How to Play Roulette - A 5 Minute Guide

It’s probably the most famous casino game in the world, and if you want to play it yourself and find out why, just keep on reading.

We’ll teach you everything you need to know in five minutes!

The Basics: The Setup of Roulette

Here’s what you need to know to get you started. Here we’ll cover the setup of roulette, how to play, betting turns, how to win, and even etiquettes of playing roulette.

What is Roulette?

Roulette is a casino game that involves placing wagers on the many bets available on a roulette table.

Bets can be placed on an individual number between 1-36. Or on bets that have roughly a 50/50 chance such as odd or even, or red or black. You can also bet on a number of different options that cover more than one number at a time, or different sections of the roulette table.

The lower the probability of your bet winning, the higher the odds at which you’re paid out at if it does win. 

The winning number (and by extension which other bets win or lose) depends on which of 37 pockets of a roulette wheel a little white ball lands on. 

How to Play Roulette?

Here’s how to play roulette at a casino. By the way, we’re talking about how to play roulette in Europe, which is different to playing in the US.

The key difference between the two is the number of zeros. In Europe there are 36 roulette numbers plus one zero, in the US there are 36 numbers plus two zeros.

This makes a huge difference because any bets that weren’t specifically placed on the number zero automatically lose.

So, the house edge is double in the US to what it is in Europe.


Players use chips to place bets on whatever betting options they wish, respecting the casino house rules on minimum and maximum bets.

It’s unique to the roulette game that players all use different coloured chips when playing. If they didn’t, with so many chips scattered around the table, it would be impossible for the players and the Croupier to know which chips belonged to who.

This is in contrast to games like Blackjack, where it’s obvious whose chips belong to who so everyone plays with chips of the same colour. 


The Croupier will then start spinning the wheel and will throw the ball onto the spinning wheel.

Once they call “No More bets”, players must refrain from placing additional chips on the table. 

Once the ball stops and lands on a number, the Croupier will place a marker known as a ‘Dolly’ on the winning number, before raking away all the chips that were losing bets. 

They will then pay out any winning bets at the odds at which they were placed.

What is Needed to Play Roulette?

A game of roulette requires a roulette table where bets are placed and a roulette wheel, which is big and heavy, weighing on average 80 kilos. And the appropriate roulette ball, of course. 

It also needs chips of different colours and which have different numerical denominations.

Plus, a marker which is placed on the square of the winning number on the table, once the ball has stopped.

Finally, you’ll need someone to act as Croupier.

When playing roulette at home, you can use a bought roulette set that will be much smaller and cheaper than the real thing but will work just as well.

How Many Players Can Play Roulette?

At a casino it’s generally 1-7 players. Any more than that and there probably wouldn’t be enough space around the table for everyone to be positioned comfortably and place their bets easily. 

It’s also worth remembering that there will be a need for enough chips of different colours for everyone to have their own set of chips.

How Betting Works in Roulette

If you’re going to know how to play roulette, you’re going to need to know how to place bets from inside bets to outside bets.

Difference Between Inside and Outside Bets

Roulette bets are divided into inside and outside bets. A quick look at a roulette table and you’ll instantly know what we mean because some are within the board where the numbers are, while the rest are outside the board.

Inside bets are placed on individual numbers or a series of numbers and are generally at higher odds because they’re harder to hit.

Outside bets are less dependent on the winning number as such (see below) and are easier to win on, so pay out at lower odds than inside bets.

Inside bets

These are the type of inside bets that you can place.

  • Straight/Single
  • Split Bets
  • Street Bet
  • Corner Bet/Square Be
  • Six Line/Double Street/Line Bet
  • Trio
  • Basket
  • First Four/Four Number Bet

Given this is a guide to roulette for dummies (!), we won’t go into too much detail here about the different types of inside bets.

But most of them are self-explanatory anyway.

For example, a straight/single bet is on a particular number, a trio is on three numbers at the same time and a six-line bet is on six numbers.

That said, you’ll need to observe a roulette table to see in more detail how some of these work in terms of positioning and how you need to place the chip(s) correctly so it’s obvious what you’re actually betting on.

The odds of the different bets are all displayed on the table. 

Outside Bets

Here are the different outside bets.

  • 1 to 18 (Low or Manque), or 19 to 36 (High or Passe)
  • Red or black (Rouge or Noir)
  • Even or odd (Pair or Impair)

 All these pay out at even money, even though the actual odds are 48.6%. Because of the zero!

  • Dozen bet- You bet on the first, second or third dozens of numbers.
  • Column bet- Betting on the first, second or third column of numbers.
  • Snake Bet- A special bet in the roulette game that covers the numbers 1, 5, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 23, 27, 30, 32, and 34

All these pay at 2:1. 

How to Win at Roulette?

If you’ve bet on an individual number, you’ll obviously need the ball to land on your number. 

If you’re betting on six numbers (six line), you’ll win as long as the ball lands on any of the six numbers included in your six.

If your money is on a column bet, you’re a winner if any of the numbers included in the column comes up. And so on.

Players who play different inside and outside bets on the same spin can win on some, lose on others, or win on all. Or lose on all! 

The latter scenario is most likely to happen if the dreaded zero comes up. All outside bets automatically lose while only inside bets where a player has bet on the zero itself will win. 

Strategies to Win

So, you want to know how to play roulette and win? Sorry but there’s no foolproof strategy to help you do that. If there was, casinos would have gone out of business a long time ago! And they haven’t, have they?

But the first bit of advice is to avoid American roulette, like the plague.

Why play roulette with two zeros rather than the customary one zero?

Another “strategy” is to take the money and run after a big win. For example, if you won on a single number.

Red or Black

One “strategy” you can play is the Martingale one. It involves playing red or black, or any of the other even money bets.

If you win on red or black, you do the same again.

If you lose, you double your bet and do the same again until you win. “If” you eventually win, you’ll win all your money back and make a profit to the value of your initial bet. 

“If” because if you lose lots of times in a row, you may not have enough money to double up again.

How to Play Roulette at a Casino (With Etiquettes)

The same rules apply to roulette as most other casino games:

  • Always place money on the table when exchanging for chips; never into the dealer’s hands.
  • Respect house rules such as not smoking or placing drinks near the table.

These are specific to roulette:

  • Don’t place any more bets after the Dealer has called “no more bets”.
  • Don’t play with someone else’s chips.
  • Don’t touch the roulette wheel.

Now you know how to play online roulette (and win). It’s pretty much the same as the one you play in casinos, one of the few differences being that money and chips are virtual rather than physical. Whatever applies to a bricks-and-mortar casino also applies to the online versions. Now you can go play online Roulette and keep these rules in mind.

Varieties of Roulette

Because Roulette is such a popular game, there are a ton of game varieties to the classic version. You can easily access all the varieties online whereas at a landbased casino it would be quite difficult to play every single variety. 

Here are the most popular varieties:

Speed roulette

Played at a much faster pace than normal with a new spin taking place every 25 seconds. This means that an extra 50 spins are played over an hour, compared to the regular version.

Lightning Roulette

Before the spin, the game will choose between 1 and 5 numbers to be struck by lightning. Not literally of course!

Those numbers will have a multiplier added to them of: 50x, 100x, 200x, 300x, 400x or 500x. 

If your money is on one of those numbers and you win, the multiplier will be applied to it.

The catch? Single numbers not struck by lightning only pay out at 30/1 rather than the usual 35/1.

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