A Game Guide to Roulette

RouletteRoulette is arguably the most famous of all casino games thanks to its recognisable red and black roulette wheel. The game has a long history and both American and European versions continue to be played at real-life casinos and online.

Roulette Basics

Roulette is named after the French word for “little wheel” and dates back to around 18th century France. However, historians believe that Blaise Pascal, a mathematician, physicist and inventor, created an early version of the game sometime in the 17th century. Reports suggest, however, that roulette in its present form has been played from around 1796 Paris. Back then, roulette wheels used red for the single zero and black for the double zero, though it was later changed to green to avoid confusion.

Early forms of American roulette included the numbers one to 28, the zero, the double zero and an American eagle which was a house slot and gave the casino extra edge. However, the eagle slot version of roulette soon vanished and was replaced with roulette with numbered slots only. By the 20th century, roulette had spread all over the world and had become one of the most popular casino games to play. For even more information, you might want to check out, a great website dedicated to everything roulette.

Today, roulette is still highly popular as people play it at real casinos and online. While online roulette may feature some great graphics and new gameplay features, the general rules of the game remain similar.

The object of the game also remains the same, as players are expected to bet which numbered slot the ball will land on after being spun. If players guess right, they win! But let’s take a closer look at the game.

But how do you play roulette? And why are there two versions of the game? We can help you with all of that, just take a look at our handy online roulette machine guide.

How to Play Roulette

RouletteThe rules of roulette actually depend on which version of the game you’re playing, either American or European. However, both games do tend to follow similar rules, just with some minor differences.

For both versions of the game, you start by selecting a betting limit which can be anything from pennies to a few pounds. You then click on the numbers you wish to bet on and the dealer will then spin the wheel. When it comes to a stop, the ball will fall into a particular slot and all winning bets will be paid out.

Now, to complicate matters a little, American and European games allow players to bet on whether the ball falls in an odd or even space, a red or black slot, or groups of numbers. Columns pay double your bet, while red or black, or even and odd bets pay even money.

In addition to all of this, players can also place bets on more than one number, called a ‘split’. They can bet on two or four numbers at once.

The Different Bets

We’ve touched on some of the bets players can make during a roulette game, but there are a lot of different options here, including inside and outside bets. Inside bets offer better wins but are harder to achieve while outside bets are easier to win but don’t offer as much.

Inside bets are done by betting on an individual number. Winning a bet on an individual number gives players the best payout, but it’s extremely difficult. You can also bet on adjacent numbers such as one and two, or one, two, four and five by selecting the corner where the desired boxes meet.


Players can make outside bets in the boxes surrounding the red and black numbers. For most online roulette games, the boxes will be clearly marked and may even highlight which numbers you’ll be betting on. Betting on the “Even” box means you’ll win if the numbered slot is even. A bet on the “Odd” box means the same thing, as does betting on the red or black boxes.

Now, you’ll also notice there are three sections directly below the board. These are the first 12 (1-12), second 12 (13-24) and third 12 (25-36) boxes. Betting on any of these boxes means you’re betting on a number in one of the three thirds. Looking to the side of the board, you’ll see three boxes which each read “two to one”.

Each box corresponds to the row they’re sat beside, and if you bet on any of these three boxes, you’ll only win if the ball lands into the slot of one of the numbers in the same row. Elsewhere on the board are boxes reading “1 to 18” or “19 to 36”. If you bet on either of these two boxes, you’ll only win if the ball lands on a number in that particular group.

To the left of the board, you’ll see two boxes with zeros in them. If you bet on either of these two boxes, you’ll only win if the ball lands on the zero or double zero. It’s important to remember that the zero and double zero do NOT fit into the red, black, even, odd or thirds categories.

To take a look at even more bets, check out the terminology guide at the bottom of this page.

European, French, And American Roulette


We’ve already mentioned that there are two versions of roulette; European and American. While the rules are basically the same, there is a slight difference in the board’s layout. Firstly, if you look at the European version of roulette you’ll notice that it’s missing the double zero space, this is because it’s only featured in the American version.

The addition of the double zero space actually decreases a players chance of winning from 1 in 37 to 1 in 38, making the European version of roulette much easier to win. Along with this, the European house rule “en prison” does not apply to American roulette.

The French house rule “en prison”, which translates to “in prison”, is a variation of the “la partage” rule. But what does it mean?

‘En Prison’

During the game, if a player makes an even-money bet, meaning that their chances of winning are equal to them losing, the player will get their bet returned if the ball lands on zero. However, the player may then opt to place their money in prison, rather than losing half of it.

If the player selects this option, they will win their full money back if their next spin wins. However, if the ball lands on a zero after a player placed his bet in prison, the bet will remain in prison until a non-zero is spun.

Roulette Variations

In addition to the roulette games laid out above, there are numerous other variations that offer even more ways to bet and win.

Premier Roulette Diamond Edition colours various sections of the roulette board in different colours such as green, yellow, purple and blue. This gives players more options to bet rather than just the traditional black and red.

Multi-ball Roulette sees up to three balls being spun on the wheel at the same time. This gives players more chances to bet and more chances to win money. It’s faster than the traditional game and many online players prefer this version of the classic game.

Multi-wheel Roulette allows players to bet on multiple wheels, each with their own ball. This version of the game can feature up to eight different roulette wheels. Player bets carry across all wheels, so if you bet on an individual number, you have eight chances to win.

Lastly, many gamblers enjoy playing a live version of roulette, in which a live dealer lets you place bets before spinning the wheel at a real casino. The game is broadcasted live to the player and gives the player a chance to communicate with the dealer, giving gamers an authentic casino experience from their very own home.

Roulette Terminology

American Roulette: One of two versions of roulette. American roulette features an additional double zero slot.

Ball Track/Backtrack: The area on the outside of the wheel where the ball travels before landing in a slot.

Big Number: A number that appears more often than others.

Column Bet: Betting on one of three columns on the inside of the betting table.

Corner Bet: Betting on four numbers at one time by selecting or placing a chip on the corner where all four numbers meet.

Croupier/Dealer: The croupier is the dealer, otherwise known as the person who spins the roulette wheel.

Double Zero: The 38th slot found on the American version of roulette.

Dozen Bet: Betting on one of the three sets of twelve numbers.

En Prison: A rule in European roulette in which players can place their money “in prison” after hitting a zero.

European Roulette: One of two versions of roulette. European roulette lacks the additional double zero slot from American roulette.

Five-Number Bet: Used in American Roulette, when a player bets on zero, double zero, one, two and three at one time.

Inside Bet: Betting on individual numbers or small combination of numbers.

Neighbours: Betting on a number and the two numbers beside it on the roulette wheel.

Outside Bet: Betting on odd or even numbers, red or black numbers or betting on large number combinations.

Orphans: Betting on three numbers close together on the roulette wheel, but not on the roulette table.  

Parlay: When a player leaves their bet on the table from a previous win and adds to it, hoping to turn it into a bigger profit.

Payout: The money the croupier or dealer pays you if you win.

Single/Straight Bet: Betting on one number on the board.

Six-Number Bet: Betting on six numbers at one time.

Split Bet: Betting on two adjacent numbers at the same time, made by selecting or placing a chip on the line dividing two numbers.

Stack: Mostly used in games at real-life casinos, a stack is the player’s bankroll of roulette chips.

Street Bet: Betting on three numbers at a time all in the same row.

Wheel: The numbered wheel used to spin the roulette ball.

Zero-Game: Betting on the numbers either side of the zeros.