Types of Roulette Bets
Part of what makes roulette such a fun game for so many is how simple it is to learn and play. You get to choose which number or numbers you’d like to bet on and then how much to wager, and all that’s left is to wait for the roulette wheel to stop spinning and see if you’ve won.
Some people bet on their favorite or lucky numbers, while others like to take a broader approach and wager their money on a whole range of numbers or even which color will win. These variations are broken down into inside bets and outside bets. (Though, there are some special bets you can make in French-style roulette, too.) Your odds and the payout amounts change depending on which type of bet you make. If the bet is riskier, the payout is going to be higher.
Let’s explore the different types of bets you can make in roulette and how much you could win with each play.
The Roulette Layout
First, let’s quickly review the roulette table layout. You have a flat surface in front of you that has three columns of numbers on it, going from 1 to 36. Toward the top of those columns, there will be either a single 0 (if you’re playing French-style roulette) or a single 0 and a 00 (if you’re playing American-style roulette). Off to the sides of those columns will be blocks that are labeled with categories, also called propositions. These include:
- First 12
- Second 12
- Third 12
You’ll be placing your bets on this layout for every round you’re playing the game.
When you place your chips on a specific number (or even multiple numbers at a time), this is called an inside bet. If you like, you can place all of your chips on your one lucky number, or you can spread them out across several numbers at once in a variety of ways to improve your odds.
Because they have a higher risk, inside bets will have higher payouts if you do win.
The Straight Up
This move is also known as en plein in French. For folks with a favorite number, this is the play for you. Here, you bet on one or more numbers by setting your chips down on individual numbers and fully within the boundaries of their boxes. With this method, you can bet on any number you want, including the 0 or 00. If one of your numbers wins, your payout will be 35-1.
The Split Bet
This move is also known as a cheval in French. Here, you set your chips down so that they straddle the line between two numbers on the layout. If either of those numbers wins, your payout will be 17-1.
The Street Bet/Side Bet/The Trio/Three Number Bet
This move is also known as transversal in French. This type of bet has plenty of names, but all you’re doing is betting on an entire row of three consecutive numbers. You place your chips on the outside border of the row to signal that this is your bet. If one of those numbers wins, your payout will be 11-1.
The Four Number Bet/The Corner/The Square
This move is also known as carre in French. With this one, you’re betting on four numbers simultaneously by placing your chips on the intersection of the layout where four numbers meet. If one of these numbers wins, your payout is 8-1.
The Five Number Bet
Apparently, this move has been nicknamed “The Beast” or “The Monster” because it has simply awful odds. The first thing to know is that you can make this bet only on an American-style roulette wheel that has the 00. Second, the house edge shifts if you try this move. On an American-style wheel, the house edge is typically 5.26%. But for a Five Number Bet, that house edge jumps up to 7.89%.
To make this bet, you place your chips as a Line Bet on the first five numbers on the layout: 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3. If one of these numbers wins, your payout is 6-1. Is this one worth the risk? Only you can say for sure, but we don’t recommend it.
The Line Bet/Six Number Bet/Sixline Bet
This move is also known as sixain in French. Similar to how you make a Street Bet, you place your chips on the outside border. But instead of playing it beside one row, you’re letting your chips straddle the horizontal line between two rows, giving you two sets of three consecutive numbers. If one of these numbers wins, your payout is going to be 5-1.
If you’d rather play it a bit safer, you can turn to outside bets for lower stakes. For these bets, you’re placing your chips on an entire category of numbers (propositions) instead of specific ones. These are especially enticing bets for beginners because they’re easier to choose than having to pick which numbers to play and how to line up your chips.
Red or Black Bet
This move is also known as rouge et noir in French. This is definitely the best bet for newcomers to the game because you’re simply betting that the winning number will be either red or black. This is also a great option for beginners because it’s an even-money bet. With even-money propositions, the payout is 1-1: You keep your original wager and receive an equal amount back in winnings.
The Odd or Even Bet
This move is also known as impair et pair in French. With this one, you’re wagering that the ball will land on any of the 18 odd numbers on the layout or any of the 18 even numbers. Here, neither the 0 or the 00 count for either bet, so if a zero comes up, the house wins. This is another even-money bet, so the payout is 1-1.
High or Low Bet
This move is also known as passe et manque in French. If you make this bet, you’re wagering that the winning number will be among the first 18 numbers on the layout (1-18) or among the last 18 numbers (19-36). Again, neither the 0 nor 00 count for either bet. This is yet another even-money bet, with the payout being 1-1.
The Column Bet
This move is also known as colonne in French. Here, you’re wagering that one of the columns of numbers on the layout will contain the winning number. The 0 and 00 aren’t considered as part of any column, so if the ball lands on one of those zeroes, the house wins. This type of bet has a 2-1 payout if you win.
The Dozens Bet
This move is also known as douzaine in French. If you make this bet, you’re wagering that the winning number will be in either the first 12 numbers on the layout, the second dozen, or the third dozen. You are able to bet on two dozens, but not all three at once. Again, the zeroes are excluded, so if the ball lands in 0 or 00, you lose. If you do win, your payout will be 2-1.
Special Bets in French Roulette
The zeroes on roulette wheels aren’t red or black (they’re actually colored green); they aren’t odd or even; they aren’t considered part of the first 18 numbers; they aren’t counted among the first, second, or third dozens. If the ball lands on a 0 or 00, all outside bets lose. These zeroes are anomalies that give the house its edge.
Historically, French roulette contains a single 0, while American roulette has a 0 and 00. By having both zeroes, the American style of roulette creates a greater house edge of 5.26%. Meanwhile, the French wheel with its single 0 has a house edge of only 2.7%.
Playing on a French wheel also opens you up to the opportunity to try for some special bets on even-money propositions. These special bets give you the chance to win back some or all of your money if the ball lands on 0, and they drop the house edge even further.
Before dedicating yourself to a French-style roulette wheel, see if the casino allows these special bets.
Oftentimes this rule is automatically applied at French roulette tables. Here, if the ball ends up landing on 0, any even-money bets get split in half. So, half of your original wager gets returned to you. This process ends up dropping the house edge down to 1.35%.
With this special bet, your even-money bet doesn’t automatically lose when the ball lands on 0. Instead, your bet remains “in prison” and you don’t lose that wager. Instead, it stays in play for the next spin. If your original bet now wins on this next spin, you get that money back. However, if the ball lands on 0 a second time, you will still lose. Here, the house edge also drops to 1.35%.
Which Bet Is Right for You?
If you’re just starting out with roulette, we’d recommend trying some outside bets like red or black until you get into the swing of it. If you enjoy living dangerously, go ahead and try one of the bigger bets like a line bet, or even try one number straight up.
While you can’t take forever to choose your moves if you’re playing in a brick-and-mortar casino, you might have some trouble reaching the table if it’s crowded. If you can’t easily place your chips on the number or proposition you want to wager on, you can hand your chips to the dealer and tell them which bet you want to make.
If you’re playing roulette online, though, you don’t have to worry about reaching across a table or taking your time to figure out which move you’d like to make. In fact, online roulette is perfect for new players who want to try an array of moves and for seasoned players who like to deliberate on their best options.
Whatever your reason, online roulette makes it easy to give every one of these types of bets a try.