Roullete, or roulette, has long offered glamour and mystery to casino-goers, and the game still draws crowds to tables in Monte Carlo and elsewhere. Among American casino games, it has one of the smallest followings, but it still draws more players than baccarat and, on a relative basis, is more popular in Europe than slots, video poker, blackjack and craps. For a game with so many betting options, the rules of roulette are relatively straightforward and easy to understand, making it an ideal choice for novice players. Nevertheless, it has surprising depth for serious betters, and there are ways to reduce the house edge by carefully choosing your bets.
The game of roulette is played with a small ball that is released into a revolving wheel. Bettors choose which numbered compartment in which the ball will come to rest, and are paid off according to their odds. A player can also make “outside bets,” which are groups of numbers and pay off at lower odds.
A croupier spins the roulette wheel, and when the ball lands in a numbered slot, winners are paid according to their bet odds. The game originated in the 17th century, and its present shape and layout evolved a century later in casinos and gambling dens throughout Europe. The roulette wheel consists of a solid wooden disk slightly convex in shape, with a series of metal separators around its perimeter, and compartments (called frets by croupiers) engraved in alternating red and black colors. Thirty-six of these compartments are numbered, alternately in red and black, nonconsecutively from 1 to 36, and a green compartment carries the number 0.
The dealer clears losing bets from the table before starting a new round, and each bet is placed on a different color or type of chip. When the decision is over, the dealer places a marker on the winning number and pays out the winner’s chips. Players should never dip into their winnings to place future bets. A good rule of thumb is to set a budget before entering the casino and stick with it. This helps avoid unnecessary losses and makes the gambling experience more enjoyable.