Roulette Bets Explained

The game of Roulette is popular for a plethora of reasons. To start off, it’s a relatively simple game and very easy to play. There are no complicated decisions to make and all you have to do is decide which bets you want to place, watch the wheel spin, and hope that the right number comes in for you.

The most complicated part of roulette is the large number of available bets that you can place. However, this is also one of the most appealing aspects of the game. With plenty of options, and no limit to the amount of different bets you can make, you can essentially control your risk versus reward ratio. You can go for wagers with big odds and try to land a big win, or you can take the lower odds and cover several possible outcomes to make getting some kind of return more likely.

Before you start playing roulette it’s a very good idea to familiarize yourself with all the different betting options available in the game. To help you do this we’ve listed each of the wagers you can place and explained a little bit about each one.

Outside Bets

The outside bets are the ones that cover certain groups of numbers and these are generally considered to be the safest options. The odds aren’t particularly high, but you stand a very good chance of getting a return. Outside bets were named accordingly, as these wagers are placed on boxes that are outside the main number grid on a roulette table. The wagers that fall into this category are as follows.

  • Red/Black
  • Odd/Even
  • High/Low
  • Columns
  • Dozens

A red or black wager is about as simple as it gets. Each of the numbers between 1 and 36 on a roulette wheel are colored either red or black (18 of each). With this wager you’re betting on what color you think the next number spun will be. It’s an even money bet, which means the payout is 1:1. To put it another way, you win an amount equal to your stake if you get it right. If you get it wrong, including if the number is a zero or double zero, you lose your stake.

An odd or even wager is just as simple and is also an even money bet. You’re betting on whether the next number spun will be an odd number or an even number. A high or low wager is very similar; you’re betting on whether the next number will be low (1-18) or high (19-36). Note that with these wagers, as with the red or black wager, you will lose regardless of what you have bet on if the next number is a zero or double zero.

The betting board on a roulette table features a grid containing all the numbers on the wheel. This grid is divided into three columns of 12 numbers. A column’s wager is where you bet on one of those columns, and if the next number spun appears in that column you win. If it appears in one of the other two columns, or if it’s a zero or double zero, you lose.

A column’s wager has a payout of 2:1. You can choose to place a bet on two of the three columns if you want to increase your chances of winning, but this will cost you twice as much with the same possible return.

A dozens wagers also has a payout of 2:1. With this you’re betting on whether or mot the next number will be in the first dozen (1-12), the second dozen (13-24), or the third dozen (25-36). If you pick the right dozen then your bet wins, but if you get it wrong then your wager loses. Again, you always lose if the next number is a zero or double zero. You can cover two of the dozens if you want to.

Inside Bets

The inside bets are those that are placed on the main number grid on the roulette table. It’s harder to get these correct as you cover a smaller amount of numbers than you do with outside bets. This is reflected in the payouts though, which are higher. The wagers in this category are as follows.

  • Straight Up
  • Split
  • Street
  • Corner
  • Line

The straight up wager has the highest payout of all roulette wagers, at 35:1. It’s also the hardest to get right as you’re covering just one single number. To place this wager you place your chips directly on the number you wish to bet on. When placing a straight up it’s common to place a few of them, or make other wagers along with them, so that you actually cover more than just the one number.

A split wager covers any two numbers that are adjacent on the betting board. The payout is 17:1 and you place it by putting your chips on the line that separates the two numbers you wish to cover. You can place as many split wagers on a single spin as you wish to.

A street is any of the 12 rows of three numbers such as 1-3, 4-6, 7-9 etc. Wagers of this type payout at 11:1 and are placed by putting your chips on the outside edge of the row you wish to cover. Again you can place as many of these wagers as you wish to.

A corner covers any four numbers that form a square in the main number grid, for example the numbers 1, 2, 4 and 5. The payout for corners is 8:1, and they’re placed by putting chips on the intersection where all four numbers meet. You can also place as many of these as you want.

A line wager is very similar to a street but you cover two rows instead of one, for a total of six numbers. You can cover multiple lines if you wish and the payout for this type of wager is 5:1.

Outside & Inside Bets Summarized

The table below summarizes the relevant information for all the different outside and inside bets. This can act as a good reference tool until you become familiar with them all, which actually doesn’t take long once you start playing. We’ve also included the probability of each wager winning, for both European roulette and American roulette. The probability is different for the two versions, because of the double zero on the American wheel.

The Five Number Bet

This wager can only be placed when playing American roulette. It covers five specific numbers: the zero, the double zero, 1, 2, and 3. The payout for this bet is 6:1 and it has the 13.16 % probability of winning. This makes it the worst possible bet mathematically speaking, as the house edge is 7.89%. The house edge for every other bet at American roulette is 5.26%, so we advise that you always avoid this bet.

Call Bets

Call bets are only available in European or French roulette. Not every online casino offers these wagers, although most of them do. You may find that you have to play particular versions of the game such as “pro” or “premium.” These wagers cover the numbers of specific sections of the roulette wheel and they mostly have French names.

  • Voisins du Zero
  • Jeu Zero
  • Tiers du Cylindre
  • Orphelins
  • Neighbors

The voisins du zero (roughly translated as neighbors of zero) bet covers the 17 numbers which are closest to the zero on the wheel. It’s essentially a combination of seven other wagers, including splits and corners, and it requires a total of nine units to be staked. The payout depends on which of the numbers comes up with the best return (of 24 units) for the numbers 0, 2, or 3.

Jeu zero (zero game) is basically a mini voisins du zero. It covers a total of seven numbers; the zero, the two numbers to the right of the zero on the wheel, and the four numbers to left. Four units need to be staked on a combination of split bets and a straight up. The best result is for number 26 to come up, which pays out a total of 36 units.

Tiers du cylindre (thirds of the wheel) covers the 12 numbers that are roughly opposite the zero. It’s a combination of six split bets, with one unit on each. If any one of the 12 numbers covered comes up, the payout is 18 units.

Orphelins (orphans) covers the eight numbers which aren’t covered in either the voisins du zero or the tiers du cylindre bet. This wager requires five units to be staked, across four split bets and one straight up. The best return (of 36 units) comes if either 1 or 17 is selected.

A neighbors bet is basically five straight up wagers combined. To place this wager you first place a straight up bet on your chosen number, and then place a straight up on each of the two numbers to the left of that number and each of the two numbers to the right of that number on the wheel.

If you are playing live, then you can give your chips to the croupier and ask them to place all the necessary wagers required for a call bet. When playing online, there will usually be an option to automatically place all the required bets to make up a call bet.

The Final Bet

A final bet is a combination of straight ups on all the numbers that end in a digit of your choice. You could place a final bet on 2 for example, which would be a straight up bet on each of 2, 12, 22, and 32. A final on any of the numbers between 0 and 6 means a total of four straight ups. A final on the numbers 7, 8, or 9 only requires three straight ups, as there are only three numbers that end in those digits.