Roulette Guide

From the spit and sawdust saloons of old-world Las Vegas to the sophistication and glamor of Le Casino de Monte Carlo, roulette is a game that’s fascinated millions of gamblers for over 200 years, many looking to follow in the footsteps of the infamous English gambler Charles Wells who ‘broke the bank’ in Monte Carlo.


Whether Mr. Wells actually broke the bank remains unproven as some say it was just a publicity stunt by the casino. Given that he was a convicted fraudster who was the inspiration for Charles Ponzi’s investment scam, you can understand the suspicion surrounding the story’s authenticity.

roulette guide

What is Roulette

Roulette is a game of pure chance, not skill, and the objective is simply to bet on the number you think the roulette ball will land in. The croupier, or dealer, spins the roulette wheel in one direction and then spins the ball inside the wheel’s rim, in the opposite direction. Once the ball lands in one of the numbered slots, losing bets are cleared and winning bets are paid.

The game is mostly available in two versions:

  • American Roulette consists of 38 numbered slots of 1-36 plus a single zero (0) and a double zero (00).
  • European Roulette consists of 37 numbered slots of 1-36 plus a single 0.


Each bet pays out exactly the same odds on both games. The difference is that American Roulette’s additional zero results in the house gaining a further advantage as the probability of your selected number winning is less.

As an example, if you place a $1 bet on the number 7 and it wins, you will receive back $35 plus your original stake for a total of $36 on both games.

American Roulette vs European Roulette RTP

The return to player in European roulette is almost 3% higher than in American Roulette. The extra zero on the American Roulette wheel almost doubles the house’s edge. American Roulette is the primary game offered in US land based casinos for low and medium stakes with European Roulette reserved for VIP or high stakes players who simply will not accept the less favorable American Roulette.

For this reason, it’s advisable to choose European Roulette over the American version at any given opportunity!

  • European Roulette: 1 in 37 chance, paying 35-1 (house edge of 2.7%)
  • American Roulette: 1 in 38 chance, paying 35-1 (house edge of 5.26%)

Online Roulette

Where very little innovation occurred since its creation well into the new millenium, roulette is now one of the most exciting online casino games available with many variations being released frequently.

Thankfully, online gambling breaks down most borders and US players can now access games available to other players from around the world.

How Does Online Roulette Work

Online roulette is offered as a Random Number Generated game where the winning result is generated by an algorithm and the wheel is displayed by animated graphics, or as a Live Dealer Casino game where real dealers spin real wheels and balls which are streamed in HD quality video from a studio which houses thousands of tables.

RNG roulette is one of the original online varieties on offer, with the most popular titles of European Roulette and 3D Roulette that have stood the test of time and keep regular players coming back for more.

There is also a new hybrid style of roulette from Real StudiosTM which plays pre-recorded video clips of a live dealer spinning the wheel and ball and the result is determined by an RNG. Players can choose which dealer they would like to spin the wheel including Holly, Rishi, Dave, Sarati and even ex-soccer star and Hollywood hardman, Vinnie Jones!

Lightning Roulette

One of the most exciting Live Dealer Roulette games to be released in recent years is Lightning Roulette from Evolution which offers enhanced odds on winning numbers of up to 500x. The wheel and table are based on the more favorable single zero European Roulette.

During each spin, between one and five numbers are selected as ‘Lucky Numbers’.

A random number generator then creates enhanced odds for each of these numbers from 50x up to 500x. If one of those Lucky Numbers wins, players who have a bet on it will receive the enhanced odds, for example:

Lucky Numbers Enhanced Odds
5 100x
13 50x
27 300x
33 500x


In the above example, if you bet $3 on number 5 and 5 is the winning number, you will win $300 ($3 x100). If you have $3 bet on number 27 and it wins, you’ll win $1,500 ($3 x 500). Each number has the same chance of winning. However, the payouts can vary wildly!

To enable such enhanced odds, there is always going to be a trade off and in this instance, winning bets that are not enhanced odds will be paid at 30-1 instead of the standard 35-1. Note that enhanced odds only apply to bets placed Straight Up (on the number) and do not apply to any other bets (such as Splits, Corners, Streets and Even Money bets of Red and Black etc).

XXXtreme Lightning Roulette

Not content with creating a groundbreaking and adrenaline inducing variation of roulette never seen before, Evolution have also released XXXtreme Lightning Roulette which generates enhanced odds of up to 2,000x.

While Evolution has led the way in innovation, many other live casino game providers are now catching up lost ground with Pragmatic Play, Playtech, Ezugi and Authentic Gaming all producing their own variations of Live Dealer Roulette.

Roulette Strategy

Even though roulette is a game of chance, there are still some roulette strategies players believe will give them an edge. Some of the strategies promise better payouts while others guarantee returns. However, the truth is that you can only win in the short term. If you want to learn more about the ways to increase your edge short term, check out our Roulette Strategies guide.


Riku is the Editor in Chief at BonusFinder and is a global expert in casino, sports betting and poker.