Ultimate Strategy Guide to Playing Roulette

Roulette Wheel With Casino Lights Background

Roulette is one of the few gambling games that have stood the test of time. It’s considered one of the classic games, and has been widely available for over 100 years.

It’s really a simple game that keeps things interesting because there are so many betting options and it uses a different mechanic than most other gambling games. This special mechanic is a spinning wheel and an ivory ball.

Roulette isn’t a game that is considered a strategy game, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t use a simple strategy to improve your odds. In this shortcut guide you’re going to learn everything you need to know about roulette strategy.

Bet Options

Roulette has more betting options than most gambling games. You can bet on a single number or almost half the numbers at one time using color, odd or even, or 1 to 18 or 19 to 36, and just about anything in between.

If you want to bet on two numbers you can, as long as they’re beside each other or one on top of the other on the table. You can bet on any three number row or on four numbers by placing a bet on the corner shared by all four. You can bet on groups of 12 numbers by betting on 1 to 12, 13 to 24, or 25 to 36, or by betting on one of the three columns.

You can even make a special bet called a basket bet on the first row and the single zero on a European or French wheel or the first row, the single zero, and the double zero on an American wheel.

Closeup of a Roulette Table

But at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what bet you choose to make when you play roulette. With the exception of the basket bet on an American wheel, all of the bets have the exact same house edge. The payouts vary based on the odds of winning the bet you make, but all of the payouts in comparison to the odds produce the same house edge percentage.

The basket bet on an American roulette wheel has a higher house edge than the other. As you’re getting ready to learn, you should never play on an American roulette wheel, but if you do, you should never make the basket bet. Any other available betting option is better than the basket bet.

The Only Thing That Matters

The only thing that matters when it comes to betting on roulette is how many spaces are on the wheel. An American roulette wheel has 38 spaces, which includes a double zero space. European and French roulette wheels have 37 spaces because they don’t have a double zero space.

When you gamble on a roulette wheel with 38 spaces, the house edge is 5.26% on every wager except the basket bet that I mentioned in the last section. When you gamble on a roulette wheel with 37 spaces, the house edge is 2.7%.

Clearly, the only type of roulette you should ever consider playing is a game on a single zero wheel with only 37 spaces. This is the ultimate roulette strategy shortcut.

Always play on a wheel with only 37 spaces.

Recently roulette wheels with a triple zero space have been popping up. These wheels are even worse than wheels with a double zero space. The house edge on roulette wheels like these with 39 spaces is 7.69%.

Funny French Rules

Some roulette games have one of two special rules that you need to know about. These rules are only available on some single zero games, and some players call it a French roulette wheel. The two special rules are called En Prison and La Partage.

La Partage is a rule that gives you back half of any even money wager you place when the ball lands on the zero space. Even money bets are the ones that pay 1 to 1, including bets on red, black, even, odd, 1 to 18, and 19 to 36. This rule cuts the house edge on even money wagers from 2.7% to 1.35%.

The En Prison rule is somewhat like the La Partage rule. It only applies to even money bets, and when the ball lands on the zero space the even money bet is neither won nor lost. The bet stays in place and is resolved on the next spin.

Roulette wheels with either of these rules are rare. In the United States these wheels are very hard to find, and if you do fin done it’s likely to be in a high limit room where large minimum bets are required.

These rules are more common in Europe, but they still aren’t regularly found anywhere except in France. This is why many players call games using these rules French roulette.

If you can find a roulette game using one of these rules, you should play on it and stick with even money bets. This is the best roulette game you can possibly find.

Is Roulette Your Best Option?

I understand that some people simply like to play roulette, and it’s fine if you land in this category. If you simply have to play roulette, stick with a single zero wheel and make the smallest bets you can on every spin of the wheel. This is the only way to make your bankroll last longer.

The casino has quite a few options that offer a lower house edge than roulette, even if you play a single zero wheel. If you’re looking for games with simple strategy, baccarat and craps both offer bets with a lower house edge than roulette.

If you’re willing to use a little more strategy, blackjack and video poker both offer opportunities to play with a house edge under 1%.

And if you’re willing to invest a great deal of time and effort into strategy, poker variations like Texas holdem and Omaha offer a chance to win in the long run.

Online Roulette Considerations

Real money online roulette games are the same as the ones you play in land based casinos. But they do offer a few advantages that you don’t find when you play in your local casino. Here’s a list of the reasons why playing online roulette can be better than playing land based casino roulette.

Bonus offers – Roulette is one of the many gambling games that have a hard house edge. A hard hose edge means that in the long run it’s impossible to win. You might win sometimes, but overall you’re going to lose more than you win.

Anytime you gamble with a hard house edge, it means that the more you play the faster you lose. When this happens your bankroll shrinks and you either have to stop playing or you have to add money to your bankroll.

Closeup of Roulette Wheel and Chips

At many online casinos you can get a bonus when you make a deposit to play roulette. A common bonus is a 100% match on your deposit, so if you deposit $500 you get $1,000 total for your bankroll. With everything else being equal, this means you can play twice as long on the same amount of money with a 100% deposit bonus.

Pace of play – One of the things you have no control over when you play roulette in a land based casino is the pace of play. The number of spins per hour is pretty much the same no matter what you do. The only thing you can do is stop playing if you want to play fewer spins per hour.

When you play online you have complete control over the pace of play. You can play as slow as you want or as fast as you want. In fact, you can play many more spins per hour playing roulette online than you can in a land based casino.

But the best option is to play slower than when you play in a land based casino. This slows your losses and makes your bankroll last longer.

No travel – Every time you travel to a land based casino you have expenses. When you play online, or on a mobile device, you save on these expenses because you don’t have to travel. This isn’t a huge savings in most cases, but every little bit that you save can be added to your bankroll.

Table minimums – The minimum bet at most online roulette tables is much smaller than at land based roulette tables. If you stick to the table minimum bet you can play much longer on the same amount of money. This is a big advantage that online roulette offers.


The ultimate roulette strategy shortcut is simply to make sure you always play on a single zero roulette wheel. If you can find a wheel using one of the French rules and stick to even money bets you’re even better off.

For the best use of your bankroll, play online roulette with a bonus and stick with table minimum wagers. This extends your bankroll as far as possible, and can add hours of fun to your gambling journey.