Welcome to our guide for roulette beginners. The game is one of the most popular casino games of all time, even as online roulette. The rules of the game are very simple to understand, but without some understanding of rules & terms you will never know how to play roulette professionally.
How Roulette Works – The Goal of the Game
In order for you to easily understand the roulette rules, it is first necessary to understand the basics. The object of the game is to bet on the right number, – or a combination of numbers. Once you place a bet, the ball is thrown along the edge of the spinning pot. It is important to note that the bowl is divided into number of compartments. If the ball lands on the number you bet on, you win. If it does not land on the selected number or combination of numbers, you lose.
1. Place your bet
Even before the game starts, players place their bets. To do this, they place their casino chips (tokens) on the area of the playing field that corresponds to their bet. By the way, in land-based casinos, it is recommended to let the croupier place the chips in order to avoid any misunderstandings with other players.
2. Croupier throws the ball
Once the bets are placed, the game master throws the ball along the edge of the spinning cauldron. In some land-based casinos, you even then have the option to place bets, although this is rather the exception.
3. The result
As soon as the ball then loses speed, it falls and bounces a few times over the number of compartments until it finally comes to rest in one of the compartments. If you have bet on this number, you can be happy, because then you have won.
4. Play again, change the bet, En Prison
When the game (coup) is over, you have several options: you can bet on the same numbers again or try a new betting strategy. If this table is played with the En Prison rule and the ball landed on zero, you continue playing with your bet, after all it is ‘in prison’.
Before you play roulette for real money, I strongly recommend that you familiarize yourself with the basic rules of the game. Further down in the text, I will list the basic roulette rules in detail. You may also find it helpful to watch the video, where the rules and the gameplay are explained in detail. Furthermore, the video will help you understand the information on this page to give you an idea of what to expect in the text.
The Roulette wheel
The name ‘Roulette’ comes from the French and means something like ‘small wheel’. In German, by the way, one speaks of the so-called roulette wheel. As you can imagine, the roulette wheel is the most important part of this popular casino game. It is available in the casinos in all imaginable sizes, whereby the classic version consists of 37 number fields, which are arranged alternately in the colors black and red, apart from the number 0, which is displayed on a green field. The numbers 1-36 are not arranged numerically. Only when the kettle is set in rotation, the table leader throws the ball in the opposite direction along the edge. The reason for this is that it tries to preserve randomness. For this reason, the direction of the rotation also changes after each coup or after every second coup.
In this casino game, you have no influence on the course of the game. The only thing that is in your hands is how much money you want to bet and especially on which numbers or number combinations.
The number zero – the house advantage
Every Roulette variant has a green number box with the number zero. The American Roulette differs from the classic European/French variant in that it has two number slots with the zero (0/00). This compartment is very important because it represents the house edge of the casino. If this tray were missing, the odds of winning on outside bets would be 50/50, which would result in the casino constantly losing money when multiple players are playing at the table at the same time. The house edge of the game with one zero is 2.7%, whereas the house edge with two zeros is 5.3%.
The betting field – tableau
The green betting area of a normal roulette table. The area on the table covered with green cloth is called the betting area or tableau. Here you bet by placing the casino chips on the number, color or combination of numbers of your choice. In the center of the tableau you will find the numbers 1-36. Outside are the simple odds. There you can bet on red/black or on columns. A column consists of a dozen and includes, for example, the numbers 1 – 12 or the first row, which starts with 1 and ends with 34. You can place as many bets as the table limit allows.
I will go into more detail about payouts and betting conditions further down in my roulette explanation. The arrangement of the numbers on the betting field is not identical to the arrangement of the numbers in the wheel. So make yourself familiar with the wheel before you start a real money game.
Summary: Players place their bets on the green betting field. They can either bet on specific numbers or on specific properties (red/black). In this case, it is also called an inside bet or a single chance on the outside bets. Also, note that the numbers on the betting field are not positioned in the same order as in the roulette wheel.
Roulette Betting Rules and Payout Odds Basics
One of the few things a player can decide in roulette is his choice of bet. And in the popular kettle game, you have a great many betting options to choose between. Although the many options can seem overwhelming at first, the bottom line is that they are very simple to understand. Basically, there are only two types of bets: Inside bet and Outside bet, the latter of which is also referred to as simple chance. These simple chances are meant the options that are outside the numerical field and concern the properties of the numbers or bundle them into a dozen. Inner bets, as the name suggests, are bets inside the numerical field. There, for example, you bet on certain numbers or combinations of numbers. The payout odds range from modest 1:1 values to large 35:1 wins.
A simple rule to remember is that the payout percentage depends on the probability of winning. The higher your chance of winning, the lower the payout ratio, or in other words, the lower your chance of winning, the higher the payout ratio. A single bet on a specific winning number pays out at a ratio of 35:1. If you bet on two numbers, the odds are halved to 17:1 and so on. A black/red or even/odd bet pays your winnings at a ratio of 1:1. Let’s say you bet 10€ on red and win, then you will get paid 10€. Therefore, it’s probably best to focus on the easy odds, as you have a higher probability of winning there.
Take a look at the table below for a complete overview of the payout odds. As you may notice, some bets have a French name, which is due to the fact that they are taken from the French roulette variant, but this does not affect the bet or the payout odds.
Single Number / Plein 35:1
In this bet, one or more chips are placed on a single number. The odds of winning are very low, but the payout ratio is all the higher.
Adjacent numbers / Cheval 17:1
The chip is placed on the line between two numbers so that the bet is effectively ‘split’. This increases the probability of winning and halves the payout ratio.
A cross row/transversale pleine 11:1
In this bet, three numbers are covered at once. To do this, the chip is placed at the end of a number line.
Four Neighbors/Carre 8:1
The token is placed in the center of four numbers to bet on.
The First Four/Les Quatre Premiers (EU) 8:1
The bet covers the numbers 1,2,3, and 0.
First Five/Top Line (US) 6:1
The bet covers the numbers 1,2,3 and the two zeros. (American Roulette)
Two transversal rows/Transversal Simple 5:1
Behaves similarly to ‘adjacent numbers’, except that two rows with a total of six numbers are covered.
The chip is placed on the first, second or third dozen and covers 12 numbers.
The chip is placed at the edge of a row of numbers, thus covering 12 numbers of a column.
Black and Red/Noir and Rouge 1:1
In this bet, the chip is placed on either the red or the black face. This bet offers you the highest odds of winning.
Even or Odd /Pair and Impair 1:1
In this bet, the chip is placed on either Even or Odd. This bet offers you the highest odds.
Low numbers/Manque 1:1
The chip is placed in the area with the lower numbers (1-18).
High numbers/passport 1:1
The chip is placed in the area with the higher numbers (19-36).
Summary: There are two types of bets. Inside bets (bet on a specific number) and outside/simple chance bets (bet on a specific property). The simple odds are very simple to understand and offer a higher chance of winning, so these bets are suitable, especially for roulette beginners. The inside bets guarantee you a higher profit, but are also riskier.
European Roulette Rules
Understandably, many new players are initially a little confused about the differences between European and French Roulette. This is mainly due to the fact that there are actually no differences. The European Roulette rules are the same as the French variant and also have only one zero, unlike the American variant. To explain it even more simply, the differences between these two variants are merely visual. For example, the betting squares of the colors are not next to each other, but opposite each other, or in the French variant they are not marked with colors, but with the terms noir and rouge (French for black and red). If you want to bet on even or odd, you have to look for the terms pair/impair on the betting field in French roulette. Another difference is in betting on high/low numbers. While in European roulette you will find the fields 1-18/19-36, in French roulette these are written out as passe/manque.
A big difference between these two variants concerns a dozen bets. In the European game, these betting fields are located between the numbers and the simple odds. They are listed as 1st 12 (first dozen), 2nd 12 (second dozen), and 3rd 12 (third dozen). In the French variant, you will find these fields at the end of the betting field under the names P12 (première douzaine, 1 – 12), M12 (moyenne douzaine, 13 – 24) and D12 (dernière douzaine, 25 – 36).
In the french. In the French variant, the terms of the inner bets are also given in French, but if you have any questions, just look at the table above, because everything is listed there, in German as well as French. By the way, the table is very helpful when learning the roulette rules.
Summary: The difference between European and French Roulette is purely visual. The wheel is the same and the betting options are also the same. The only difference is that the French variant also uses French terms.
American Roulette – Game Rules at a Glance
The biggest difference between the American Roulette rules and the European Roulette rules is that the former has an additional number compartment with the zero: the so-called double zero. This raises the house edge a bit, so that the theoretical payout ratio (RTP value) is 94.7%, instead of the usual 97.3% in the French or European variant. This RTP (Return-To-Player) value indicates the theoretical value that is paid out again as winnings to the players. For example, in the American version, 94.70€ is paid out again as winnings when 100€ is deposited. Theoretically of course. Therefore, one of my roulette tips for beginners is: For this reason, I can honestly say that there is no reason to play the American version of the game if winning is important to you and there is a possibility to opt for the other two versions. It’s really only worth it for players who are looking for the thrill and like to take an extra risk sometimes.
The double zero behaves similarly to the other number slots and players can bet on it accordingly. A bet on zero and double zero is equivalent to adjacent numbers/cheval from the French or European version and therefore has a payout ratio of 17:1. If you bet on three numbers with one chip (0,1,2/ 00,2,3/0,00,2), it has the same odds as a transversal pleine and that is 11:1. There is actually only one exception and that concerns the bet on the top five numbers. The so-called top line bet has odds of 6:1 and does not exist with the other two variants. Nevertheless, you should remember that this type of bet has a higher house edge and it is therefore less attractive for players. Therefore, my roulette tip for beginners is to avoid this type of bet.
Another crucial difference to the other two variants is the positioning of the numbers. Although the colors red and black also alternate in the American wheel, the numbers are arranged completely differently. You can see the difference in the two pictures above.
Summary: In American roulette, there is a double zero number compartment, which is not found in the European and/or French version. The double zero thereby increases the house edge from 2.6% to 5.46% and also affects a payout odds. Otherwise, the rules of the game are the same. If possible, avoid this version. The increased house advantage makes the American version less attractive to players than the French or European game.
Roulette Rules for Advanced Players
This section deals with roulette rules that more experienced players should familiarize themselves with in order to improve their game. While the following rules are not necessarily more complicated to understand than the basics, they can still be ignored by players who are just figuring out how to play roulette. In terms of content, I will cover table limits, the La Partage/En Prison rule, as well as proper table selection for players who want to develop their own roulette strategies.
For each roulette game, the casino will show you the minimum and maximum table limits. Meanwhile, it is common for each game to assign individual limits for each bet. These limits protect the casino from having to pay out a million euro bet with 35:1 odds.
Although most online casinos now offer players all betting options (from stakes as low as €0.10 to high roller tables) not every table or betting limit is suitable for experienced players who know how to play roulette or follow a betting strategy. Most betting strategies focus on the easy odds, as the probability of winning is higher there. Therefore, especially for more experienced players, it is recommended to choose tables that have a high limit for outside bets, as there is a higher chance that their roulette strategy will work out successfully.
Summary: Each roulette game has its very own table limits, although it should be mentioned that each bet, within the game, also has its own limit. However, these betting limits only affect players who play with a strategy or high rollers who like to bet a few thousand euros on one spin.
Explanation of the La Partage and En Prison rules
These rules are not found in all kettle games, but they are not exclusive to French Roulette as the name might suggest. In some American versions, the term ‘Surrender’ appears, which is synonymous with the La Partage rule. To find out if any of these rules are present in the game, I encourage you to read the game description. In land-based casinos, the croupier can tell you about them.
These rules concern the number zero and the simple odds. If the ball lands on zero, everyone loses their outside bet. La Partage means to split and offers the player the chance to get back half of his bet if the ball lands on zero.
En Prison or ‘in prison’ means that your bet will be locked for the next roll if the ball lands on zero. If you lose the next roll, your bet is gone. However, if you win, your bet will be unlocked, but will remain on the betting field. If you win the next round with your bet unlocked, you will get your bet back. This rule is extremely beneficial for the players and increases the chances of winning even more in a game that already has a high RTP. The house edge of outside bets drops to 1.35% with the En Prison rule.
La Partage:Simple odds are returned to the player at half if the ball lands on zero.
En Prison:If the ball lands on zero, the player’s outside bet is locked for the next coup. If the player wins the next round, his bet will be unlocked again. If the bet then wins the next round, the player gets his bet back, but without a win.
Find the game with the best roulette rules
When it comes to choosing the best roulette game, the strategy should be to find the game with the rules that will guarantee you the best payout rate. The following steps will show you what to look for when you decide to play roulette for real money.
Step 1: Play Eurocentric
The first thing you should do when you want to play roulette is to take a closer look at the roulette wheel. If you find only one zero, you are correct and you have found either a European or French variant. However, if you find zero and a double zero, you’ll have to look far away. So my tip for roulette beginners is to stay away from the American variant as much as possible.
The double zero is of no use to you, because in the end it only increases the house advantage of the casino. Once you have found a pot with only one zero, you can move on to the next step.
Step 2: Appropriate table limits for strategies
Next, advanced players should consider the respective table and betting limits. Players pursuing progressive betting strategies, for example, should choose a game that allows smaller table limits but also has a very high limit for easy chances. Fans of the Martingale strategy know all too well how frustrating it can be when the easy odds only allow small betting limits. For this reason, it is best to opt for the game table that allows small limits but is progressive upwards.
Although many games only offer smaller limits on the outside bets, you can see above that some also allow limits of €5,000 and high roller tables even with much higher limits (where the minimum betting limit should be accordingly high). The table serves as an example of progressive betting strategies, as the table limit is very low, and yet high bets can be placed on the easy odds.
Step 3: Find a game with La Partage/En Prison
As mentioned in my roulette explanation, you should find a roulette game that applies the La Partage or En Prison rule, especially if you like to make outside bets. The reasoning behind this is obvious: it benefits the player because it lowers the house edge on the easy odds. Although the terms are in French, you won’t necessarily find these rules only in French roulette and I’ve found them in European roulette as well, although that’s not common.
Advanced roulette tip: If you are a strategic player, it is better to always choose the table with the better table limits than a table that has either rule. I recently played at a table with the La Partage rule whose betting limit on outside bets was 80€ and it turned out to be extremely impractical for strategies. Keep that in mind when searching for the perfect roulette game.
Step 4: Other rules
Although the following rules are not necessarily the most important ones, it is extremely convenient for players to find them. This means the possibility to save betting strategies, a race track that is available, or the option of a quick game. The latter is recommended especially for players who don’t need fancy animations and just want to play. A racetrack is a nice idea, as the numbers there are arranged in the same order as in the pot, allowing you to bet on adjacent numbers more clearly, while the rules of a roulette game with racetrack are identical. The possibility to save betting strategies is an absolute plus, especially for experienced players who have developed their own system.
Step 5: Play with good manners
As with all casino games, there are unspoken rules regarding the behavior and conduct of players when playing roulette. When you play online, most of them don’t affect you, but it still can’t hurt to know what to expect if you ever want to try the kettle game in a land-based casino. First of all, be polite to your fellow players and the croupier. If you want to play live roulette, you should never make inappropriate comments in the chat. If you do, there is a great chance that you will be removed from the game. Another unspoken rule that affects land-based casinos in particular: never touch another player’s chips. If you want to make the same bet, politely ask the croupier to place your chips. This is true even after the round is over. If you win, wait for the dealer to pass the chips back to you. By the way, every croupier is happy to receive a tip, and many live casinos now also offer the possibility to give a tip.
Roulette variants and their rules
Online casinos have now significantly expanded their range of casino games. Nowadays, there are tens of companies that develop game titles for online casinos. As a result, there are heaps of fun, interesting and innovative variants. Some of them differ only visually, while others change the rules completely.
Other Roulette Games
If you search online for alternative roulette variants, you will probably find more than you can count. In some variants the table limits are in the foreground and make a special attraction. Be it in the respect that you can already play with a small stake like with Penny Roulette with a stake of 0,01€ or also up to 250.000€ per round with Video Roulette. If you want to learn more about the history of roulette, you should play Card Roulette, which was the only legal way to play roulette for a long time.
Important note about the variants: There are tens of fun and creative online variants of roulette. Although these games have a high entertainment factor, they don’t offer you the chance to win that often. So if you are looking for roulette games where you have the best chance of winning, I definitely recommend a variation that is played according to the European rules.