Roulette, The Game

The American roulette wheel contains 38 pockets, one marked zero, another double zero, which are colored green and directly opposite each other on the wheel design. The European wheel features a single zero. There are 18 black and 18 red numbers. The table layout might be called the "road map" for the game. It contains all the numbers appearing on the wheel and are arranged to offer a variety of bets.

Players make bets by placing cheques (chips) of various denominations on the layout. Each roulette table has its own supply of cheques, customarily six different colors. This eliminates confusion about whose chips have been wagered on the layout. The varying chip colors allow each player to have his or her own supply of cheques of one color; with that color assigned to that player until he or she leaves the game.

Roulette chips have no value when not in use. Chips have only a "money value" after the player purchases them and are sold, by the dealer in stacks of 20.

All tables have minimum bet requirements. This means even if you were playing with low-valued chips, it would be necessary to bet a minimum number of them per decision or roll. For example, in a $1 table minimum game, you are required to place a minimum of $5 in cheques on the inside of the layout ranging from 1-36. When in doubt, ask the dealer. After a player has finished his table play, he will cash in roulette chips to the dealer who in turn will exchange them for the regular casino chips. Casino chips may then be turned in for cash at the casino cashier.

On the American double-zero wheel, a straight up bet on one number pays 35 to 1. If this bet would be even, that is, with no House percentage, the winning bet should pay 37-1. But with a zero and double zero on the wheel, the House advantage is 5.26 per cent and approximately half of that on the European wheel.

Let us look at the various types of bets available for the roulette player: The two-number or split bet pays off at 17-1. To wager on two numbers at the same time, the player must put his check on the line which separates the two numbers. A three-way bet may be made on either 0, 00 and 2 (they are connected on the layout for simple chip placement) or on any three numbers on the layout. Winning bets pay 11-1. A four number bet (also called a corner bet) may be made by placing a check on the corner covering four numbers. A winning wager here pays of at 8-1. There is a five-number bet, which would cover 0, 00, 1, 2 and 3, which pays off at 6-1, but since this is the only bet which gives the House almost an 8 per cent advantage, it is not a recommended play,

One may also place a six-number bet (also called a six line or line bet). It pays off at 5-1. There are also dozens (by thirds on the layout, 1-12, 13-24, 24-36) and column row bets. On the layout, each dozen may be played by placing checks in the appropriate box. Dozens pay off at 2-1, with the column bet paying 2-1 as well. Many players enjoy what are called even money proposition bets-the "outside" as against other bets (which were "inside" bets).

The following wagers pay off at even money: Odd, Even, High (19-36), Low (1-18), Red, Black.

If you are wondering about the personnel operating or supervising the roulette wheel, here are some quick pointers: Most roulette wheels with a single layout are worked by two croupiers. The croupier spins the wheel and deals the game and is called the wheel roller or dealer. In some place, depending on the amount of action and table minimums, he/she is assisted by a croupier. In essence, the dealer controls the conduct of the game including selling chips to players; spinning the wheel; throwing the ball; announcing winners; collecting losing bets and paying winners.

The croupier separates (mucks) and stacks losing chips which have been taken off the layout. Chips are stacked in piles of 20 of the same color and placed in a chip rack on the apron of the table.

You can start betting on the layout immediately after all bets from the previous spin have been collected and paid. Usually you can continue to bet until the ball begins to drop and the dealer calls out "No more bets." Sometimes if you bet too late, your wager will be returned to you whether or not the bet wins or loses.

The usual procedure is for the dealer to announce the winning number as soon as the ball lands in a numbered slot. The dealer may point to the winning number or place a clear plastic tube on that winning number. Outside bets are usually paid off first, then inside bets. At that point, the hand is over and new betting may commence as soon as the marker denoting the winning number is removed by the dealer from the table.

Remember winning bets are normally left right on the layout. It is the responsibility of the player to collect those bets left on the layout plus those payoffs from winning outside bets before the dealer announces "No more bets" once again. If the player is not alert, by accident, those chips left on the layout will be considered wagers on the next spin.

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