Guide to Roulette Strategy

Roulette is one of the most beloved casino games of all time, and you’ll be able to find a roulette wheel in any casino across the US.

But how do you, the gambling enthusiast, take a game that is largely based on chance and turn it into something profitable?

That’s where strategy comes in. Whether you’re a fan of playing it safe and waiting for the perfect moment or you go all-in every time, there’s a strategy to win roulette for you.

But before we get into that, here’s a bit of background to set the stage. If you want to jump to a certain topic on this page just use the links below.

What Is Roulette?

The origins of Roulette date back to the 18th century and a man named Blaise Pascal. The first roulette wheel was constructed by a French engineer, mathematician, and physicist Blaise Pascal in 1765. It is believed that he invented it as a result of his fascination with games of chance. He initially called it “The King’s Game” or “Le Jeu de Roi” because only royalty was allowed to play at the time.

Roulette wheels are now found all over casinos around the world; they come in many different shapes and sizes depending on where you play them. But there are some standard features that can be found on any roulette wheel: a spinning disk (known as the rotor), a spinning ball (known as the projectile), and a number grid that is divided into 37 or 38 numbered slots.

Types of Roulette

As you can see, roulette has been around for a long time. As the goals of players and casinos changed, new variations of roulette began to appear. Today, there are three primary roulette variations, and a bunch of roulette spin-offs (get it?) that are primarily found at online gambling sites.

 

American Roulette

The American Roulette wheel is the most popular roulette wheel in USA casinos. It has a single-zero slot and a double-zero slot. The House Edge for American Roulette sits at about 5.3%.

 
 

European Roulette

This variation is popular among casino-goers because it only has one zero slot, bringing the House Edge down to about 2.6%. European Roulette can be found in casinos across the country. And if you’re looking for the best odds, you should play European Roulette over its American counterpart.

 
 

French Roulette

French Roulette is much harder to find at land-based and online casinos alike. This is because French Roulette offers what’s known as the “la partage” and “en prison” roulette rules which are beneficial to players. “La partage” states that if the ball lands on the zero slot, players only have to forfeit half of their bet to the house.

People Sitting at a French Roulette Table


The “en prison” rule states that if you bet on even/odd and the ball lands on the zero, the dealer can place your bet “in prison.” If you land your bet on the next spin, you get your imprisoned bet back. If you fail to make your bet, the house takes your imprisoned bet. French Roulette isn’t very profitable for casinos, so you’ll be hard-pressed to find this variation in the US.

 

Other Variations of Roulette

With the rise of online casinos and other real money gambling sites, developers have started to offer new takes on this classic game. Some variations add extra roulette wheels or extra balls, expanding the betting possibilities. Others combine roulette with other popular games, like bingo. It’s worth noting that the roulette strategies we talk about here aren’t meant to be applied to all the online variations, and instead should be used for classic types like American or European Roulette.

Understanding Roulette Bets

Anyone who has ever seen a movie with James Bond in it knows the basics of roulette: place your bets, spin the wheel and watch as fate decides where you will win or lose.

However, you have to understand all the kinds of bets for roulette before you start strategizing your playstyle. There are two primary kinds of bets in roulette.

The outside bets are placed on a large selection of numbers. These bets have lower payouts than inside bets, but they are less risky.

Inside bets are made on a smaller selection of numbers. These are the high-risk, high-reward bets.

Outside Bets
Bet NamePayoutDescription
Column Bet3:1Betting on one of the three columns on the betting table
Dozen Bet3:1Betting on either 1-12, 13-24, or 25-36
Even/Odd Bet2:1Betting on even or odd, zero loses
Red/Black2:1Betting on Red or Black
Low/High2:1Betting on either low (1-18) or high (19-36)
Inside Bets
Bet NamePayoutDescription
Straight Up36:1Betting on one number. High-risk, high reward
Split Bet17:1Betting on one of two adjacent numbers
Street Bet12:1Betting on a row of three numbers from the betting table
Corner Bet8:1Betting on one of four numbers in a sequence
Double Street5:1Betting on two rows of three numbers from the betting table

What Is the Best Bet for Roulette?

There isn’t a be-all and end-all bet in roulette that everyone should play; otherwise, everyone would play it!

However, we can tell you that the straight-up bet has the best payout, but it is also the riskiest bet out there. If you’re looking to hit it big and you’re feeling lucky, this might be the bet for you.

But we recommend playing a bit more conservatively. Start with some outside bets to get your bankroll up, then you can try to hit inside bets.

The Roulette Bet You Should Never Use

One of the bets we haven’t talked about yet is known as the basket bet, or the five-number bet. This pesky little bet is only available in American Roulette, and it’s probably the worst bet for anyone to make.

When you play the basket bet, you are hoping to hit the 1, 2, 3, and both zeros.

Normally, the house edge for American Roulette is 5.3%, but paired with the basket bet, the house’s advantage increases to 7.9%. Out of all the roulette bets, this one does not favor the player.

What Are the Odds for Roulette?

The odds for roulette vary depending on what bet you’re placing and what variation of roulette you’re playing. Also, it’s worth noting that 50/50 bets like odd/even or black/red aren’t actually 50/50 bets. You have to consider the house edge, which decreases the 50/50 bet to about 47/63!

BetAmerican OddsEuropean Odds
Straight Up2.6%2.7%
Split5.3%5.4%
Street7.9%8.1%
Corner10.5%10.8%
Double Street15.8%16.2%
Column31.6%32.4%
Dozen31.6%32.4%
Even/Odd47.4%48.6%
Red/Black47.4%48.6%
Low/High47.4%48.6%

Top Betting Systems for Roulette Players

A roulette table is a place where fortunes are made and dreams are broken. It’s a world of great risk, high reward, and sometimes, high odds. The key to success in this environment is knowing the strategies that work best for you, while also learning when you need to bet with your head instead of the heart. In the end, it all comes down to your own unique personality and level of comfort within the game.

Thankfully, there are multiple betting systems for each level of play! 

 

The Martingale Betting System

This is one of the most popular and straightforward betting strategies out there. Designed to win back losses with a single bet, the Martingale takes advantage of how double-or-nothing systems work in roulette.

Here’s an example: Bet $5 on red (you lose), $5 bet on black (you win), $5 bet on red (you lose), $10 bet on black (you win), $10 bet on red (you lose) …. etc.

The idea behind the Martingale betting system is simple: You’ll always be gaining money from your wins, and losing small amounts when you do lose. And in the long run, your wins will cover all of your losses.

The only problem is that it doesn’t always work. If a streak of blacks comes up in roulette, you’ll sweat losing several bets in a row, and there’s no guarantee that they’ll come back to balance out before double zero hits. Since you’ll be sitting at the roulette table for a long time, it’s probably a good idea to find one with low betting limits.

 
 

The Reverse Martingale Betting System

Much like the name implies, this betting system takes the principle of Martingale and flips it on its head. Where you double your bet upon a loss in Martingale, while using Reverse Martingale you only increase your bet when you win.

For example: $5 bet (you lose), $5 bet (you win), $10 bet (you win), $20 bet, etc.

This betting system makes more sense to newer players. Instead of throwing all your money at losing bets, you only increase your bets when you win. The correlation between winning and increasing bets makes logical sense, and the Reverse Martingale is a good roulette betting strategy for new or cautious players.

 
 

The Paroli Betting System

This betting system calls for a simple increase in your bet after every loss you suffer. It’s very similar to the Martingale in that it allows you to devote all of your efforts into just one bet. But it avoids some of the pitfalls that come with Martingale because it increases in smaller increments.

Here’s how it works: Bet $5 (you lose), $6 bet (you win), $6 bet (you lose), $7 bet (you win) …and so on.

The beauty of the Paroli system is that it allows you to lock in a profit on a win, all while limiting your losses to a very small number if you lose. It’s also kinder on the size of your bets than Martingale and adapts quicker for differences in betting limits.

 
 

The D’Alembert Betting System

This system is designed to handle unbalanced fluctuations with its built-in protection against streaks and groupings of numbers. It takes a slightly more optimistic approach than Martingale because it allows for the possibility that your bet could fail several times before you get back to even footing.

Here’s an example: Bet $1 (you lose), $2 bet (you win), $3 bet (you lose), $2 bet (you win), $4 bet (you lose) ….and so on.

The D’Alembert system is considered to be one of the best because it allows you to stumble forward over multiple bets until you’ve reached the black or red number needed for a win. It’s also less jarring for players at lower betting limits because you can stay in the game for longer without placing large bets.

 
 

The Fibonacci Betting System

This system is named for its similarity to the mathematical sequence of numbers. If you’re not familiar with Fibonacci numbers, let’s just say that they start with one and go up in incrementing order by adding the previous two numbers together.

Here’s an example: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13…

The Fibonacci betting system is a kind of hybrid between the D’Alembert and Martingale strategies. It uses a modified approach to increase bets after wins, but it also has an element of doubling up included. You can only increase your bet if you win, and if you lose a bet, you have to restart at the lowest bet.

In our example: Bet $1 (you lose), $1 bet (you win), $2 bet (you lose), $1 bet (you win), $2 bet (you win), $3 bet (you win), $5 bet (you win) ….and so on.

This strategy is ideal for players who want to give Martingale a try because it introduces doubling up between bets if the player feels confident enough in their luck. It also helps to make the betting process smoother for players at low limits because they can increase their bets gradually rather than in huge chunks.

 
 

The Labouchere System

This betting system is based on simple addition and is meant to be used on bets that return even money, such as the even/odd or black/red bets.

To work this system, you have to create a sequence of numbers, starting with the lowest betting limit.

For example, 1 – 2 – 3

Your first bet will be a combination of the first and last numbers. So, for the first round, you bet $4.

If you lose the first bet, you’ll add the 4 onto the sequence, so it’s now 1 -2 -3 -4. For your next bet, add the first and last numbers, in this case, the bet is $5.

If you lose, continue adding numbers to the end of the sequence.

But if you win, cross off the first and last numbers. So, if you win the $5 bet, the sequence would then just be 2-3. And since your bet is a combination of the first and last numbers, your bet would once again be $5.

If you win, the cycle is over, and you can choose to start again or walk away from the table. If you lose, you add the 5 onto the sequence and continue.

The Labouchere system is certainly a good system to use if you have the time and the bankroll to play over and over again. It allows players to walk away with more cash for fewer wins but can be tricky when the string of numbers gets inordinately long.

 

Other Betting Systems

There are a few other betting strategies out there that don’t involve much math. In fact, they’re lucky to be called strategies, because they have only a single rule.

The All-In strategy is exactly how it sounds. Players bet their bankroll on a single spin of the wheel, and then continue to do so if they win. A good addendum to this is if you happen to win the first bet, save your original bet and continue playing with your winnings. That way, if you lose, you’re not out any money.

The Problem With Betting Systems

When you describe roulette online betting systems like the ones listed above, it can seem like they’re foolproof. But the truth is that the expected payback for roulette, over time, never changes.

Barring any special rules, the house edge for European roulette (one zero on the wheel) is 2.7%. The house edge for American Roulette (two zeros on the wheel) is 5.3%.

No method that you use to place your bets can ever change that. Therefore, you can’t expect to gain any advantage over the long term with the three betting systems listed above, or any others, for that matter.

Table Limits

The big problem with the Martingale and James Bond systems is that many online roulette games features bet limits. In other words, if you lose a certain number of hands in a row, you might eventually run out of room to double your bet. When that happens, you can’t possibly cover what you’ve lost during your winning streak.

Speaking of winning streaks, you need them to succeed in playing with the Paroli system. And when they don’t come your way, your loss will eventually outweigh any streaks you did have.

Roulette Betting Systems and False Advertising

When you encounter a betting system online that promises a guaranteed return, you can be sure that you’re looking at a scam. After all, if there were a system that was guaranteed to work, you can bet that it wouldn’t be a secret hiding in the dusty corners of the internet. It would already have been exploited by savvy gamblers all over the world.

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The reason casinos and top gambling sites stay in business is because the games they offer allow them a built-in edge. No roulette betting system is going to be able to circumvent that in the long haul. Eventually, the odds will win out and you’ll be looking at a loss if you play the game long enough.

For that reason, don’t get fooled into believing unrealistic promises from someone offering a roulette betting system. Even more important, never pay for access to one of these systems. You’ll be throwing your money away if you do.

Roulette Bankroll Management

Roulette bankroll management refers to the way that you configure your bankroll and the size of your bets while playing. When you’re playing online, you have a little more control over your roulette bets because you can play at your own pace. It’s an important skill to learn so that you can enjoy yourself while playing roulette for real money and not have to worry about your gambling bankroll taking a hit.

When you’re playing online roulette, you won’t have much control over whether you’ll win individual spins. That will be decided by luck more than anything else. When you settle in to play online roulette, you should first decide what you want out of the game. That will help you determine the bankroll management you use. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much can I afford to lose?
  • How much do I need to bet to reach my target winnings?
  • How long am I hoping to play?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can start to look at the factors that will affect how much your bankroll goes up and down. Take a look at some of those factors:

  • Pace of game: When you’re playing roulette in a casino, you’re at the mercy of the table in terms of how fast the game will go. Most likely, you’ll be looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 to 40 spins per hour at most casinos.
  • Size of bets: When you’re playing online, the minimum bet tends to be a bit lower than it would be in a casino. You can make multiple bets each time the digital wheel gets spun. You should decide how much you’re comfortable betting on each spin in total, then divvy it up among all the bets you want to make.
  • House edge: One other thing you should consider when dealing with online roulette bankroll management is the house edge. That’s the amount that you’re expected to lose while playing the game. You have to imagine that you’ll be losing that percentage and multiply it by the amount in your bankroll. That will help you know how much of your bankroll you might exhaust in your session.

Real Money Roulette vs. Free Roulette

There are two primary ways to enjoy online roulette. You can play for real money or for free with absolutely no money on the line. Each comes with its own set of pros and cons as you will see in the chart below. We will let you decide which one is the best course of action for you and your enjoyment of the game.

Online Roulette

Real Money Roulette Free Roulette
Players can win real money. There is no signup process to use free play roulette. No downloads, setup, or registration required.
Players can use bonuses and promotions as well as use the benefits and perks of the casino’s rewards program. There is no money on the line, making this version much more leisurely and laid back.
There is a better variety of games available when you play for real money. With no signup, players can enjoy playing roulette anonymously. They do not need to share any personal information.
Players can take part in tournaments from time to time. Free play roulette is perfect for getting to know the game and its rules.
You will find many games with low limits if you are not looking to play for high stakes. The game options will be far more limited with free play roulette versus real-money roulette.
There is the chance of losing money so real money roulette can be more stressful. You will not be able to win real money prizes or earn perks and benefits through the site’s VIP program or loyalty scheme.
The gameplay can be exciting with money on the line. You will not be able to use bonus codes playing free play roulette.

Roulette Betting Tips

Our online roulette tips begin with a look at what you need to know in terms of gameplay. Online roulette resembles casino play, in that you’ll be betting on numbers on a board. A roulette wheel is spun with a ball inside, and if the ball lands in one of the spaces covered by your bets, you win.

Obviously, online roulette is a simulation of the actual casino experience. But gameplay is pretty much the same. Since that’s the case, here are some tips you need to remember:

  1. Choose European over American roulette: In standard American online roulette, the house edge sits at 5.3%. That number drops to 2.7% in the European version of the game. If you want to win the most money over the long haul, European Roulette is the way to go.
  2. Find games with Imprisonment or Surrender options: When an online roulette game allows imprisonment, you won’t lose your even-money bet immediately if the ball lands in a green space. Instead, the bet stays in place, or “in prison,” until the next spin. You could get the bet back if the next spin lands on whatever side of the even-money bet you covered, thus, giving you a chance to get out of prison and avoid a loss. Surrender comes into play in the same scenario, but it gives a different kind of betting relief. In this case, you would only lose half your original even-money bet if the ball lands on a green space instead of all of it. This lessens the loss for you on those “house” spins.
  3. Know how each spin works: One of the common misconceptions about roulette play is that gamblers think that they can somehow guess with any accuracy where the ball will land on specific spins. In terms of roulette wheels in casinos, they sometimes believe that they can tell based on previous spins. A so-called wheel bias gives them the edge, or so they claim. Even if that’s the case in casino roulette (and that’s iffy), there is no possible way for you to guess what’s going to happen in an online roulette spin. No number on an online roulette board is ever “due” and no pattern can ever really form. Every spin is completely independent and the chances of the ball landing in a specific space never change.

Roulette Strategy FAQs


  • The ingenious thing about online roulette is that it is set up so that each type of bet pretty much brings back the same expected return over the long haul. How you get to that return is where they differ. Variance levels differ depending on expected win percentage and size of payback.

    As a result, it’s not a matter of better or worse. It’s more about picking the bets that suit what you’re trying to accomplish. Once you figure that out, you can choose the bets that are right for you.

  • If you’re playing the American version of roulette, there is a bet known as a basket. You bet on numbers 00, 0, 1, 2 and 3. And you get paid back 6 to 1 if you win.

    Unfortunately, this is the one bet which features a lower expected payback than all the others on the board. If you make this bet, you’ll essentially be short-changing yourself in the long run. As a result, you should avoid it in favor of other bets on the board.

  • If you want to win as much real money as possible and you have the bankroll and resources to do so, we recommend the inside bets. There is a lot of risk tied up with these bets but there are also some huge payouts for those who correctly predict where that little white ball falls. If you are looking to win often and slowly build your bankroll up over time with small victories, we recommend placing outside bets. Another good strategy for winning more often is playing European or French roulette. They have a house edge of 2.70% compared to the high 5.26% found at the American roulette wheels.

  • The key here is remembering that you’re dealing with a random number generator. And the key word in that phrase is “random.” Trying to guess the results of any spin will be a sure way to come out disappointed.

    On any given spin, your chance of seeing a certain number as a winner is either 1 in 38 or 1 in 37, depending on how many spaces are on the wheel. Those odds do not change, regardless of whether the number hasn’t come up in the last 1,000 spins or if it has come up nine spins in a row. Don’t try to spot trends in online roulette, because they just don’t exist except by pure, unpredictable coincidence.

  • When you do research on online roulette, you’re bound to find dozens of betting systems that promise great results. In truth, there is no betting system that will change your odds of winning. All they do is disperse the money that you bet in different configurations.

    Of course, there might be a system that fits your budget and your betting preferences more than others. But it doesn’t mean that it will be any more successful for you in terms of your expected return. Don’t get any high hopes that a betting system can make much of a difference for your bottom line.