The rules of roulette are elegant in their simplicity, but it never hurts to pay them an overview, especially for inexperienced players. This page will guide you through the rules for playing roulette – by the time you reach the end, they’ll feel like second nature!

Understanding the wheel and the table

Before attempting to play roulette, it’s important that players familiarise themselves with the two key components of the game: the wheel and the table.

The wheel is a beautiful, iconic machine made up of pockets numbered from 0 to 36 (some variants also include a ’00′ pocket). These pockets are positioned non-sequentially around the circumference of the wheel on internating stripes of red and black, with the exception of the ’0′ and ’00′ pocket which are green.

The roulette table contains small squares for each number on the wheel and larger, arrow-shaped spaces for the 0 and 00 slots. These smaller squares are divided (vertically and horizontally) into thirds. There are also larger, rectangular sections labelled ’1 to 18,’ ‘EVEN,’ ‘RED,’ ‘BLACK,’ ‘ODD’ and ’19 to 36.’

The table is where players make their bets, by placing their casino chips in positions representative of their intended wagers.

The betting process

The betting process in roulette begins when players are invited to place their bets by the ‘croupier’ (the casino employee who operates the wheel.) Gamblers are then at liberty to place chips in any of the spaces on the board, which represent pockets on the wheel.

Bets will be considered valid up until the dealer calls ‘no more bets,’ at which point he/she will spin the roulette wheel and send the ball spinning in the opposite direction around the rim.

Types of bets

There are two main bet types that can be made in roulette: inside and outside bets. Below, you will find information about both varieties of roulette bets in addition to payouts for specific wagers.

Inside bets

Inside bets are placed on any of the individual numbers or a small group of neighbouring numbers on the inside of the table.

Players can place nine different kinds of inside bet:

  1. Straight: all chips are wagered on a single number.
    • Payout: 35 to 1
  2. Split: chips are placed on two adjoining numbers, crossing the boundary between them either vertically or horizontally.
    • Payout: 17 to 1
  3. Street: chips are placed on the edge of a number at the end of a line of three, thus betting on all three numbers in that line (or ‘street.)
    • Payout: 11 to 1
  4. Corner (or square): chips are placed on a corner connecting four numbers.
    • Payout: 8 to 1
  5. Six line (or double street):players can bet on six numbers by placing their chips at the intersection of two adjoining streets.
    • Payout: 5 to 1
  6. Trio: this type of bet is only possible in single 0, European/French Roulette and is achieved by placing chips at the intersection between 0, 1 and 2 or 0, 2 and 3.
    • Payout: 11 to 1
  7. Basket (or the first four): a non-square corner bet on the intersection of 0, 1, 2 and 3. Again, this applies to single-0 tables only.
    • Payout: 11 to 1
  8. Basket: this non-square corner requires players to position their chips at the intersection of 0, 1 and 2; 0, 00, and 2; or 00, 2, and 3. The latter two bets apply to double-0 American Roulette only.
    • Payout: 11 to 1
  9. Top line: a bet that applies exclusively to double-0 American roulette. Chips should be placed at the corner of 0 and 1 or 00 and 3 to cover the numbers 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3.
    • Payout: 6 to 1

Outside bets

Outside bets apply to a quality of the number on the wheel, this includes whether it’s odd or even, its colour, position or numerical group. They are placed on the outside of the table.

There are seven possible outside bets:

  1. 1 to 18 (Manque): a bet placed on the first 18 numbers.
    • Payout odds: 1 to 1
  2. 19 to 36 (Passe): chips are placed on the latter 18 numbers.
    • Payout odds: 1 to 1
  3. Red or black: bets are placed on either red or black numbers.
    • Payout odds: 1 to 1
  4. Even or odd: chips are placed on the space for odd or even numbers.
    • Payout odds: 1 to 1
  5. Dozen bets: a bet on the first, second or third group of 12 numbers (1-12, 12-24, 24-36).
    • Payout odds: 2 to 1
  6. Column bets: in which chips are placed on all 12 numbers in a vertical line.
    • Payout odds 2 to 1
  7. Snake bet: a dozen bet on the numbers 1, 5, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 23, 27, 30, 32 and 34 and so called for the way it ‘snakes’ across the table.
    • Payout odds: 2 to 1


You can make as many bets as you like during a game of roulette and should the ball land in one of your pockets, your winnings will vary according to the probability of your success.

Outside bets are generally safer since they apply to a large quantity of numbers on the board, but inside bets pay out more due to the improbability of a win. Most tables will set an upper and lower betting limit, which will also affect your potential takings.

You can place inside bets on the green pocket(s), but you can’t with outside bets. Making the ’0′ pocket exclusive to inside bets gives the house the statistical advantage over the player.

‘En prison’

There are many variants of roulette; however the most popular are European (or French) and American Roulette. Aside from the French wheel’s aforementioned lack of a ’00′ pocket, another difference between these two games is the ‘en prison’ rule.

This rule is exclusive to European Roulette and dictates that if you have chips placed on an even bet (red/black, even/odd or high/low) and the ball lands in the ’0′ pocket, you’re entitled to take back half of what you bet. This is known as ‘la partage.’

If you don’t take back your half you can ‘imprison’ it. This means that it stays on the table and if you win a bet on the next spin, you can take back the whole of your original bet, but you do not receive any additional winnings. However, if you lose then your cash goes to house.