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Roulette Wheel 101: All You Need To Know

Roulette is a classic staple in the live casino. The roulette wheel is one of the most recognizable instruments in the casino and the rowdy crowd is attracted by the sheer excitement. 

The roulette wheel and table are common sights for every avid gambler. However, what does one really know about the game?

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Learning About Roulette Wheel: What Is Roulette?

The roulette wheel has red and black slots plus numbers from 1 to 36 on them. In addition, the roulette wheel layout also has one or two green slots depending on the version of roulette

In addition to wheel roulette, there’s also a table with numbers and additional sectors where the players can place bets. 

The goal is to bet on a number which the ball lands on when the wheel is spun. Guessing the correct choice on the roulette wheel numbers will result in a win.

Types of Roulette

Three types of roulette are present in land-based and online casinos.

a.  American roulette wheel

There are a total of 38 pockets in the wheel, ranging from 0 to 36, plus the additional 00 number. 

Red pockets are for 18 numbers, whereas the black pocket is for another 18 numbers. The green pocket is reserved for 0 and 00. The wheel is bigger than European and French counterparts. 

However, this is not necessarily better due to the two zero segments causing a higher house edge. The odds of hitting a number is now increased to 37/1 from 35/1.

b. European roulette wheel

There are a total of 36 pockets in the wheel, ranging from 0 to 36, plus the only 0 present. 

Red pockets are for 18 numbers, whereas the black pocket is for another 18 numbers. The only green pocket is reserved for 0. The wheel is smaller, but slightly better for the players due to reduced house edge. 

This is because the odds of hitting a number is estimated at 36/1 with consideration of the green zero segment.

c. French roulette wheel

The wheel layout is almost similar to European roulette. However, this version is favourable by the players due to the lower house edge. 

The American version has 5.26% of house edge whereas European and French have 2.7% of house edge. With selected rules in place, the house edge can drop to 1.35% on even-money bets. 

In addition, this version also employed unique rules which provided extra advantages to the players.

La Partage: If the ball lands in the 0 pocket, all even-money bets (red/black, high/low, and odd/even bets) are automatically split in half. The player will only lose 50% of the bet, whereas another 50% will be forfeited.

En Prison: If the player’s even-money bets result in 0, the bet will be ‘imprisoned’. The bet will be fully returned if the player wins on the next spin.

The Logic Of The Roulette Wheel Layout

Physical and online roulette wheel have different appearances based on their versions. Noticeably, the order of the numbers on the wheel is different from the order of arithmetic value. 

Most importantly, the layout is even different in each respective version. However, this is not a cosmetic reason as it is designed to achieve several objectives.

i. Confound the player

At first glance, it is difficult to discern the numbers and sectors of the wheel. Thus, it would be almost impossible for new players to make an accurate mental picture. 

The players will be motivated to make any impulsive bet due to information overload. Any likelihood of employing roulette wheel strategy will be immediately deterred.

ii. Alternating colours for numbers

Two consecutive numbers on the wheel should have different colours (red and black), which is a standard rule for the wheels.

iii. Alternating low (1-18) and high (19-36) numbers

The European wheel will rarely feature low and high numbers next to each other, except 5 and 10, which is more balanced. 

In contrast, there are many low and high numbers adjacent to each other in American wheel. Hence, it’s considered less balanced.

iv. Odd and even numbers

There should be even distribution of odd and even numbers on the wheel. No more than two even or odd numbers can be adjacent to each other.

Type of Pockets

Pockets are slots where the ball eventually lands. In the past, the slot pockets were deeper so that the ball could land easily in roulette wheel selection.

However, the present pockets are made to be more shallow. This is to allow the ball to scatter over the pockets before landing.

Common variants used in roulette wheel online and physical:

a.  Low fret

Considered as shallow pockets because they have low profile frets. This can create more variance and reduce the predictability of the ball’s landing.

b. Huxley Starburst

The pockets are triangular-shaped, which could deflect the ball in one or other direction. 

This design helps to reduce scatter which increases the predictability of where the ball lands. Highest level of randomness.

c. Scalloped pockets

The shape resembles scallops with low frets, and they take the shape of metallic scoops. It helps to reduce jumping of the ball while increasing the predictability.

Prediction of where the ball lands is also influenced by track trajectory, speed of motor, and condition of the shaft.

The Roulette Ball

a. Size

Roulette balls are proportional to the dimensions of the wheel and its number pockets. On average, the balls are 18mm and 21mm. The casino may change the ball when one player has scored successive wins.

b. Material

Made out of acetal, Teflon, nylon, or phenolic. The choice of material will affect the liveliness of the ball (the likelihood of bouncing). 

A lively ball creates unpredictability in the game to prevent number-projecting schemes of players.

c. Aiming

The dealer may try to aim the ball to thwart the players’ bet. It is of questionable viability and debate is abound. However, the players may spot some signs for ball aiming.

  • Is the dealer’s sight set on the ball when he/she drops it?
  • Does the dealer spin at slow and consistent speed?
  • Does the dealer throw at gentle force, and appear to make less than 10 revolutions before there’s a landing?

Rules To Play Roulette Game Online

Roulette can be played in two modes online - live casino and online roulette simulator. Live casinos observe the same rules in land-based casinos. 

On the other hand, online version will be dictated by the Random Number Generator (RNG). RNG is an algorithm that produces random numbers, and the outcome is unpredictable.

Basic rules

  • On the simulator, there’s no time limit on betting. The game will start unless you press spin. 
  • Some online casinos offer quick spin, whereby the number is generated without actual spin.
  • All bets can be changed until the spin occurs. However, bets may automatically close in online roulette.
  • Repeat bet option may also be available. This allows you to make an identical bet to the previous spin for the same number with the same amount of bet.

Types of bets

i. Inside bets

Refer to bets placed on the numbers. Lower odds of winning, but higher payout.

Bet name



Covers only 1 number


Bet on three consecutive numbers located on the same line. Place the chip on the outer line of the row。

Six Line

Bet on two adjacent lines. Place the chip on the common outer corner of the two lines.


Bet on four numbers. Place the chip on the common corner of the four numbers.


Bet on three numbers that include 0 or 00. Place the chip on the line shared by the zero box and the two other numbers.


Bet on 0, 1, 2 and 3 with a chip on the corner shared by the zero box and the first line.

ii. Outside bets

Refer to bets placed outside the numbered field. Higher odds of winning, but lower payout.




Bet on colour of the winning number


Bet on whether the winning number is odd or even.

Low number (1-18)

Bet on the winning number to be low.

High number (19-36)

Bet on the winning number to be high.


Bet on one of the three dozens located on the table, where the winning number will be.


Bet on one of the three columns located on the table, where the winning number will be.

Final Thoughts

Online roulette wheel offer plenty of excitement for new and veteran players. As the player may choose to bet on inside or outside categories, there are plenty of opportunities to win. 

While the mechanics may seem daunting at first, the player can opt to practice on free roulette and improve their odds of winning

This game is recommended for players who want to play in low stress situations while still having fun.

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