The Basics of Roulette


The roar of a spinning roulette wheel and the flash of a red ball landing in its numbered slot has brought glamour, mystery and excitement to casino-goers since the 17th century. The game’s rules are simple enough for children to play, but the game offers a surprising level of depth for serious gamblers who want to try their luck with this classic casino favorite.

The Roulette wheel consists of a solid wooden disk slightly convex in shape with a metal rim around it. A series of metal partitions or frets, painted alternately black and red and numbered nonconsecutively from 1 to 36, surround the rim. Two green compartments, numbered 0 and 00 on American wheels, are also on the rim. The wheel spins on a perfectly balanced spindle and the ball, dropped into one of the numbered slots on the roulette table, drops onto a black or red color-coded stripe that separates the zero from the other numbers.

Roulette is one of the oldest and most popular casino games worldwide, especially in Europe. Its popularity has declined in the United States, as other casino games such as blackjack, video poker and slot machines take up more room on the gambling floor, but it continues to draw large crowds at Monte Carlo and other European casinos.

Despite its simple appearance, the roulette game is a complex mathematical challenge. While no strategy can overcome the built-in house edge, players can minimize the impact of the game’s odds by selecting their bets wisely. The first step is to determine your budget before you play and choose a roulette table within that range. Each table carries a placard with a minimum and maximum betting amount, so you should know your limits before placing your chips on the table.

Once the dealer clears the winning and losing bets from the table, players can begin placing their chips. Each bet must contain a minimum number of chips (called “inside bets”) and at least one chip on the outside of the roulette table. Depending on the type of bet placed, each additional chip must be placed on an adjacent number to complete the bet.

In America, roulette has one of the smallest followings of all casino games, well behind slot machines and table games such as baccarat. However, in Europe, it draws a much bigger audience and is often the centerpiece of casinos in cities like Paris. This is partly due to the fact that roulette in France uses a special rule, called La Partage, which gives half of all winning wagers back to the player.