Understanding the Numbers on a Roulette Wheel

A roulette wheel is one of the most iconic features of a casino. As a symbol, it’s instantly recognisable – however, understanding the roulette wheel numbers can be a bit of a challenge if you’ve never played the game before.

Whether you’re gambling in a physical casino, or playing premium American roulette at casino.com, it’s important to know how the numbers on the wheel work. There are actually two different types of roulette wheel – an American and a European version – and the way the game is played will depend on which one you’re using.

This post will explain how you can understand the numbers on both an American and European roulette wheel, to maximise your chances of an enjoyable game.  

Image by PIRO4D from Pixabay 

American Roulette

The biggest difference between an American and European roulette wheel is that the former features two zero pockets. This actually makes it more similar to the original roulette wheel, designed by the Frenchman Blaise Pascal in the 17th century. It was only in the 1800s that the single zero roulette wheel – which we see in Europe today – was invented, after casinos in Germany thought the better odds would attract more players.

In total, there are 38 pockets on an American roulette wheel. The numbers range from 0 to 36, with the addition of the extra 00 pocket. Both the 0 and 00 pockets are green, while the remaining numbers alternate between red and black. The zeroes are at opposite sides of the wheel, with the numbers arranged counter clockwise in this order: 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.

At first glance, there appears to be no logic to the arrangement of the roulette wheel numbers – and that’s precisely the point. An inexperienced gambler is likely to find it hard to remember the sequence and notice any bias as to where the ball lands.

European Roulette

Thanks to the single zero pocket, the house edge – the extent to which casino games are likely to favour the casino – is lower on a European wheel than on an American wheel. This means players are more likely to win, or at least to mitigate their losses.

That’s not to say the arrangement of the roulette wheel numbers is any less confusing, though. Clockwise, the numbers read: 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, and 32. Again, this is to prevent players from memorising the wheel – although experienced gamblers will no doubt notice that one side of the wheel predominantly features high red numbers and low black numbers, while the other side features low red numbers and high black ones.

What are the Benefits to Understanding the Numbers on a Roulette Wheel?


Although playing roulette does not require skill, as it’s a game of pure chance, being more familiar with the numbers on the wheel can potentially put you at an advantage.

Both the wheel and ball should be weighted evenly, to avoid any bias as to where the ball will land. If the weighting is not even, this means the wheel is either defective (which could be the fault of the manufacturer) or deliberately rigged to benefit the casino. By understanding the layout of the numbers on the roulette wheel, you’ll be better placed to notice any bias – and use this to your advantage.