Roulette Strategy Guide

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11/11/2020

How to Play Roulette Online

Roulette is one of the most iconic table games in the world. For many players, it is the most remembered and beloved hallmark of the casino. The version closest to today’s roulette game was invented at the turn of the 17th century by Frenchmen Blaise Pascal. Originally becoming popular in French social circles, the game of roulette is named after the French term little wheel. Roulette consists of a table with a betting grid, wheel and ball. Players place their bets on the grid before the wheel is spun. The aim is to try predict accurately the number of the pocket that the ball will land in once the wheel stops spinning.

Although roulette was made famous in brick and mortar casinos, nowadays many play it online from their computer or mobile device at a mobile casino. Online casinos in the UK are 100% legal and regulated by the UKGC (UK Gambling Commission, which is part of the UK government). This means that you can safely and securely learn, practice and play roulette online.

Playing Roulette Online

There are many advantages to playing roulette online. You can play from wherever you are, at any time and with no need to book an expensive trip to the casino. Playing online lets you learn the game at your own time, focus and build your roulette strategy. You can even claim at our recommended casinos attractive bonuses that will give you more money to play with. And without taking time off work and booking expensive travel and accommodation – you will have a lot more time and money to spend at the roulette table from the minute you decide to start playing.

When playing online, you can either play roulette games on your own, or join a live-dealer roulette table. Many UK players start with the standard roulette tables to learn and build their roulette strategy. Then, they join the thrilling experience of live-dealer roulette.

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Improving Your Roulette Skills

Although the game or roulette looks simple at first glance, experienced roulette players that know how to play it use a lot of analysis. They use different calculations to build a roulette strategy and earn big profits from placing bets on the wheel. Our casino experts at CasinoSource.co.uk have written this comprehensive guide explaining the game rules, how to play roulette, the best roulette bets and how to build the best roulette strategy. This will allow you to enjoy the game more and increase your chances of winning at the table.


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Rules of Roulette

The main goal across all roulette variations is for the player to predict the wheel’s outcome and bet on specific numbers and/or events. For example, you may choose to bet on red/black colours and odd/even numbers. You can also bet on specific numbers, or on different number groupings. Once bets are taken, the dealer (also known as croupier) spins the wheel. If the ball lands on a number and/or event you had chosen, you win the bet.

While the basic rules of roulette are similar, there are some differences between the two main versions of the game. These being European Roulette which is the current version of the original game invented in the 17th century France. And American Roulette which is a bit of a faster-paced version of the game. As the name suggests, it was invented in America in the 19th century. Most notably, American Roulette has two zero-numbered pockets (marked with 0 and 00) compared European Roulette’s single zero pocket (marked with 0).

Beside the wheel differences, there are also a few specific rules that differ between the two variations of Roulette. In European Roulette players can call bets (announce bets to the dealer) as opposed to laying chips down on the table. There is also the En Prison rule which allows you to bet on the next spin, in case you placed an even bet and the ball landed in the zero pocket. At an American Roulette table, you lose event bets (a.k.a. outside bets) if the ball lands in a zero pocket. Also in the American variation of the game, you can place a five-number bet (a.k.a. line bet) on numbers 1, 2, 3, 0 and 00.

Best Roulette Bets

Once purchased chips and ready to play, you can place your bets on any number, group of numbers and even outcomes. Given you have a limited period of time to place your bets before the dealer spins the wheel. This can get a bit overwhelming, especially in you are a new player. Finding the best bets and working on your roulette strategy while sitting at a crowded, noisy roulette table can be challenging.

Some players ask the dealer to place bets for them by calling bets. But again, if the table is busy with many players the dealer can get distracted and your bets lost in the commotion and not placed on time. This is why many roulette players like to play online, where they can concentrate, place bets at their own pace and decide when to spin the wheel.

Safe vs Risky Roulette Bets

What makes roulette exciting to many is the fact that it offers both safe and risky bets. This allows players to build and customize the best roulette strategy for them based on their risk preferences. You can bet very safe on red/black, high/low or even/uneven. This will let you cover many options on the table and start winning pretty quickly. But keep in mind that payouts for these type of bets are low, making it hard to build significant profits. On the opposite end of the risk scale are bets on specific numbers. The odds are less in your favour to win these bets, but if you do win the payout is huge. There are is also a range of different bets in between the two high and low-risk extremes. These include bets of different groupings of numbers.

Types of Bets

Regardless of playing online or at a brick and mortar casino, it is best to understand the types of bets, their odds and payouts. This knowledge will allow you to focus on your roulette strategy, keep calm and be prepared for every spin of the wheel. There are two main categories for roulette bets: Inside bets and outside bets. Inside bets are the type of bet you will make on specific numbers or groups of numbers. Whilst outside bets are based on events. They are named after their position on the roulette betting grid. Given the higher odds for outside bets to occur, their payout is lower. This compared to inside bets that have less probability, but in case of a win offer much higher payouts.


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Outside Bets

The most common bet amongst roulette players is the black/red bet. It pays even money and allows players to bet on the colour the ball will land on. Another common even-money bet is the odd/even bet which allows you to bet on the type of number. A third even-money bet is high/low which lets you bet on numbers between 1 and 18 (low), and 19 and 36 (high).

Outside bets are best for risk-averse players. Those who would like to start investing small sums and building their profits slowly. It is also usually the best roulette bet for casual roulette players that are looking to learn the game and diversify their risk across different types of bets.

Inside Bets

For players that are looking for more risky roulette strategies with higher payouts, inside bets are the best. Although the odds of winning these bets are smaller, payouts can be huge and help you build profits in a short period of time. The first inside bet is a single number, which is common with players that bet on their lucky numbers, birthdays, etc. This is the most risky bet you can place on a roulette table.

The second-risky bet is the split which lets you bet on two adjoining numbers on the roulette grid. A street is a bet on any three adjoining numbers. A corner bet is placed by putting a chip on four adjacent numbers and betting on all of them. Naturally, all these bets will have different payouts, which will increase as the odds get slimmer.

More inside bets include wagers on different groups of numbers, based on the pattern and alignment on the roulette betting grid. For example a dozens bet which lets you bet on first 12 numbers. A Columns bet that lets you wager on 12 numbers as well, but with a different alignment on the grid. There are also splits bets and more. The less odds on each bet, the higher payout.

Once you had read and understood the type of bets, it is important to form your own ideas on which of them would be best for your roulette strategy. It is also important to go online to practice and develop your skills hands-on by placing different bets, spinning the wheel and understanding your odds.

Roulette Terms

You had probably noticed by now that although roulette seems to be a simple game, there are a lot of professional terms you will need to know in order to master the game and enjoy it to the fullest. Some terms come from the French origins of the game, while others intuitively follow positions on the roulette grid. Our casino experts have put together a list of the main roulette terms, so you can ease your way into playing and follow what’s going on at the roulette table.

  • American Roulette: A later version of the game that was created in the 19th century in America. It features two zero-pockets and 38 bet pockets.
  • All-In: An event when a roulette player wagers all of his/her stake on one bet.
  • Action: The total sum of money a roulette player will wager over a period. Usually used by the casino for tracking player compensation and loyalty bonuses.
  • Black Bet: An even-money bet on the colour black.
  • Bottom Track: The sloped, inner part of the roulette wheel that remains static during spins.
  • Back Track: The outer edge of the roulette wheel where the ball is spun. Also knowns as ball-track.
  • Block Bet: A bet on a block of numbers on the roulette table grid.
  • En Prison: A rule in French Roulette, and some European Roulette variations. In case a player bets on an even number, they are allowed to bet again if the ball landed in the zero pocket.
  • Croupier: The French formal term for a roulette dealer.
  • Call Bets: Bets that are placed by notifying the dealer verbally, without placing chips on the roulette grid.
  • Corner Bet: A single bet connecting the corner of 4 adjoining numbers on the roulette betting grid.
  • Column Bet: A single bet placed on one of the three columns and covering almost a third of the roulette wheel.
  • Dozens Bet: A bet placed on one of three available 12-number sequences – 1-12, 13-24 or 25-36
  • Double Zero: An additional pocket on an American Roulette wheel marked ‘00’.
  • European Roulette: The original version roulette, invented in France in the 17th century. It features 36 numbers, a single zero pocket and lower house edge than American Roulette.
  • Even Bet: A 1:1 bet that pays even money, such as red/black, odd/even, high/low, etc.
  • French Roulette: A variant of European roulette, with a few specific rules and a table layout that differs slightly (bets marked in French on the grid).
  • Five Number Bet: An American Roulette bet on 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3.
  • Green Pockets: The 0 (and 00 in American Roulette) pockets that are coloured green.
  • High Bet: A bet on the higher numbers on the grid: 19-36
  • House Edge: The mathematical advantage built into the game, which the casino has over the player in the long term. The house edge for a European Roulette, single-zero wheel is 2.70%. For an American Roulette double-zero wheel, the house edge is 5.26%
  • Inside Bet: A wager placed on a number, covering either a specific number or group of numbers. These are considered high-risk/high-reward bets as they have lower odds and higher payouts.
  • Line Bet: A wager covering one of six numbers in a row (i.e. line) on the roulette betting grid.
  • Low Bet: A bet on the lower numbers on the grid: 1-18
  • Outside Bet: A bet placed on a non-numbered event. These bets are considered low risk as they cover a large area of the roulette wheel and therefore have higher odds and lower payouts.
  • Pocket: The black, red and green numbered crevices on the roulette wheel where the ball lands after the wheel stops spinning.
  • Red Bet: An even-money bet on the red colour on the roulette wheel.
  • Six-Line Bet: An inside bet that covers two adjacent rows of numbers on the roulette grid (covering six numbers in total).
  • Split Bet: An inside bet that covers two adjacent numbers on the roulette grid.
  • Straight Up Bet: An inside bet made on a single number.
  • Street Bet: An inside bet placed on a row of three numbers on the roulette betting layout.
  • Square Bet: An inside bet made on one of four numbers (also known as a corner bet).

Roulette Table and Wheel

The roulette tables are where it all happens at the casino. The bets are placed, the wheel is spun and you can hear a pin dropping while all the players are waiting in suspense to see if they won or lost. Well perhaps it isn’t possible to actually hear a pin drop on a busy casino floor with thousands of gamblers, but you get the idea.

In upscale casinos you will find rectangular roulette tables made of leather and polished wood, whereas more casual gambling halls provide cheaper, synthetic upholstery tables. To this day, many tables still have drink and ashtray holders (reminder of the times smoking was still allowed in casinos). The roulette wheel itself will sit on a separate structure to prevent players from moving the table and trying to affect the outcome by moving the wheel (knowingly or not).

The tables look very similar at first, but European and American Roulette wheels have a different design and the bet grids of the two variations have a few differences as well. The first, most obvious clue that will let you tell the difference right away is the single zero pocket on a European Roulette wheel vs two zero-pockets on the American version. Look more closely, and you will also notice that the numbers are also ordered very differently.

European Roulette

The European Roulette wheel has a total of 37 pockets. This includes a single zero pocket, which decreases the house edge significantly. The zero pocket is green (marked 0) and the other 36 numbers are divided by colour with half being red and the other half black. The clockwise sequence of the numbers is as follows: 26, 3, 35, 12, 28, 7, 29, 18, 22, 9, 31, 14, 20, 1, 33, 16, 24, 5, 10, 23, 8, 30, 11, 36, 13, 27, 6, 34, 17, 25, 2, 21, 4, 19, 15, and 32.

American Roulette

An American Roulette wheel has 38 pockets. It features two green zero pockets (marked at 0 and 00) which considerably increase the house edge, and reduce player’s chances to win in the long run. The American Roulette wheel has its numbers divided equally to black and red. The clockwise sequence of an American Roulette wheel is as follows: 0, 2, 14, 35, 23, 4, 16, 33, 21, 6, 18, 31, 19, 8, 12, 29, 25, 10, 27, 00, 1, 13, 36, 24, 3, 15, 34, 22, 5, 17, 32, 20, 7, 11, 30, 26, 9 and 28.


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The Roulette Table

The roulette table is pretty similar across game variations, with the difference being again that the American version has one more field for the double zero pocket. All roulette table grids show clearly the inside and outside bets, and number colours on the grid correspond to their colours on the wheel.

Roulette Wheel Layout Logic

At first look, the number sequence on all roulette wheels looks very confusing and makes no sense. Although the number sequence on the wheel is different between roulette variations and appears random to the untrained eye, there is sound logic behind the position of numbers on the wheel. Following are a few reasons behind the sequence:

  • Confusing the player: The sequence is built in a way that makes it difficult for players to see the relation between numbers, follow patterns and make calculated bets. This is especially true for beginners.
  • Red and black alternate: Two adjacent pockets should always have different colours.
  • Low and high separation: Low (1-18) and high (19-36) numbers should alternate as much as possible and not be positioned next to each other.
  • Even and odd distribution: Even and odd numbers should be distributed across the wheel.

As you can see, there is a lot of clever thinking that went into the number sequence on the roulette wheel. So although confusing (on purpose), the number positions on a roulette wheel are all but random.

Roulette House Edge, RTP and Odds

Roulette House Edge

Just like the player’s goal is to win, at the end of the day the casino’s aim is also to turn a profit. For this reason, casino games have a built-in mathematical advantage that gives the casino more chances to earn over the long run. This advantage is referred to as the house edge. It is practically the amount of money the casino keeps to itself out of the total money that players wager. The rest is returned to players as winnings over time.

To illustrate how the house edge works in roulette, let us use the European Roulette wheel as an example. Although the wheel has 37 possible winning numbers, a player will only receive a payout of 35:1 on a winning number bet. The difference of these two units represents the built in house edge. If multiplying the house edge by the outcome probability and presenting the result in percentage terms, it will be 2.70% (1/37) in case of European Roulette. Because the American Roulette wheel has two zero-pockets, the probability of a successful outcome will reduce even further (1/38). Thus increasing the house edge to a whopping 5.26%.

Roulette RTP

The RTP (Return to Player) is the percentage of total bets that are paid back to players in winnings. Note, that this is a statistical measure of the amount paid back over time. As bet outcomes are random, it does not mean that any one specific player can win. Therefore the RTP should be seen as the overall amount paid to all players over the long run and not an individual player bankroll. RTP can be measured as the total wagers less the house edge. So in percentage terms, out of 100% wagers, European and American Roulette RTP is 97.3% (100%-2.7%) and 97.74% (100%-5.26%) respectively.

Roulette Odds

The table below provides details on the type of roulette bets available, their payout and odds of winning:

Bet TypePayoutAmerican Roulette OddsEuropean Roulette Odds
Red/Black (colour)1:147.37%48.65%
Evan/Odd1:147.37%48.65%
Low/High (1-18/19-36)1:147.37%48.65%
Dozens2:131.58%32.43%
Columns2:131.58%32.43%
6 Numbers (6 line)5:115.79%16.22%
5 Numbers (top line)6:113.16%-
4 Numbers (square)8:110.53%10.81%
3 Numbers (street)11:17.89%8.11%
2 Numbers (split)17:15.26%5.41%
1 Number (straight)35:12.63%2.70%

The payout represents how much money you will receive on your winning bet as portion of your wager. For example a 1:1 is an even-money bet, where you will receive 1 unit (chip) for every unit you bet. 2:1 means that you will receive 2 units plus your original bet and so on. All the way to a winning bet on a single number (straight), which will give you 35 units plus your original bet on a winning bet of 1 unit.

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Free Online Roulette

Imagine walking into a land-based casino, sitting at a roulette table and playing for free with chances to win real money. For a brick and mortar casino that probably doesn’t sound true, because it isn’t. But in an online casino, free spins at the Roulette table happen quite often. Online casinos provide you with bonuses and ways to play roulette games without spending your own money. It will give you a great chance to:

  • Learn the rules of the game.
  • Try different roulette bets and odds
  • Test different roulette game variations.
  • Practice and prefect your own roulette strategy.
  • Win cash (subject to bonus wagering requirements).

Note however that due to UKGC regulations, free gameplay isn’t available until you sign up to the online casino, verify your account and claim your bonus.

Live Dealer Roulette Strategy Tips

A lot has changed in the way people play roulette since the game was invented in the 17th century. Today, the top online casinos offer live-dealer roulette. This allows you to join a real roulette table with the game being broadcasted from a live studio to your screen. Live dealer roulette brings the experience of a brick and mortar casino to wherever you choose to play from. Here are a few tips for building your live-dealer roulette strategy:

  • Get comfortable with the settings: Adjust screen resolution, device sound, your seating position, lights, etc. This will enable you to focus only on the live-roulette game and interact in real time.
  • Test different live-dealer roulette variations: Live dealer games are a good opportunity to experience games in a real casino setting. It will help you determine which roulette variation is best for you.
  • Find the best live-dealer bonuses: Many casinos offer generous bonuses to entice you to sign up and play. Always compare from, the bonuses that are offered on our site. Also check in the casino’s bonus terms and conditions if they include live-dealer roulette.
  • Don’t get distracted: A live-dealer studio provides for very realistic and exciting roulette gameplay with many features, sights and sounds. Enjoy the settings but don’t get too distracted, stay focused on your
  • Try different betting systems but don’t rely on them solely: There are some good betting strategies you can test, but remember that like any other form of gambling, luck is also a big factor in live-dealer roulette.
  • Set yourself limits and stick to them: Live dealer games can be very exciting and engaging. So you can sometimes lose track of time and money. It is always important to gamble responsibly. So set time limits and budgets, and keep a close eye on your bankroll.
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Roulette Betting Systems

The mathematical model behind the game builds a house advantage into every version of roulette. So there is no bullet-proof method that will let you beat the house. Still, there are certainly a few proven betting systems that can help you improve your odds and build nice profits at the roulette table, here are a few:

  • 1-3-2-6 Betting System: A positive progression betting system in which you place an even-money bet. If it wins, you make another unit bet. If that bet wins, you will have 3x your stake. On the next bet, leave 2x units on the table and remove one. If this bet wins, put back all 6x units on the table for your next bet.
  • Oscar's Grind Betting System: Another positive progression system that divides the entire roulette game into betting sessions. A session is a consecutive betting sequence made until 1 unit of profit is won. Each time the session is won, the player increases their bet by 1 unit. A session will be determined by the player.
  • Martingale Betting System: This is the one oldest roulette betting system known on record. It was set before casinos started placing bet limits, so if you get to high numbers you may be stopped. In the Martingale system you double your bet after each loss. Statistically the larger wins should compensate for the losses in the long run.
  • Fibonacci Betting System: Fibonacci is a number system that is based on a sequence of adding up the two previous numbers to get to the next number. For example: 1+1 =2; 1+2 = 3; 2+3 = 5; 3+5 = 8. This gives a betting sequence of: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144…and so on.
  • Parlay Betting System: In the Parlay system you define a profit target to be achieved based on the bet size and number of consecutive winning bets. After a winning bet you will increase the bet by most of the stake you have on the table. If you lose, you start the sequence again with the initial bet size.
  • Paroli Betting System: This system is a type of a parlay betting system. The slight difference is that with Paroli you will reinvest your entire stake from the previous bet in case of a win. Whereas the parlay system allows you to reinvest most of the stake in the next bet but not all of it.
  • D’Alembert Betting System: This is a sequence betting system that is based on the notion that everything evens out. And thus the more often an unselected outcome occurs, the more likely a selected outcome will occur thereafter. Therefore it advises to stick to your bets, even in case of a losing streak.

Final thoughts on Roulette Strategy

The terms system and strategy may sound a bit misleading to an inexperienced roulette player, or anyone new to gambling for that matter. The underlying math of the roulette game doesn’t allow for a betting method that will let you overcome the house edge every time. If that was the case, all the casinos would be out of business very quickly. Still, it is important to learn the game rules of and understand the odds. By building a roulette strategy, you can use that knowledge to your advantage and certainly improve your chances to win.

Remember that roulette games are a form of gambling, and roulette strategies should never be seen as a sure why to earn money. Play roulette for fun, set time limits and budgets and stick to them. If you are losing or feel things are getting out of control take a break and seek help. Always gamble responsibly, so you can come back and spin the roulette wheel again for a hopefully great win.

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