Few bets in the gambling world have more magic and mystique surrounding them than roulette wheel numbers. From the outcast green zeroes to the final Red 36, this collection of iconic bets are laid out around the wheel with a combination of careful distribution and complete randomness.

But how many numbers are there on a roulette wheel, is every wheel the same, and why does the order matter? I’ll answer these and many more of life’s fundamental questions in my truly nerdy roulette wheel numbers explainer!

## What roulette wheel numbers are there?

As all casino players knows, roulette is a game of random numbers that uses a wheel with numbered pockets, and a ball, to select one number from every spin. There are 37 numbered pockets on a European roulette wheel and 37 on an American roulette wheel. To the layperson, it might be easy to just place the numbers in order around the while, much like a clock. But that ain’t how it’s done, and here’s why.

If you were creating your own roulette wheel starting with a blank page, and had no knowledge of how the numbers on European and American roulette wheels were ordered, how would you start?

First, you’d have to choose how many numbers would appear on the wheel, and then how you would order them to ensure the outcomes were as random as possible. A wheel with numbers 0 to 36 laid out clockwise around the wheel would not be as unpredictable, or create the same drama. Why? As the ball slowed, everyone at the table would know roughly from which range of numbers the ball would be chosen.

There are a 37 or 38 roulette wheel numbers in total, depending on the type of game you play. The numbers 1 to 36 are coloured either red or black, and the number zero is green.

You can place a bet on zero as a single number Inside bet just like any other number, but it is coloured green due its special status relating to the ‘even money’ Outside bet category (black/red, odd/even, high/low). Bet on any of those 50/50 chances and if the winning number is zero, the house wins both sides of the bet.

As you go round the wheel, you won’t see numbers increase by 1 each time either. For reasons I’ll explain later, all roulette wheel layouts feature numbers in a seemingly random sequence of numbers. Roulette players can often tell you which numbers come immediately before and after their favourite, and the order of numbers on the wheel near their lucky number often determines their roulette strategy. But rarely can they guess the order of any other sections.

Play online roulette and you’ll have a choice of European, French or American roulette, and it may not be instantly obvious they’re different. The key is in that special green number which helps give the house its edge, but it’s not the only difference.

## European roulette wheel layout

On European roulette wheels and French roulette wheels, alternating red and black numbers are joined by a single green zero, which gives players the lowest possible house edge of around 3%.

French roulette terms are essentially the same except for a unique rule called La Partage, which gives you half your stake back if you place an even money bet and zero comes in. That rule along helps to reduce the overall French roulette house edge to just 1.35% for even money bets, making it by far the best type of roulette bet for players.

0 – 26 – 3 – 35 – 12 – 28 – 7 – 29 – 18 – 22 – 9 – 31 – 14 – 20 – 1 – 33 – 16 – 24 – 5 – 10 – 23 – 8 – 30 – 11 – 36 – 13 – 27 – 6 – 34 – 17 – 25 – 2 – 21 – 4 – 19 – 15 – 32

Interestingly, the wheel is also divided up into roulette sections, which are each given French names to create sector bets like voisins du zéro and tiers du cylindre.

## American roulette wheel layout

On American wheels, the wheelhead has extra room for a second zero called 00, which lives on the opposite side of the wheel. Although American roulette has an extra betting opportunity, double zero brings the house edge down to 95%.

American wheels also use a totally different roulette numbers sequence too, just to be different!

0 – 2 – 14 – 35 – 23 – 4 – 16 – 33 – 21 – 6 – 18 – 31 – 19 – 8 – 12 – 29 – 25 – 10 – 27 – 00 – 1 – 13 – 36 – 24 – 3 – 15 – 34 – 22 – 5 – 17 – 32 – 20 – 7 – 11 – 30 – 26 – 9 – 28

## The colours on the wheel

There are 3 colours that feature in the numbers on a roulette wheel; Black, red and green. There are 18 red numbers, 18 black numbers and 1 or 2 greens, depending on the variation of roulette you’re playing.

The colours black and red only come into use with the even money Black and Red outside bets often favoured by fans of the Martingale roulette system, while the green zero comes into play for all Outside bets with a 1 to 1 payout, because it’s how the house edge works.

For a well-balanced distribution of numbers, black and red numbers alternate around the table, until they meet the green zero. On a European roulette wheel, all of the high black numbers (20 to 35) are found on one side of the wheel, and all of the low black numbers (1 to 17) are on the opposite side.

## Is the order of numbers random?

To the untrained eye, the numbers around any roulette wheel seem to leap from one to the next at random with no discernible pattern. Like the colours, the numbers are mixed up as much as possible, but look closer and you can find some patterns that ensure both odd/even numbers and high/low numbers are evenly distributed.

### Odd and even numbers

You would think the obvious method of selecting the order of numbers on a roulette wheel is to alternate between odd and even, just like with red and black. Most wheels do have a good balance of odd and even, but it is not possible to alternate colour, high/low and odd/oven, so something has to give.

Look at a European roulette wheel and you’ll see 9 odd and 9 even numbers in each half of the wheel, but almost all of them are in pairs. The rest alternate, and there are no instances of 3 odds or 3 evens in a row.

### High and low numbers

Sticking with European wheels, the distribution of low (0 to 18) and high (19 to 36) numbers is interesting. Although the numbers generally alternate between a low number followed by a high number all the way around the wheel starting from 0, there is one part of the wheel where this rule is broken.

Numbers 5 and 10 are both opposite the green 0 and both low. Either side of these numbers on the sequence back around the wheel to 0, the high-low sequence is maintained. European roulette wheel numbers are considered to be more evenly and randomly distributed, as high and low numbers are more often located next to each other.

### Consecutive numbers

Print out a picture of a European wheel, draw a line from 0 to 1 to 2 to 3 and so on, all the way up to 36, and you’ll see another great example of random distribution in action. With virtually all of the numbers in sequence (34 out of the 37 numbers in fact), you’ll be leaping from one side of the wheel to the other.

More than any other factor in the layout of numbers on a roulette wheel, this seemingly haphazard roulette wheel number order generates that suspense players all feel as the ball spins round the wheel, and prevents late betting players from having any chance of guessing a range of possible numbers to bet on.

## 3 Unusual facts about roulette wheel numbers

So that’s how roulette wheels use both predictable patterns like red or black and random roulette wheel number order to deliver the perfect distribution for a betting game based on random numbers. But that’s not all. The wheel has many unusual secrets, if you’re paying attention!

### 1: Roulette is called the Devil’s Wheel

Can you guess why? Nope, it’s not because you lose every time, or roulette is a guilty pleasure. Roulette is sometimes referred to as the Devil’s Wheel because all of the numbers on a European wheel add up to 666!

### 2: Black 17 is the most popular roulette number

Given that every number on the roulette table has the same chance of being picked, there is no obvious reason why 17 is considered by many players to be the best number in roulette, and there’s no hard evidence to back up that claim either!

Some say 17 is popular because it’s in the centre of the roulette table layout (not the wheel), and therefore easy for everyone around the table to reach. In From Russia With Love, James Bond bet on 17 three spins in a row and won every time, so perhaps that’s why! Retail tycoon Mike Ashley, known for his million-pound winning streaks, reportedly won millions with 17.

### 3: Early roulette wheels in the US had an ‘eagle’ pocket

Some wheels in the history of roulette didn’t just have numbers. In Las Vegas, there was a time when each American wheel had a pocket with a picture of an eagle. If the ball landed in that pocket, every player bet lost and the house scooped in all the chips. Sounds a bit like unfair roulette to me!

## FAQ

**Who invented the roulette wheel?**

Roulette is one of the most popular games in any online casino, but this classic casino game has been around for a while. The game was invented around the end of the 18th century in France, although it borrowed certain features from all sorts of European parlour games including a ball-and-top game called Roly Poly. French scientist Blaise Pascal is considered the inventor of the modern roulette wheel, but he didn’t have gambling in mind. He tried and failed to create a perpetual motion machine – a device which could spin indefinitely without any outside help – but added a legendary gambling game to his legacy instead! Let’s hope he made some money out of it.

**How are roulette wheel numbers picked fairly?**

Roulette is big business for casinos, so the companies that manufacture and install European roulette table wheels have to get it spot on. Gaming regulations often state the precise dimensions, weight and other specifications of roulette equipment, though it’s not impossible for biases to appear as a result of wear or defects. Bias is actually great news for some players who travel far and wide in search of wheels which display predictable patterns, as it tilts the roulette odds in their favour. The quality of engineering and technology has effectively eliminated these opportunities and you can bet your bottom dollar that casinos are tracking every number on every wheel to ensure their roulette game is truly random and cannot be gamed!

**How many numbers are there on a roulette wheel?**

The numbers on roulette wheel depend on the type of roulette you’re playing. There are 37 numbers on a European roulette wheel, and 38 numbers on an American roulette wheel. Numbers on all roulette wheels start at 0 and end at 36. However an American roulette wheel has a 00 too. Knowing what type of roulette wheel you’re playing at is pretty important info to be aware of, if you are learning how to play roulette online.

**How many numbers on a roulette table are black?**

All roulette tables – whether that’s European, French or Roulette, have 18 black numbers and 18 red numbers, plus 0 and maybe 00. Many tables also have a racetrack section, an oval recreation of the wheel where bets like roulette neighbours can be placed, so strictly speaking there are 72 numbers on some European roulette tables, and 74 numbers on some American roulette tables!