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Roulette Betting and Strategy Guide: Real Money Playing Tips

Real money roulette is the most popular table game in the world at both land-based and online casinos. This unique table game includes three major variants, American, European, and French Roulette, as well as many other versions that include multiple wheels, progressive bets, and numerous silver balls in play at once. This roulette betting and strategy guide is designed to help improve your enjoyment of the game and chances of winning.

No matter what version of roulette you play, it's still the same basic game that attracts gamblers to its tables around the world. Roulette is one of the few real cash table games where the outcome is contingent upon the motion and interaction of two physical elements, the spinning wheel and rolling ball. Those two elements along with friction make roulette a very exciting and unpredictable game.

This page is for you if:
  • You're looking for the best roulette casinos
  • You want to understand roulette strategies
  • You want to decide on your favorite variation
  • You want to manage your bankroll better

Get to Know the Basics

Roulette strategy

Roulette is a game where players can wager on single numbers and/or combinations of numbers as well as the colors red and black to win cash. The game involves players making bets at the roulette table. The table offers players either 37 numbers (European and French Roulette) or 38 numbers (American Roulette) on which to bet. Players can make various types of wagers on one spin of the wheel, including betting on individual numbers, a series of numerals, and number combinations or groups.

The roulette wheel includes all of the numbers on the table with the colors red and black alternating amongst those numbers except for zero and double zero, which are green. As bets are being placed, the roulette wheel is spun and then a silver ball is also spun into the spinning wheel. All betting then ceases and as the wheel slows down and comes to a stop, the ball finds a number and color. Where the ball lands determines who wins and loses their wagers.

At the end of the spin, the house collects all losing wagers and all winners are paid out. After those tasks are complete, wagering begins again and the wheel is put into motion.

Decide on Your Variation

Top Roulette Tip

Use a combination of bets and don’t put everything on one number.

There are three versions of roulette from which you can choose, American with 38 numbers including the zero and double zero, European with 37 numbers, which includes the zero, and French, which has the same numbers as European Roulette. American Roulette comes with a house edge of 5.28%, while European offers a 2.7% edge, and French 1.35%, which is the lowest.

The addition of the double zero in American Roulette has the effect of doubling the house edge over single-zero European Roulette. The reason as to why the French version has the smallest edge has to do with its en prison rule. When you make an even-odds bet in French Roulette if zero is hit, you don’t lose your wager. Instead, that wager is en prison (“in prison”), and it carries over to the next turn of the wheel. If your bet comes through on the next turn, you get your wager only back. If you lose the second time around, you lose that wager. 

Roulette Winning and Payouts

Roulette offers two major types of bets, inside and outside. Inside bets are the following:

Inside Bets Payout Odds
Single Numbers 1-35 and 0 and 00 (American) 35-1
Split Bet, any 2 adjacent numbers 17-1
Street, 3 consecutive numbers 11-1
Corner Bet, any 4 adjacent numbers 8-1
Top Line Bet, 0, 00, 1, 2, 3 6-1
Six Line, 6 consecutive numbers on 2 horizontal lines 5-1

Outside bets, which come with lower odds and a higher chance of paying out, are below:

Outside Bets Payout Odds
Columns (12 numbers top to bottom) 2-1
Dozens also known as first, second and third 12 2-1
Lows/Highs (1-18 or 19-36) 1-1
Evens/Oddas 1-1
Reds/Blacks 1-1

Best and Worst Playing Strategies

When you talk about gambling strategies, especially with roulette, the one method that comes up the most is the Martingale System. The Martingale System, which was designed for wagers that offer even odds, dictates that each time you lose a bet, you double your next one. This system is predicated on the idea that by doubling your bet each time when you do win, you’ll make up for your losses. Once you win, you go back to your original bet.

It's based, however, on a false premise. That is the idea that a loss at the gaming table will eventually be made up by a win and that as your losses grow the more likely you will finally hit and win. However, this idea is what is known as the Gambler’s Fallacy, which is the belief that an unrelated action will influence another action. Each turn at the roulette table is a separate and individual action and each of those actions have no relationship to the one before or after. Thus, the Martingale System ends up being a good way to lose your stake more quickly than you would if you used smart bankroll management practices.

Here are some sound and useful betting strategies that will help to ensure that you have a quality gaming experience at the gaming wheel. Utilize them for maximum benefit.

Combining and Dividing Your Bets

Although the single number bet with payout odds of 35-1 is attractive, it is not a good bet when it comes to the odds of hitting it. Making one, single-number wager is a good idea as long as they are combined with lower odds bets such as split (17-1), street (11-1), square (8-1) wagers. Also, top line or five-number (6-1) and six-number (5-1) wagers are good bets. Place a series of bets on each turn, putting one unit on a single number and dividing units amongst other types of wagers. Hedge your bets to reduce losses.

Low House Edge

Play European or French Roulette rather than American Roulette. European Roulette has half the house edge of American, 2.7% to 5.26%. French Roulette, due to the en prison rule, offers a house edge of 1.35%. You’re better off playing the low house edge version of this game, as it provides you with a much better chance of winning.

Same Number Betting

Many players will bet the same numbers over and over again and again. The idea is that eventually they will hit, and that at some point a number will hit numerous times over a short amount of time. Being consistent at the roulette table is not a bad idea especially when it is combined with the next strategic item, making smaller bets to elongate your playing time at the wheel.

Smaller Bets

Making smaller bets will give you more chances at the real money roulette wheel. Although it may be attractive to make a large wager or two on a game that pays 35-1 on single-number wagers, it's better to make a series of smaller wagers on each turn. Remember that roulette also offers solid payouts on other bets, including split (17-1), street (11-1), and square (8-1) wagers.

Playing the Wheel’s Bias

Roulette wheels at land-based and live dealer online casinos will often have a bias. That is, they will have some sort of imbalance or imperfection that results in the ball finding certain numbers more so than others. This bias can change depending upon when the casino realigns and balances the wheel.

When you go to play at the roulette table at a real casino take some time to scout out the wheel’s bias by tracking at least 20 turns. Play that bias. Remember that wheels are adjusted so a wheel’s bias will change. Also, this technique doesn't work with software-driven casino games.

Solid Roulette Bankroll Management

Successful roulette strategy dictates that players use good bankroll management as well. That includes a few basic techniques, such as using a combination of bets, not risking more than 6% of your bankroll on any one turn of the wheel, and carefully tracking your bets, wins, and losses.

Maintaining a level head is very important when it comes to roulette, which tends to have a lot of highs and lows, offering players an emotional rollercoaster ride. If you become overly emotional over a win or a loss, take a break from the wheel. Don’t shove it all in on your next bet based on an emotional reaction to the outcome of your last wager.

Keeping written records of your betting patterns, wins and losses, and final result of each session will help you control your bankroll. After a few sessions, review your bets to see which techniques have been successful and which have been detrimental. Adjust accordingly the next time that you play.

Finally, set limits for losing, winning, and time for each session. Whatever your limits are, you need to strictly observe them. Doing so will go a long way to preserving your bankroll and ensuring that you’ll play another day. 

Enjoying the Roulette Experience

Whether you play it at a land-based or online real money casino, roulette is an exceptionally exciting game. Players are attracted to the high payout odds on single number bets, the variety of wagers offered per turn, and the inherent excitement of a game that offers a spinning wheel and rolling ball in motion together.

Although as a player you may have visions of scoring big at the roulette table, it’s important to remember that using smart bankroll management methods is the best way to ensure that you have a quality gaming experience that includes numerous turns at the wheel and extended, exciting playing sessions. You can find top-notch real money online casinos by going to our shortlist of featured gaming rooms and selecting one.