black. The best odds in roulette.

Even and Odd/Pair and Impair 1:1

Chip placed on either Even or Odd. The best odds in Roulette.

Low Numbers/Manque 1:1

Chip placed on space marked for the lower half of inside numbers.

High Numbers/Passe 1:1

Chip placed on space marked for the higher number half of inside numbers.

A standard european roulette betting table layout.

Inside bets refer to the numbers on the ‘inside’ of the betting layout. These correspond to the numbers on the wheel. The aptly named ‘outside bets’ refer to the spaces on the outside of the layout, which correspond to characteristics of numbers, rather than to the numbers themselves. Outside bets, are sometimes referred to as ‘simple chances.’

Betting Takeaway: players place bets on a roulette table layout. They place chips on a number, group of numbers, or on a characteristic describing a group of numbers. The numbers on a betting chart are not in the same order as they are found on a wheel.

Advanced Roulette Rules

If you’ve found yourself in this section of my page, you understand the basic roulette rules, and are now ready to move onto the rules that affect advanced players. Although most UK players only need a basic understanding of the casino roulette rules to have lodes of fun, if you are the type of player who enjoys using the Paroli, these are the rules to consider when playing.

Table Limits

Every roulette game has its own set of table limits. These are set by the casino and are probably the one rule that varies greatly from game to game. The limits should be displayed on a table or in the game’s rulebook. The number is expressed with a minimum and maximum of the bets allowed. However, these numbers only paint part of a picture. Casinos also place individual limits on each bet type. The limits exist so that the casino doesn’t have to pay a £1,000,000 35:1 winning wager. Patrons of the Martingale betting system, know that table limits are an important aspect of the strategies success. Most of the best roulette betting strategies (excluding playing the wheel strategies, use outside bets. As a result, it is vital to find a table that has high table limits for outside betting positions.

Roulette rules page that shows betting limits. The outside betting limits are circled. And are large enough for progressive strategies.

At most casinos, online or offline, you’ll find tables suitable for any player type. It is common to find games that allow as little as £1 per bet, while at the same time allow for £50,000 bets. Land-based casinos will usually have a slightly higher minimum bet limit than online casinos. In terms of table minimums, a £5 minimum bet does not necessarily mean that you have to bet £5 on a single number. Rather, you can spread the five pounds over multiple layout positions. Players are allowed to bet as much money on a single spin as they want, so long as that wager falls within the designated table limits.

Wheel Games or Called Bets

Some players like to use wheel game betting strategies. Called bets in roulette actually refer to bets made on credit, which is illegal in the UK. When most players talk about called bets, they really mean announced bets, in which players bet on a more complex pattern of numbers. Without the help of a croupier, called bets would require a perfect understanding of the position of numbers on a roulette wheel.

The most popular announced/called/wheel game bets are found below. Rather than betting on specific areas of the layout, these bets are intended to cover certain sections of the wheel.

Four of the most common called bets and how their chip placements look. Included are the zero game, Neighbours of Zero, Orphans and Thrids of the Wheel bets.

The Roulette Racetrack

Because called bets are impossible without a dealer, some online games have included a helpful roulette racetrack on the game table. Unlike the betting layout, the numbers found on a roulette racetrack appear exactly how they do on the wheel. This makes it significantly easier for players to cover a specific portion of a roulette wheel. The most popular called/announced bets will usually be found in the centre of the racetrack. Some casino roulette rules will also allow players to place neighbour bets by using the racetrack. This simply means that the game will place chips on the neighbouring numbers of the one you chose to bet on. Depending on the game rules, you can choose between 1-9 neighbours. We haven’t come across a game that allows for more neighbours.

A roulette ractrack found on online tables showing the types of called bets one can make.

La Partage and En Prison rules

La Partage and En Prison are two rules that all players should be on the lookout for. Don’t let the French names fool you, these rules are found in some European and American roulette games too. Although, in the American variant, the La Partage rules is called ‘surrender.’ Look in the rules of the game to see if these features are included. At land-based casinos, you simply have to ask the croupier. La Partage and En Prison take effect if a ball lands on one of the zero pockets. The only number not covered by outside bets is the zero. As a result, if the ball falls into zero, everyone loses their outside bets. However, La Partage and En Prison will give players an extra chance at maintaining their wager.

Graphic that shows the sequences of the La Partage and En Prison rules. With La Partage, a zero will see that half of the outside bet amount is returned directly to you. The En Prison, or ‘in prison’, rule states that your outside wager will be locked ‘en prison’ if you the ball lands on zero. Your bet remains on the table for the next spin, and if you win your entire bet will be returned. We suggest you always try to find games with these rules because they reward the player, with no disadvantage when it comes to payout rates.

The Best Way Play Roulette

If you want to find the best way to play roulette, the first thing you need to do is minimise the house-edge. You can do this by finding the correct game. Once you have done so, you can start having fun. Roulette has remained a favourite of casino patrons because of its social element, so it is best to learn a few of the unspoken rules before you sit down at a table.

Interesting Books on Roulette Strategy

There are stacks of interesting resources about the game, especially the literature explaining the simple rules of the game and extra details about the impact of the different wheel layouts. The list below includes those with which strategies to look out for and inspiring reading highlighting the experiences of some of the most successful players. Once you’re done working through this comprehensive gaming library, head to our roulette casinos, for tips on the best casinos to play online. 888casino has a good selection of online roulette games.


We hope that we have successfully answered any questions regarding the basic rules of roulette. Below are a few questions we have received numerous times from users. Have a look, and hopefully it will help clarify any remaining issues.

How many numbers can I bet on?

The number of chips you place on a roulette table has no limit. However, the value of your total bets is limited by the table limits, which vary from game to game.

How do you win at Roulette?

To win a game of roulette, you must correctly guess the number the roulette ball will land on, or you must correctly guess the characteristic of the number (Red/Black etc.)

What is the best way to win at Roulette?

The best way or chances to win roulette come from outside (1:1) betting options. All outside bets that pay 1:1 offer nearly a 50% chance of winning.