Roullete, Brooklyn’s Experimental Arts Space, Moves to a New Location

For nearly 25 years, the TriBeCa loft that houses Roullete has been a laboratory for downtown music, giving composers, improvisers and electronic producers the space and resources to develop their work. Artists like John Zorn, harpist Zeena Parkins and trombonist Jim Staley were all early residents, building an enduring community that has nurtured generations of musicians.

As the venue moves into its new location in Downtown Brooklyn, many of those same artists are stepping aside. But, despite the loss of familiar names and faces, Roulette continues to evolve, and the 14,000-square-foot space remains a vital part of the city’s experimental arts landscape.

A game in which the dealer spins a numbered wheel and then drops a small ball into the wheel until it comes to rest in one of the compartments that make up the rim. Players can bet on individual numbers, various groupings of numbers, the color red or black, whether the number is odd or even and if it is high or low.

When a number wins, the dealer pays out the winning bets according to their odds. Bets on a single number cost the most, but they have the best chances of winning. The house edge, which is the sum of all the possible bets that lose, is about 2.70%. This is lower than the percentage that most gamblers think it is because of a rule called “La Partage.” This reduces the house’s advantage by half, but it only applies to European wheels, and not to American ones.

Players place their bets on a betting mat before the dealer starts the wheel. They can choose a number, various groups of numbers, the color or the first, second or third dozen. Each bet type has different odds, so it’s important to know what you’re up against before laying your chips down. If you win a bet, the dealer gives you your chips back. Then you can continue betting until the dealer announces “no more bets!” This prevents cheating and other advantages.