How to Play Roulette Online

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Roulette is one of the world’s favorite casino games. Indeed, the roulette board and spinning wheel are iconic gambling emblems, and any casino, whether an online casino or brick-and-mortar one, would seem incomplete without roulette.

Like the lottery or other forms of gambling, roulette is a purely chance-based game. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from learning the ins and outs of how roulette is played. Understanding the order of play, how to place bets and the different odds and payouts can significantly increase your enjoyment of roulette.

How to play roulette: a step-by-step guide

Roulette originated centuries ago in Europe and is one of the world’s most famous and popular casino games. Unlike poker or even blackjack, where choosing the right strategy can improve your chances of success, roulette is a pure game of chance. It’s all luck whether the ball lands where you want it to.

However, it is still worth learning how to play roulette and, in particular, the different kinds of bets you can make. That way you can be sure to manage your gambling appropriately and also make the game more fun.

Playing roulette in a casino is relatively easy. Here are the steps explaining how to join a game and start playing roulette.

Step 1: Join a roulette table

First you’ll want to find a spot at a roulette table, usually a long table with many seats around it and the wheel at one end. When playing online roulette, you have to open the game where you will play alone. But when you play roulette at a casino, you might find yourself playing alongside others, adding what can be a fun social element to the game.

Step 2: Purchase roulette chips

The person who runs the roulette game is called a croupier. Before you can play, you will need to purchase roulette chips from the croupier. Of course, when playing online roulette this step isn’t necessary — you just play with funds from your account.

In most casinos, you will discover the chips you use at a roulette table are different from the ones for other games, which means you have to buy chips at the table and can only use them there. There is a good reason for roulette to use special chips (explained below).

Step 3: Place your bets!

Once you have your chips, the croupier will spin the wheel. While it spins, you bet by placing chips on the roulette table. With online roulette it works a little differently. There you can take your time deciding which bets you want to make, and you also placing your bets by clicking and dragging chips directly onto the table. Then, once you’ve decided on all your bets, you can hit the spin button on the screen.

Online Roulette - Placing Bets

You can make many different kinds of bets, all of which we’ll go over in detail below. Just know now that you bet by placing your chips in designated places on the table. You don’t have to announce your bets or do anything else.

Step 4: Watch the spinning wheel

When playing live, at some point before the wheel stops spinning, the croupier will announce that betting is closed. Everyone will then together watch the wheel slow down and stop. The same goes online — there you wait and watch until the wheel stops. Whatever numbered spot the ball lands on indicates which bets won and which bets lost.

Step 5: Settling of bets

At that point, the croupier settles bets, scoops up chips from losing wagers, and adds chips to the winning ones. You don’t have to worry about anything – the croupier will handle it all. Online you’ll find bets are also settled automatically. Once the board is cleared of chips, the process starts over and it’s time for another spin.

That’s the general order of play, but read on to learn more about different types of roulette and the various bets you can make.

American vs. European roulette

You might encounter different varieties of roulette games, with the most common distinction being American roulette and European roulette.

Both types have roulette wheels featuring slots for numbers 1-36, half red and the other half black. However, in American roulette, you’ll find two more green slots for 0 and 00, while in European roulette, there is just one green slot for 0. Otherwise, the two games play almost identically, although that extra double-zero does affect the odds ever so slightly, giving the casino more of an edge for most bets.

American (double-zero) and European (single-zero) roulette wheels
American (double-zero) and European (single-zero) roulette wheels

The following discussion focuses on American and European roulette, as that’s what you’ll most likely find. In fact, when visiting NY casinos you can count on American roulette as the main choice, although at online casinos, you’ll frequently see European roulette as well.

Keep in mind that there are other roulette variants on top of those two, such as French roulette and Double bonus spin roulette. Plus, there are other unique roulette games only found online such as 100/1 roulette, which features more than 100 slots on the wheel.

How to bet in roulette

Whether playing live or online roulette, you’ll usually find you can make the same types of bets across the different variants. Here are the standard roulette bets for American and European roulette.

If you look at a roulette board, you’ll see a box displaying the numbers 1 through 36, then other boxes outside that main box. Keeping that layout in mind, you’ll find roulette bets generally fall into two categories, inside and outside bets.

Common inside bets and payouts

Inside bets are wagers on those numbers inside the main box. They include bets on single numbers as well as bets on multiple numbers. For the most part, inside bets have longer odds and higher payouts, making them a bit riskier than outside bets.

  • Straight up — A bet on a single number from 1 to 36. You can also bet on either 0 or 00. Payout 35-to-1.
  • Split — A bet on two numbers that you make by placing chip(s) on the line between them. Payout 17-to-1.
  • Street — A bet on a row of three numbers. Payout 11-to-1.
  • Corner — A bet on four numbers made by placing chip(s) where all four intersect. Payout 8-to-1.
  • Basket — A bet on five specific numbers: 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3 (only available in American roulette). Payout 6-to-1.
  • Line — A bet on six numbers that you make by placing chip(s) at the intersection of two rows, each containing three numbers. Payout 5-to-1.

Common outside bets and payouts

Outside bets are made outside of the main box and are broader. The most common outside bets, which, as you can see below, pay out less but give you a much better chance at winning.

  • Red or black — A bet on either the 18 red or 18 black numbers. Payout 1-to-1 or “even money.”
  • Odd or even — A bet on either the 18 odd numbers or 18 even numbers. Payout 1-to-1.
  • High or low — A similar bet on either 1-18 or 19-36. Payout 1-to-1.
  • Dozens — A bet on either 1-12, 13-24 or 25-36. Payout 2-to-1.
  • Column — A bet on a column of 12 numbers. Payout 2-to-1.

What is the house edge in roulette?

If you pay attention to those payouts and think a little about the odds, you can readily see how the casino — aka the house — has an edge over the player in roulette, much like in other casino games. If you’re playing American roulette and have a 1 in 38 chance of hitting a number, and the payout for doing so is only 35-to-1, that shows you a house edge.

Consider a bet on “red” (that is, the 18 red numbers) for which, if you win, you double your money (a payout of 1-to-1). In American roulette (with 0 and 00), you have an 18/38 chance of winning (47.37%). The “house” meanwhile has a 20/38 chance of you losing (52.63%). Subtract the first from the second, and you see that the house has about a 5.26% edge.

Interestingly, almost all roulette bets feature that same 5.26% edge for the house in American roulette. The house edge is less in European roulette, with only one zero space. In European roulette, the house edge is only 2.7%.

There is only one common bet in American roulette where the house edge is considerably more, the “basket” bet on 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3 that pays 6-to-1. For that bet, the house edge is close to 7.9%, which makes a basket bet generally a poor choice.

Roulette betting strategies and other tips

First, a disclaimer – there is no actual “roulette strategy” that can increase your chances of winning at roulette.

If you search roulette online, you’ll find many people promoting “systems” or other ways to “beat” roulette and guarantee yourself a profit. These sometimes include the “cover the table” strategy of placing numerous inside and outside bets at once, which increases the amount you wager but does not affect the house edge. Or the martingale roulette strategy that involves doubling your wager and betting again after each loss, a system not exclusive to roulette.

However, none of these systems or strategies guarantee success in roulette, despite what their proponents might claim.

Roulette is not like poker, blackjack or other casino games that involve a skill element or at least a knowledge of probabilities that can help you make decisions that genuinely increase your chances of success. Roulette is truly a game of chance, with each spin of the wheel an entirely independent event from what happened before and what will happen next.

That said, we’ve already mentioned a couple of pieces of advice that can improve your odds at roulette.

  • With just one zero, European roulette offers better odds than American or double-zero roulette.
  • The “basket bet” offers a higher edge to the house than all other roulette bets.

We can add a couple of other tips that should at least improve your chances of enjoying roulette.

  • If you like to be a little more conservative when gambling, stick with outside bets (e.g., on red or black, odd or even, etc.). They have lower payouts, but you have a better chance of winning your bets.
  • If you like to gamble a little more and have a higher tolerance for risk, you might prefer inside bets (e.g., on individual numbers or multiple numbers). They pay more when you win, although you won’t win as often.

Understanding the odds and payouts can also help you manage your bankroll when playing roulette. You should always gamble responsibly and never gamble beyond your means or with funds you cannot afford to lose. Knowing which bets are long shots and which have shorter odds can help you gauge expectations, giving you a better idea of how long your funds will last.


There are many ways to play both in-person and online roulette in New York. If you decide to try roulette, now you have a good idea of how the game is played, the odds and payouts, and how best to understand and enjoy the game.

FAQ about how to play roulette online in NY

It depends on what type of roulette bet you are placing. As discussed above, in American roulette (for instance), if you bet on “red” you have an 18 in 38 chance of winning. But if you bet on a single number, you have just a 1 in 38 chance of winning. Of course, the payouts in roulette are greater when your odds are worse.

As with any casino game, you can certain win money while playing online roulette, but you can lose it as well. Always play within your means and practice responsible gambling in New York or anywhere else you gamble.

Sticking with outside bets on red or black, odd or even, or high (1-18) or low (19-36) will give you the best chance of winning a single wager. Those bets pay out the least when you win them, but they have the highest probability of winning.

Each number on a roulette wheel has the exact same chance of winning, so the answer is really that no number wins most in roulette. It might seem like certain numbers win more than others, or that certain patterns suggest there might be some sort of roulette strategy to help improve your chances of winning.

Minimums and maximums depend on the particular table limits, although when playing roulette online you’ll usually find a wide range available. Indeed, when betting in online roulette you can usually play for much smaller amounts than you can live, even down to pennies or nickels a spin. As far as those limits go, when making an outside bet you usually have to bet at least the minimum for a single bet. However, when placing inside bets you can often split a minimum bet into multiple smaller bets (across multiple numbers, for instance).

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