How To Play Roulette

Want to learn how to bet on roulette online? Whether you’re choosing red or black, we’ve got you covered with our comprehensive guide to playing roulette online.
Fibonacci System

Roulette is one of the most popular casino games in the world. The game presents the opportunity to make a tidy profit and is relatively easy to learn, which makes it fun for casino beginners and professional gamblers alike. This tremendous appeal has translated well to online casinos, with the traditional table game ranking among the most popular games online.

Much like all other casino games, the odds of winning at roulette lean in favour of the casino, because of the house edge- that’s how casinos make their money, right? But it’s not all doom and gloom. While there’s no foolproof system that guarantees big wins, having a better understanding of how the game works can give you a better chance of beating the house. Let’s get the ball rolling.

Online Roulette: The Basics

There are four key elements involved when playing online roulette: the betting table, roulette wheel, ball and casino chips. The main objective for players is to predict which numbered pocket the ball will land in with each spin of the roulette wheel.

 How to play online roulette in 5 simple steps:

  1. Take Your Pick.
    Predict which pocket you think the ball will land in. You don’t have to pick just one pocket, you can bet on the pocket colour, whether the number is odd or even, or numbers within a certain range.
  2. Place Your Bets.
    Place bets using your roulette chips. Each chip has a different value, which is clearly marked. They can be placed on numbered spots, lines, boxes or junctions of the table. It is important to take note of the minimum and maximum stake before placing your bets. The value of your stake will be deducted from your bankroll balance.
  3. Spin.
    Arguably the easiest part of the game is clicking the ‘spin’ button to spin the roulette wheel. You don’t have to bet real money to spin the roulette wheel, but there are no prizes for a lucky guess if there are no chips on the table! If you’re playing a live dealer roulette game, there won’t be a spin button – the croupier will spin the wheel and game will continue whether you’re ready or not.
  4. Wait for results.
    Once the ball stops, a marker will be placed on the table, indicating the winning number. Losing chips will be collected and all winning bets will be paid out, adding to your existing balance. This happens automatically. If you’re feeling lucky, you can repeat the process. Most tables offer a ‘re-bet and spin’ button, which allows you to place the same bet and spin again. There might also be a ‘double and spin’ button if you want to raise the stakes.

Roulette Wheel

The wheel is a core part of any roulette table. There are two main types of roulette wheels: European and American. The notable difference between the two wheels is that the European version has a single zero, meaning the wheel is divided into 37 pockets, whereas the American version has a single zero and a double zero, meaning the wheel is divided into 38 pockets. With one less pocket, the European variant offers players the best chance of winning.

What Are The Odds of Roulette?

While anyone can win big by simply picking a number and hoping for the best, it’s important to understand the odds of each bet you make. Knowing your chances of winning each time you spin the wheel, and the consequent payout you could receive from a successful selection will help you place more educated bets.

European Roulette Odds and Payouts

Bets Payout Probability
Odd 1:1 48.6%
Even 1:1 48.6%
Black 1:1 48.6%
Red 1:1 48.6%
Low (1-18) 1:1 48.6%
High (19-36) 1:1 48.6%
Dozen (1-12, 13-24 or 25-36) 2:1 32.4%
Column 2:1 32.4%
Line (combination of six numbers) 5:1 16.2%
Corner (combination of four numbers) 8:1 10.8%
Street (combination of three numbers) 11:1 8.1%
Split (combination of two numbers) 17:1 5.4%
Straight Up (single number) 35:1 2.7%

American Roulette Odds and Payouts

Bets Payout Probability
Odd 1:1 46.37%
Even 1:1 46.37%
Black 1:1 46.37%
Red 1:1 46.37%
Low (1-18) 1:1 46.37%
High (19-36) 1:1 46.37%
Dozen (1-12, 13-24 or 25-36) 2:1 31.58%
Column 2:1 46.37%
Line (combination of six numbers) 5:1 15.79%
Five (combination of 0, 00, 1, 2 & 3) 6:1 13.16%
Corner (combination of four numbers) 8:1 10.53%
Street (combination of three numbers) 11:1 7.89%
Split (combination of two numbers) 17:1 5.26%
Straight Up (single number) 35:1 2.63%

House Edge

The odds that the casino pays out are always slightly less than the odds of winning. This difference is known as the house edge. It gives casinos a winning edge, ensuring that the house almost always wins eventually.

To demonstrate how house edge is calculated, let’s look at a ‘red/black’ bet on a European table, one of the most frequently placed bets in roulette. A common misconception is that you have a 50% chance of winning this bet, as there are two outcomes. However, the zero on the table means that there are actually three possible results: red, black or green. The presence of this extra pocket reduces the odds by increasing the number of possible outcomes. So only 18 of 37 numbers result in a win. This means that your chances are calculated as:

18/37 = 0.486

As the house also wins if the ball lands on 0, the odds for the casino are:

19/37 = 0.513

The house edge is the difference between these two figures:

0.513 – 0.486 = 0.027

So the house edge is 2.7% for European roulette. European roulette provides players with better chances of winning than other roulette variations. There is only one zero, and so a smaller number of possible outcomes.

As American Roulette has two zeros on the table, there are a greater number of outcomes, and consequently a lower probability of winning. The house edge for American Roulette is 5.26%.

Several players attempt to get around this house edge by using gambling systems, with many claiming to enjoy success. These betting strategies may work for you in the short run, but they aren’t long-term, reliable strategies for winning, as the house edge means the casino will always win eventually.

Random Number Generator Roulette Games

As there is no physical wheel involved in most online roulette games, you might be wondering how exactly the numbers are selected, and whether or not the games are fair. You’ll be glad to know that all UK licensed online casinos use random rumber generator (RNG) technology to generate the outcome of games. The RNG uses mathematical algorithms to generate a random sequence of numbers, which ensures that the results of their games are fair and random.

If you’re still not convinced, all legal casinos have frequent, rigorous tests performed on their RNG, to ensure it complies with regulation. So if your casino is licensed by a legitimate governing body, you can be sure that your game of roulette will be completely fair.

Live Dealer Roulette Games

NetEnt Live Roulette

Live Roulette on iPad by NetEnt Live [Image source: NetEnt]

There is an alternative online roulette option for the most sceptical players or those who simply enjoy the atmosphere of a land-based casino but want the convenience of playing at home. The best roulette sites offer live roulette games, which is the closest you can get to playing in an actual casino without leaving the house. You’re given access to a live stream of a roulette table with a professionally trained croupier and, in some cases, other players. Some casinos even allow you to interact with your dealer and other players using a live chat room, which can make the game more sociable.

Top 5 Tips For Playing Online Roulette

  1. Practice with free games to help you get to grips with different bet types before you put real money on the table.
  2. Roulette is a game of luck and whether your luck is in or out, it’s important to set limits to help manage your bankroll and avoid losing more than you can afford to.
  3. Beginners should start with European roulette, as it provides you with a greater chance of winning than American roulette games. The larger number of potential outcomes on the American table increases the casino’s house edge.
  4. Choose wisely when selecting an online casino to play with. Always play with reputed casinos that use random number generators. Take your pick from our list of trustworthy, UK regulated roulette sites and play with confidence.
  5. Wins are never guaranteed and strategies are never foolproof. It’s important to remember that you are playing a game of chance. Try your luck and remember to have fun!

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between American roulette and European roulette? The only difference between the two is that an American roulette wheel has two zero pockets, while the European version has one. This may seem like a minor difference, but it significantly affects your chances of making a winning bet.

What’s the house edge?
The difference between the odds that the casino pays out on a bet and the odds of actually winning is known as the house edge. This edge always leans in favour of the casino, ensuring that they almost always win, eventually.

Do roulette betting systems work?
Many players have claimed to enjoy success using various strategies or systems. While they might make roulette more interesting, they are not foolproof. Roulette is a game of chance, and any outcome is independent of past events.

Are online roulette games fair?
This is dependent on where you choose to play. Playing at legitimate, trustworthy casinos, such as those on our list of UK regulated casinos, will ensure that games are fair and random. These casinos use random number generators to determine what numbered pocket the ball lands in. These random number generators are frequently put through rigorous tests to ensure they comply with regulation.

Can I play roulette online for free?
Yes. Many casinos offer you the chance to play their games for free. Playing roulette for free is a great way of getting familiar with the game, without risking your money while you’re learning the ropes. You’ll still need to create an account and verify your identity before you can play free roulette games at UK casinos.


Daniel Bennett

Daniel is our Head of Operations and former Head of Content, with seven years’ experience in the online gambling industry. Across the site, he offers his expertise in all things gambling, from casino reviews and strategy guides to responsible gambling material and more. In his spare time Daniel is an avid sports fan, following the Premier League and NBA closely in particular, as well as a photographer and burgeoning TikTok celebrity.

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