The Basics of Roulette

Roulette is one of the most popular casino games. Its popularity stems from its simplicity, low house edge and wide range of betting options. The game has many variations and players can choose from American or European roulette wheels. The European version of the game has greater winning probabilities than the American version.

A standard roulette wheel consists of a solid wooden disk, slightly convex in shape and painted alternately red and black. Around the rim are metal separators called frets and compartments known as pockets. Thirty-six of these pockets are numbered consecutively from 1 to 36 while a single green compartment (on European-style wheels) carries the number 0 and two green ones carry the numbers 00 on opposite sides (American wheels have only one 0 pocket). The spherical ball is dropped onto the roulette wheel, which spins in an almost frictionless manner. When the ball lands in a number, the croupier will pay winning bettors and clear off losing bets from the table.

In roulette, players make bets by placing chips on a betting mat, with the precise location of the chip indicating the bet being made. The betting mats used at roulette tables are usually engraved with French terms and numbers, although English-speaking areas use different betting mats and terminology. Bets placed on six or fewer numbers are referred to as “Inside bets” and those on twelve or more as “Outside bets”.

The game of roulette evolved in France in the early 17th century, with a mix of elements from older games including hoca and portique. Its popularity increased in illegal gambling dens until 1843, when a single zero pocket was introduced, significantly lowering the house edge and boosting its appeal among gamblers.

The game is regulated by strict rules and procedures to prevent cheating. Roulette is played with special chips that do not have any value away from the game and players must separate from spouses to avoid conflicting bets. When a player wants to leave the table, they must tell the dealer and exchange their roulette chips for normal casino chips. When a bet is won, the dealer will place a marker on the winning number or chips and clear off all losing bets from the table before paying out the winners. Then the process begins again.