The Basics of Roulette


Roulette is a game played with a revolving wheel of numbered pockets. Players bet on which number the ball will land in, or various groups of numbers based on their color (red or black), whether they are odd or even, and if the number is high (1-18) or low (19-36).

Roulette was invented in France around 1790 and was popularized in America after its introduction by European immigrants. It’s also known as a “dice game,” but its true origin is unknown.

A croupier, or dealer, spins the wheel and then rolls a small ball around it in a circular track. When the ball stops, the croupier immediately announces a round’s end by saying something like, “no more bets!” This rule is designed to prevent cheating and other advantage-seeking strategies.

Once betting ends, the croupier clears off the table and pays any winners. He then re-opens the table and a dealer, known as a croupier in Europe, throws a ball into the spinning wheel. The wheel has 37 colored compartments numbered 1 to 36, plus two green ones (called a zero on American wheels). If the ball drops into one of these compartments, you’ve won!

There are a few other symmetries that make for interesting betting opportunities. For example, the first 12 numbers on the roulette layout are called a dozen, or douzaine in French, and they all pay out 2-1. The same is true for the second and third dozen, though you can’t place a bet on all three.

There are also a number of outside bets, which are more conservative than placing chips on specific numbers. These include the Line Bet/Six Number Bet, which is placed by placing your chip(s) to straddle the line between two rows of numbers on the roulette layout. This type of bet pays 5-1, and it’s a great choice for those who are new to the game because the payout is lower than a single-number bet.