How to Play Roulette, Inside & Outside Bets Explained

Roulette is a classic table game, where players bet on which section of a spinning numbered wheel a ball will land on. The betting options in Roulette are simple and the games are fast, contributing to its status as one of the world’s most popular casino games.


 At the beginning of a round of Roulette a croupier will roll a ball along the edge of the Roulette wheel, in the opposite direction to the wheel’s spin. While the ball is rolling players can place bets on a betting layout next to the wheel (shown below).  As the ball begins to slow down the croupier will call ‘no more bets’; at this point no bets can be placed or removed from the table until the round is concluded.

As the ball slows down it will begin to fall towards the wheel, generally bouncing several times before coming to rest in one of 37 numbered pockets. The croupier will then settle all bets from the current round, paying winners and removing losing bets. Payout odds in Roulette depend on the bet made, as bets can cover as few as 1 or as many as 18 numbers.


Bet Types In Roulette

Whilst playing Roulette players make their bets by placing chips on a betting layout. The position of your chips determines which numbers you are covering, so it is important to understand what each bet is and how it is made.

Roulette bets can either be described as ‘inside’ bets, made on specific numbers or groups of numbers, or ‘outside’ bets, which cover larger areas of the wheel.

All bets in Roulette have the same house edge, 2.70% in European Roulette or 5.26% in American Roulette.


Inside Bets

Single Number (a.k.a Classic / Straight Up) bets: A Straight Up bet is placed on a specific number, and only wins if that number comes in. They are made by placing chips on the relevant square in the betting layout. Straight up bets have the highest payout odds in Roulette, with winners paid at 35:1.

Split / Corner / Neighbour bets: Neighbour bets are made by placing chips on the corner of two, three or four numbers. Two neighbour bets (aka - Split Bets) are made by placing a chip on the border of two numbers in a row or column like (1,2) or (1,4). Four neighbour (aka - Corner / Square) bets are made by placing a chip on the border between four numbers in a square such as (1,2,4,5).

Three neighbour bets, sometimes also called corner bets, are a special case and must include 0. The green box representing 0 runs across the top of the betting layout and players can cover three numbers by placing a chip on the border of 0 and two numbers in the top row such as (0,1,2). You can also make two neighbour bets which include 0.

The payout on neighbour bets naturally depends on how many numbers you cover: 

  • Two neighbour bet: 17:1
  • Three neighbour bet: 11:1
  • Four neighbour bet: 8:1

 Street/Six line bets: Street and six line bets cover three and six numbers respectively. They are made by placing a chip on the edge of one row for street bets, or two rows for six line bets. 

  • A street bet covers three numbers in a row and are winners are paid at 11:1. To make a street bet, for example on (7,8,9) the player places a chip on the edge of the 7 box. 
  • Six line bets follow exactly the same principle, but cover two adjacent rows of numbers, for example (7,8,9,10,11,12). That bet would be made by placing a chip on the edge of the 7 and 10 box; with a payout of 5:1


Outside Bets

Outside bets in Roulette cover larger groups of numbers and correspondingly attract worse odds. However, many players prefer them because they create a steadier rate of play with more frequent, but smaller, wins. These bets earn their name because to make them, chips are placed in boxes on the edge of the betting layout.

Colour bets: Colour bets are probably the most popular outside bets. Each numbered pocket on a Roulette wheel is coloured either red or black, with the exception of 0 which is green. A bet on red or black covers the 18 numbers of that colour, and they are made by placing chips on the boxes labelled ‘Red’ or ‘Black’ on the layout.

Odd and Even bets: also cover 18 numbers each. They, naturally, cover the 18 odd or even numbers respectively. Although 0 is technically an even number, it is not covered by the even bet as, if it were, the player would have an advantage over the house! Players can also bet on (1-18) or (19-36) by placing chips in those boxes at the bottom of the layout.

All bets covering 18 numbers pay out at evens (1:1).

Thirds bets : Thirds bets in Roulette cover 12 numbers, paying out at 2:1, and there are two ways to make them 

  • A Column bet: covers all the numbers in a vertical row, for example (1,4,7…..34), they are made by placing a chip on one of the boxes labelled ‘2 to 1’ at the bottom of each column. 
  • Players can also place Dozen bets which cover 12 sequential numbers. You can make a Dozen bet by placing a chip on either the ‘1st 12’ ‘2nd 12’ or ‘3rd 12’ box on the layout.   

Roulette Types And House Edge

Although all Roulette wheel look similar, there are a few distinctions which make a difference to the house edge.

European Roulette is the standard variant offered by most casinos, both live and online. In European Roulette there are thirty seven pockets (1-36 and 0). The house edge comes because bets are settled at fair odds if there were only 36 pockets. For example a winning number bet pays out at 35:1, which implies a 1/36 chance of winning. In fact your chance of winning is 1/37, creating a house edge of 2.70%.

In American Roulette however there are 38 pockets (1-36, 0 and 00). The addition of the 00 pocket serves to increase the casino’s edge over the player (to 5.26%) because odds offered in both forms of Roulette are identical. Players should always seek out European Roulette if they seek to minimise the house edge.


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