Roulette is a classic casino game that offers glamour, mystery, and excitement to players. Its simple rules and betting options make it a favorite among beginners, but its depth and complexity provide a challenge to serious betters. This article discusses the basics of roulette, including the types of bets, the odds for winning, and the payouts for each type of bet. It also discusses the wheel and table layout, and how to handle your winnings.
A roulette table consists of a wheel, a betting grid, and a small ball. The wheel consists of a solid wooden disk slightly convex in shape. A metal band surrounds it, with a series of compartments or pockets (called separators by roulette croupiers) that are painted alternately red and black. Thirty-six of these compartments contain numbers, from 1 to 36. On European-style wheels, one of these compartments carries the sign 0. On American-style wheels, two green compartments containing the signs 0 and 00 appear on opposite sides of the wheel.
The wheel, with its spindle perfectly balanced, spins in an almost frictionless manner. The ball, released from a slot on the edge of the table, travels around the circumference of the wheel until it comes to rest in one of the pockets. If the player has bet on the number it lands in, he or she wins. The game originated in France in the 17th century and spread throughout Europe, becoming a staple at casinos and gambling dens.
While there are many stories about how the game was invented, the most accurate information is that it was developed by combining elements of older games like hoca and portique. Fanciful claims include that it was invented by the 17th-century French mathematician Blaise Pascal, by a Dominican monk, or by the Chinese.
There are several different roulette bets, but most of them fall into three categories: inside bets, outside bets, and announced bets. Inside bets place chips on specific numbers or groups of numbers. Outside bets place chips on a larger area of the betting grid and have lower probabilities but higher payouts. Announced bets are special betting combinations, most commonly found in French Roulette though also present in online European Roulette variants. They are named after the individual French words for the bets they cover.