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How to play Roulette

Roulette is a complex game with a simple concept. The spinning wheel has 37 or 38 slots,  yet there are a huge number of betting possibilities and combinations. These include 2 separate betting surfaces, inside and outside bets. When you first approach a Roulette table in a casino the sheer number of chips and the speed of the action can seem confusing – especially for new players.

This guide takes you through the rules of Roulette one step at a time. First of all, the type of wheel or table rules you choose will make a big difference to your profits, and the different options are covered. Next the all-important bets, there are a lot to choose from – and I have divided these into categories to make them easier to follow. After this you will find an explanation of how the betting and sequence works in a live casino setting.

Roulette Rules – Your Choice of Wheel

There are two main Roulette wheels, and which one you choose makes a big difference to your profits over time. These are the American Roulette wheel and the European wheel.

The American Roulette wheel has 38 slots. These are the numbers 1 through 36, plus a ‘zero’ and ‘Double Zero’ slot. When the ball lands on either of the zeroes, all the odd / even, red / black and number-range bets lose. This is what gives the house a lot of its edge in this game. This wheel is actually the more authentic of the two versions, staying with the format used with the game was first played in 18th century France.

The European wheel only has one zero, along with 36 numbers. This makes this wheel a much better choice. The house edge in this game is approximately half of that for the US wheel. This might not make a big difference in a single session, though over time this edge becomes very important.

There is one more rules variation to look out for. French Roulette uses the same European wheel, and includes a rule called ‘La Partage’. This means that you get 50% of your stake back from even money bets when the ball lands on the zero. This makes the house edge even lower in this game.

Roulette Rules – Types of Bet

Once you have decided on your wheel, you need to determine what kind of bets to make. There are a lot of these, and many players develop some favorite numbers or patterns which they go with again and again. Here are the main types of bet.

Outside Bets: These are around the outside of the standard betting grid and include odd / even numbers, red / black, 1-18, 19-36 (the even money chances), and also a lot of ways of betting on 1/3rd chances via the first, second and third twelves or column bets.

Inside or Number Bets: You can bet on any single number (including zeroes), or combinations of 2 or 4 numbers. For the splits you simply place your chip half way between 2 adjacent numbers, and to bet on 4 you can put your chips on the cross between them. You can bet on rows of numbers and groups of 6 by placing your chip at the cross over point between the numbers and the outside of the grid. One bet which is unique to the US wheel is the ‘first 5’, which is both zeroes and 1 to 3.

Racetrack Bets: This is a little more advanced. The racetrack shows the bets as they are laid out on the wheel. You can bet on ‘Neighbors’, which is a number and the 2 slots either side. You can also choose specialist bets including Series A / B or ‘Orphans’, these are groups of numbers on the wheel.

Some games may have even more bets, for example numbers ending with certain digits or the red / black splits from the main betting grid.

Roulette Rules – The Sequence of Events Live

Once you have chosen your wheel you are ready to hit the tables. The first thing you will need to do is change your money for some chips. In Roulette each player will have a distinctive color of chip, so you know who has won at the end of each spin. You’ll place your money on the table and the dealer will hand you a stack of chips. Keep in mind that there are usually minimum and maximum bets for both the number and outside bet types.

You can place your chips on the table, and the croupier will start the ball spinning. He will announce ‘no more bets’ at which point any further chips placed will be returned. When the ball lands, a plastic ‘dolly’ is placed on the betting grid, and the winning players are paid out.  You can then place more chips and the sequence will start over again.