How to Win at Roulette

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Roulette is one of the most popular casino games in the world at both brick-and-mortar and online casinos. The wide variety of betting options available on the table gives players the chance to play roulette with whatever betting system best suits their risk tolerance and bankroll. In this comprehensive guide on how to win at roulette, I'll cover bet types, house edge, the best roulette strategies, and the best online casinos to play roulette at.

How to Play Roulette & Exploring the Best Roulette Strategies

A Brief History of Roulette

Roulette, which means "little wheel" in French, has a rich history with early iterations of the game being developed and played in 18th-century France. A book titled La Roulette, ou le Jour by Jaques Lablee that was published in 1801 describes the current version of the game with a double-zero roulette wheel being played at the Palais Royal in Paris in 1796.

The game began to spread across Europe and the United States in the 19th century, rapidly growing in popularity due to the simplicity of its rules and the thrill of the spinning wheel. A single-zero version of the roulette wheel introduced by Francois and Louis Blanc in 1843 eventually became a staple of the Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco. Despite the popularity of the single-zero wheel in other parts of the world, Las Vegas casinos and other casinos around the United States typically use a roulette wheel with two zeroes.

How to Play Roulette

American Roulette Wheel

Roulette is a fairly easy casino game to learn and understand. The roulette wheel has 36 pockets numbered 1-36 with 18 red and black numbers each laid out in alternating colors on the wheel, and one to three green-colored pockets with the number zero.

The roulette table features a grid that includes all of the numbers on the wheel, along with some side bets including red, black, odd, even, low (1-18), and high (19-36). Players can place bets on individual numbers, groups of numbers, or side bets, with betting odds on wager types differing based on probabilities. Here's a breakdown of each round of play from start to finish:

  1. 1. Betting Round — Before the wheel is spun, players place their roulette bets on the table. At brick-and-mortar casinos, each player at the table is given different colored chips so that the croupier (dealer) can distinguish who placed which bets.2 

  2. 2. The Wheel is Spun — The croupier spins the roulette wheel and then rolls a small ball in the opposite direction along the outside of the wheel.

  3. 3. Betting Round Closes —As the ball and the wheel start to slow down, the croupier announces "no more bets" and waves their hand over the table. Bets can be made, changed or removed prior to this announcement, but once it is made, all current bets on the roulette table are locked in and no more can be added.

  4. 4. The Ball Lands in a Pocket — When the ball decreases in speed, it loses its momentum and falls from the edge of the wheel into one of the numbered pockets. The numbered pocket it lands in determines the results of all of the bets placed on the table.

  5. 5. Bets are Settled — The croupier announces the winning number and places a marker on top of it. All winning bets are paid out according to their listed odds, and all losing bets are cleared from the table.

American Roulette

European and American roulette follow the same rules. The key difference between the two versions of the game is the number of green zero pockets on the wheel. An American roulette wheel conventionally has two green zero pockets, one labeled "0" and the other labeled "00".

A triple-zero version of the wheel including a "000" pocket was introduced in 2016 at the Venetian and Palazzo casinos, and this variation has spread to other casinos around the United States since then. Each added zero increases the house edge on the game.

European and French Roulette

The French and European roulette wheel has only one green zero pocket, reducing the house advantage on this popular casino game down to just 2.7%. Some casinos offer one of two rules on green zero spins that reduce the house edge on even money bet types down to 1.35%:

  • La Partage Rule: If the ball lands on zero, players who made even money bets on red/black, odd/even or high/low receive half of their initial bet amount back.

  • En Prison Rule: If the ball lands on zero, all even-money bets are "imprisoned" on the table. Players receive their original bet back with no profit if it wins on the next spin.

Placing A Bet

Bets placed directly on the numbers at the roulette table are referred to as inside bets, while bets placed outside of the numbered grid on specific conditions or larger groups of numbers are called outside bets.

Inside vs. Outside Roulette Bets Comparison

Inside Bets in Roulette

Inside bets are harder to hit than outside bets are, so they offer bigger potential payouts. These bets include:

  • Straight: A bet placed on a single number (35:1 payout).

  • Split: A bet placed in between two adjacent numbers, covering both of them (17:1 payout).

  • Corner or Square: A bet placed on the corner of four numbers, covering all of them (8:1 payout).

  • Street: A bet placed on the end of a row, covering the three numbers in that row or "street" (11:1 payout).

  • Six Line or Double Street: A bet placed on the end of the row between two numbers, covering the six numbers on those two rows (5:1 payout).

Outside Bets in Roulette

Outside bets cover larger groups of numbers than inside bets, making them easier to hit, which results in lower potential payouts. These bets include:

  • Red or Black: A bet on whether the number will be red or black (1:1 payout).

  • Odd or Even: A bet on whether the number will be odd or even (1:1 payout).

  • Low or High: A bet on whether the number will be in the low range between 1-18 or the high range between 19-36 (1:1 payout).

  • Dozen Bet: A bet on the number landing within one of the three dozen groups of 1-12, 13-24 or 25-36 (2:1 payout).

  • Column Bet: A bet on the number landing on one of the three vertical columns of numbers on the roulette table (2:1 payout).

How to Win at Roulette

When trying to determine how to win at roulette, it's important to remember that there's no long-term winning roulette strategy that can overcome the house advantage built into the game. All roulette strategies have the same win rate in the long run, with a return-to-player (RTP) rate that is dependent on the number of zeroes on the roulette wheel.

With that being said, playing roulette with different betting systems yields a wide variety of short-term results. A successful roulette strategy is one that properly balances risk and reward based on your personal preferences, giving you a fun gaming experience each time you play.

Roulette Odds & RTP

Roulette odds are paid out at their true value in the absence of any zeroes. For example, there are 18 red numbers and 18 black numbers on the wheel, so your odds of hitting a red number with no zeroes would be 18 to 18, or 1 to 1. A straight bet on the number 11 has one number that will be a winner (11) and 35 that won't, so your odds of succeeding on this straight bet are 35 to 1. These are the payouts you receive on these bets when playing roulette.

These are not the true odds you are getting on each spin due to the zeroes on the wheel. With one zero on the wheel, your odds of hitting an even-money bet like odd/even or red/black decrease to 19 to 18. Two zeroes makes it 20 to 18, and three zeroes makes it 21 to 18. This discrepancy in your payout and the actual odds is how the house edge, or casino advantage, is determined.

The house edge is the same on every inside bet and outside bet available on the table:

  • Single Zero (European or French Roulette): 2.70%

  • Double Zero (American Roulette): 5.26%

  • Triple Zero Roulette: 7.69%

Using European Roulette as an example, with a house advantage of 2.70%, casinos can expect to earn $2.70 on every $100 wagered over the long run. The inverse of this number is the game's return-to-player (RTP) rate. For instance, 100% - 2.7% = 97.3%, which means that players will earn back $97.30 on every $100 they wager over time.

While roulette strategies won't change a game's edge or RTP, they can affect how wins and losses are distributed in the short term. The next two sections will cover roulette betting systems and how they can affect your experiences at the roulette tables.

Basic Roulette Strategy

There are two main categories of roulette strategies: progressive strategies that involve adjusting your bet sizing based on the outcome of previous spins, and non-progressive strategies that maintain consistent bet sizes. These betting strategies each come with their own pros and cons.

Progressive Strategies

Progressive strategies aim to leverage winning streaks or recover from losing streaks by increasing or decreasing your bet size depending on the results of previous bets in the sequence. The most well-known example of a progressive strategy is the Martingale betting system, which involves doubling your bet size after each loss in an effort to recoup money lost during a losing streak. These betting strategies generally require a large bankroll to cover the varying bet sizes.

Non-Progressive Strategies

Non-progressive strategies focus on consistently, using the same bet amount for each spin or round of the sequence regardless of the outcome of previous spins. For example, a flat betting strategy on even-money bets that calls for the same bet size on every spin would be non-progressive. This type of betting system is best for players interested in playing roulette on a fixed bankroll.

The Best Roulette Strategies

Choosing the right roulette betting strategy for you is a matter of personal preference. You can't beat roulette in the long run due to its built in house advantage, but you can choose the best roulette strategy for your goals during a session, whether those goals involve going for big wins with progressive strategies or limiting risk with safe ones. This section will cover all of the most popular roulette strategies to help you choose the right strategy for your play style.

Martingale Roulette Strategy

The Martingale betting strategy is a sequence that begins with placing a wager on an even-money bet such as red or black. If your bet loses, you double your bet size in the next round, aiming to win back the last round's loss and your original bet size. You keep doubling your bet until you win, and then you start the Martingale system over again with a one-unit bet.

Martingale System Example:

  • Bet $1 on red. If you win, you earn a $1 profit. If you lose, continue to the next step.

  • Bet $2 on red. If you win, you earn a $1 profit on the sequence ($2 - $1 loss from last round = $1). If you lose, continue to the next step.

  • Bet $4 on red. If it's a win, you earn a $1 profit on the sequence ($4 - $2 loss from the last round - $1 loss from the first round = $1). If you lose, continue to the next step, and so on.

If there were no betting limits and you had an infinite bankroll, the Martingale betting strategy would be unstoppable. It's a popular betting system due to it's high win rate, but one long losing streak that pushes your next bet past the table betting limit or your current bankroll can be disastrous.

Reverse Martingale Roulette Strategy (or Anti-Martingale System)

The reverse or anti-Martingale system works the opposite way, hoping to capitalize on win streaks instead of cancelling out losing streaks. You place an initial wager on an even-money bet, and if it wins, you double it. If that second bet wins, you double it again. If you lose at any point in the sequence you start again with a one-unit bet. This Martingale strategy includes setting a goal for your sequence before starting, such as five-straight wins.

Reverse Martingale System Example (Aiming For 5 Wins):

  • Bet $1 on red, double down if you win.

  • Bet $2 on red, double down if you win.

  • Bet $4 on red, double down if you win.

  • Bet $8 on red, double down if you win.

  • Bet $16 on red, collect your $32 if you win and start a new $1 sequence.

Players can adjust the difficulty and potential payout of these sequences by changing the number of wins they aim for. This is a good system for bankroll management as each sequence from start to finish only costs one betting unit.

Grand Martingale Roulette Strategy

The Grant Martingale strategy is a more aggressive version of the standard Martingale strategy. In this system, instead of just doubling your bet with each loss, you also add an extra unit after each loss. This way, when you do eventually win, you have generated a larger profit on the sequence than you would have sticking to just doubling your wager.

Grand Martingale System Example:

  • Bet $1 on red. Win = $1 Profit. Continue if you lose.

  • Bet $3 ($2 + $1) on red. Win = $2 Profit. Continue if you lose.

  • Bet $7 ($6 + $1) on red. Win = $3 Profit. Continue if you lose, and so on.

As is the case with the standard Martingale strategy, table betting limits and your betting bankroll can become an issue after a long stretch of losses. But in exchange for the added risk involved with adding a unit to each step of the sequence, you can earn money at a faster rate with the Grand Martingale betting strategy.

James Bond Strategy

The James Bond roulette strategy can be utilized on a single-zero roulette games like European Roulette. This system requires 20 betting units per round and covers a large portion of the roulette table with three separate bets:

  • Bet 14 units on the high range (19-36), 1:1 odds.

  • Bet 5 units on the six line covering 13-18, 5:1 odds.

  • Bet 1 unit on the single zero, 35:1 odds.

Using a unit size of $1 for this example, here's a breakdown of the potential outcomes on each spin in the James Bond roulette strategy:

  • Ball lands on 19-36 (48.65% chance): Net profit of $8 ($14 - $5 - $1 = $8)

  • Ball lands on 13-18 (16.22% chance): Net profit of $5 ($25 - $14 - $1 = $10)

  • Ball lands on 0 (2.70% chance): Net profit of $15 ($35 - $14 - $5 = $16)

  • Ball lands on 1-12 (32.43% chance): Loss of $20

The allure to this strategy is that you only lose money on 12 of the 37 numbers in play.

3/2 Strategy

The 3/2 strategy is another betting system that gives you a wide net of potential winning numbers. It consists of betting five units on each round, placing a bet of three units on an even-money bet (such as red or black) and two units on a dozen (such as 1-12) that pays 2:1.

Using a unit size of $1 as an example, here's a look at the different potential outcomes on each spin using the 3/2 roulette strategy in a single-zero game, with $3 on red and $2 on 1-12:

  • Number is red and 1-12 (16.22% chance): Net profit of $7 ($3 + $4 = $7)

  • Number is red and 13-36 (32.43% chance): Net profit of $1 ($3 - $2 = $1)

  • Number is black and 1-12 (16.22% chance): Net profit of $1 ($4 - $3 = $1)

  • Number is black and 13-36 or 0 (35.14% chance): Loss of $5

The 3/2 system is like a low-risk, low-reward version of the James Bond strategy. Potential losses and wins are both lower on each spin, and only 13 of the 37 numbers on the wheel will be graded a losing bet.

Andrucci Strategy

The Andrucci roulette strategy involves attempting to identify hot numbers, and then reaping the rewards of these observations with straight bets on your chosen number. First, players must observe 30 or more spins, looking for numbers or sections of the wheel that occur most frequently during that sequence. After identifying a "hot" number, the player should place a straight up bet at 35:1 on that number until it wins, hoping to secure a profit by hitting it within 35 spins.

This system relies heavily on the gambler's fallacy that previous outcomes can be used to determine future ones, even though each individual spin is a new random event. It is a high-risk, high-reward system due to the nature of straight bets, and attempting pattern recognition on random events isn't likely to yield results any better than simply picking a number at random.

D'Alembert Strategy

The D'Alembert betting strategy is a negative progression betting system in which you start with a one-unit wager on an even-money bet, increase your bet by one unit after each loss, and decrease your bet by one unit after each win. While it is designed to chase losses like other betting systems on this list, it does so in a more conservative manner, increasing your bet size after losses by just one unit at a time. Here's an example of the system over 10 hypothetical plays, using a $1 unit size.

D'Alembert Roulette Strategy Example:

  • Spin 1: $1 bet on red Loses (-$1 total).

  • Spin 2: $2 bet on red Wins (+$1 total).

  • Spin 3: $1 bet on red Loses ($0 total).

  • Spin 4: $2 bet on red Loses (-$2 total).

  • Spin 5: $3 bet on red Loses (-$5 total).

  • Spin 6: $4 bet on red Wins (-$1 total).

  • Spin 7: $3 bet on red Wins (+$2 total).

  • Spin 8: $2 bet on red Loses ($0 total).

  • Spin 9: $3 bet on red Loses (-$3 total).

  • Spin 10: $4 bet on red Wins (+$1 total).

Even with six losses on 10 spins, the player still managed to make a small profit with this roulette strategy. This system is a good option for conservative players looking for a less risky alternative to the Martingale.

Labouchere Strategy

The Labouchère system is also known as the split Martingale or cancelation system. It begins with writing down a sequence of numbers, such as 1-2-3-4. Your first wager is on an even-money bet using a combination of the first and last number of the sequence, in this case $1 + $4 = $5. If that bet wins, you cross those two numbers out and move on to the next two numbers, which in this case would be 2-3.

If your next bet wins, you have completed the sequence. If it loses, you add the number you just lost to the end of your sequence, giving you a new number string of 2-3-5. You continue by combining the first and last number of the sequence again, this time giving you a bet size of $7. This process continues until you successfully cancel out all of the numbers on your sequence.

Labouchère Roulette Strategy Example:

Imagine a hypothetical stretch of spins using the 1-2-1-2 as your number sequence.

  • Sequence 1-2-1-2: Bet $3 (1+2) on red, lose. Add 3 to the end of your number.

  • Sequence 1-2-1-2-3: Bet $4 (1+3) on red, win. Cancel the 1 and 3.

  • Sequence 2-1-2: Bet $4 (2+2) on red, win. Cancel the 2 and 2.

  • Sequence 1: Bet $1 on red, lose. Add 1 to the end of your number.

  • Sequence 1-1: Bet $2 (1+1) on red, win. You have completed your sequence.

Completing the sequence netted you $6, which is equal to the sum of your original 1-2-1-2 sequence (1+2+1+2 = 6). This system is similar to the Martingale in that it can get expensive with long losing streaks, but it offers more structure and customization in that you can set your desired returns at the beginning of the sequence based on the number you choose.

Fibonacci Roulette Strategy

The Fibonacci strategy is based on the famous Fibonacci sequence of numbers, in which each number is the sum of the two preceding ones: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, and so on. Starting at the first one measuring one unit, players wager on an even-money bet and move one step forward in the sequence after each loss, and two steps back after each win.

Fibonacci Roulette Strategy Example:

  • Bet $1 on red, lose, move forward one step.

  • Bet $1 on red, lose, move forward one step.

  • Bet $2 on red, lose, move forward one step.

  • Bet $3 on red, lose, move forward one step.

  • Bet $5 on red, win, move backwards two steps.

  • Bet $2 on red, win, and so on.

Unlike the Martingale system which recoups all of your previous losses after each win, the Fibonacci roulette strategy only recovers your last two losing bets. But this system also gives you the chance to win more with a less dramatic drop in bet size after each win.

Double Street Quad Strategy

The Double Street Quad roulette strategy requires six units per round. It covers 17 of the 37 numbers in play on a European Roulette wheel and breaks down like this:

  • Bet 2 units on one street (such as 1-6), 5:1 odds.

  • Bet 2 units on another street (such as 7-12), 5:1 odds.

  • Bet 1 unit on a corner (such as 13-14-16-17), 8:1 odds.

  • Bet 1 unit on a single number (such as 15) 35:1 odds.

Using the numbers selected above and a unit size of $1 for this example, here's a look at the potential outcomes on each spin using the Double Street Quad system on a single-zero wheel:

  • Ball lands on 1-6 (16.22% chance): Net profit of $6 ($10 - $2 - $1 - $1 = $6)

  • Ball lands on 7-12 (16.22% chance): Net profit of $6 ($10 - $2 - $1 - $1 = $6)

  • Ball lands on 13, 14, 16 or 17 (10.81% chance): Net profit of $3 ($8 - $2 - $2 - $1 = $3)

  • Ball lands on 15 (2.70% chance): Net profit of $30 ($35 - $2 - $2 - $1)

  • Ball lands on 0 or 18-36 (54.05% chance): Loss of $6

With 17 numbers covered, you lose your bet 54.05% of the time, just slightly higher than the 51.35% of the time you lose on an even-money bet. But unlike an even-money bet that is a pre-determined set of numbers that can only deliver a 1:1 payout, the Double Street Quad allows you to use all of your own favorite numbers, and can deliver a 30:1 profit if you hit your straight bet.

Paroli Strategy

The Paroli roulette strategy is a positive progression betting sequence that is the same thing as a three-step reverse Martingale. Each sequence begins with an even-money bet that you double if you win. If that second bet also wins, you double it again. And if the last bet in the sequence wins, you collect your profit and start a new sequence. Winning all three bets in the sequence earns you a seven-unit profit.

For example, if you start with a $1 bet on red and win, your second bet will be for $2, and if that wins, you third bet will be for $4. If you lose at any point in the sequence, you start over again with a one-unit bet.

Parlay Strategy

The parlay strategy in roulette is the opposite of the Martingale, making it the same as the reverse Martingale. This system aims to take advantage of winning streaks by doubling down after every win, before eventually collecting your profits and starting the sequence over again.

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Online Roulette Resources

We've got your back with additional resources to help you master your online roulette game:

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Roulette Strategy FAQs
Have more questions about roulette and the best roulette strategies? Check out our answers to some of the most frequently-asked questions about roulette strategy.
Is there a trick to winning roulette?

No, there unfortunately are no roulette tips or strategies that can help you to beat roulette in the long run. All roulette strategies have the same expected win rate, which is dependent on the house edge of the variation of roulette you are playing. Roulette games with a single-zero wheel like European and French Roulette have the lowest house edge at just 2.70%.

What is the 3/2 rule in roulette?

The 3/2 rule in roulette is a strategy that involves betting three units on an even-money bet (like red/black or odd/even) and two units on a dozen or column bet that pays 2:1. This technique covers a large range of numbers on the board, giving you a lot of winning opportunities on each spin.

What is the $150 roulette strategy?

The $150 roulette strategy consists of betting $50 on one dozen (such as 1-12), $50 on another (such as 13-24), and then $5 each on 10 of the 12 remaining numbers (such as 25-34) as straight bets. Using this strategy, you will only lose your $150 wager when the ball lands on a zero or one of the two numbers you didn't cover with a straight bet. In all other scenarios, you will either break even if one of the dozens hit, or profit $30 if one of the straight bets hit.

What is the best strategy for roulette?

The best roulette strategy is to play European Roulette, also known as French Roulette, which has a lower casino edge than American Roulette due to only having a single zero on the wheel. As far as betting systems go, all roulette strategies have the same long-term odds of success, so you should choose whichever one provides you with the most fun and entertainment at the table.

What is the safest bet in roulette?

The safest bets in roulette are the even-money wagers: red or black, odd or even, and low (1-18) or high (19-36). These bets cover just under half of the potential outcomes on the wheel and offer 1:1 payouts, making them the lowest risk and lowest reward bets available.

Is there a minimum bet for roulette?

Yes, all roulette games have a maximum and minimum bet amount, which is listed at the table. Online roulette games tend to have much lower minimum bets than retail versions of the game do, with most online casinos offering at least one roulette game with a minimum bet of 25 cents or less.

What are even-money bets in roulette?

Even-money bets are wagers that pay even money, or 1:1. The three best offering even money at the roulette table are red or black, odd or even, and low (1-18) or high (19-36).

What is the difference between French Roulette and American Roulette?

French Roulette, also known as European Roulette, is played with a roulette wheel that features only one green zero. The American version of the wheel has two green zeroes, bumping the casino's edge up from 2.70% to 5.26%. All roulette strategies perform better with a single-zero wheel due to this reduced house advantage.