What Are the Rules for Roulette Games?

Learn the rules, odds, and payouts for American and European roulette games.
Roulette draws crowds every casino for several good reasons. The excitement is undeniable, and thankfully, none of that is lost when playing online. In fact, playing roulette online means you’ll have several variants to choose from. Find out the rules for roulette games in this simple and easy to understand guide.

The Basics of Roulette

The roulette wheel and table may seem to be quite complicated at first, but it is actually an easy game to play. 

The basics of roulette are as follows: 

First, the dealer spins the roulette wheel. She then drops the ball onto the spinning wheel. You must predict where the ball will rest when the wheel stops spinning. If you’re correct, you win, and if you’re incorrect, you lose.

There are several different outcomes which you can bet on. They all have different odds and probabilities.

The table is easy to understand with a couple of minutes of study, so you’ll quickly know where to place your chips for each kind of bet. Once your bets are placed, the dealer will spin the wheel, and the outcomes and payouts will be determined automatically.

Types of Roulette Bets

Here are all the standard types of roulette bets which you can make.

  • Single Number Bet
  • 2 Numbers
  • 3 Numbers
  • 4 Numbers
  • 5 Numbers
  • 6 Numbers
  • 1-12, 13-24 or 25-36
  • Column Bet
  • Red or Black
  • Odd or Even
  • High or Low (1-18 or 19-36)

In some variations of the game, there are different bets available. Check the rules in the game’s information section to see if standard rules and bets are adhered to. However, the above bets cover the majority of roulette games.

Roulette Table

The roulette table has almost the exact same layout in both American and European roulette games. The numbers are in 12 rows and three columns. 

You place your chips on the number (or numbers) you wish to bet on. If two numbers which you want to bet on are next to each other on the table, you can place your chips on the line between them to split your bet between both numbers. You can also split your stake between four numbers in the same way.
The rows on the table contain the numbers 1, 2, 3; 4, 5, 6; etc. This means that the columns are not consecutive numbers. The first column, for example, contains 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28, 31, 34. There is a box at the end of each column where you can place chips for a column bet.

Along the side of the rows are the boxes for 1-12, 13-24 and 25-36. These are marked 1st 12, 2nd 12 and 3rd 12. 

Next to these are the even-money outside bets: red or black; odd or even; and 1-18 or 19-36.

Above the columns is the 0 (and in American roulette 00) box. This gives the house its edge, despite the fact that you can bet on 0 (or 00) as a single number bet. We’ll explain more about this in the following sections.

If you are unsure of where to place your chips, you can ask the live dealer,  and she will help you. If you are playing a single-player game without a live dealer, there is an information section to the game which can help you understand the different roulette bets.

European Roulette Rules

European roulette rules are easy to understand. The most important part of the game is to understand the different types of bet and how to place them. The dealer will spin the wheel. Bets can be placed up until she announces, “no more bets” and then she releases the ball.

The house has an edge in European roulette, thanks to the green 0. This can be bet on as a single number, but all outside bets are losers if this number lands. The house edge for this roulette variant is 2.7%.

American Roulette Rules

American roulette rules are fundamentally the same as those in European variants. Bets are placed in exactly the same manner. The one difference is that the wheel has a green 00 in addition to the green 0. This additional number is often referred to as “double zero.”

As in European roulette, it is possible to bet on both 0 and 00. Both of these numbers will see outside bets lose. The presence of two zeros, but with odds being the same as in European roulette gives the house a much bigger advantage in American roulette. The house edge is 5.26% in this game.

What Are the Payouts for Roulette?

The payouts on the different types of bets are the same in both American and European variants. What are the payouts for roulette? Here’s a quick breakdown:

Roulette Bet
Single Number35/1
2 Numbers17/1
3 Numbers11/1
4 Numbers8/1
5 Numbers6/1
6 Numbers5/1
1-12, 13-24 or 25-362/1
Column Bet2/1
Red or Black1/1
Odd or Even1/1
High or Low (1-18 or 19-36)1/1

Now you know what are the roulette payouts are, but what are the probabilities? In the following breakdown, E is for European roulette, and A is for American roulette.

Roulette Bet
European Probability
American Probability
Single Numbers2.7%2.6%
2 Numbers5.4%5.3%
3 Numbers8.1%7.9%
4 Numbers10.8%10.5%
5 Numbers13.5%13.2%
6 Numbers16.2%15.8%
1-12, 13-24 or 25-3632.4%31.6%
Column Bet32.4%31.6%
Red or Black48.6%47.4%
Odd or Even48.6%47.4%
High or Low48.6%47.4%

These odds and probabilities apply to standard versions of European and American roulette. 

In other versions of roulette, for example, French Roulette, there can be different odds and probabilities. There are also multi-ball, and multi-wheel variants of the game where the figures outlined above may not apply. Each roulette game at an online casino will provide you with a paytable, so you can see if the payouts are different than the standard versions before playing.

You can play roulette at most of our recommended casinos. It can be played as a single-player video game or as a live dealer version. We suggest you read our reviews of roulette casinos to find out which games we think are the best and which of our recommended casinos you should play at.

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