How to Play Roulette


Roulette is probably the most popular casino game of all after poker and slot machines. It is developed in the 17th century and being played by the same rules for over 250 years. Many mathematicians showed interest to the famous wheel of roulette and calculated odds of winning. They developed some strategies in the process too – in other words, roulette is not a complete game of luck, you can actively increase your winning chances by following some systems. Whether they are effective or not is another matter, which we will discuss in depth below.

Roulette odds are based on mathematical principles, which are designed to increase the winning odds of the house. In other words, this is a game developed for casinos to make money; so it is not that easy to win big payouts. There are four different roulette bet options: You can bet on a specific number, a color, a range of numbers and/or whether the outcome will be an odd or even number. Each option has a different roulette payout, based on the odds of that outcome. Let’s take a closer look at roulette strategies and payouts of these options.

Roulette Strategy and Tactics

There are lots of roulette strategies and tactics, but not all of them are successful. Casinos change the design of the wheel on a constant basis to prevent the usage of these tactics. For example, the pocket sections of the wheel were much wider before 1986. A professional gambler named Billy Walters used a wheel-section betting system based on this range and won 3.8 million dollars in a single night. After this, all casinos switched to a new design and started to use “low-profile wheels”, which have narrow pockets. It is still possible to use simple tactics and strategies in roulette, but getting big payouts by using these are near impossible. The most known strategies are:

  • Martingale System: This strategy is very old and very simple. It is based on the “heads/tails” game and requires only betting on red or black sections. The idea looks very convincing at first look: the possibility of winning by betting on red or black is %50, and if you play long enough, you will win sooner or later. To use this strategy, you must always bet on the same color and increase your wager with each spin. In theory, when you win, you will cover all your losses and make a profit. In reality, this is a very dangerous idea and results in big losses. The idea of “you are going to win sooner or later” is completely psychological and will result in bankruptcy of the player over the long run. Mathematical analyses show that you can never win big enough to cover your losses.
  • Labouchère System: The basic principles of this system are as same as the Martingale, you bet only on red or black. But you don’t raise your bet after each spin until you win; instead, you are using a series of numbers in a line to determine your bet amount. Basically, you add the numbers at the front and end of the line to determine what your next bet will be. When you win, you cross out the numbers and start to work on the short line. When you lose, you add your previous bet to the end of the line and start to work on the long line. Sounds complex and it really is, because in the long run, this system results in heavier losses than the Martingale system.
  • D’alembert System: This system is developed by a mathematician by the same name, and it really results with winnings in the long run. The only problem is, these will be very small amounts and in the long run, you won’t make any profit. D’alembert developed this system to prevent big losses and the bankruptcy of the player, and it does exactly that. Basically, you only make outside bets and after each loss, you add one unit for your next bet. When you win, one unit is deducted from your next bet. For example, if you start by betting 1 unit and win, your next bet will be 2 units. If you lose, it goes back to 1 unit again.
  • Paroli System: The oldest system of them all, developed for card games originally. The system relies on the idea of “you will win sooner or later” and similar to D’alembert. You can bet only on red/black or odd/even outcomes. Basically, you keep betting the same amount for the same section each and every time, until you win. After you win, you add one unit for your next bet. You keep doing this until you get three consecutive winnings. If you lose, you just deduct your bet amount for the next spin. This system works in the short run, but just when you start to make a profit, all odds become almost negative. To give an example, winning more than 4 units using this strategy has a %2.7 chance of happening.
  • Oscar’s Grind System: Another system based on D’alembert. It is simple enough and requires you to bet only on red/black or even/odd. You keep betting the same amount until you win. When you win, you increase the amount by one unit. When you lose, you don’t deduct anything and keep betting the same amount you just won. If you manage to win four times, you go back to betting one unit only, and repeat the whole process. Unfortunately, the outcome is as same as the Paroli system: doesn’t work in the long run.

Roulette Bets and Odds

As we mentioned above, there are five different sections on a roulette table that you can bet on. Each one has a different payout and roulette bonus payments are based on the probability of winnings. If you bet on a specific number, this is called an “inside bet” and pays the most, because the odds are very low. All other bet types are called “outside bets”. These are the sections, payouts and odds of the sections you can bet on:

Bet Name Payout Odds Against Winning
Any single number 35 to 1 36 to 1
Red/Black 1 to 1 19 to 18
Odd/Even 1 to 1 19 to 18
1st, 2nd, 3rd dozens 2 to 1 25 to 12
1 to 18 / 19 to 36 1 to 1 19 to 18

How to Play Live Dealer Roulette

Live Roulette often called as “live dealer roulette”, this is a special form of roulette which can be played in online casinos. You connect to a real roulette table and a real croupier using your computer/mobile device and play the game like you are in a real casino. Rules are the same and you are still playing with other people against a real croupier, you just do that from anywhere you want.

How to Win at Roulette

As you can see, there are no tactics that guarantee to win with each and every spin. The best way to practice and start to win is to play roulette for real money.

You can raise your chances of winning by following simple rules, but it is almost impossible to win big payouts. The best thing you can do is lowering your losses, which is preferable instead of going bankruptcy. Roulette is a casino game after all and like any other casino game, it is designed to give an advantage to the house in the long run. In other words; just play, have fun and never bet big amounts you can’t afford to lose – these are the only strategies you need.