How To Play Roulette

This page explains how to play roulette, and is designed for people that have never played it before. The roulette bets and odds page gives more detail about the bets you can make and payouts you receive for wins. Also see

Single 0 (European) roulette table layout
The Single 0 (European) roulette table layout

The Basics of How to Play Roulette

First we’ll start with some definitions and the basics:

European Single 0 and American 00 Roulette: There are two main wheel layouts. The European single 0 wheel has just one green 0. The American 00 wheel has both a single and double zero pocket. Plus the order of pockets/numbers is different on each wheel type. Because of the extra pocket, American wheel have slightly lower odds. For this reason, you will have a greater chance of profiting on the European single 0 wheel.

Betting Table: An image of the roulette betting table is shown above. This is the main part of what you must know about how to play roulette because it’s where you place your bets. To bet, place your casino chip in the desired place. Each square represents a different bet, although there are types of bets where your chip goes on specific lines. For full details on the types of bets you can make and where your chips are placed, see the roulette bets and odds page. Mostly the betting tables are the same wherever you play roulette throughout the world, although some casinos have additional parts that use much the same principles.

The Croupier: This is the person who spins the wheel, and is otherwise known as the “dealer”.

The Wheel: This is where it all happens. The croupier spins the wheel and ball, at which point you can still place bets (most casinos allow you to place bets after the ball is released because it speeds up the game). Towards the end of the spin when the ball has a few seconds left before it falls, the dealer will call “no more bets”. At this point, you cannot bet until after the ball stops, and all payouts awarded to winners.

Types of bets: There are two main types of bets: INSIDE and OUTSIDE bets. Inside bets are anywhere on of within the orange line below. Outside bets are anywhere inside the blue areas below.

Inside and outside bets
The two main types of bets: inside and outside

The Racetrack (shown below): Not all casinos have this, but it is situated next to the main betting section shown above.

Betting racetrack
The betting racetrack: covering neighbours on the roulette wheel

Basically this is for people who want to make bets based on particular sections of the actual roulette wheel. The racetrack is split into the Tier, Orphelins and Voisins Du Zero sections. If you place a bet of 5 chips on an individual number, you are betting on the number with the chips, plus the two numbers either side of it. So if you placed 5 chips on green zero, you would be betting on numbers 15,32,0,26,3.

The betting racetrack is very useful especially for professional players who use roulette systems that target physical sections of the roulette wheel, because rather than bet on individual numbers, the player can cover sections of the wheel in much less time.

Another common feature at roulette tables is the old man who’s always sprinkling chips throughout the table and in your way when you’re trying to bet. This can be particularly frustrating so you may opt to play at “rapid roulette”, where you place your bets electronically on a touch screen. This way you can easily place bets. If your casino doesn’t offer “rapid roulette”, then choose appropriate times to play because at peak periods, tables can be surrounded by players who take a long time to bet, making spins occur painfully infrequently.

Procedure for Play

Procedures to play vary between casinos, but mostly they are the same wherever you go.

1. The dealer announces when bets can resume. Players then place their bets wherever they want on the betting table. If you want to begin play, you just put your money on the table and wait for the dealer to ask what chips you want to buy. You can ask for “colored chips” or common chips. The colored chips can be assigned any value you request ($5, $25 etc), and can only be used at that specific table. The convenient color helps you track your bets and winnings, but they also help casinos track bets of professional players so they are best avoided if you play roulette professionally. The common chips can be used at virtually any casino table or game.

2. The dealer spins the wheel. At most casinos, they allow bets to continue for some time after the ball is released. At some casinos, the dealer calls “no more bets” before the ball is released. Either way, any bets you make after the “no more bets” announcement are void and simply returned to you.

3. The ball lands and dealer places the marker on the winning number. Payouts are then made. You cannot touch your chips until the dealer has finished all payouts. When all payouts are complete, the dealer repeats the process by announcing “place your bets”.

Summary of How to Play Roulette

The explanations on this page are more than you need. There’s really not much to know about how to play roulette if you just want to know the basic rules and procedures. Simply you place your bets wherever you want on the table, then wait for the ball to land. If the ball lands in the area you bet on, you win. If not, you lose.

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