Roulette was first played in France back in the 17th century.
It is now one of the most popular European gambling games
and Monte Carlo in Monaco is a well known and famous casino
centre for playing roulette.
Players, usually up to eight, play against the House represented
by the croupier also called the dealer, who spins the roulette
wheel and handles the wagers and payouts. In the European roulette and French roulette version, the wheel has 37
slots representing 36 numbers and one zero. In the USA most roulette wheels
have two zeros and therefore 38 slots.
Each player buys-in a different coloured chips so their bets
don't get mixed up. At the end of play, if you won, you exchange
back the colorued chips with cash chips. These are
special chips with the value amount imprinted on them. There
are several denominations in various colours. You then take these
chips to the cash desk where they will give you actual
cash money in exchange.
To play roulette, you place your bet or bets on numbers (any
number including the zero) in the table layout or on the outside,
and when everybody at the table had a chance to place their bets,
the croupier starts the spin and launches the ball. Just
a few moments before the ball is about to drop over the slots, the
croupier says 'no more bets'. From that moment no one is allowed
to place - or change - their bets until the ball drops on a slot.
Only after the croupier places the dolly on the winning number
on the roulette table and clears all the losing bets you can then start placing
your new bets while the croupier pays the winners. The winners are
those bets that are on or around the number that comes up. Also
the bets on the outside of the layout win if the winning number
The House advantage
On a single zero roulette table the House advantage is 2.7%. On a double zero roulette table it is 5.26% (7.9% on the five-number bet, 0-00-1-2-3). The House advantage is gained by paying the winners a chip or two (or a proportion of it) less than what it should have been if there was no advantage. (See Roulette Quiz - The Casino Advantage.)
The 'En Prison' rule
A roulette rule applied to even-money bets only, and by some casinos (not all). When the outcome is zero, some casinos will allow the player to either take back half his/her bet or leave the bet (en prison = in prison) for another roulette spin. In the second case, if the following spin the outcome is again zero, then the whole bet is lost.
The 'La Partage' rule
The la partage roulette rule is similar to the en prison rule, only in this case the player loses half the bet and does not have the option of leaving the bet en prison for another spin. This refers to the 'outside' even-money bets Red/Black, High/Low, Odd/Even and applies when the outcome is zero. Both the La Partage and the En Prison roulette rules essentially cut the casino edge on the 'even-money bets' in half. So a bet on Red on a single-zero roulette table with the la partage rule or the en prison rule has a 1.35% House edge and one on a double-zero roulette table has a House edge of 2.63%.
A bet on one number only, called a straight-up bet, pays 35 to 1. (You collect 36. With no House advantage you should collect 37 (38 in the USA on double zero roulette wheels).
A two-number bet, called split bet, pays 17 to 1.
A three-number bet, called street bet, pays 11 to 1.
A four-number bet, called corner bet, pays 8 to 1.
A six-number bet, pays 5 to 1.
A bet on the outside dozen or column, pays 2 to 1.
A bet on the outside even money bets, pays 1 to 1.
Object of the game
To win at roulette the player needs to predict where the ball will land after each spin. This is by no means easy. In fact, luck plays an important part in this game. Some players go with the winning numbers calling them 'hot' numbers and therefore likely to come up more times. Others see which numbers did not come up for some time and bet on them believing that their turn is now due. Some players bet on many numbers to increase their chances of winning at every spin, but this way the payout is considerably reduced. Other methodical players use specific roulette systems or methods, money management systems, or both.
French roulette rules
The French roulette rules are very much like the European roulette rules. It has the same 37 numbered wheel with one zero but a different table layout for the outside bets. See Table layout (Link opens new window).
The player odds in French roulette are the same as in European roulette (only one zero) and better than the odds in American roulette (two zeros). The players loose only 50% of their even-money bets when the outcome is zero, known as the 'La Partage' rule.
The object of the game is still the same - to predict which number out of possible 37 the ball will land on. And of course, they speak French. Below are the English and equivalent French terms for the various roulette bets:
- One number Straight up = En plein
- Two numbers Split Bet = Cheval
- Three numbers Street Bet = Transversale
- Four numbers Corner = Carre
- Six numbers Line Bet = Sixainne
- Twelve numbers Column = Colonne
- Twelve numbers Dozen = Douzaine
- Red or Black = Rouge, Noir
- Even or Odd = Pair, Impair
- Low or High numbers = Manque, Passe
In Costa Rica some casino table games have different names, others have different names and different rules. Roulette in Costa Rica casinos is called "Canasta" and is played with a double-zero layout. However, instead of using a roulette wheel the winning number is selected from a circular wire cage with numbered balls similar to the one used in bingo halls.
The difference between California casinos and Vegas (and other) casinos is the way roulette and craps are played.
In California it is against the rules and regulations to have a roulette wheel that is spun and to have a ball drop decide which number is the winning number on the wheel. It is also against the state rules and regulations to throw dice to decide the outcome of a game.
In 2004, California legalized a form of roulette known as California Roulette. By law, the game must use cards and not slots on the roulette wheel to pick the winning number.
There are at least two variations. In some casinos, the dealer spins a wheel containing 38 cards from 1 to 36, plus 0 and 00, and after betting is closed, stops the wheel; a pointer identifies the winning card, which the dealer removes and shows to the players.
In the Cache Creek casino in northern California, a wheel resembling a traditional roulette wheel is used, but it has only alternating red and black slots with no numbers. As the ball is spinning, the dealer takes cards from a shoe and places two of them face down on the table in red and black rectangles. When the ball lands in a red or black slot, the card in the corresponding rectangle is turned over to reveal the winning number.
Did you know?
In every casino it is customary that the croupier starts the first round/spin of the day with the ball lying in the number slot of the date of that day. This obviously excludes the numbers 32, 33, 34, 35, 36 and 0.
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* Rules .
Table layout .
Single zero wheel .
Double zero wheel .