Roulette has offered glamour, mystery and excitement to casino-goers since its inception in the 17th Century. The game appears simple, but a deeper look into the rules and strategy reveal a game that requires some degree of skill to master. With a simple betting structure and a high house edge, the game isn’t an easy one to win. However, the right approach can result in lucrative winnings.
Roulette is played using a wheel, a table and a ball. The goal is to correctly predict which pocket the ball will land in after the dealer spins the wheel. Players place their bets on the table by laying down chips on specific sections of the betting table. The numbers corresponding to the wheel are marked on the betting table, and each bet covers one or more of the numbers. Players are only given a short period of time to place their bets before the dealer starts spinning the wheel.
The wheel is divided into 37 equal-sized pockets, alternating between red and black, with the exception of the green zero on American roulette tables (and an extra green pocket on American wheels). A small ivory ball is spun around the wheel in the opposite direction the wheel is being spun, and when it stops the dealer marks the winning number. The numbers on the wheel correspond with the numbered sections on the table, and each bet type covers a different number of pockets. The bets are known as “inside” and “outside”.
Once the winning bets are spotted, the loser’s chips are removed from the table and replaced with normal casino chips. The dealer then clears the table and pays the winners. If you wish to leave the table, simply tell the dealer and they will give you your chips back.
There are many variations of the game, with each offering varying chances of winning. The best game in terms of odds is French Roulette, which has a minuscule 1.35% house edge. Other games include American roulette, which uses two zeros and therefore has a higher house edge.
The game’s popularity grew rapidly in the illegal gambling dens of France and then across Europe as more people became familiar with its rules. However, the game’s popularity really took off when Louis and Francois Blanc invented a single-zero version of the wheel in 1843. This game, branded European Roulette today, was far more appealing to gamblers as it offered better winning opportunities.