Roulette General Information

What is roulette?

Roulette takes its name from the French word for little wheel. This despite the fact that the wheel is often not so little.

Roulette is a popular game both online and in live casinos, with an emphasis on luck and and understanding of momentum.  Most standard roulette wheels are separated into segments of black or red. The colours represent odd or even numbers with an extra colour, usually green, representing 0 or 00. The French, or European, version tends to come with a single 0, while the American version comes with both 0 and 00. These tables generally go up to 38 as the highest number.

Next to the wheel is a board onto which the bets are marked.

A standard American roulette wheel and table

A standard American roulette wheel and table.

Basic Rules for roulette

Betting for roulette is separated into two key varieties, inside and outside bets.

Inside bets refer to bets which are placed on exact numbers which the better believes the ball will fall into. Outside bets are bets placed on greater groups, colours or odds/evens.

Roulette usually uses both a minimum and maximum bet. The minimum helps ensure that players of the same bankroll play together, while the maximum bets helps protect the house against the enormous wins which can come from roulette.

The player is able to place their bet before the ball is placed on the spinning wheel, or after when the ball is in motion. There will reach a point where the croupier, as the host is known in roulette, will say ‘no more bets'. At this point, as you would predict, no more bets can be placed.

When the ball settles in a position the croupier places a dolly, a marker, on the table. Until this is removed none of the bets on the table can be touched. This is when the croupier works on discarding the lost bets and calculating the payouts for the winners. Once this is finished the dolly is removed and another round may begin.

Available bets and how they are represented

To better understand these bets take a look at the image of a table towards the top of a page, if you need a visual reference.

Inside bets

  • Straight/single

This is a bet which placed on a single number. To represent this on the board the chips or chips bet are placed entirely on top of the square of the selected number.

  • Split

This is the term for a bet which is placed on any two numbers which sit next to each other either vertically or horizontally. This bet is represented by placing the chip or chips on the border which separates the two different numbers.

  • Street

A street is a bet which sits across three consecutive numbers which are placed horizontally. 1,2 and 3 could be used, for example. To represent this bet the chip or chips are placed at the outer edge of the numbered box on either side.

  • Corner/Square

This refers to a bet which has been placed on four different numbers which connect as a square. An example of this would be 19,20,22 and 23. To represent this bet the chip or chips are placed are on the centre corner shared by the four individual squares.

  • Six Line/Double Street

This is a bet which is placed on six consecutive numbers. These sit on two horizontal lines, one above the other. To represent this bet the chip or chips bet are placed on one of the outside corners which are common to the two leftmost or rightmost numbers. For example a six line on 1,2,3,4,5 and 6 would have its chips placed on the border of the outside line which is shared by 1 and 4 or 3 and 6.

  • Trio

Trio refers to a bet which includes a minimum of one 0. These come in three forms, 0,1 and 2, 0,00 and 2 or 00,2 and 3. These bets are represented by placing the chip or chips on the common corner shared by the three numbers.

  • Basket/First four

This refers to bets which are placed on numbers 0-3 on a single 0 board. This bet is represented by having the chip or chips placed on the outside corner which is shared by either 0 and 1 or 0 and 3.

  • Top Line

A top line is similar to basket or first four bet but on a double 0 rather than a single 0 board. Bet lies across 0,00,1,2 and 3. It is represented by placing a chip or chips on one of the outside corners which is shared by either 0 and 1 or 00 and 3.

Outside bets

As these bets tend to have smaller payouts as they have better odds than inside bets. This is because they cover a great area, thus have a better chance of winning. These will count as losses if a 0 or 00 is rolled, except when  noted.

  • Even or Odd

One of the most simple bets which are placed by betting on either even or odd numbers. This is represented on most boards by a simple separate section which is labelled either Even or Odd.

  • Red or Black

Other simple bet which is effectively just another form or even or odd. In order to win this bet the ball must settle on the selected colour. This bet is represented on the board by two sections labelled Red and Black.

  • Column Bet

This is a bet which includes an entire column of 12 numbers. An example of this bet would be a bet which ran from 3 through 6,9,12,15,18,21,24,27,30,33 and 36. This bet is represented by placing the wagered chip or chips in the space below the bottom number in the column. This is the lowest on the board, not the smallest number, so in the prior example it would be placed under 36.

  • Dozen Bet

This is a bet which covers one of the three separate dozens, 1-12, 23-14 or 25-36. This bet is represented by having the chip or chips place on the section of the board which is labelled 1st, 2nd or 3rd 12, depending on which has been selected.

  • Low

This bet which covers the lower half of the numbers available, from 1 to 18. It is represented on the board by placing the wagered chip or chips on the section labelled 1-18.

  • High

This is a bet which covered the higher half of the numbers, from 19-36. This bet is represented by having the wagered chip or chips placed on the section of the board labelled 19-36.

  • The Snake

This is a bet which is not offered by all casinos. A snake bet runs in a zig-zag pattern down the board, hence the name, and covers the numbers 1,5,9,12,14,16,19,23,27,30,32 and 34. The casinos which offer this have two ways to represent this bet. Some mark a snake down the board with the wagered chips or chips being able to be placed on one the heads which cap each end. If this illustration is not included then the bet is represented by having the wagers placed on the lower outside corner of the 34 betting box.

Important roulette Information

The house edge on roulette depends on the type of roulette which is being played. The American type has a 5.26% house edge where the European form has a 2.7% house edge.

Payouts for roulette are fairly simple to understand, the lower the chances of being selected the higher the payout will be. This is why inside bets have a much higher payout that outside bets.

Early History

The origin of roulette is surprising in that it was started not by a career gambler, but by a scientist. Blase Pascal was a French inventor, mathematician, writer and physicist. Some of you might have heard about Pascal's Wager, well that came from the same guy.

When he invented the early version of the roulette wheel in 1655, Pascal was actually in search of something much more profitable than gambling, he was aiming to create a perpetual motion machine, a machine which never stops.

That is not to say that this was the only version of such a game which existed, as Pascal took inspiration from previous wheel games Roly-Poly and Reiner, among others.

Having failed in his attempts at creating a perpetual motion machine, Pascal decided to make the best of his situation and the wheel was modified and then sold.

For over a century the design of the early roulette wheel remained constant, without any zeros. It wasn't until 1843 when Francois and Lois Blanc modified the board to include zeros that it really took off. This addition gave the house a greater edge which helped its adoption by casinos of the time.

As the story goes King Charles III of Monaco was having some finance issues and bought the design off Francois and Lois in order to offer it to the masses, and collect some money. This was also around the time that France had made gambling illegal, which made Monaco an even hotter spot in which to gamble.

It was sometime in the later 1800's where the wheel made its way to America, where the Americans put their own twist on it. By adding 00 to the board the Americans had given the house an even greater edge, turning roulette into an even greater money maker.

Modern History

Since that time roulette has shown no sign of slowing down. Both online and live, this game remains one of the most popular methods of gambling. In fact it could be argued that roulette is one of, if not the first thing, that comes to mind when people think of gambling. I bet Pascal didn't wager on that.

Common Terminology

  • Action

The term given for the total amount which has been wagered on game. This is usually only kept track of closely when the casino offers bonuses and loyalty programs.

  • Action Player

The term given to someone who tends to place large wagers.

  • Backtrack

This is the outer rim of the roulette wheel where the ball is spun. This is also known as a ball-track.

  • Bankroll

The total amount of money that a gambler has to play with.

  • Biased Numbers

Numbers which have a greater chance of being rolled than they should. These are the result of biased wheels.

  • Biased Wheel

A wheel that doesn't work as it should, either by damage or deliberate tampering, so that not all numbers have an equal chance to win. There have been many times in the past where players savvy to these tables have exploited them in order to win enormous amounts of money.

  • Bet on the Layout

This refers to a wager which has been placed anywhere on the part of the table which contains the basic numbers.

  • Big Number

This is another term for a biased number. Seeing big numbers is a way to calculate whether a board is biased and in need of repair.

  • Bottom Track

The area which the ball falls into once it leaves the top track. This is located above the pockets.

  • Croupier

The person working for the casino whose job it is to spin the wheel, place the ball and enact other hosting duties to the gamblers. These can also be called dealers but in roulette the term croupier is more accurate,

  • Dumping

The term given to a table which is losing more money than it is paying out over a long period.

  • Flat Bettor

A flat bettor is a player who consistently bets the same amount of money.

  • Gaffed Wheel

A biased wheel which has been deliberately rigged. The rigger can be the casino, the croupier or a player.

  • Golden Numbers

Numbers which seem lucky but not necessarily biased.

  • Layout

The terms given to the table next to a roulette wheel where the bets are placed.

  • Mini Roulette

A version of roulette popular in some online casinos. In this version the wheel is much smaller and only contains a total of 13 numbers. These games tend to employ the surrender rule.

  • Mucker

A player who is cheating. In roulette this is usually by using sleight of hand techniques in order to achieve past posting.

  • No Action

A round where no action is called is cancelled. From here the casino can repeat the spin and the players may change or remove their bets. This can be done randomly or can be used deliberately when the croupier has incorrectly placed the ball or suspects something is amiss.

  • Parlay

The term given to leaving a bet in the same place where it sat last round as well as adding further funds to it.

  • Past Posting

An illegal bet which has been placed after the croupier has called no further betting. Often the case of players waiting too long in order to attempt to predict where the ball will fall.

  • Pinching

A form of cheating where the player removes a portion of their chips from a table after a loss. Often this is done through the utilisation of sleight of hand techniques.

  • Premier Roulette Diamond Edition

This is a form of roulette which is popular in online gaming. This form contains four colours rather than the traditional two.

  • Surrender

This terms refers to an action undertaken by come casinos if a 0 or 00 is rolled, rather than taking all of the bets the casino only takes half.

  • Visual Wheel Tracking

The term given to when a player follows the ball with their eyes in an attempt to predict where it will land. This can lead to past posting.

  • Wheel

The common term which is given to the roulette wheel.

Where to Play

If you already have a favourite gambling site then take a quick check around, they might already have what you want. For a list of just a few of the many sites which offer roulette then check the list below.

Author: Steve Jackson

Pokie reviewer, casino reviewer, article writer and all around hilarious and humble Steve Jackson is one of the main writers here at With an interest in writing and games, Steve has worked for years as a freelance writer covering a wide variety of topics. From video-games to umbrella sales - the experience he has gained in his career, combined with his degree in psychology, help him cover what people want, and what they didn't know was important to them. Now together with, Steve and the rest of the staff work together to bring the reader a website which covers a wide range of gambling relating reviews and topics. From the standard pokie and casino reviews to tutorials on casino games and even fun stories on gambling relating topics, Steve has been first on the ground, helping shape the website into what it is, and what it will one day be. Despite knowing a great deal about gambling he has not yet won any major prize pools. If he did you could bet he would be bragging about them here.

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