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How to Play Roulette

Roulette WheelRoulette isn't the most popular casino game, but it is probably the most recognized casino game in the world.

Its ability to change fortunes with just a single spin of the wheel has made it a mainstay in movies that depict casinos and in the minds of eager gamblers everywhere. Read the article below to learn how to play roulette, or scroll to the bottom of the page to play our free roulette game.

Object of the Game

The object of the game is to predict the final resting place of a small ball that is dropped into a spinning roulette wheel. Players may bet on individual numbers, groups of numbers, the color of the slot the ball will land on, or whether the ball will land on an even or an odd number.

The Roulette Wheel

The wheel is divided into thirty-six numbered slots that alternate between red and black. European roulette wheels have an additional "0" slot and American roulette wheels have a "0" slot and a "00" slot. All "0" slots are green in color.

The house edge comes from the addition of the "0" slots because the game pays out at true odds as if the game only had thirty-six numbers. A successful bet on a single number, for example, pays out at 35-to-1 even though there are actually 37 or 38 possible landing spots. Additionally, even money bets such as red/black and even/odd lose whenever the ball lands on the green "0" spot.

Roulette at

American roulette wheels have a house advantage of 5.26% while European roulette wheels offer a house advantage of 2.63%. The extra "00" spot on American roulette wheels is the cause of the discrepancy and it is also the reason why one should always play at European roulette wheels when given the choice.

Types of Roulette Bets

Players may make any number of bets on each spin of the wheels. It can be a bet on a single number, multiple numbers or any combination of possibilities. The bets are placed by placing chips in the corresponding areas on the table next to the roulette wheel.

The table layout is designed so that players may place their chips on a single number or in the middle of several numbers to designate a bet on a group of numbers. Other spots are reserved for even/odd bets, red/black bets, and so on.

Straight Up Bet

A bet on a single number. The payout is 35:1.

Split Bet

A wager on two numbers. This bet can be made by placing the chips on the line between two numbers. The payout is 17:1 if the ball lands on either number.

Street Bet

A wager on three numbers. This bet can be made by placing the chips on the line that separates the outside bets from the inside bets. The payout is 11:1.

Corner Bet

A wager on four numbers. This bet can be made by placing the chips on the interesting lines of four numbers inside the layout. The payout is 8:1.

Five Number Bet

A wager on five numbers. This bet can be made by placing the chips on the lines that separate the outside bets from the inside bets while also sitting on the line between 0, 00 and 1, 2, 3. The payout is 6:1. This is the worst bet on the table with a house edge of 7.89%.

Red or Black

A bet on whether the ball will land in a red slot or black spot. This bet can be made by placing the chips in the designated area on the outer edge of the table layout. The payout is 1:1.

Even or Odd

A wager on whether the ball will land in an even or odd spot. The payout is 1:1.

Dozens/Column Bet

A wager on twelve numbers. The payout is 2:1.

1-18 or 19-36

Whether the ball will land on the first 18 numbers or last 18 numbers. The payout is 1:1.

Roulette Betting Systems

Betting systems do not work in roulette, so don't put any faith in them. If someone tries to tell you they know the secrets to winning at roulette, they are just trying to sell you bogus information. Don't fall for this age old scam.

Most roulette betting systems are based on some form of the Martingale system which dictates that you double up your next bet any time you lose a bet at the table. This system looks good at first, but it fails to beat the house advantage. If you want to use it for fun, go for it. Just know that it can get expensive very quickly and it won't change the odds at all.

For tips on improving your odds at roulette, read our roulette strategies and tips.

European vs. American Wheels

American roulette wheels are a complete rip off in comparison to European roulette wheels. The additional "00" slot on American wheels basically doubles the house advantage. Avoid American roulette wheels if at all possible.

Tracking Recent Results

Some roulette players like to look at recent results and plan their bets accordingly. Some casinos even accommodate this by posting the results of the last dozen or two dozen spins on an electronic sign board near the table.

In reality, this is all done for show. Just because a number hasn't shown up for a while doesn’t mean its "due" for a hit. Roulette wheels are completely random and you will see all sorts of quirky little patterns in the short run. These are just random occurrences and there is nothing to be gained from them, unless you are playing on a crooked roulette wheel.

Free Roulette Game

Practice roulette on this flash European roulette game, courtesy of Go Casino: Also, make sure to read about other roulette casinos with European tables.

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