How Does Roulette Work? Your Questions Answered

Roulette is one of the oldest and most popular casino table games of all time. It takes its name from the French for “little wheel”, as most roulette players already know, the action is focused on a spinning wheel. In this guide to roulette, Plazaroyal covers the rules of the game, the main versions of the game and the types of bets you can place.

How to Play Roulette

The basic rules of roulette do not differ, regardless of which version you choose to play. The game focuses on a spinning wheel that has been divided into numbered and coloured segments. A ball is spun inside the rotating wheel in the opposite direction. The segment that the ball eventually stops on determines the outcome of the round.

Before the ball is spun inside the roulette wheel, there is a betting period. Players will have the chance to place their wagers using chips on a betting area. The betting area covers all coloured numbered segments on the wheel and several other bets. Once the betting period is over, the ball is released in the wheel.

The aim of the game is simple. Players must predict where the ball will land. The numbers inside the roulette wheel are not sequential but are random. All numbers in the wheel are either red or black, except for zeros, which are green. The betting area has a specific layout that gives players many more options when placing their bets.

When playing roulette, players will find loads of different options to bet on. They can choose to place bets on a single number or to bet on groups of numbers. The groups of numbers are formed by the layout of the betting area and the wheel. Before we look at the various types of bets players can place, let’s first dissect the main versions of the game.

The Main Versions of Roulette

At online and brick-and-mortar casinos, players will find three main variants of roulette. The main variants are European Roulette, French Roulette and American Roulette. These Roulette variants differ slightly in rules and house advantage.

European Roulette

European Roulette is arguably the most popular variant of the game. It is played using a total of 37 numbered segments. The game includes red or black numbers 1 to 36 and a single green 0. The green 0 is a neutral number and works in favour of the casino, providing the house edge. European Roulette has a house edge of 2.7%, meaning the RTP is 97.30%.

American Roulette

American Roulette is popular in the United States and is almost identical to European Roulette, except for one small change. In American Roulette, there are a total of 38 numbers. The game includes black or red numbers 1 to 36, a green 0 and an additional green 00. Both of the green 0s are neutral and increase the house advantage in the game. American Roulette has a house edge of 5.26% - thanks to the additional green 00 – meaning the RTP of these games is 94.74%. American Roulette has a few additional betting options, which is the reason why players still enjoy the roulette variant.

French Roulette

French Roulette is similar to European Roulette as it is also played with 37 numbered segments. There is only one green 0 in the game. However, in French Roulette, the betting area is labelled in French. This does not mean that you need to speak French, as the bets are the same as those in European Roulette.

French Roulette differs from European Roulette in that it may have two additional rules. One of the rules is known as the ‘La Partage’ rule. It means that if the ball stops on 0, half of all even money bets are returned to players. This rule lowers the house edge.

The second additional rule in French Roulette is the ‘En Prison’ rule. It states that if the ball lands on 0, all even money bets remain on the table for the next round. If the bet wins on the following round, the initial bet is returned to the player.

Many More Roulette Variants

Most roulette variants are based on one of the three main versions above. However, when playing roulette online, you may find many more variants available. There are many online roulette games that may differ in features and rules. Some examples of these roulette variants are Lightning Roulette, Speed Roulette and Double Ball Roulette.

In Lightning Roulette, players can benefit from multipliers on straight up bets that can reach x500. Speed Roulette is an enhanced game in which rounds play out at a much faster pace. And as the name suggests, for Double Ball Roulette, two balls are released in the wheel to double your chances of winning.

Placing Roulette Bets and Payouts

As mentioned before, there are many different types of roulette bets. The two main categories of bets are Inside Bets and Outside Bets. Essentially, Inside Bets are bets that are placed within the betting area. Outside Bets are placed on the perimeter of the betting area. In American Roulette, there are several bets that are not available in European or French Roulette. However, we will cover the complete list of bets that are available in these main roulette variants.

Inside Bets

  • Straight Up Bet – this a bet on a single number. It pays 35:1
  • Split Bet – this is a bet on two numbers that are adjacent to one another on the betting area. The bet is placed on the line between the two numbers on the betting area. It pays 17:1
  • Street Bet– this is a bet on three sequential numbers in a row (for instance 4, 5, 6). There are also special street bets that can be placed on numbers 0, 1 and 2 or 0, 2 and 3. It pays 11:1
  • Corner Bet– this is a bet on four numbers that are joined by their corners. An example of this is 14, 15, 17 and 18. It pays 8:1.
  • Line Bet – this is a bet on two neighbouring streets. It covers a total of six numbers and pays 5:1.
  • Basket Bet – this is a bet on the numbers 0, 1, 2, 3. It pays 6:1.
  • Top Line Bet – this bet is only available in American Roulette, and it covers the numbers 0, 00, 1, 2, 3. It pays 6:1.

Outside Bets

  • Column Bet – this is a bet that covers one of the three columns on the betting area. There are 12 numbers in a column. It pays 2:1.
  • Dozen Bet – this is a bet on a group of 12 numbers. The three groups of numbers include 1-12, 13-24 and 25-36. These are known as the 1st 12, 2nd 12 and 3rd It pays 2:1.
  • Red/Black Bet– this bet covers all of the red or black numbers on the wheel. It pays 1:1.
  • Even/Odd Bet– this bet covers all of the even or odd numbers on the wheel. It pays 1:1.
  • Low/High Bet– this bet covers all of the lower or higher numbers on the wheel. The lower numbers are 1-18 and the higher numbers are 19-36. It pays 1:1.

Racetrack Betting Area

In European and French Roulette, players will also find another category of bets that are known as the racetrack betting area. This betting area covers different section of groups of neighbouring numbers on the wheel. The racetrack betting area includes:

  • Voisins du Zero– this is French for the ‘Neighbours of Zero’. It covers the neighbouring numbers of 0 on the wheel, from 22 clockwise to 25. The bet takes nine chips to place, including: a split bet on each of 4/7, 12/15, 18/21, 19/22, and 32/35, two chips on the triplet 0/2/3, and two chips on the corner bet 25/26/28/29.
  • Tiers– this is a French term that translates to ‘Third of the Wheel’. It covers a third of the wheel and requires six chips. The bet includes split bets on 5/8, 10/11, 13/16, 23/24, 27/30 and 33/36.
  • Orphelins– This translates to ‘Orphans’ and covers the numbers that aren’t included in Tiers or Voisins du Zero. It costs 5 chips and covers 8 numbers, including: One chip is placed on the number 1 and one on each of the following splits: 6/9, 14/17, 17/20, and 31/34.
  • Neighbours– this is a bet on a number and the numbers either side of it. Players can choose to bet on between one and five neighbouring numbers next to the selected number. Thus, the bet can cover between 3 and 11 numbers (one to five neighbours).
  • Final Bet – this is a bet on all numbers that have the same final digit. An example of this is a bet on the number 4, which also would place bets on 4, 14, 24 and 34.

Choose Your Variant and Play Today

Now that you understand the basic rules of roulette and the differences between European, French and American Roulette, you can try your luck playing the casino game. Refer to the betting area summary above when placing your bets before the ball is spun.


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