The Basics of Roulette

Roulette is a casino game that offers glamour, mystery and excitement. It’s easy enough for beginners to learn and enjoy, but it also has a surprising depth for serious bettors.

In a simple sense, the game is played by betting on which red or black numbered compartment of a spinning wheel the ball will fall into as it comes to rest. Players may bet on a single number, various groupings of numbers, colors or odds and evens. The winning bets are paid according to their odds.

The Roulette wheel consists of a solid, slightly convex wooden disk with a rim containing metal separators, called frets or canoes by roulette croupiers. Thirty-six of these compartments, painted alternately red and black, are numbered nonconsecutively from 1 to 36. On European wheels a 37th compartment, painted green, carries the number 0. On American wheels two green compartments on opposite sides of the wheel carry the numbers 0 and 00.

Players make their bets before the croupier spins the wheel and throws the ball into one of the compartments. Each table carries a placard describing the minimum and maximum bets allowed. Generally, tables limit outside bets (bets on groups of numbers rather than individual digits) to higher amounts than inside bets.

The croupier, or dealer, clears the table of losing bets before the start of the next game. Some players watch the other players, hoping to pick up a nuance that they can translate to the game, or simply to try to do what others do in order to get lucky. In the long run, however, no strategy can overcome the built-in house advantage.