How To Play Roulette

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While the premise of roulette is simple — bet on a pocket where you think the ball will land — the game can be a little intimidating to first-timers.

In this article, we’ll equip you with all you need to know when it comes to playing on the ‘little wheel’. 

Not sure which variant is best for you? Or maybe you’re wondering if any tips and tricks exist to improve your odds and beat the dealer. Read on and all will be answered in our guide to playing roulette!

How to Play Each Roulette Variant

While it pales in comparison to what you might find in the slots library at an online casino, there’s still plenty of choice when it comes to the type of roulette you play. Each variant offers its own twist on the classic game — from different wheel sizes to faster gameplay and everything in between.

Regardless of variant, roulette is easy to pick up thanks to its simplicity. It goes like this:

  • Bets are Placed – In a real casino, players lay chips down on the table. But when you’re playing online roulette, you’ll simply choose your stake and place your bet using the game interface. Read our guide to roulette odds and payouts for a comprehensive list of bets you can make;
  • Ball is Released – A small white ball is released into the wheel, opposite to the direction the wheel is spinning. It circles around until coming to rest in one of the numbered pockets;
  • Bets are Paid – Where the ball lands determines whether your bet is successful. If you landed a winner, congratulations! Bets are paid out accordingly and the wheel is reset for the next spin.

It’s as simple as that. Next, we’ll explore some of the different roulette variants and how to play them. 

European Roulette

If you’re new to roulette, European is the place to start. You can think of this as the defining variant of the game — after all, the continent is where its origins lie! 

A European roulette wheel has 37 pockets. The numbers 1–36 are split evenly between red and black, and the single ‘0’ pocket is green. This is what gives the house an edge over the player — 0 is excluded from bets like red/black or odd/even, which are paid at 2-to-1. So, the house edge of European roulette is 2.7%. 

While they’re most often associated with French roulette, some European games include additional rules:

  • La Partage returns half of even-money bet stakes if the ball lands on 0;
  • En Prison allows players to leave their even-money bet in place for an extra spin if the ball lands on 0. 

If these rules are in play, the house edge sits at a much more favourable 1.35%.

American Roulette

Predominantly found in casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, American roulette is just as popular in the online casino world. 

American roulette plays out just like its European counterpart, but with one key difference — the addition of a green ‘00’ (double zero) pocket. This almost doubles the house edge to 5.26%. For that reason, it’s usually avoided by roulette players looking for the best value. 

Other than that, American roulette remains more or less the same as European. The extra pocket does allow for an extra bet to be made. The five-number bet or ‘basket bet’ covers 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3. This bet is best avoided due to its steep house edge of 7.89% — the cause for its affectionate nickname, the sucker bet.

Double Ball Roulette

If you’re looking for a bit more of a shake-up, double ball roulette provides just that. The name is pretty self-explanatory — rather than just one, two balls are released into the wheel at the same time. 

Payouts are therefore quite different to standard European or American roulette:

  • For outside bets (red/black, odd/even, etc.) to win, both balls must be successful. So for a bet on red to win, both balls must land in a red pocket. Payouts are usually higher in double ball roulette, typically around 3-to-1;
  • For inside bets (specific numbers or groups of numbers) to win, only one ball must be successful. However, you’re effectively getting two chances to land a winner in double ball roulette, so the payout for straight-up bets is roughly halved to 17-to-1 if one ball lands in your chosen pocket. If both balls are successful, you’ll get a 34-to-1 payout;
  • Players can also bet on a double ball jackpot — for both balls to land in the selected pocket. This bet pays out a sizable 1,200-to-1.   

The house edge in double ball roulette is a little worse than in standard games, but only marginally so:

  • On single zero wheels, the bet with the lowest house edge is on a single-number inside bet, at 2.78%;
  • On double zero wheels, single-number inside bets have the lowest house edge again, at 5.33%.

Multi-Wheel Roulette

Multi-wheel roulette games feature up to eight wheels spinning simultaneously, essentially compressing multiple rounds of roulette into one. Players can choose how many wheels they’re actively betting on, with stakes placed on all active wheels — you can’t place a different bet on a specific wheel, for example.

Say you bet on red with four wheels active. Three wheels finish on red and one on black. You’ll collect the corresponding payout from each wheel, independent of the others. In this instance, you’d win three times as much as if you were playing on a single wheel. 

While the house edge remains the same as standard single-wheel roulette, it’s usually a good idea to only play multi-wheel if you have a larger budget and can afford to bet on several wheels at once. 

Live Dealer Roulette

In the world of online roulette, there are two types — RNG roulette and live dealer roulette. The former is an entirely virtual single-player game, where the wheel is spun as soon as you place your bet. Live dealer roulette, on the other hand, is much more akin to what you’d find in a real casino. 

Live roulette usually takes place in a purpose-built studio. The game is run by a professional croupier using authentic casino equipment, with each round live streamed to players’ devices using HD cameras. You’ll get a window of time in which to place your bets using the interactive interface — typically a minute or two — at which point the ball is fired into the wheel, with winning bets paid once it comes to a stop. 

A large number of live dealer roulette games are available, and the category typically offers more choice than RNG roulette. The house edge corresponds to the type of roulette you’re playing, such as American or European. But there are also more unique variants available, such as Lightning Roulette from Evolution. In this title, up to five numbers are randomly chosen each spin to receive a Lightning payout multiplier from 50x–500x. 

It’s worth keeping in mind that table limits for live dealer roulette may be a little higher than RNG roulette, with minimum bets of around £0.50–£1.00. You can’t control the pace either, with a set window for betting — although those seeking faster play can opt for speed roulette titles instead. 

Mini Roulette

Mini roulette is played on a smaller wheel to standard roulette games. Players can usually bet on the red and black numbers 1–12 or the green 0 pocket. While the simplified set-up is often appealing to roulette beginners, there’s a significantly steeper house edge of 7.69% in this variant. 

101 Roulette

Going in the opposite direction to mini roulette, 101 roulette is played on a custom table resembling a racetrack. Players can bet on the numbers 1–100 split between red and black, and five green pockets (0, hearts, diamonds, clubs, spades) for a total of 105 pockets. Straight-up bets pay out at 100-to-1, and the game has a house edge of around 4.76%.

Roulette Strategies – Manage Your Bankroll

While there are plenty out there who claim they know some special secret to winning at roulette, here’s the bottom line — the house always wins. There’s nothing you can do to improve the odds or manipulate the game in your favour, and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.

However, that’s not to say there’s no such thing as roulette strategy. Rather, this refers to management of your budget and the way you bet, with the general idea being to win back previous losses or build on your wins. Again, we want to underscore that following a betting strategy will not improve your chances of winning — but it might help you keep track of your spend, and can also be an entertaining way to play. We’ll explain some popular roulette betting strategies next, although be sure to remember these have their own pitfalls and can quickly burn through your bankroll if you hit a bad run.


The Martingale is arguably the most popular betting strategy and can be applied to any game with even-money payouts. In roulette, that means bets like red/black, odd/even, high/low.

Following the system is simple. Start with a base betting unit, let’s say £1. If you win your bet, stick with a £1 stake. But if you lose, double your next stake to £2. The idea is your potential winnings will always cover your losses plus a small profit. 

Imagine you lose four bets in a row, with stakes of £1, £2, £4, and £8. You’ve lost £15 in total. You double your stake once more, betting £16, and it wins. You’ll receive £32 back, covering your stake and £15 of previous losses, plus a £1 profit. At this point, you reset to the base betting unit of £1. 


Another popular progressive betting system for even-money bets is the D’Alembert. Here, you start with a base betting unit — let’s say £1 again. If your bet loses, you add one unit to your stake. If it wins, you subtract a unit from your stake. Here’s how it looks in action:

  • £1 bet, loses. Add one unit.
  • £2 bet, loses. Add one unit.
  • £3 bet, wins. Subtract one unit.
  • £2 bet, loses. Add one unit.
  • £3 bet, wins. Subtract one unit. 

After these five rounds, the player is up by £1 in total. The benefit of D’Alembert over Martingale is the stakes don’t increase quite so rapidly, so it’s better suited to smaller budgets or lower table limits.


A more complex betting strategy is the Fibonacci system, where players place bets based on the sequence of the same name, where each number in the sequence is the sum of the previous two, as follows:

  • 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55… 

The sequence numbers are how many betting units you should stake. Each time you lose a bet, you move one number along in the sequence. Each time you win, you move two numbers back in the sequence. 


Invented by the British politician, Henry Labouchère, this system involves setting a target win amount and a list of numbers that add up to that amount. Players must stake the sum of the first and last numbers on the list on an even-money bet. If it wins, they’re crossed off. If it loses, the amount lost is added to the end of the list. If all numbers get crossed out, the desired amount of money has been won. 

Roulette Strategy Downfalls

Ultimately, no roulette strategy is foolproof. Progressive systems are subject to two main downfalls which usually occur if you hit a long run of losses:

  • You might not have enough money left to bet the amount required by the system;
  • The required bet amount may be higher than the table limits.

With a system like the Martingale, which doubles your bet after each loss, the numbers can quickly stack up to hit table limits or bankrupt a player. 

Remember, these strategies won’t increase your odds of success either. Rather, they can help you manage your play and potentially help you last longer with your chosen budget.


James Langley

James is a Content Writer and casino expert at, joining us in 2021 and totting up three years’ experience in the online gambling space so far. He regularly contributes in-depth guides and reviews for the site, alongside editing and refining copy. James is also responsible for tinkering with different elements of TopRatedCasinos to make it even better for our users, and has a hand in designing some of the new features we add to the site. Outside work James is a guitarist, all-round music enthusiast, and long-distance runner.

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