A Quick Guide to Roulette

Roulette has offered glamour, mystery and excitement to casino-goers since the 17th century. Although it’s a simple game to play, roulette has surprisingly deep strategy and the right approach can reap high rewards. If you’re new to this game, read our quick guide before betting it all on black.

The Roulette Wheel

A croupier spins a ball on a rotating wheel that has red and black numbered compartments marked alternately from 1 to 36. On European-style wheels, a green compartment carries the number 0, and on American wheels two green compartments carry numbers 0 and 00. The wheel’s rim is divided into thirty-six segments by metal separators, or frets, and the compartments are called canoes by roulette croupiers.

Before the dealer begins the game, you can place bets by laying chips on a table map that corresponds with the compartments of the wheel. Bets on single numbers are called “Inside bets,” while groups of numbers are known as “Outside bets.” The croupier then places the ball in one of the pockets of the wheel and starts the game.

When you’re ready to bet, look for a table that offers the minimum and maximum bets you prefer. Choosing a higher minimum bet will help you win more often, while selecting a lower minimum bet can reduce your exposure to the house’s edge. Also, choose a table with a maximum bet that is at or below your budget.

In addition to betting on a specific number, players can bet on groups of numbers or categories, such as odd or even, red or black, high or low, or whether the next spin will result in a doubling of the previous one. When a bet wins, the winning chips are cleared off the table and the croupier pays out the winners. If you have won a bet, do not dip into your winnings to make further bets.

The ball used to be made from ivory, but now most professional roulette balls are made of a material called “ivorine,” a synthetic resin that mimics the color and feel of the real thing. Interestingly, the weight and size of the ball can have a significant impact on the results of a game of roulette. A lighter, more spherical ball may travel faster and jump around the track a bit more unpredictably before it settles on a number.

Before betting, set your budget and stick to it. Do not stray from your budget by watching the other players or hoping to catch some “tells.” The best way to improve your odds is by studying the history of the game, calculating the probabilities of various bets and making well-thought-out decisions.