Roulette Basics

Roulette is arguably one of the oldest games in the casino.  The modern American Roulette layout has been around since the 1800’s.  According to legend the game originated when Roman soldiers turned a chariot on its side and spun the wheel, wagering on which spoke would be nearest a predetermined spot on the chariot body.  However the game originated, it can be one of the most exciting games in the casino.  Movies like Casablanca and Indecent Proposal both have Roulette scenes.  Roulette is also a favorite game of fictional spy James Bond.  No doubt James likes to be the number seven.

From an outsider’s perspective, roulette is a game with a spinning wheel and a ball that is spun in the opposite direction.  Players attempt to guess which numbered slot on the wheel the ball will end up in.  The truth, though, is that roulette revolves around the bets. And there are plenty of options when it comes to betting at Roulette.

There are two categories of roulette bets: ‘inside bets’ and ‘outside bets’.

Outside Bets:

Bet Description Payout House Edge
Red or Black Bet on color of pocket. 1:1 5.26%
Even or Odd Bet on whether pocket is even or odd. 1:1 5.26%
Low 18 Bet on numbers 1 through 18. 1:1 5.26%
High 18 Bet on numbers 19 through 36. 1:1 5.26%
Dozens Bet Bet on 12 numbers in a row. 2:1 5.26%
Column Bet Bet on 12 numbers in a column. 2:1 5.26%


Inside Bets:

Bet Description Payout House Edge
Straight Up Bet on a single number. 35:1 5.26%
Split Bet on two connected numbers. 17:1 5.26%
Street Bet on three connected numbers. 11:1 5.26%
Corner Bet on four connected numbers. 8:1 5.26%
Basket Bet on 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3. 6:1 7.89%
Double Street Bet on ANY six numbers. 5:1 5.26%
The House Percentages above are based on an American, double-zero wheel. Did you notice a pattern in the tables above? That’s right. Every bet, other than the ‘basket’, has a house edge of 5.26%.

Outside Bets

The outside bets win fairly often because they are rather broad. To balance out this high win percentage, casinos have relatively small payouts for these bets compared to the inside bets.

Red or Black:

To make this kind of bet, you simply put your bet on either the red space or the black space. This kind of bet wins 47.37% of the time; not 50% because of the 0 and 00 pokets. This bet pays out 1:1 and is one of the simplest bets of the game.

Even or Odd:

This kind of bet is as simple as a red or black bet, and shares it’s 47.37% win percentage, and just like red or black, this has a 1:1 payout ratio. There are designated even or odd spaces on which to lay your bets.

Low 18:

The low 18 is a bet that the ball will stop in a pocket with a number 1 through 18. This bet also has a 47.37% win percentage and pays out 1:1.

High 18:

The high 18 bet is the opposite of the low 18. If the winning number is 19 through 36, then you win this bet. Otherwise you lose your money. This bet pays out 1:1 and carries the same 47.37% win percentage.

Dozens Bet:

The dozens bet is a bet that the winning number will fall within a range of 12 consecutive numbers. The numbers are broken into three dozens on which to bet. The first dozen is 1-12, the second dozen is 13-24, and the third dozen is 25-36. Each of these dozens has a win percentage of 31.58% but pays out 2:1.

Column Bet:

The column bet is a bet that the number will be in a one of the three columns (12 numbers in each) as displayed on the layout. These bets also have a 31.58% win percentage, and they pay out 2:1 just like the dozens bet.

  • Column 1: 1 – 4 – 7 – 10 – 13 – 16 – 19 – 22 – 25 – 28 – 31 – 34
  • Column 2: 2 – 5 – 8 – 11 – 14 – 17 – 20 – 23 – 26 – 29 – 32 – 35
  • Column 3: 3 – 6 – 9 – 12 – 15 – 18 – 21 – 24 – 27 – 30 – 33 – 36

Inside Bets

Unlike outside bets, inside bets are long shots. They don’t win very often but when they do, they pay very well. This combination of low win percentages with a high payout ratios is what characterizes the inside bets.

Straight Up:

This is a bet on a single number, and it is a pretty straightforward bet. If the ball comes to rest in that numbered pocket, you win and get paid 35:1! If any other number is hit, you lose your bet. Since there are 38 different pockets but the payout is only 35:1, there is a small house edge of 5.26%. If you are only playing one straight up bet at a time, you will probably have a pretty slow game as you will only win 2.63% of the time.


A ‘split’ bet is just like a straight up bet, but it covers two different, but connecting numbers. While you double your chances of winning, you take an equivalent hit on your pay out. Instead of getting 35:1 you will only receive 17:1. To make a split bet, place your chips on the line between the two numbers. This offers more exciting play than the straight up bet, but not by much since you will win only 5.26% of the time.


A street bet puts your money on three connecting numbers. You make this bet by laying your chips on the left line of a row of three (known as a street). This bet pays out 11:1 but will win 7.89% of the time. Not too high, but definitely higher than the straight up or the split.


A corner bet is placed on four different numbers, connected in the shape of a 2×2 square. To make a corner bet, you need to place your chips on the corner where all four numbers meet. The corner bet wins 10.53% of the time, but only pays out 8:1.


The ‘basket’ can only be played on the American wheel and is a bet on the 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3. This bet pays wins 13.16% of the time but only pays out 6:1. It has the worst house edge in the game at 7.89%.

Double Street:

The double street allows you to bet on six different numbers (two different streets). To place this bet, put your chips on the intersection of the two numbers at the end of the row. This bet wins 15.79% of the time and has a payout of 5:1

Other Options:

Roulette wheels come in two major varieties. In American roulette there are 38 different pockets, but in the European version there are only 37 pockets. The difference is that the American wheel has two ‘0’ pockets (one is ‘0’, the other is ’00’). This difference means that European wheels, have lower house edges.  If a European wheel is available you should always choose it over the American wheel.

Some, but not all, casinos offer a ‘surrender option’.  The surrender rule works in your favor by returning some or all of the player’s money if the ball happens to land on either the ‘0’ or ’00’ slots. However, this rule only applies if you are betting on the Outside even-money bets on the board – Red of Black, High or Low, or Odd or Even.

Roulette is an easy game to learn and play.  Because of its slow pace, it is an ideal game for Betting System players.  Wheel “clockers” and “trackers” are constantly monitoring Roulette games for biased wheels and “steerers,” dealers who can influence where the ball lands.  These are few and far between.  For the most part Roulette is a game of luck and solid Betting Systems, money management and discipline.   Here at High Roller Systems we have many Betting Systems that will perform very well at the Roulette wheel and other even-money games.  Why not try one out today?