Roulette Table, Wheel Numbers, Colours and Bets

30-second summary:

  • How many numbers on a roulette wheel and table depends if it’s an American or European wheel because the former has an extra ‘00’.
  • You can play by American or French rules, but the latter includes En Prison and La Partage rules which give your bet a second chance if a zero comes.
  • American roulette wheels have a higher house edge than European ones because of the extra zero. French tables are bigger and have different layouts - and betting layouts from the European one.
  • Roulette table odds change according to which bet you make, for example, inside bets including single roulette numbers have lower winning odds than outside bets, but higher payouts.
  • Outside bets, like colour bets (red/black), have almost a 50/50 chance of winning but a 1:1 pay-out. Making them some of the best numbers to bet on roulette.

You have incomplete knowledge of the roulette table game unless you know all the different roulette wheels, tables and roulette betting rules that exist. For players who wish to improve their roulette number strategy or especially if you’re new to roulette, this complete guide is for you.

Roulette goes as far back as Pascal in the 16th century - or maybe even before that. Yet it remains exciting today because it’s part strategy but part chance. You place a wager on a number or group of numbers and wait for the ball to spin on the roulette wheel. If it lands on your lucky roulette numbers, you get paid according to how risky your wager was. The pay-out for a single number bet winning is 35-1, for example.

There’s a wheel with number slots on it and a table with a betting layout, full of numbers. The roulette table game is all about the numbers - single numbers, or groups of numbers. High or low, black or red, odd or even. How many numbers in roulette varies depending on whether it’s an American wheel or a European wheel? On the American wheel, there are 38 numbers instead of 37 like on the European wheel. This gives the former an even higher house edge.

Knowing how the table, wheel and numbers work helps you develop a roulette number strategy to start making good bets.

Different Roulette Rules

There are slightly different ways of playing this casino table game - The American versus the European versus the French way. Many distinguish between the types of roulette game types that exist by differentiating between the roulette wheels. However, a better place to start is the roulette rules.

American, European and French

Actually, contrary to popular belief, there are just two sets of roulette rules: American and French. So even though there’s a European wheel too - we never refer to “European” rules per se - and there’s no actual “European roulette “game.

One of the main American roulette rules is that when zero comes, all outside bets (Odd, Even, Red, Black, High, Low) are lost completely. (We’ll get to the different types of standard roulette bets - both outside and inside bets, in a bit).

Two Extra French Rules

It’s the French rules that make it a bit more interesting (note French roulette is played on a European wheel). Because when the zero comes, according to French roulette rules, you don’t automatically lose all your outside bets (again - Odd, Even, Red, Black, High, Low). Instead, there are two rules or variations that may apply - En Prison and/or La Partage.

  • En Prison: Literally translated, this rule means “in jail” - referring to your bet in this case. So, if your bet is lost, that money is kept “imprisoned” in a manner of speaking. Meaning it stays on the same outside bet for the next spin of the roulette wheel. Essentially this gives your bet a second chance - it’s a sort of insurance policy. However, if the next spin is also a zero, you do lose the bet. If it’s not a zero, usual rules apply, and you will either win or lose the bet.
  • La Partage: This rule refers to splitting your bet in case of a zero, so it will not be lost but split in half. You get half back so you can bet again as you normally would on the next roulette wheel spin.

Both the French En Prison and La Partage rules provide a benefit to the roulette player, not the casino / online casino. So, we can agree that the most favourable roulette game for players by far is the French roulette rules on a European wheel. However, you may not find this available in every online casino. Having said that, there’s also a wider variation of roulette online nowadays, like no zero roulette - but we digress.

Roulette Wheels

We mainly differentiate between two kinds of roulette wheels - American and European types. It’s easy to spot which is which since the American roulette wheel has two zeros (0 and 00), while the European wheel has just the one zero. However, a bigger difference between the two is their layout, because the roulette number sequence on the wheels is different from one another. 

Roulette is known for having one of the lowest house edges in the casino or online casino. The European roulette wheel has a low house edge of just 2.7%. However, since there is an additional zero on the American wheel, the house advantage increases to 5.3%. So needless to say, the European wheel is more player-friendly. This is less of an issue with online casinos where you have a random number wheel.

Roulette Table Types

In land-based casinos, roulette tables are quite distinctive. You can have an American roulette table with a European wheel and racetrack bets. Or a French table with a European or American wheel - it can be different.

The tables are rectangular wooden boxes, usually about 2.9mx1.7m, with leather on the sides and borders for the players to rest against. And maybe put their drinks in the holders. Then there’s another structure on the shorter side of this box that holds up the roulette wheel. The dealer stands next to the wheel with the players on the longer sides of the table.

Meanwhile the French roulette table is a bit bigger - around 3.3mx1.8m. Traditionally you would have two croupiers (French for dealers) holding a long stick (a rake) while sitting around the wheel, and another casino employee on a higher chair as the table boss. Again, the players would usually be opposite the wheel and dealer. 

French tables can also feature as a double-length version with a wheel in the centre and two betting sections on either side of it. Another French variation is a Double Roulette table where you have one wheel but two betting tables. The game tends to be faster on an American table, and it’s easy to see why.

However, at an online casino, play is even faster, because the dealers / croupiers are replaced by random number generators. And many times, the players have time limits for their actions, which can happen simultaneously. So, there’s less waiting around for other players to finish placing their bets. Also, with such a reduction on overheads and staff (especially with French tables), the online casino can offer roulette table games at lower limits and stakes. This is another plus for the roulette player.

Roulette Table Betting Layouts

Since croupiers and players sit at different parts of American tables than French tables, the betting layouts are also different. You’ll find all outside bets on the same side of the American table - usually the longer side. If you’re playing from Europe this is also the kind of table, you’re likely to see in a brick and mortar casino. On the other hand, on French tables, you’ll find the outside bets split between the two long sides.

In Europe, you often also find racetrack betting options on the American table. The racetrack betting layout looks exactly as it sounds like and represents the wheel. You actually use the racetrack itself to place your bets on Orphelins, Tiers, Voisin du zero, Zero play and neighbour bets. The dealer is the only one who will place these “called bets” at the player’s instruction.

Hot and cold roulette numbers - true or false?

Although many players understand that roulette still has a strong element of chance and that the house edge is never zero. The roulette house edge is calculated on the 38 numbers, each with a 37 or 36 to 1 chance of hitting, and the payoff of 35 to 1 for a single bet.

 

However, the goal is to beat the odds and perhaps win a few bucks while enjoying their time. Since a wheel has 37/38 numbers on it, your odds of a single number would be 1/38 or 1/37 (meaning 37 or 36 to 1). Here we’re assuming that all roulette winning numbers have an equal opportunity of coming up.

 

However, casinos still display the roulette numbers that come up the most in that particular session. This is because many players believe that hot numbers - meaning the most common numbers on roulette machines are better to bet on. There may be some truth to this since only a small tilt of the odds gives you the edge over the casino for that instant. Like if a number comes up 1 out of 35 times instead of 1 out of 37 times.

 

Essentially, you’re waiting for the hot numbers to stay hot and allow you a single number bet win eventually. Same thing applies if you bet on red, for example. If you always bet red, you’re bound to hit a win eventually. However, this is only a short-term strategy.

 

In deeper analysis, you’ll see certain numbers come up more or less than expected according to the theory of all numbers having an equal chance of coming. That’s how random events work. Even more, the Law of Large Numbers shows that probabilities and actual results start to become similar over a long period of time.

Roulette Table Odds

What are the odds on a roulette table? Starting from inside bets and single bets. As mentioned before, the pay-out for placing your chips on an individual number is 35 to one. If you’re lucky to make a hit this way, it’s a good bump to your bankroll, in fact, many players prefer this kind of bet. However, this bet’s win/loss pattern is pretty off, in that you can have long stretches of losses.

 

Inside Split, Street, Square and Beast Bets

As with all inside combo bets, you’re covering more numbers and giving yourself a better chance, without lowering the house edge. For Splits, you place chips to bet on the line between two numbers and if either one comes up you win 17 to 1. Meanwhile, you place chips on the outside line of three numbers for a Street Bet and the win would be 11 to 1. Then, for the Square / four-number bet, you place chips on the centre of a four-number square and the pay-out is 8 to 1.

 

There’s also a six-number bet (Sixer) which you place on the outer line splitting three numbers from another three with a potential payout of 5 to 1. The more numbers you cover, the higher your chances, with the exception of the Beast/ five-number bet (0, 00, 1, 2 and 3) only available on the American wheel. This has the highest house edge of any Roulette bet - 7.89%! So, you should avoid it.

Outside Bets: Dozens and Columns

Outside roulette number bets have a greater winning chance than any inside bet, some almost 50-50. To break it down, on an American wheel, it’s 18 wins and 20 losses, and on a single-zero wheel, it’s 18 wins and 19 losses. You could argue they are the best numbers to bet on roulette because the roulette table odds are far better.

 

Firstly, the Dozens bets involve betting on twelve roulette numbers: 1-12 (first dozen), 13-24 (second dozen) and 25-36 (third dozen). As mentioned, the odds are almost 50% but the pay-out is 2:1. You may be tempted to bet on two dozen and cover most of the numbers. But be mindful of this as the more you bet, the more money the house edge has to work with. These are good bets to make short-term as you can win more money, but you could lose money long-term.

 

You can bet on another set of twelve numbers, called a Column bet: 1 through 34, 2 through 35, and 3 through 36 (not in numerical order but lengthwise on the betting board). The pay-out for Column bets is also 2 to 1.

Outside Bets: Groups

The following bets are halves and halves of your betting range. One group of numbers you can bet on are the high bets (numbers 19 through 36) and low bets (numbers one through 18). The zero or zeros are not part of either of these bets. The pay-out for these bets is 1:1.

 

This is a comparatively good bet to make because you have 18 chances to win and 20 chances to lose on an American wheel. And on a European wheel, the odds are better, you have 18 chances to win and 19 chances to lose. Again, almost a 50/50 chance for both.

 

Another 50/50 group you can bet on are red/black numbers - which are the colours the bets are divided by. (Bar the zero, double zero which are usually green). Similar are the odd/even number bets, you can either bet on all the odd ones or all the even ones. The pay-out for both the odd/even and red/black bets would be 1:1.

How to win on a roulette table

So, it’s pretty hard to have a long losing streak if you keep to these kinds of outside roulette bets. However, you’re also not likely to make the biggest profit, and the house edge does not change. But you may be able to stay in the green because of the patterns of wins and losses.

You need to keep in mind that the easier a bet is to win, like the outside bets for example, the lower the payout will be. Inversely, the more difficult bets to win, like inside bets and single number bets, the higher the payout will be. If we had to suggest a good course of action, without delving into more complex roulette strategies like the Martingale, we would say that outside bets are the best numbers to bet on roulette.

Key takeaways

  • There are 36 roulette numbers, aside from the zero on a European wheel (and added ‘00’ on the American wheel).
  • French roulette rules are more favourable as they include two rules that award a second chance at your bet if a zero comes: La Partage and En Prison.
  • American wheels are less player-friendly as they have a 5.3% house edge due to the extra zero, while a European wheel has a 2.7% edge on single number bets.
  • American rules also offer a five-number “beast” bet which should be avoided as it has the highest house edge of all bets - 7.89%.
  • Roulette table odds are more favourable - almost 50/50 when you make outside bets covering more numbers, like red/black bets and even/odd bets, each paying 1:1
  • The most difficult bets to get paid on are inside bets, which compensate with higher payouts. The single number bet is one of them - 35:1 pay-out and 2.7% chance of winning.

FAQs

How many numbers are on a roulette wheel?

How many numbers on a roulette wheel depends on whether it’s an American roulette wheel or a European wheel? The former has 38 numbers, 0-36 plus a ‘00’, while the latter has 37 numbers and just one zero.

How many numbers on a roulette table are black?

There are 37 0r 38 numbers on a roulette wheel, depending which version you’re playing. You either have one zero or two - which are usually green. That leaves 36 numbers - half are red (18) and half are black (18).

What is the highest number on a roulette wheel?

The highest number on a roulette wheel, regardless of which version you’re playing, will always be the number ‘36’.

What number hits the most in roulette?

Which numbers hit in roulette depends entirely on chance and there’s no roulette next number predictor to know for sure. However, players tend to bet on some numbers more often, like 17 because it’s in the centre of the betting layout. Making it the most random number, according to MIT.

How many red numbers on a roulette wheel are high?

There are 36 numbers on the roulette wheel aside from the zero (European roulette) or two zeros (American). Half of those numbers (eighteen) are red numbers, and the high numbers are 19-36. So, therefore, there are nine red and high numbers.

What are the numbers on a roulette wheel?

The numbers on a roulette wheel are 0-36 (European wheels) and 00, 0-36 (American). These are displayed as black and red numbers with a different roulette number sequence depending on which type of roulette you play.

What do the numbers on a roulette wheel add up to?

The numbers on a roulette wheel are 0-36, so if you had to add them all up, the total would be 666 - which is superstitious for some players.

What colours are on a roulette wheel?

There are usually two colours on the roulette wheel - red and black, eighteen in each group. Then the zero (or zeros in American roulette) is displayed with a different colour, usually green.