Croupier holding a roulette ball above a roulette wheel.
Croupier holding a roulette ball above a roulette wheel.

Betting Guide: Roulette Wheel

Throughout history, humans have used wheels as a symbol of luck. 

From well-known game shows like Wheel of Fortune to the iconic roulette wheels in casinos, the association between these circular objects and the randomness of fate has intrigued, even fascinated, people across cultures and generations.

But as random as a game of roulette appears, roulette wheel variations can significantly affect the odds and outcomes of the game. 

If you’ve played in Las Vegas casinos, you’ve likely noticed that roulette wheels and tables vary in composition, structure, numbers, layout, and mechanics. How do these differences affect your betting decisions? 

Will understanding the nuances of the roulette wheel improve your overall gameplay in physical and online casinos? guides you through gameplay fundamentals, whether you're a beginner or an experienced roulette player. We provide practical tips to help you get ready for our online casino.

This article explains different roulette wheel variations, including their composition, structure, layout, and mechanics.

 Learn more about roulette strategies, including leveraging various roulette wheels' impact on betting options and outcomes.

Understand The Roulette Wheel

You likely have a fair grasp of roulette basics. After all, you’ve seen enough films where gamblers place piles of colored chips on a long, rectangular table. 

Roulette seems straightforward: you bet on a number (or numbers), the croupier (dealer) spins the wheel, releases a ball, and you wait if it hits your number. 

But roulette is slightly more complicated than that.

Whether playing roulette in web-based or in-person casinos, you can choose from several game variations, including classic (European), American, and French roulette. 

These roulette variants have different rules and wheel features, like fewer slots on the wheel.

The Perpetual Wheel

In the 17th century, celebrated French mathematician Blaise Pascal sought to devise a perpetual motion machine. He attempted to construct a device to disprove the theory that objects require external force to move.

Some say that even though Pascal didn’t intend to, his efforts to create the device might’ve led to the world’s first roulette machine. 

Some Other Possibilities

Some think that a medieval Dominican monk invented roulette.

Interestingly, the roulette wheel numbers total 666, making it more intriguing and giving the impression that roulette was the devil's game.

Still, others see Biribi, an Italian game of chance with 70 numbers in its layout, as a roulette prototype.

But Biribi did not use a wheel. Instead, the 70 numbers were printed on tickets mixed in a bag. The game operator then draws a number from the bag. 

Biribi was like a modern lottery in that setup where players could place single-number bets and potentially get a 64:1 payout. 

Way Deep Into The Past!

Wheel of Fortune is generally viewed as one of the earliest ancestors of roulette.

The ancient Romans themselves depict Fortuna, the mighty but fickle goddess of fortune, as standing upon the rota fortunae (the wheel of fortune).

This mysterious link between wheels and fate may explain why gambling enthusiasts flock to roulette wheels when playing in physical and online casinos.

Still, some say that the roulette concept originated in Ancient China. An ancient Chinese board game involves putting 37 animal figurines into a “magic” square with numbers adding up to 666.

The Wheel Of All Wheels

Another interesting theory gives credit to casino owner François Blanc for the invention of the game when he removed the double-zero box in 1843. However, at that time, the game had already been around for at least a century. Hence, his contribution was actually just an innovation.

Nevertheless, all these theories on the roulette wheel’s origins continue to amplify roulette’s appeal to some gamblers, making the roulette wheel an iconic casino symbol globally.

The Composition Of A Roulette Wheel

Standard physical roulette tables and wheels comprise a bowl, turret, rotor, and frets. These parts are typically made of metal, wood, or synthetic polymer.

Numbers On The Roulette Wheel Vs. Numbers On The Layout

The roulette wheel numbers follow a complex arrangement, even though they appear randomly distributed.

The table layout numbers are placed sequentially to make it more convenient for bettors to place bets.

American Roulette

Most tables in the United States have 38 numbered pockets or slots. 

American roulette wheels (also known as double-zero wheels) contain numbers 1 through 36 and two green pockets, one with a single zero "0" and the other has a double zero "00". 

How To Play American Roulette Wheel

An image of a typical American roulette table.

Standard roulette mechanics apply to American roulette wheels. After choosing a roulette table, each player will “trade” regular casino chips or cash with the croupier. 

Players will get chips of different colors to prevent confusion when receiving payouts.

As soon as all players receive their chips, they can make bets. These bets typically occur on the roulette table, displaying possible betting options.

European Roulette

European roulette has a wheel split into 37 pockets, numbered 1 to 36 and 0. The “0” slot is green, and the other 36 slots alternate between red and black.

European Roulette Wheel-Based Bets

Roulette games virtually offer the same betting options. These options fall into two primary categories:

  • Outside bets: The roulette wheel’s outer portion gives players better odds of success than the inside.

  • Inside bets: You place these bets on specific numbers and number combinations on the betting table's inner section. Betting on inside numbers is more risky because they have a low winning chance. Still, these inside bets could yield a bigger payout.

A Host Of Betting Options

Here are popular roulette betting options:

  • Straight: Lets you stake on a single number

  • Square: Requires four slots forming a square

  • Split: Combines two adjacent numbers on the roulette wheel

Other Bets

Here are other roulette bets:

  • Red/black numbers

  • Odd/even numbers

  • High/low bets

The Logic Of The Roulette Wheel Layout

Roulette wheels often have the following features:

  • Wheels are placed inside bowl-shaped containers with grooves at the top to allow the ball to spin smoothly.

  • Outside rims have one (“0”) or two (“0” and “00”) green pockets

  • The numbers are jumbled. Other than alternating black and red, they don’t show any discernible pattern. 

  • The lowest part of the wheel — the area where the ball will eventually land — features small numbered slots of black and red, equally spaced and separated by sharp barriers, preventing the ball from landing on two slots simultaneously.

  • The wheel’s design ensures no bet on the table is favored, whether odd or even, red or black, or one column or another.

Online roulettes often show the same features and don’t favor specific numbers.

Two Interesting Asymmetries Of The European Roulette Layout

If you divide the circumference in half from zero, the left side will have all the red/high numbers and black/low numbers. Meanwhile, the right half will have low/red and high/black numbers.

Construction And Trustworthiness

Sometimes a wheel appears “biased” due to a particular mechanical problem. After all, the wheel is a machine made from plastic, wood, and metal.

To maintain a roulette wheel’s trustworthiness, casinos regularly examine and analyze table results with sophisticated equipment to detect irregularities.

Online casinos also do regular roulette check-ups, but instead of checking for physical defects, they ensure that the algorithm gives arbitrary results.

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Roulette Manufactures

Here are two well-known roulette manufacturers:

  • B.C. Wills & Co and Caro: This company is a pioneer of modern gaming in America.  They provide gaming supplies like roulette wheels, casino cabinets, tables, and furniture. Caro represents Briotet company, a French manufacturer that dominated the 1920s.

  • Huxley: This manufacturer was established in the United Kingdom in 1979. Huxley offers security, a gambling system, and live or electronic gaming (including table games, layouts, playing cards, chips, and displays).

Types Of Pockets

Roulette wheel pockets aren’t identical. For instance, many land-based casinos have roulette wheels with shallow pocket pads that provide a broader ball scatter which many casinos prefer.

Curved frets usually keep the ball within the pocket. Still, they can’t stop the ball from moving out and changing positions perfectly. For this reason, some manufacturers have created roulette wheels with curved pockets. 

However, even with this improved design, players can still find it challenging to make a correct pick because the ball can still go out of the pocket it initially landed on.

Problems With The Wheels

Many land-based roulette wheels have a shelf-life that depends on their use and maintenance. Some players try to exploit faulty wheels.

But you don’t have to worry about wheel bias, as casinos, whether physical or web-based, have in-house technicians who regularly monitor roulette equipment to ensure fair play.

Deceleration Rates And The Effect On Gameplay

The ball’s deceleration rate gradually changes over time. This shift is usually due to air pressure changes or ball or ball track friction. 

Consider these changes to ensure your predictions can easily reach the winning number. You might keep an edge if you adjust your strategy for ball deceleration rate changes.

The Roulette Ball

Standard roulette balls include ⅝-inch, ¾-inch, ⅜-inch, and ½-inch balls. But most modern casinos use ⅝-inch or ¾-inch balls. In addition, these balls are usually made of Teflon (a type of plastic) or ivorine (man-made imitation ivory).

Ivorine balls are bouncy and unpredictable, but they’re usually manufactured with higher precision than Teflon balls.

The Game

No matter the wheel or table layout, roulette gameplay generally follows the same process:

  • You exchange your casino chips or cash for the colored chips unique to roulette.

  • You bet your chips on any number. (For physical roulette, you can ask the dealer to place them if you can’t reach the slot.)

  • The dealer or croupier spins the wheel counterclockwise and releases the ball.

  • A “no more bets” will be announced when the ball slows down.

  • The ball stops at the winning color or number.

  • The dealer places a marker on the top of the winning chips and rakes in all the chips from losing bets.

Post-COVID-19 pandemic, many casino enthusiasts avoid close-quarters betting. One trend emerged from this scenario: semiautomated (electronic) roulette.

This roulette lets gamblers play via an individual digital betting station. They bet by tapping a screen instead of pushing and stacking chips on the table. 

The rules and payouts remain the same. However, unlike online roulette, there’s still a dealer responsible for spinning the roulette wheel and bouncing a white ball. 

Due to its smaller size and the fact that manually counting out winnings is the most time-consuming task the croupier has, minimum betting limits are often lower for electronic than for full roulette games.

How Do You Drastically Increase Your Chances Of Winning?

Perhaps it's a stretch to call it a roulette “strategy,” but having a betting plan is crucial to improve your chances of winning and avoid blowing your bankroll quickly.

Don’t think of roulette as a single-play game. While there’s no foolproof technique to win every spin, you could improve your chances of achieving an overall win by minimizing risk.

Remember to stay realistic when playing this popular game of chance. Approach roulette with the awareness that roulette is a luck-based casino game.

Good thing you can limit your gambling activities on to help ensure you don’t go overboard with your budget.

Don’t Always Bet On The Same Numbers

In any table game, sticking with your favorite move is tempting, especially if you’ve succeeded with that strategy. 

But that’s not always the best option. You will face different situations, and you will need to adapt accordingly.

Consider diversifying your bets. For example, you could choose low numbers for one play and higher ones for the next spin.

Observe how previous rounds have played out, and once you’ve got a clearer picture, you can inform your betting decisions.

Have A Clear Strategy For How Much You’ll Bet

Undoubtedly, your first few times playing roulette will be thrilling. But if you don’t play responsibly, you may run into problems in the future. 

For instance, some players chase losses hoping to win bigger, which only worsens their situation. So, decide how much to bet beforehand when playing a roulette game. 

Set a budget for the entire game and plan how much you'll wager each round. Don't let your ego or emotions override your logic.

Play For Free Beforehand

The free-play option at online roulette sites is a great way to improve your skills. The free games can help you learn about the following:

  • Roulette wheel 

  • Payout structure 

  • Live dealers during live roulette 

  • Table structure offers many online casino games. These feature a live dealer and human players, combining the best land-based and online casino experiences.   

Free-play roulette accounts with demo money can help you if you’re a beginner. Additionally, you can learn different betting systems before playing high-roller games.

Don’t Overthink Your Bets

Despite being a luck-based game, roulette, like many table games, can benefit from rational and logical thinking. So, weighing your options for a few minutes before placing your bets is a good habit.

You’ll make better decisions when you’re calm and mentally stable. Overthinking creates unnecessary stress and can be counterproductive.

Generally speaking, it's better to make and stick to a move. If you fail, learn from your experience and use what you've learned to improve next time.

Don’t Feel the Need to Go Big

Some players win big in casino roulette, but remember that these cases are usually exceptional. The truth is that most roulette players don’t win or win less than they expected.

You might think choosing long odds is a good strategy since they offer big payouts. But they’re called long odds for a reason: you must wait a long time and invest more money before you win them.

While you can occasionally throw risky bets, you should not go big on every spin. If you do, you’ll likely drain your hard-earned money faster than you may realize.

It may be true that the more bets you make, the likelier you will win. Unfortunately, placing more (or higher) bets doesn’t make for smart play. 

If you want to dabble in a few inside bets, go ahead. But focus on finding opportunities to win, even if it’s a small win. If you want to win at roulette long-term, you should be consistent.

Choose The Right Roulette Table

There are three standard table layouts in roulette. Each differs, and if you play enough games, you’ll likely discover that some games suit you better. These popular roulette variations are American, European, and French roulette.

You will often encounter these tables at land-based casinos. If you prefer to gamble online, many websites provide these options.

Playing various roulette tables to identify the ones you’re comfortable with is a good strategy for a newbie roulette player. After you've gained a decent level of experience, you can choose what suits you best.

Learn Multiple Strategies

Learning one strategy at a time is a helpful tip for beginners to play roulette. But pigeonholing yourself as you progress in the game is a terrible practice. 

If you stay a one-trick pony, you’ll find it tough to adapt when things don’t go your way – and you’re less likely to win.

Eventually, as you learn more about roulette, adding a couple of strategies to your arsenal will be helpful. 

You can play roulette in several ways, and you’ll find several resources to help you determine your best strategies.

You can test new tactics on free games to know how well they work. Once familiar with them, you can play a game where you can bet real money.

How The Casino Gets Its Edge

Casinos get an advantage (house edge) at roulette bets by paying out bets at less than true odds. For instance, a single-number bet with a 37:1 (American roulette) or 36:1 (European roulette) odds is only paid 35:1 if it wins.

Legitimate roulette is luck-based. So it is best to play roulette at licensed gaming sites offering fair odds, like

How Did A College Professor Win $8 Million At Roulette Over 5 Years?

Between 1964-1969, Dr. Richard Jarecki, then a medical professor at the University of Heidelberg, won $8 million from playing roulette at different casinos. 

Though many consider roulette a purely luck-based game, Jarecki believed he could “beat” it.

Jarecki observed that roulette wheels, like other machines, showed wear and tear after some time. 

He noticed that casinos replaced cards and dice with fresh sets every night — but the expensive roulette wheels often remained in service for a long time before being replaced.

In time, minor defects, like dents, chips, scratches, and unlevel surfaces, can cause some roulette wheels to “favor” specific numbers.

So what did Jarecki do after noticing these details? He went to work. On top of his job, he spent countless hours in various casinos, manually recording thousands of spins and analyzing them for anomalies.

He used these findings to develop a rough outline of a system for predicting where the ball would land based on previous winning numbers.


1. What Number Hits The Most In Roulette?

Roulette is a luck-based casino game that doesn’t favor any number.

Some claim particular numbers like “lucky number seven” land more often than others on the roulette wheel. In reality, each number has an equal chance of winning. 

2. What Is A Roulette Table?

This table has two primary features:

  • Squares show colors and numbers corresponding to the roulette wheel's black, red, and green slots. 

These pockets are collectively called inside bets. They take up more than half the layout's space.

Unlike the randomized wheel numbers, the table numbers follow a sequential order.

  • Bars usually surround the outer rows of sequential numbers.

3. What Is The Strategy Of The Roulette Wheel?

Like other risky activities, the best strategy for playing roulette is minimizing potential losses. Hence, it’s a good practice to prefer betting the table minimum and playing outside bets.

You can also place two bets of the same amount on two outside bets: one bet on an even-money play and another on a dozen or column bet that offers a 2:1 payout.

Roulette is a game of chance, so you’re at the mercy of luck for most of the play. 

While you can follow some steps to make your money last and increase your chances of winning, no magic system guarantees success at roulette. 

4. Is Roulette A 50-50 Chance?

You’ve got a “50-50 chance” of winning even-money plays, including red/black bets. Previous spin results don’t affect the next spin of the roulette wheel. In short, roulette spins are random.

5. What Is The Best Bet To Make On A Roulette Wheel?

The best bet depends on what you’re looking for in a bet. Outside bets are preferable if you want higher odds of winning with less payout. 

On the other hand, inside bets offer lower chances of winning but bigger payouts.

Roulette players can stake various bets at a range of payoffs on the outcome of the ball landing in one of the pockets. 

6. What is the highest winning roulette strategy?

You can’t manipulate roulette outcomes. So, if by “highest winning strategy” you mean a roulette technique that can influence the ball or the wheel in your favor, there’s no such strategy.

That said, many believe the Martingale strategy is arguably the best roulette game plan you could use. This approach stems from the idea that you should double the size of the next bet in case of a loss until you eventually break even.

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1. Blaise Pascal

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