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How to win at Roulette: Strategies, Bets, and Types

  • Written By Kevin Parker
  • Edited
  • Reading 13 minutes

Roulette is one of the most popular table games played by millions of people worldwide. For smart gamblers, this is an exciting game, considering the strategy, skill, and risks involved in this game. With technological advancements, roulette is now available online, giving players a chance to play their favorite game while on-the-move.

Having said that, roulette also one of the games with several variations bearing multiple rules, bets, and payouts. It can be overwhelming, especially for a beginner to grasp the aspects of this game. Therefore, there’s a need to understand what roulette is about including the different roulette strategies involved.

In this article, we go deep into roulette to find out what this game entails, how to win in roulette, the types of roulette bets, and demystifying roulette altogether.

Types of Roulette

In this section we will take a look at the following types of Roulette:

American Roulette

This roulette version landed in America at the close of the 18th century and it used several names before the locals decided to settle on the American roulette that has been in use from the 19th century. The biggest difference here is that this version uses the double zero pocket in addition to the single zero pocket on the roulette wheel.

Image of American Roulette Table
Above you can see what an American Roulette table looks like.

Therefore, the number of pockets in the roulette wheel increase from 36 to 38. Another difference is the sequence of numbers on the roulette wheel. However, the numbers come with the usual colors you know. However, you can use your color fiches and this is one of the most outstanding aspects of the American roulette. Using custom color chips makes it difficult to commit fraud.

When it comes to the payout percentages, the American roulette version doesn’t offer the “En prison” rule, and should the 00 or 0 come up, you lose the single chances. As a result, the house benefits from this because the edge on the single number bets goes up to 5.26%.

European Roulette

With European roulette, the wheel comes with a single zero pocket, unlike the French or American roulette that comes with a single and double zero pocket. The wheel though comes with red and black numbers with zero marked as green.

Image of European Roulette Table

Odd numbers between 1 and 10 and 19 to 28 as well as even numbers in the range between 11 and 18 and 29 and 36 are red. Even numbers between 1 and 10 and 19 to 20, as well as odd numbers between 11 and 18 as well as 29 to 36, are marked in black.

In terms of the probability to win in the European version, players have a higher chance to strike a win compared to other versions. For instance, placing a straight bet (betting on a single number), you have a 2.70% of winning or 1 in 37.  In American roulette, the chance is 1 in 38 (2.65%). Now, the 0.05% difference may not appear much to the eye but this translates to 5.26% for 2 in 38.

Let’s use real money bet to distinguish how profitable the European version is. Let’s say you place a $1,000 on a straight bet. In the American version, this means $52.60 will go to the house.

French Roulette 

Many historians still differ when it comes to the origin of this roulette version. Some associate it with ancient China while others date the version back to Greek and Roman history where the locals played a turning wheel game similar to the wheel of fortune.

Image of a French Roulette Table

In the 17th century, Blaise Pascal, a French mathematician wanted to create a wheel that could turn forever and this was considered the first roulette wheel. However, Louis and Francois Blanc, in 1842, added a zero to make the game interesting.

It’s similar to the European version in that aspect, however, the differences arise in the rules of the game. The French roulette comes with two unique rules. The “En Prison” allows a gambler to make an even-money bet on black/red to either leave the bet for another game should the ball land on zero or take half the stake.

The “La Partage” rule, on the other hand, gives you a chance to get half your stake back should the ball land on zero. In this version, the house edge stands at 2.70% for single-number bets. However, this edge goes down to 1.35% if the game offers the “En Prison” and “La Partage” rules.

Live Roulette 

Live Roulette Icon

Live roulette uses the same roulette principles in the games offered. The only difference here is that players can play the game from anywhere as long as they have an internet connection. You see, live roulette comprises all roulette versions. That means you can play European, American, or French roulette online.

Unlike other online roulette games where you play against a computer algorithm, live roulette gives you a chance to play against real dealers and other online players. Everything remains the same including the rules. However, the proceedings will be streamed live from a studio designed similar to a land-based casino.

The professional croupier will spin the wheel manually instead of a computer and you can even chat with the dealer as well as other online players. To join a particular table, you will have to find out the schedule of a particular online casino.

Free Roulette 

Free Roulette Icon

Don’t get it twisted. This is not a roulette variation. Instead, it’s an option various online casinos offer to their customers.

Land-based casinos don’t allow people to play for free, but online? Oh, you can play for free. With this option, you choose any roulette version and test your strategies as well as try new bets. You just have to find an online casino that offers this option to start playing for free.

Roulette Betting Strategies

In this section we will take a look at the following strategies:

The Martingale Betting System

Martingale Strategy Icon

If you love taking risks, this is the strategy you want to use in a roulette game. The basic principle here is simple. Place a bet and if you lose, stake twice the initial amount in the next bet. The school of thought behind this strategy is that by doubling your stake on the following bet, you will get back your money even if you lose.

As you may have thought, what happens if you don’t win soon enough? The answer is, you’ll be out of the game before you know it. Unless, of course, you have a never-ending bankroll. Therefore, you need to be careful just how much you wish to lose.

If you want to learn how this strategy plays out across casino games, check out our ‘The Martingale Strategy‘.

The Fibonacci Sequence

Fibonacci Strategy Icon

Italian mathematician Leonardo of Pisa is credited with this sequence despite it being around before his existence. The sequence is based on a series of numbers that use the principle that the number after the first two is the resultant sum of the two numbers before it. Like this, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, etc.

In roulette, this means adding the initial two bets. This means you have the chance of making more profits even if you lose more games.

The Reverse Martingale Strategy

Reverse Martingale Strategy Icon

Just as you may have thought. Instead of doubling your bets when you lose, you do the reverse. That is increase the bet when you win and then lower the stake when you lose. The idea here is to capitalize on your hot win streaks and tame your losses when you hit rough patches.

The Labouchère Strategy

The Labouchère system is more or less the same as the Martingale system. However, instead of increasing your bets dramatically by doubling them, a player uses a series of numbers to determine the next bet amount.

Labochere Strategy Icon

The details of how it works are the player will add the numbers at the end and front of the series. After winning, you will cross out the numbers and proceed with the smaller line. In the event of a loss, you will add the last bet to the end of the sequence.

The benefit of using this system is the room a player has to tweak the initial line to suit his playing style. With that, players stand to increase their bet size even when you win in the middle of a losing sequence.

The James Bond Strategy

James Bond Strategy Icon

You guessed right! This strategy comes straight from the hit Hollywood James Bond franchise. According to Ian Fleming, this strategy is “foolproof” and using the method every night could earn you money the “price of a good dinner.”

To use this strategy, however, you need at least $200 and this is how to use this stake:

  • Wager $140 on 19-36
  • Wager $50 on 13 to 18
  • Stake $10 on o for insurance

You can tell the strategy is quite risky but then again, have you watched James Bond movies? The guy is a risk-taker! If the numbers 1 to 12 show up, you lose your entire $200. However, if 19 to 36 show up you earn $80. For 13 to 18, you earn a cool $100 and for your insurance, you’ll bag $160.

The D’Alembert Strategy

D'alembert Strategy Icon

If you are not up for James Bond’s risky tactics, you can opt for the safer D’Alembert strategy. Instead of doubling your bets like in the Martingale System, you increase and decrease the stake by one. So, how does it apply in a roulette game?

Start by placing a small stake on the odd or even numbers or 19 to 36 or 1 to 18. When you lose, increase your stake by one. When you win, decrease it by one. If you hit a rough patch, hang in there until you start winning to equal the losses.

If the gods of luck are shining on you, continue until you equal your sum of losses. When you hit an equilibrium, call it a day and walk away. As you may have noticed, this strategy calls for a good memory to keep track of the number of losses and wins.

Types of Roulette Bets

In this section I will explain the different types of bets you will find at a roulette table. Each bet type can be spilt into outside bets and inside bets, each with its own payout amount.

Outside Bets

Roulette offers five types of outside bets and these are bets made on the edge of the roulette table.

Instead of betting on specific numbers on the wheel, you’ll place bets on groups of colors and numbers.

Image of Outside Bets on a Roulette Table
Above you can see where the ‘Outside Bets’ are placed on a roulette table.

Black/Red

You’ll bet on whether the ball will fall on a black or red pocket. In theory, the odds here stand at 50:50 or 1:1 but practically, this is not true because of the 00 and 0 spaces. You see, there are 38 numbers in total (1 to 36, 00, and 0). Out of these, 18 numbers are black or red. Therefore, the odds drop from 50 to 47.37%.

Nonetheless, for a correct prediction on this bet is 1:1. Therefore, for $1 wagered on black and ends up correct, you’ll get another $1.

Even/Odd

Similar to the black/red bet, you’ll choose whether the ball will fall on an even or odd-numbered pocket. It’s also an even money bet and will also have slightly lower than 50/50 odds because of the 00 and 0.

Low/High

Will the ball fall on the numbers between 1 and 18 (also known as low)? Or will the ball fall on 19 to 36 (high)? This is what you’ll be betting on.

Columns

In a column bet, players have three columns to bet on. This is how it works. You’ll need to predict the outcome of whether the ball will fall on a number inside a particular column. The probability to win here stands at 31.58%.

  • Column 1 – This covers the ball landing on the numbers 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28, 31, 34
  • Column 2 – This covers the ball landing on numbers 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 23, 26, 29, 32, 35
  • Column 3 – This covers the ball landing on numbers 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33, 36

A correct prediction will see you walk away with double your stake (2:1).

Dozens

Similar to the column bet, dozens also include placing wagers on groups of 12. That is:

  • 1st 12: This is for the numbers 1 to 12
  • 2nd 12: This is for the numbers 13 to 24
  • 3rd 12: This is for the numbers 25 to 36

The payout here is also 2:1.

Snake Bet

In this bet, you’ll need to wager on the red numbers which are 1, 5, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 23, 27, 30, 32, and 34. Viewing them on the wheel will display a snake hence the name of the bet. The probability to win here is 31.58% and the payout is 2:1.

Inside Bets

These bets have a lower chance of paying out and that means higher odds for bigger payouts.

As the name suggests, your bets will focus on the inside of the rectangle.

Image of inside Bets on a Roulette Table
Above you can see where the ‘Inside Bets’ are placed on a roulette table.

Straight Up and Split

In a straight bet, you’ll need to choose a single number to wager on. For instance, you can pick 6, 30, 13, 0, etc. If the ball doesn’t land on your chosen number, you lose, if it does, you win. The odds here are 1 in 28 (2.63%). Therefore, the payout adds up to 35 to 1.

A split bet, on the other hand, requires you to bet on two separate numbers sitting adjacently. In this case, if any of the two numbers come up, you’ll win. The odds here are slightly better at 2 in 38 (5.26%) and the payout is 17:1.

Street and Six

For a street bet, also known as a stream bet, you can wager on three consecutive numbers found in the same line. For instance, (1,2,3), (4,5,6), etc. The odds here are 3 in 38 or 7.98% and the payout is 11:1.

The six bet is similar to the straight bet. To place a bet here, you’ll need to place a wager on two adjacent lines. Do this by placing your chip on the outer corner common to the two lines. The odds here are double that of the straight bet: 6 in 38 (15.79%) and a payout of 5:1.

Basket, Trio, and Corner

A basket bet allows you to place a bet on 5 numbers. That is 1, 2, 3, 00, and 0. Place your chip on the corner joining 1 and 0 to place this bet.  The odds are 5 in 38 (13.16%) and the payout is 6 in 1.

A trio-bet, on the other hand, allows you to bet on three numbers including the zeros. To place this bet, place your chip on the line shared by two numbers and the zero. For this type of bet, the probability is 3 in 38 (7.89%) and pays out 11:1.

Finally, there’s the corner bet which is similar to splitting a split bet. That means you have four numbers to bet on and to do this you need to place your chip on the corner shared by the 4 numbers. Since the odds are double that of a split bet, the payout will also be similar. That means the probability is 4 in 38 (10.53%) and a payout of 8:1.

How to Win Roulette FAQ

How many numbers are in roulette? Roulette comes with 37 and 38 pockets for the European and American versions respectively. This includes the numbers 1 to 36 as well as the single and double zero pockets for the American version and a single zero for the European version.
Can I play roulette for free? Yes, you can play roulette for free. All you need to do is find an online casino that offers free roulette options, sign up, and find a roulette game you wish to play. In some instances, you don’t even need to register. With free roulette, you get to test new strategies, try out new casinos, and overall, play without the fear of losing money. Live roulette, however, doesn’t accept players who wish to play such games for free.
What is the highest number on a roulette wheel? The highest number on a standard European roulette wheel is 36 and it sits between numbers 13 and 11. On the American wheel, it sits between numbers 13 and 24.
How do I win Roulette? To win in a roulette game, you need to place a bet on the number(s) as explained in the types of bets in this article. If the ball falls on your pick, you win!
Can I cheat in roulette? If the game uses RNG (random number generator), you can’t beat it. Unless, of course, you interfere with the software or mechanical operation of the wheel and that is illegal. However, there are legal ways you can use to “cheat” in a roulette game. They include using roulette computers which are simply predictive computers that don’t, in any way, influence or alter the winning number. Another method is wheel clocking.
What is the best roulette strategy? The answer will depend on your intentions.

Kevin was raised on sports since a young teen and following a (fortunate) injury pursued new hobbies in table games such as Blackjack and Poker. Since 2009 Kevin has been writing for casino sites for various big names in the industry and CasinoSites.us is but one of his latest passion projects.