how to win at roulette the complete guide

Every casino player wants to know how to win at roulette, and the good news is, there are many strategies you can take which improve your chances of winning in a single session. A roulette strategy that prevents you from losing much are just as valuable, and I’ll share some of these with you too.  

There’s no point sugar-coating this advice however. Unless you find a biased wheel or have superhuman powers, winning at roulette is impossible in the long run.  

A game of chance with a house edge of 2.70% is simply not beatable over a large sample size. But thanks to the element of luck in roulette, you can win any single spin, and even over a several-hour session.

Top roulette strategies

When it comes to how to win at roulette , it’s not just about beating the house. There are many other smart strategies which increase your chances of success, starting with the best conditions for success.   

#1: Look for the best rules and bets

Roulette tables may all look the same, but the house edge will vary depending on the rules of the game.

  • European roulette and French roulette games usually have a house edge of 2.70%.  
  • Due to the extra double zero, American roulette has a house edge of 5.26%.

Making sure you get the best RTP is one of the most important strategy tips I can share.  

There are two aspects to picking which roulette bet to make. First, although roulette bets have different odds of winning, almost all of them have the same house edge. If you bet £10 on red, and on Black 33, you’ll get the same Return To Player in the long run, but it’ll come in very different ways. 

However there are some bets which have a higher house edge, such as the Top Line or Basket bet in American roulette (0-00-1-2-3) which at 7.89% is over 2.50% more. The trick with American roulette is to bet straight up on 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3, and you’ll be back to 5.26%. 

3 types of roulette and their house edges

For the best value of all, play any even money bet in French roulette. Due to the La Partage rule where you get half your bet back if zero lands, even money bets have a 1.35% house edge, half the usual 2.70% for all other bets.  

Second, choose the bet with the most appropriate probability for your character.  

If you’re an impatient type who wants frequent action, whatever the size, outside bets such as red or black will fit the bill. If you enjoy the drama of hitting a single number and are happy to wait it out, straight up bets are the best option for you.   

#2: Have a strategy

Most players will come to the roulette table with a random amount of money, and no real plan for what to bet on. You’ll see them grabbing a stack of chips and spreading them across the board in a totally haphazard way.  

They won’t know how much they’ve bet, what numbers give them the best outcome, and are unlikely to come away a winner.  

You’re more likely to win at roulette in the short term if you keep track of what you’ve spent, pick a betting strategy that doesn’t end in disaster (clue: most of them do!) and play outside bets that have lower roulette odds 

Just so you’re aware of them, here are some of the most common roulette strategies and the reason why they aren’t a good bet:  

  • Martingale – a pure betting strategy that requires you to increase your bet size when you lose. In other words, chasing your losses. If you get a long enough string of losses, you’ll bust your bankroll or hit the table maximum. Avoid the Martingale strategy at all cost.  
  • Paroli A roulette strategy to win big, this betting system recommends you increase your bet size after a win. Sometimes called a parley method, this system only works if you have a target and stop when you it. Be warned, you’ll go back to square 1 most of the time too.   
  • d’Alembert – This one’s based on the belief that if red and black numbers should land 50% of the time, (excluding the zero for now) and a string of reds comes in, a black number is overdue as the roulette universe wants to return the sequence of numbers to the equilibrium. But the wheel and ball have no memory, and future spins pay no heed to past results, so there’s exactly the same chance on every new spin.  
  • James Bond – a 20-unit bet that includes 14 units on High (19-36), 5 units on the Line bet 13-18, and 1 unit on zero. If 1-12 hits, you increase your bet size per unit. You’ll get a return most of the time, but this strategy will still lose in the long run. Don’t try this James Bond roulette strategy on an American roulette wheel, it doesn’t work because of the double zero.

#3: Don’t run out of chips

You can’t win if you don’t have the chips to play with. How much money you bring to the table depends on how many spins you expect to play, and what kind of roulette bets you prefer.  

You’ll get an average of 50 spins per hour at a typical casino roulette table.  If you’re betting red or black, you can expect to win and lose an equal share throughout a 50 spins, so you shouldn’t need a bankroll of more than 20 units 

If straight up bets are your thing, be prepared to go deep into your stack, and potentially see no wins in 50 or even 100 spins. That means you’ll need at least 50 units to play for an hour.  

Both of those examples assume you’re betting a single unit per spin, and keeping the bet size constant. If you like to place multiple bets per spin, and vary your unit bet, be sure to account for that when considering how much you’ll need to avoid busting out before the end of your session.  

#4: Don’t run out of time

Unless you’re at the roulette table on your own and the croupier is feeling generous, you’ll have less than 20 seconds to place your bets during each round. There’s nothing more frustrating than being told “no more bets” while you’re halfway through placing your bets.  

Having a strategy is great, but you need to be organised enough to execute it too. The busier is gets, the more prepared you’ll need to be for the opening of the betting window.  

Get your chips down in plenty of time and you won’t panic when the dealer warns you there are only a few seconds left. Rushing your bets leads to mistakes that deviate from your plan, and could cost you more money.   

#5: Have an exit strategy and stick to it

If your numbers come in and you’re in profit, know when to walk away. Like most footballers, gamblers rarely go out on a high, so you can’t expect to leave at the peak of your winning powers. 

But booking a win is important, whatever the size, and walking away with the casino’s money is a great feeling, even if you’re destined to come out behind in the long run.  

Having a plan is only half of the battle. When you hit your target, don’t be tempted to stick around in the hope of even bigger success. Many gamblers are adventurous, but the successful ones are disciplined too. 

circular graphic with the 3 reasons to “END SESSION” – time reached / profit hit / loss hit

#6: Don’t sweat the results

Smart gambling is as much about psychology as skill and expertise. First and foremost, roulette should be entertaining and not stressful. You can’t win every time and if you don’t win, you should at least have had fun.  

My perfect mindset for any gaming session is a combination of positive attitude, a belief that you can win and a realistic acceptance that however well you play, the results are out of your hands.  

Starting your roulette game with the right mentality is easy. Maintaining it when results don’t go your way is another matter. 

Staying focused and positive when you’re winning is simple, but if you’re playing inside bets, you’ll need some patience and enough chips to see you through to the end of your session. If a single number only hits 1 in 37 times on average, it’s perfectly possible that your favourite number may not land in 100 or even 200 spins.  

player in a zen lotus pose with a background of numbers

The most interesting and challenging aspects of roulette are when you second guessing your betting choices, or seeing your numbers come up at a nearby table. Every spin, and there will always be another chance.  

Try not to change your mind when placing your bets, and accept that win or lose, the bets you make all have the same ‘equity’. This means that whatever you bet on, you’ll lose 2.70% of your stake. By seeing roulette Matrix-style, you can more easily disregard short term results and take one step back from the highs and lows. 

#7: Stay in control

Unlike a horse race, a game of roulette has no end. With windowless casinos now open 24/7, it’s easy to get immersed in the game, lose track of time and stay longer than you’d planned 

Good roulette players will know when and where to play, how much to stake and when to leave. But only the best players will follow their own advice.  

Budgeting for your roulette session and only betting what you can afford to lose are clichéd words of wisdom, but they’re still the 2 most important pieces of advice to help keep your playtime safe. 

Starting with low stakes when you’re learning how to play roulette is the smart move, if you can’t practice for free.  

#8: Know your roulette etiquette

With so many players wedged around a full roulette table, it helps if you all play nice. If you’re engaged in a battle of wills with another player, you’re more likely to make mistakes when you bet, or do something silly.  

 If you know the most common do’s and don’ts at the roulette table, you can stay cool as the game heats up. Place your money on the table when you buy in, don’t hand it to the dealer. Don’t take roulette chips away from the table, you have to cash it out with the croupier first.  

Tips for winning at online roulette

Online roulette certainly looks and smells like the real thing, but the technology has created opportunities that you can’t get in the real world.   

Tip 1: Practice for free

Unless you’ve got a roulette table in your basement, you won’t often get the chance to play roulette without betting real money. That’s another reason to play roulette online, as many casinos offer demo versions with unlimited play money chips.

Although playing without any skin in the game might not be the same, the freedom to make demo bets and see how they work can really speed up your roulette learning curve. Set yourself challenges to reach a profit target using only certain bets, and mix up the bet types each time.

Tip 2: Scout for the best deal

Although some land-based casinos will have a reward programme, it’s rare to get much out of it. With a captive audience and no nearby competitors, casinos don’t need to earn the loyalty of their punters.  

Online is a different story, and you should never settle for an online roulette game where you’re not getting some sort of reward every time you play. Whether it’s comp points, loyalty levels, money back on every spin or a prize draw entry, playing roulette online should always be more rewarding.  

roulette wheel in the centre and the titles OFFLINE and ONLINE either side

Tip 3: Use safer gambling tools

I’ve mentioned budgeting for your roulette session many times in OJO’s roulette guide, and it’s a lot easier online thanks to commonly available features like deposit limits and game time reminders. 

 Tools like these can be useful to all players, not just those who need help managing their play. Set some sensible rules and let the casino do the donkeywork so you can enjoy your spins without watching the clock. 

A summary of how to win at roulette

A winning roulette formula involves careful selection of the right rules, knowledge of the best bets and choosing shrewd roulette betting strategies, plus the right mentality to handle the rough with the smooth.  

It may sound like a lot to learn, but you’ve already picked up many of the top roulette tips for success. Test them out for free and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a roulette pro!

Find some answers to your questions

Can I really win at roulette?
In a single spin, anyone can win. And even over a few sessions, if luck goes your way, you can come away with a profit. But without any element of skill, your fate is determined by the wheel, and once you take the house edge into account, it takes an enormous amount of luck to win consistently. All you can do is put yourself in the best position to win, hope for the best, take profit when it comes, and accept that the house always wins in the end!
What’s the best roulette bet?
Red 14! Only joking. Most roulette bets have exactly the same house edge, so there is no single bet which stands out in your quest to win. Betting on black or red at a French roulette table is the best bet in roulette, as it has the lowest edge of just 1.35%. Going for low odds bets also means you’ll win more often, even if you only win modest amounts.
Can I win using a roulette system?
Although these systems often promise guaranteed profits, there isn’t a single roulette system that returns a profit in the long run. Roulette systems only tell you how much to bet, and eventually each one fails because it is impossible to overturn the house edge. You can have fun and win occasionally using a roulette system, but don’t expect them to make you regular money.
What’s the best number to bet on?
People often ask me which numbers come up the most, or which roulette numbers are the most popular? The sensible answer is that roulette wheels are random, and so over a very large sample size, every number has their equal share of the limelight. As for which numbers are most popular, your guess is as good as mine! You’d have to ask OJO. Some players have a lucky number – usually a key date in their lives – and some just bet on any number they can reach! One thing’s for certain, green zero is the least popular number, but the ball still lands on zero just as much as any other number. Poor ol’ zero. It must be sick of its reputation – maybe that’s why it’s green.

Daniel Grant

Dan Grant has been writing about gambling for 15 years, and been fascinated by beating the odds for even longer. Now he’s on a mission to help others bet smarter and avoid the mistakes he made. When he’s not obsessing over bankroll strategy or counting cards badly, he’s hosting The OJO Show podcast.

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