Roulette is a game of chance, but there are still rules and strategies to follow that can increase your chances of winning at the wheel, even if you're a beginner.
Roulette is a game that traces its roots to 18th-century France. Today’s modern game remains very similar to the game French nobles might have played in a gambling salon in the late-1700s.
At a modern casino, players are given a stack of chips after buying into the game. Roulette chips are not the same as at other tables and must be “colored in” when a player leaves for another game. Each player uses uniquely colored chips so their bets can be differentiated on the board, which can be cluttered with bets at times.
Roulette is popular because there isn’t too much to learn. It can be a fun way to pass a few hours with friends while drinking a cocktail or two. The board is divided into numbers and colors. There are 36 numbers (1-36) on the board in three rows. Half are colored black and half are white. The numbers correspond to numbers and colors on the wheel. However, there are also two additional numbers, “0” and “00,” which can play a big role in the game.
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Players have several betting options in roulette. A popular bet is a single number, which pays 35 to 1. If you put $2 on 25, and that little white ball hits 25, you’ll win $70. It’s that simple.
There are several other wagering options. A couple popular bets, and the best ones on the table in regards to odds, are odd/even and red/black. A player with $50 on red will win even money ($50) if the ball lands on a red number. Many players mistakenly believe these types of wagers are 50-50 propositions, but because of the green 0 and 00 on the wheel, that isn’t true. Players really only have a 46.37 percent chance of winning. That gives the house a nice edge.
Here’s a look at some other bets at the roulette table:
• Low (1-18) or high (19-36) — Another even-money bet like red/black or odd/even. Players have a 46.37 percent chance of winning.
• 0 or 00 — Both of these can also be bet on by players and pay 35 to 1. Split the two and it pays 17 to 1.
• Doubles or splits — Players can place a chip that overlaps two numbers and earn 17 to 1 if either is a winner.
• Streets — A line of three numbers that pays 11 to 1 if any of them hit. Also includes a bet placed on 0, 00 and 2.
• Square bet — A bet placed on four numbers paying 8 to 1.
• Basket bet — A bet on these five numbers: 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3. Pays 6 to 1.
• Avenue bet — Placing a chip on the board to cover six numbers. It pays 5 to 1.
• Dozens — Players can bet on grouped numbers as a whole: 1-12, 13-24 and 25-36. Hit any of your 12 and get paid 2 to 1.
• Columns — Players can also bet on one of the three columns of numbers. Like a dozen bet, it pays 2 to 1.
There’s really no way to beat the house in the long run, but roulette can be an entertaining game and occasionally players can win. One of the fun things about roulette is placing chips on different numbers after each spin. Players can even place wagers after the ball has spun. But once the dealer waves his hand and says, “No more bets,” the wagering stops.
Roulette tables also usually have a limit. If it’s a $10 table, players must have $10 “inside” on a single number or multiple numbers, or “outside” on plays like red/black. In the long run, those even-money bets are the best bet and have the lowest house edge.
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This guide was tailored toward a traditional American roulette wheel, which has both 0 and 00. However, most wheels in Europe feature only a single 0, improving the odds for players. A few casinos in Las Vegas and some online casinos have begun offering single-zero roulette in recent years. Unfortunately, some casinos have added a 000 spot to the wheel in recent years — adding even more of a house edge. When possible, look for a single-zero wheel.