Guide to Roulette Strategy

Roulette Wheel IconRoulette 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 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 were allowed to play at the time.
Roulette Wheel
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 which 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 nothing 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.
Roulette Bets Table

Outside Bets
Bet Name Payout Description
Column Bet 3:1 Betting on one of the three columns on the betting table
Dozen Bet 3:1 Betting on either 1-12, 13-24, or 25-36
Even/Odd Bet 2:1 Betting on even or odd, zero loses
Red/Black 2:1 Betting on Red or Black
Low/High 2:1 Betting on either low (1-18) or high (19-36)
Inside Bets
Bet Name Payout Description
Straight Up 36:1 Betting on one number. High risk, high reward
Split Bet 17:1 Betting on one of two adjacent numbers
Street Bet 12:1 Betting on a row of three numbers from the betting table
Corner Bet 8:1 Betting on one of four numbers in a sequence
Double Street 5:1 Betting on two rows of three numbers form the betting table

What Is the Best Bet for Roulette?

There isn’t an 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 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!

Bet American Odds European Odds
Straight Up 2.6% 2.7%
Split 5.3% 5.4%
Street 7.9% 8.1%
Corner 10.5% 10.8%
Double Street 15.8% 16.2%
Column 31.6% 32.4%
Dozen 31.6% 32.4%
Even/Odd 47.4% 48.6%
Red/Black 47.4% 48.6%
Low/High 47.4% 48.6%

Top Betting Systems for Roulette Players

The 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! Below, we talk about:

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 from the times you 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 it starts with one and goes 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 number. 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.