Your Ultimate Guide to Roulette Basics

Whilst at first glance roulette can look complicated, it’s actually a simple game to play. And it’s one that promises plenty of excitement and that gives you lots of betting options. To make sure you get the most out of playing roulette, we’ve put together this simple roulette betting guide, covering how to bet on roulette and easy-to-follow roulette betting strategy tips.

How to play roulette

A roulette table can appear complex, but it’s a deceptively easy game to bet on. The basics of roulette are:

  1. You place bets (chips) on the roulette table, betting on numbers, or red or black
  2. The dealer spins the roulette wheel and spins a white ball into it
  3. When the wheel stops, the ball will land in a numbered and coloured pocket
  4. You win if you guessed the correct number or colour

That’s roulette in a nutshell. Although there’s a little more to it than that, as we’ll explain below.

Getting started – how to play a round of roulette

When you step up to a roulette table with your chips in hand, you can expect a round of roulette to play as follows:

  1. Players are given time to place their chips on the roulette table to make their roulette bets
  2. The croupier (the dealer) spins the wheel and sets the ball running in the opposite direction
  3. You can still place bets as the ball is circling the wheel, until the croupier calls “no more bets” as the ball begins to slow
  4. The ball falls into a numbered pocket, revealing the winning number and colour
  5. The croupier clears all the chips off the table and hands winning amounts of chips to anyone who bet on the right number or colour
  6. A new round of betting then begins

The roulette wheel layout

There are two main versions of roulette – European roulette and American roulette – and each uses a slightly different wheel layout:

  • European roulette: The wheel contains 37 pockets, numbered 0 to 36, with an equal count of red and black numbers (the 0 is green)
  • American roulette: The wheel contains 38 pockets, numbered 00, then 0 to 36, with an equal count of red and black numbers (both the 00 and 0 are green)

The roulette table layout

The roulette table is divided into a number of areas, specifically grouped into the inside bet and outside bet areas:

  • Inside bets: The central part of the roulette table where you can bet on the numbers 1 to 36
  • Outside bets: The outer part of the roulette table where you can bet on high or low, red or black, odd or even, dozen bets, or groups or a column of 12 numbers

How to bet on roulette

Whilst you can bet on a single number in roulette, or you can bet on red or black, you’ve got plenty more options when it comes to roulette bets:

Inside bets

You can bet on any individual number from 1 to 36, by placing chips within a numbered square. You can also place chips across squares to bet on multiple numbers at a time.

Your inside bets options in roulette include:

Type of inside bet  

How many numbers are bet on


How to place your chips
 Straight up bet 1 On a single square
 Split bet 2 Across two squares    that are side-by-side
 Street bet 3 At the end of a row of  three squares
 Corner bet 4 At the corner of four  squares
 Six line bet 6 At the end of a row of  three squares, across  two end squares,        covering both rows
 Basket bet (0, 00, 1,   2,  3) – American   roulette only 5 At the end of the box  made up of 0, 00, 1,  2,  and 3, covering  both of the two rows

The more numbers you bet on with a single placement of chips, the higher your chances of winning but the lower your payout. We’ll explain this in more detail below.


Outside bets

As well as betting on numbers within the central part of the roulette table, you can also make outside bets by placing your chips in the corresponding areas.

Your outside betting options in roulette include:

 Type of inside bet  

 How many   numbers are bet on


 How to place your   chips
 High or low 18  On either the 1-18 or   19-36 rectangle
 Red or black 18  On either the red or   black rectangle
 Odd or even 18  On either the odd or   even rectangle
 Dozen bet 12  On either the 1st 12,   2nd 12, or 3rd 12
 Column bet on 12 numbers 12  On either of the three   2 to 1 rectangles at   the  right at the right   of the end of the table

Roulette odds and payouts

The more numbers you bet on in roulette the better your chance of winning, but the lower your potential payout.

Inside bets payouts

 Type of   roulette bet  Payout  Probability   of winning

 (European   roulette)*

 Probability   of winning

 (American   roulette)**


 Straight up   bet on one   number 35:1 2.7% 2.63%
 Split bet on   two numbers 17:1 5.41% 5.26%
 Street bet on   three   numbers 11:1 8.11% 7.89%
 Corner bet on   four numbers 8:1 10.81% 10.53%
 Six line bet on  six   numbers 5:1 16.22% 15.79%
 Basket bet (0,   00, 1, 2, 3) –   American   roulette only 6:1 13.16%


* European roulette has 37 pockets on the wheel

** American roulette has a 38 pockets on the wheel


Outside bets payouts

 Type of   roulette bet  Payout  Probability   of winning

 (European   roulette)*

 Probability   of winning

 (American   roulette)**


 High or low 1:1 48.65% 47.37%
 Red or black 1:1 48.65% 47.37%
 Odd or even 1:1 48.65% 47.37%
 Dozen bet 2:1 32.43% 31.58%
 Column bet   on 12 numbers 2:1 32.43% 31.58%

* European roulette has 37 pockets on the wheel

** American roulette has a 38 pockets on the wheel


The worst bet

Only available in American roulette, the Basket bet is considered the worst bet you can make at a roulette table. It’s a bet on 5 numbers (0, 00, 1, 2, and 3) that only pays out 6:1. It has a house edge of 7.9%, which is worse than the house edge of 5.3% on all other bets in American roulette.


French roulette

Whilst European and American roulette are the most popular forms you’ll find in casinos and online, there is another version. French roulette.

French roulette uses the same 37-pocket European roulette wheel, with a single zero. Although the wheel and table are laid out a little differently. You have all the same betting options as with European roulette, but there are a few extra rules:

  1. La partage: If you place an outside bet and you lose because the ball lands in the zero pocket, you get half your stake back. The la partage rule slightly improves the odds of winning on an outside bet versus European and American roulette.
  2. En prison: If you make an outside bet and lose because the ball lands on zero, rather than taking la partage you can make the same bet again. This keeps your bet ‘locked up in prison’, giving you a chance to recover your stake.

How to calculate roulette payouts

Roulette payouts are usually expressed as a ratio, like 35:1, 2:1, or 1:1.

Take the example of a 2:1 ratio. For every £1 you bet, you’d get £2 back as winnings if you win, plus your £1 stake. That makes a total of £3.

To make it clear how to calculate payouts in roulette, here are a few more examples:

  • You bet £1 on red or black (1:1), and you win. You get £2 back (£1 winnings + your £1 stake)
  • You bet £1 on a Corner bet of four numbers (8:1), and you win. You get £9 back (£8 winnings + your £1 stake)
  • You bet £1 on a Straight Up bet of one number (35:1), and you win. You get £36 back (£35 winnings + your £1 stake)

Minimum bets in roulette

Most roulette tables, and online roulette games, will have a minimum bet that you can’t go beneath when betting on roulette. For instance, this could be £5 on each outside bet or inside bet.

Make sure you’re aware of the minimum bet before you place any stakes. The minimum bet will usually be shown by a small sign at the table, and you can also ask the croupier for clarification. The minimum bet for online roulette games should also be clearly stated, or can be found in the in-game menu.

Roulette betting strategy

Roulette is simply a game of chance. Whether you win or not is down to random luck, not skill or any form of roulette betting strategy. It doesn’t matter if you lose three times in a row or win three times in a row, your odds of winning or losing are the same with every spin of the wheel.

You can’t control whether you win or not in roulette, but you can control how much you bet and how long you play for. To make the most of roulette, consider:

  1. Playing versions of roulette that offer a better chance of winning: Try to play European roulette over American roulette, as the one less pocket improves your chances of winning. Placing outside bets on French roulette gives you even better chances of winning than outside bets on European roulette, due to the la partage rule.
  2. Playing with a specified bankroll: Your bankroll is the amount of money you decide to bet with. You should decide how much your bankroll will be before playing. It should be an amount of money you can afford to lose, and you should never bet more than your bankroll. If you lose it all, stop betting.
  3. Placing small stakes on low payout bets: Placing small stakes means you can stay in the game longer if you hit a run of losses. Low payout bets won’t earn you as much if you win, but they offer a better chance of winning. The best roulette bets are typically small and conservative, rather than large and risky.
  4. Quitting when you’re ahead: If you do manage to win a considerable amount of money at a roulette table, the most sensible course of action is to stop playing and cash-in your chips. Rather than trying to earn more and risk losing it.

Play roulette with Grosvenor Casinos

Now that you’ve learned how roulette betting works, you can try your hand at playing roulette with Grosvenor Casinos.

You can play roulette in person at one of our 52 casino venues in the UK or play with us online, including live roulette with real tables and croupiers. Join Grosvenor Casinos today.