The Basics of Roulette

Roulette is one of the most famous casino games in Europe, and it draws big crowds at many Monte Carlo resorts. But it is not nearly as popular in the United States as slot machines, video poker, blackjack, or craps. In fact, roulette is in danger of being overtaken by newer casino games that are making inroads into American casinos.

The game involves players placing bets on a number, various groupings of numbers, red or black, odd or even, or high (19-36) or low (1-18). A croupier spins the wheel in one direction and a ball is dropped into a series of metal compartments, called pockets or canoes by roulette croupiers. Thirty-six of the compartments are numbered nonconsecutively, from 1 to 36; the other two are green and carry the numbers 0 and 00.

Besides the standard bets that are made inside the table (numbers, splits, streets and corner), there are a variety of specialty bets that can also be placed. These bets offer higher payouts, but they generally have a much higher house edge than other bets.

After all the bets are made, the dealer will then immediately divide all the even-money bets in half, keeping the half for the house and returning the other to the player (called the “La Partage” rule). The resulting return is then compared with the standard house edge on that particular roulette wheel. If the expected return is higher than the house edge, the player has a positive expectation. If it is lower, the player has a negative expectation.