The Rules of Roulette
Perhaps one of the main reasons why roulette has proved to be an incredibly popular casino game for so long is the fact that it's so easy to learn. The rules are incredibly simple, yet the wide range of bets that can be placed means the game is still very interesting to play.
Because the bets all have different odds, you can choose whether to go for long shots and a potentially big win or the safer bets that pay out less but are more likely to win. On this page we explain the basic rules of roulette, including details of all the bets you can place.
Basic Roulette Rules
Roulette is played on a game table featuring a numbered wheel and a betting board. The wheel itself is divided into compartments, or pockets, each of which is numbered. The numbers 1-36 are on every roulette wheel, and each is either red or black. Depending on which variation of the game is being played, there will be either one extra pocket (a green zero) or two extra pockets (a green zero and a green double zero).
Players place their wagers on the betting board. All possible bets are represented by boxes and players simply place their chips on their desired bet, or bets. We cover the different bets below, but they include options such as betting on a single number or whether the number will be low (1-18) or high (19-36). We have an example of what a game table looks like in an online casino.
The roulette wheel is spun and a small ball is dropped into the wheel. The ball bounces around inside the wheel before eventually falling into one of the numbered pockets. The number in which it lands determines which bets win and which do not. When each roulette spin is complete, all winning bets are paid out and all losing bets are collected by the house.
The available roulette bets are divided into two categories: inside bets and outside bets. Inside bets are those that are placed on the main number grid on the inside of the betting board. Outside bets are those placed on the boxes outside the main number grid. Each bet covers either a single number or a group of numbers, and there are varying pay outs for each bet.
The available inside bets are as follows.
- Straight Up: a bet on any one single number, paying out at odds of 35:1.
- Split Bet: covers any two numbers that are adjacent on the betting board. Odds of 17:1.
- Street Bet: a bet on any of the rows of three numbers (1-3, 4-6 etc.). Odds of 11:1.
- Corner Bet: covers of group of four numbers. Odds of 8:1.
- Line Bet: covers two rows of three for a total of six numbers. Odds of 5:1.
The available outside bets are as follows, none of which cover the zero (or the double zero if there is one).
- Columns: the grid is divided into 3 columns of 12 numbers, and you can bet on one or more of these columns. Pays out at 2:1.
- Dozens: you can bet on the low dozen (1-12), mid dozen (13-24), or high dozen (25-36). Pays out at 2:1.
- Colors: an even money bet on whether the number will be red or black.
- Odd/Even: an even money bet on whether the number will be odd or even.
- High/Low: an even money bet on whether the number will be high (19-36) or low (1-18).
In roulette you can place any possible combinations of the above bets, and there's no limit on the amount of different bets you can place. In some variations, there are also some additional special bets that can be placed that cover specific groups of numbers. If you are playing in a brick and mortar casino, you can ask the dealer to explain them to you. If you are playing in an online casino, published rules allow you read about the special bets.
Author: Brad Johnson
Updated: March 2015
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