At first glance, roulette is an incredibly simple game to play. All it takes is choosing a number, a group of numbers or a number property like odd, even, high, low, red or black. And indeed, this is the essence of this game of chance.
In reality, there is more to roulette than this. Players must acquaint themselves with the rules of conduct they are expected to adhere to while at the table. This includes the purchase of the chips you play with, understanding the timing of wagers, where to position the chips for the different types of available bets, tipping the dealer, and cashing out your wins. We cover all these aspects of the game in the following article.
Basic Premise of the Game
In most casinos around the world, roulette plays on a wheel with 37 pockets. These contain numbers 1 through 36 alternating in red and black color plus a green pocket for the single zero. American Roulette uses an extra double-zero pocket for a total of 38 wheel divisions. We only mention this in brief here but it is important. The house maintains a constant edge over roulette players through the introduction of the zero pocket(s).
The main premise of this game of chance is that players must predict what result an individual spin of the roulette wheel will produce. Before a betting round can commence, players must back their bets by posting chips on the corresponding positions of the table layout.
2The inner section
This is divided into two main sections, for outside and inside bets. The inner section of the layout is reserved for the inside bets, with the chips for these being placed on one or more numbers. Inside bets are more rewarding for the player in terms of payouts because they cover individual numbers or groups with fewer numbers (up to six). The probability of winning with them is smaller, hence the higher payouts.
3The outer section
The betting boxes for the outside bets are strategically positioned in the outer section of the layout, i.e. outside the main number grid. Outside bets are those made on number properties like red, black, even, odd, low (numbers 1 through 18), and high (numbers 19 through 36).
In this category, we also have dozen and column bets, which comprise larger groups of 12 numbers. Since the green zero does not share these properties and does not belong to any of the three dozens or columns, all outside bets lose to it when it hits.
Outside bets award smaller payouts. They stand better chances of winning because they cover larger groups of numbers. Check our detailed article A Game of Many Betting Opportunities for further clarification of the types of bets in roulette and their payouts.
Equipment at the Roulette Table
A roulette table consists of a layout where bets are placed and a spinning wheel which is typically positioned to the side. The design of the wheel itself ensures the randomization of results. The most obvious way in which this is achieved is through the alternation of the red and black pockets. The numbers on the wheel are not numerically ordered but are spread out randomly, with different number sequences for American and European wheels.
Rules of Proper Table Conduct
Roulette is a simple game with a straightforward objective and rules. However, if you want to fully enjoy your experience at the wheel-equipped tables without any drama, you should learn how to conduct yourself properly. Sometimes even a small breach of the table protocol can altogether spoil your experience.
The amount of money you wager at the roulette table over a certain period.
A type of wheel that features a double zero for a total of 38 pockets. It is widely used at the roulette tables in the United States.
The outer static rim of the wheel where the dealer spins the ball.
An amount of money a roulette player has designated specifically for gambling.
Also known as pinching, this is a practice that involves adding more chips to a wager you have already won. The opposite of this is when the player removes chips to minimize the damage from a losing bet. Both are forms of cheating and as such, are strictly prohibited.
Betting straight up
Betting on one of the 37 or 38 numbers on the roulette layout.
A wager that covers the numbers from a specific section of the roulette wheel.
This is how some dealers call the pockets on the roulette wheel.
The rate at which the casino pays the player for a winning bet.
Increasing the size of your wagers in an attempt to recoup previous losses. This is dangerous and ineffective approach toward gambling in general.
A roulette table that shows no discernible winning or losing streaks.
A wager that covers two or more numbers on the same spin.
A wheel with defects that cause specific outcomes to occur with a higher frequency than they normally would. Roulette wheels may show bias toward individual numbers or entire sections of numbers.
The word is of French origin and is often used in reference to the dealers who service the roulette tables.
This is the pawn-shaped marker the dealer puts on the layout to indicate the winning number.
The French term for straight up wagers on individual numbers.
A wheel that contains only a single zero for a total of 37 pockets. As the name suggests, it is used in gambling establishments throughout Europe.
Even money bet
A bet on number properties like color, parity, and range (high/low), which pays at casino odds of 1 to 1, i.e. even odds.
Five number bet
A bet made on the American roulette layout, which covers five specific numbers, namely 0, 00, 1, 2, and 3. It should be avoided due to its high house edge.
The practice of consistently betting the same amount of money on each spin of the wheel.
The mathematical advantage the casino has over players from a given game or bet. It is 2.70% in single-zero games and 5.26% at double-zero tables.
A wager made on the inner side of the table layout that contains the numbers.
A betting system which requires the player to double their wager after each loss. The first win that breaks the string of losses guarantees a net profit.
This means bets at the roulette table are canceled and the spin must be repeated because it was not valid the first time.
The even money bets on red/black, even/odd and high/low. Dozen and column bets also fall into this category.
The practice of placing a wager after the dealer has announced bets are no longer accepted for a given round or when the ball has already settled in a pocket. In the first scenario, the late bet gets disqualified. In the second case, past posting is considered cheating and may get you kicked out from the casino.
A betting system which requires the player to increase their wager after each winning round and decrease it after a loss.
The real mathematical ratio of losing to winning outcomes. For example, the odds of losing with a straight up bet on a double-zero wheel with 38 numbered compartments are 37 to 1 because only 1 out of 38 numbers can yield a win. The house pays you at casino odds of 35 to 1 for straight up bets. Needless to say, this reduction in the payouts works to the players’ detriment.
An advanced technique that allows skilled roulette players to determine which number the ball will land on by using their sight.
The colored chips used at roulette tables. They have no value at the cashier cage and cannot be used in any other game but roulette.