The Basics of Roulette


Roulette is a casino game involving a spinning wheel and a ball that players place bets on. They can choose to bet on a single number, various groupings of numbers, the color red or black, or whether the numbers are high (19-36) or low (1-18). Before the wheel is spun players lay their chips down on a betting mat, with the precise location of the chips indicating their bet. The croupier then places the ball in the spinning wheel and the spin cycle begins. If the ball lands on a number, section or color bet, the player wins.

Roulette was invented more than 300 years ago, although its exact origin is unknown. The most popular legend is that it was invented by 17th century French mathematician Blaise Pascal while trying to create a perpetual motion machine. The game quickly became a popular pastime in Paris and eventually made its way to the United States, where it was brought to by immigrant settlers who brought along makeshift roulette wheels and tables.

The roulette wheel is a solid wooden disk slightly convex with thirty-six compartments that are alternately painted in red and black. A further 37th compartment, on European wheels, carries the sign of zero and on American wheels two additional green ones carry the signs of 0 and 00. The rim of the wheel has metal separators or frets that are known as “canoes” by roulette croupiers.

The game begins with the dealer placing the ball in a well-marked compartment of the roulette wheel. The croupier then throws the ball into the wheel and it spins around until it lands in one of the compartments where bets were placed. When a bet is won, the croupier will pay out winning chips according to their value and the table’s odds. The amount won will be equal to the total of all the chips staked in that section of the table. For example, a bet on the first, second or third dozen pays out 2-1 (or 12:1). The house edge on all outside bets is 2.70%.