Roulette has offered glamour, mystery, and excitement to casino-goers since the 17th century. The game is popular in casinos worldwide in part because its rules are relatively simple and easy-to-understand. However, roulette offers a surprising level of depth for serious betters. Before putting it all on black, learn the basics of this thrilling game by reading the detailed instructions.
Method 1 of 2: The Basics
Know the equipment. Roulette is French for “little wheel.” On this wheel are 36 numbers and a 0; on some American tables, there is a “00.” A croupier sends a small white ball spinning that will eventually land on one of the numbers. Bets are placed on the table, correlating with the slots the ball can possibly land in.
- On the table are the numbers and a few other options:
- 1st 12
- 2nd 12
- 3rd 12
Know the different “inside” bets. In roulette, you have to anticipate the number or type of pocket on which the ivory ball is going to land. To do this, there are a range of bets you can make. “Inside” bets, or bets placed on specific numbers, generally have higher paying odds. You can bet:
- “Straight up” betting on one number pays 35 to 1
- Split betting on two numbers pays 17 to 1
- “Street” betting on three numbers pays 11 to 1
- Three numbers can be bet with just one chip. It can be placed on the end of any “street” (the row of 3 numbers) on the table map.
- Corner betting on four numbers pays 8 to 1
- The chip lies on the intersection of the four numbers.
- Six line betting on 6 numbers pays 5 to 1
- The chip lies on the edge of two adjoining streets.
- Additionally, for American roulette, there is the Five-number bet which covers “0,00,1,2,3” and pays 6:1, and the Row 00 bet which covers 0 and 00 and pays 17:1.
Learn about “outside” bets. These bets do not involve specific numbers and are made on the outside of the number map, hence the name.
- Color betting (red or black) pays 1 to 1.
- Even or odd betting pays 1 to 1.
- Column or betting on 12 numbers pays 2 to 1
- Dozen betting (1st 12, etc.) pays 2 to 1
- High or low bets pay 1 to 1.
Realize your odds. At every roulette table (and at every game in the casino itself), the house always has an edge. All bets at both wheels (French or American) are paid at odds that would be true if only the 36 numbers were on the wheel. Their advantage comes from to 0 — and the 00 in America.There are theories as to how you can improve your odds, but they don’t work. However, there are some variants that change how the favor lies:
- At American tables, the “00” slot increases the casino’s advantage even more. On a roulette table with a single zero, the casino has an advantage of 2.7%. On a roulette table with a double zero, the casino has an advantage of 5.26%.
- Some French tables will employ rules that generally help out the players. The “La Partage” and “En Prison” rules apply to outside even money bets like odds or even, black or red and low or high; they also apply when the ball lands in the zero slot. They are similar in the sense that players only lose half of their bet, but players cannot leave their bet on the table for another spin with the La Partage rule. If a player loses, they can collect half their bet in the En Prison rule, or leave half their bet on the table for the next spin with the La Partage rule.
Method 2 of 2: Playing the Game
Find a table. Each one will carry a placard describing the minimum and maximum bets at the table. For example, it might read, “Roulette. $5 minimum inside bets, $5 minimum outside bets. $1,000 maximum outside, $100 maximum inside.” Table maximums usually are lower on inside bets because of the higher payoffs offered.
- Each table will also have a board that highlights the previous numbers the ball has landed on. While you may be tempted to look at this and feel as if the odds of a number repeating are incredibly low, that’s not the way it works. With each spin, the odds of each number remain the same. It’s the same wheel and same ball every time.
Watch what’s happening. For all intents and purposes, there can be no strategy to roulette. It’s pure and simple luck. Each number has the exact same shot of popping up every time…usually.
- Sometimes, dealers have habits. They might release the ball at exactly the same angle and velocity nearly every time during a specific session. As the dealer releases the ball, the same numbers pass every time, increasing the chances that the ball ends up resting on the same portion of the wheel repeatedly.
- A wheel can go off-kilter. However, casinos are pretty good at spotting this. There’s really no way to tell if a wheel is off balance unless you monitor thousands and thousands of spins.
Hand your chips to the dealer. In Europe or France, this person may be called a “croupier.” In roulette, you do not play with normal casino chips. If you did, how would you know whose was whose after all the bets are placed? Each person gets a specific color to be able to differentiate between bettors. Even husbands and wives are recommended to separate.
- You can get your chips in different monetary denominations. When you hand the dealer your chips, he or she will ask what denomination you want to designate your chips. If you’re at a $5 minimum table, you could make them $1 or you could make them $100 (or anywhere in between). Once you’ve chosen, they’ll place a chip on top of the rail, with a marker on top of that to indicate your colored chips’ value.
- Roulette chips have no value away from the roulette wheel. When you’re ready to leave the table, place all your remaining roulette chips on the table and tell the dealer you’d like to cash out. He or she will give you normal casino chips in return.
Know the procedure of a round. After the dealer clears the table and has paid the winners, play begins for the next round. He’ll pause for a bit, giving everyone time to decide on their bets. Then, he’ll throw the ball onto the wheel and spin it. The dealer will announce, “No more bets!” when the ball drops from the track onto the wheel.
- Once the ball settles, the dealer placers a marker on the winning number (or winning chips, that is). Losing bets get cleared off first and then winners get paid. The process then repeats.
Place your bets. The first six bets are placed on the pockets numbered 0 to 36 on the game table. If you want to bet on column, place your bets on the empty pocket under the three columns. For the dozen, choose the pocket P12 for the first 12 numbers, M 12 for the 12 middle numbers and D 12 for the last 12 numbers. Finally, when you want to bet on the outside bets, use the red, black, even, odd, high or low pockets.
- Some players like to watch the other players, either hoping the others know something they don’t or doing the opposite of their opponents’ actions. You can try this, but it won’t improve your odds more than coincidentally.