How to Play Roulette

Learn To Play Online Roulette Using Our Comprehensive Guide: A Basic Roulette Guide, Rules, Odds + More Covered. Choose One Of Our Recommended Online Casinos & Start Playing Online Roulette Now!

Red or Black? Odd or even? Avoid getting in a spin at the casino with our comprehensive guide on how to play online roulette. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll be playing like a pro in no time. You’re sure to have hours of fun playing one of the world’s favourite casino games!

When you think of casinos, the iconic roulette wheel is sure to come to mind. A favourite amongst casino players all over the world – roulette’s simple yet fast paced nature makes it the perfect game for beginners. For this reason, it might be tempting to wing it and see how lady luck treats you, but it’s obviously a good idea to make sure you fully understand how to play the game first. That’s where our comprehensive roulette guide comes in. Want to play like a roulette pro? Let us show you the ropes!

Understanding the basics

Roulette first appeared in France but has since grown to become a global phenomenon. Today, there are three prominent versions of the game – European, American and French roulette.

When it comes to the question of how to play roulette online, the good news is that –regardless of which game you go for – the basic aim remains the same: to predict where the roulette ball will fall on the wheel. In the French and European version of the game, the wheel has 37 numbered pockets: zero and 1 to 36. Under American roulette rules, the table must have 38 numbered pockets: zero, double zero and 1 to 36.

How to play roulette

While there are lots of different roulette variations at UK casino sites these days, this step-by-step guide should help you get the ball rolling with the majority of online roulette games.

  1. Join a roulette game
    Select any of the online roulette tables on offer and fire up the game. There will often be more options than you can shake a rake at, with American, French and European variations among the popular offerings.
  2. Place your bets
    Use the roulette chips to place your bets. Each chip is marked with their respective value, and can be placed on any numbered spots, lines or junctions of the roulette tables. Keep an eye out for the minimum and maximum stake values before you put any chips on the table – you’ll have to stay within these to play. Any cash wagered will automatically be deducted from your balance.
  3. Spin the wheel
    Once you’re happy with your bets, click the ‘spin’ button and keep your fingers crossed. You won’t be able to make any changes once that wheel starts spinning. If you’re playing a live dealer version of roulette, the spin is out of your hands. The croupier will keep playing whether you are ready or not.
  4. The result
    After a few nail biting seconds, the ball will come to a halt. Did it land in the number or colour you thought it would? If so, you win. Your available balance will increase by the value of your winnings instantly.
  5. Spin again
    You can repeat steps 1 through 4 if you want to keep the ball rolling. Most tables let you place the same bet and spin again with the ‘re-bet and spin’ button. Alternatively, you can head to another roulette table or try out a new game entirely.

Roulette Odds

Playing Roulette is about more than just betting on red or black. In fact, there are at least a dozen bets that you can place, each with their own payouts and probability. The bets fall into two categories: inside and outside.

Inside bets

As the name suggests, inside bets are placed within the roulette table’s numbered grid. These offer the largest payouts in the game but also come with greater risk as the odds are higher. Inside bets include:

  • Straight up – the simplest and most lucrative of all roulette bets also comes with the highest odds, as you’re predicting which single number the ball will land on.
  • Split – a split bet is a wager placed on the line between two adjacent numbers on the roulette table grid. You’re betting that one of these will be the winning number.
  • Street – a street bet covers any row of three numbers, like 4, 5, 6 or 31, 32, 33. This means a street bet will give you three chances to win.
  • Corner – also called square bets, corner bets cover four numbers. To place these bets, the chips are positioned in the middle of a square of four numbers: 14, 15, 17, 18, for example.
  • Line – line bets cover six numbers across two consecutive rows of three numbers. They are sometimes called six-line bets and include selections like 7-12, 19-24 and 22-27.

Outside bets

Outside bets are wagers you place outside the grid. As these bets encompass a greater range of outcomes, you’re more likely to win – but the payouts are lower as a result. Outside bets are a good choice for new players or those who want to play more conservatively.

  • Red/Black – a classic roulette bet, where you simply predict whether the ball will land in a red or black pocket.
  • Odd/Even – players must bet whether the ball will land in a pocket with an odd or even number.
  • High/Low – this roulette bet requires you to predict whether the ball will land in a low numbered pocket (1 to 18) or a high numbered pocket (19-36).
  • Columns – as the numbered grid on a roulette table is split into three columns of a dozen numbers, you can place bets to cover the ball landing in one or more of those columns.
  • Dozens – a dozen bet is placed on a set of 12 numbers. You bet on the ball landing in pockets 1-12, 13-24 or 25-36.

The tables below show the payouts for these bets. You can also see the probability of winning each of the different wagers.

European Roulette

Bets Payout Probability
Odd 1:1 48.6%
Even 1:1 48.6%
Black 1:1 48.6%
Red 1:1 48.6%
Low (1-18) 1:1 48.6%
High (19-36) 1:1 48.6%
Dozen (1-12, 13-24 or 25-36) 2:1 32.4%
Column 2:1 32.4%
Line (combination of six numbers) 5:1 16.2%
Corner (combination of four numbers) 8:1 10.8%
Street (combination of three numbers) 11:1 8.1%
Split (combination of two numbers) 17:1 5.4%
Straight Up (single number) 35:1 2.7%

American Roulette

Bets Payout Probability
Odd 1:1 46.37%
Even 1:1 46.37%
Black 1:1 46.37%
Red 1:1 46.37%
Low (1-18) 1:1 46.37%
High (19-36) 1:1 46.37%
Dozen (1-12, 13-24 or 25-36) 2:1 31.58%
Column 2:1 46.37%
Line (combination of six numbers) 5:1 15.79%
Five (combination of 0, 00, 1, 2 & 3) 6:1 13.16%
Corner (combination of four numbers) 8:1 10.53%
Street (combination of three numbers) 11:1 7.89%
Split (combination of two numbers) 17:1 5.26%
Straight Up (single number) 35:1 2.63%

Minimum and maximum bet limits

The minimum bet for real money online roulette can be as low 1p and as high as £100, £200 or more. Similarly, the maximum bet could be anything from a few hundred to thousands of pounds. Betting limits depend on which roulette games you choose – live VIP tables will typically have the highest minimum bet limits, while RNG games can be as cheap as chips. The wide range of betting options for online roulette means that every player can enjoy playing this classic casino game, no matter the size of their bankroll.

Roulette Wheel

To fully grasp how to play roulette it’s important to understand how the wheel works. It is the most iconic element of the classic casino game, and arguably the most important, and is the one feature that sets the European version apart from it’s American cousin. In the French and European version of the game, the wheel has 37 numbered pockets: zero and 1 to 36. Under American roulette rules, the table must have 38 numbered pockets: zero, double zero and 1 to 36.  With a smaller amount of possible outcomes, the European roulette table has the lowest house edge and is almost always your best bet.

The House Edge

It’s no secret that the odds for winning roulette are tilted slightly in favour on the casino. This is because they’re based on the 36 numbers on the wheel not including the zero. This extra pocket means that the chances of landing on red or black are no longer 50/50, giving the casino what is known as the house edge.

The house edge is 2.7% for European roulette. With American roulette, the presence of the extra double zero pocket further pushes things in the casino’s favour, giving a greater house edge of 5.26%. The lowest house edge comes when you place even money outside bets on French roulette, where the player-friendly ‘La Partage’ rule yields a house edge of just 1.35%.

Roulette game variations

When it comes to online roulette, you aren’t limited to playing a single style of game. The best online casinos can feature dozens of different titles – here are some of the most common variations that may tickle your fancy.

European roulette

European roulette is one of the most popular versions of the game. It follows the conventions discussed above, and the single zero pocket gives it a more favourable house edge than its American cousin.

American roulette

This classic variation follows the usual roulette rules, but has the important distinction of an extra double zero pocket. While this makes it slightly less likely for bets to come good, American roulette is still the game of choice for many players around the world – perhaps partly because of its association with the glamour of Las Vegas.

French roulette

French roulette is rather like European roulette. It uses the same style of roulette wheel with a single zero, and you can make all the same bets. There’s an added perk for players in the form of the ‘La Partage’ rule, where you’ll get half your stake back if you make an even money bet like red/black, and the ball lands on zero. Some games also offer a variation called the ‘En Prison’ rule, where your stake remains on the table if a zero comes up. Then, if the next spin goes your way, you’ll get your stake back safe and sound.

Multi-ball roulette

With up to ten balls spinning on the same wheel, multi-ball roulette offers multiple chances to win. Low stakes versions of the game are available, but the chance to bet on so many balls at once makes this variation a popular choice with high rollers.

Multi-wheel roulette

No prizes for guessing that multi-wheel roulette offers players the chance to play on several roulette wheels at the same time. Games can feature up to eight different wheels, making this another excellent pick for high stakes players.

Live dealer roulette

The majority of online casinos in the UK offer live dealer games. Beamed from swanky casino-like sets – and actual land-based casinos in some cases – they feature real wheels spun by real croupiers. It’s the closest you can get to an authentic casino experience from the comfort of your own home.

Lightning Roulette

Adding an extra layer of excitement to regular live roulette, each game of Lightning Roulette by Evolution Gaming sees up to five lucky numbers struck by lightning. This bestows slot-style multipliers on the numbers, which can be anything from 50x to 500x your bet.

Roulette strategy

We can explain how to play online roulette, but nobody can tell anyone how to win at roulette. That’s because it’s purely and simply a game of chance. Sadly, no roulette tips can grant you the clairvoyance to predict where the ball will land on the next spin. That said, there are some popular roulette betting strategies that many players use to manage their budgets and playing sessions. Just remember to always bet within your means, and never lose sight of the fact that no betting strategies can help you win at this game.

Martingale

Players following the Martingale system place even money outside bets, and double their stake after every loss. The idea behind this roulette strategy is that the ball will land on the desired selection eventually. When it does, players recoup their losses and make a small profit on top. They then revert to their base-level stake for the next bet.

Reverse Martingale

As the name suggests, the Reverse Martingale flips the standard Martingale system on its head. Here, instead of doubling your stake after every loss, you double it after every win, and revert back to your original stake when you lose.

D’Alembert

The D’Alembert strategy mandates that players increase their next even money bet by one unit following a loss, and decrease it by one unit after a win. This method is kinder to bankrolls than the doubling required by the Martingale strategies.

Fibonacci

The Fibonacci strategy takes its name from the Fibonacci mathematical sequence, in which each number is the sum of the preceding two: 0,1,1,2,3,5,8 and so on. When playing this way, you bet the next number in the sequence when you lose, and drop down two places when you win.

James Bond

Roulette players looking to follow 007’s example need to work with a 20 unit stake – say, £200. Of this, 70% is placed on 19-36, 25% on 13-18 and 5% on zero. In this way, a total bet of £200 would make a profit of £80 if 19-36 comes in, £100 if 13-18 comes in, and £160 if the balls lands in the zero pocket. If the ball lands on a number between one and 12, you lose.

Online roulette tips

As we mentioned above, no roulette tips can increase your chances of winning roulette. But keep these pointers in mind to ensure an enjoyable and safe gambling experience.

  • Make sure you understand how roulette works before you hit the real money games online. Gameplay can be quicker than you expect. Free play and demo games can help you get a feel for things before you risk any of your hard-earned cash.
  • Only play online roulette at licensed casinos. There’s little point in taking time to learn how to play roulette and bet real money if the site isn’t legit. You may risk your personal data and financial information by doing so.
  • Try different roulette betting strategies out for size. But remember, they can only ever provide a way to manage your playing, rather than influence the outcome of the game.
    Never bet more than you can afford to. Effective bankroll management is key to playing online roulette, and you’ll be able to set your own deposit limits using the casino’s responsible gambling tools.
  • Choose European and French roulette over their American counterpart. Though the casino still has an edge, it’s less pronounced without the American wheel’s extra double zero, so you have slightly better odds of winning.

FAQs

Is it safe to bet real money online?

Yes, so long as you only gamble at regulated and licensed sites. At Compare.bet, our experts will only review and recommend sites that are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission, meaning you’ll be in safe hands when you play online roulette.

The people behind this page

Compare.bet's online gambling content experts helped write, edit and check this page:

Daniel is the editor-in-chief at Compare.bet. He has half a decade of experience writing on topics including sports betting, online casino and the NBA. Daniel also covers Premier League football for Compare.bet news and has interviewed Louis Saha, Richard Dunne and Gary Pallister. In his spare time, Daniel enjoys film photography and making Spotify playlists.