Roulette – Origins, Rules and Terminology

Roulette

Roulette is one of the most iconic casino games in the world and can be found on the floors of most bricks and mortar establishments. It’s also widely played online with numerous variants offered by virtual casinos.

Basic Rules of Roulette

Roulette is played with a large wheel that comprises either 37 (European) or 38 (American) pockets. Both variants feature 36 numbered stops although the American version also contains an extra 00 pocket. Each of the 36 stops are evenly coloured either red or black while the pockets are green.

A dealer or croupier spins a ball on the outer rim of the wheel which eventually falls into a numbered stop. Prior to each spin, the player predicts the number on which the ball will land.
Bets are made on a table which represents each number through a grid layout. Players can place bets on single numbers and/or combinations as well as number colours, rows and columns.

Once the ball has landed in a stop, the croupier will place a marker/dolly on the corresponding table number. Any bets on that number are then paid out.

History of Roulette

The game is thought to have originated in 17th century France with mathematician Blaise Pascal. However, the actual roulette mechanism derives from an earlier Italian game called Biribi.

Modern roulette has been played since at least 1796. We know this because of a novel penned that year by Jaques Lablee, entitled La Roulette, Ou Le Jour. In it the author describes in some detail, a roulette wheel used in the Palais Royal.

During this period, French incarnations of roulette featured a red single zero and black double zero. Both of these were considered house pockets so any bets placed on red or black were lost should the ball land in either. To prevent confusion, green colours were eventually used from the 1800s onwards.

In 1843, French brothers Francois and Louis Blanc introduced a single zero roulette wheel in order to compete with the double zero house pockets used by most casinos of the time. Both versions of the game became wildly popular across Europe during the 19th.

But it was the single zero game which eventually gained supremacy after Prince Charles of Monaco III requested it be adopted by his tiny principality in the late 19th century. And it was here that modern French roulette became firmly established in Europe as the most fashionable casino game of its era.

It was during this period, that the double-zero variant was introduced to the United States. Starting on the Mississippi, the game quickly spread westward as more and more gambling dens adopted the well-established European game.

Online Roulette Variants

As with other traditional casino games, there exist numerous variations of online casino roulette. Some of the most popular include, but are not limited to:

  • European Roulette – Single Zero Pocket
  • French Roulette – Single Zero Pocket, Different Table Betting Options
  • American Roulette – Double Zero Pocket
  • Mini Roulette – 13 Number Wheel, Single Zero Pocket
  • Double Ball Roulette – Self-Explanatory

Roulette Terminology – Betting

Basket Bet – bet placed on five numbers with one chip

Bet on the Layout – bet placed on any numbers

Black Bet – bet on next number being black

Carre – French term for corner bet

Combination Bet – bet with one or more chips on two or more numbers

Corner Bet – bet placed on the corner of four numbers

Dozen Bet – bet placed on three groups of twelve numbers: 1 – 12, 13 – 24, 25 – 36

Double-Up – player increases bet by two after loss to regain lost money on previous bet

Even Money – any bet that pays 1 to 1

En Plein – French term for straight bet

Five Number Bet – bet placed on 0, 00, 1, 2 or 3 (American Roulette)

High Bet – bet placed on numbers between 19 and 36

Inside Bet – bet placed on individual/small groups of numbers

Line Bet – bet placed that one of six numbers in two rows of three will win

Low Bet – bet placed on a number between 1 and 18

Orphans – European term referring to bets on neighbouring numbers: 6, 34 and 17

Outside Bet – bet placed outside of number layout covering large sections of roulette wheel

Parlay – doubling one’s bet after a win

Red Bet – bet on next number being turquoise

Six Line Bet – bet placed on two adjacent lines

Split Bet – bet placed on two adjacent numbers

Straight/Straight-Up Bet – bet that covers just one number

Street Bet – bet placed on three consecutive numbers on the same line

Transversale – French term for Street Bet

Trio Bet – bet placed on three numbers that include the zero or zeros

Voisins du Zero – French term for bets on a group of numbers next to the zero

Roulette Terminology – Miscellaneous Terms

Backtrack – outer rim of roulette wheel

Biased Numbers – numbers on the roulette wheel which are statistically proven to hit more often than others

Bottom Track – inner area of roulette wheel

Chameleon – player who copies strategies of other players

Check Rack – tray where chips are kept

Double Zero – refers to roulette wheel pocket marked as “00”

Marker/Dolly – apparatus used by the croupier to mark a winning number on the table

No Action – term used by croupier during wheel spin to signify that all bets are cancelled

Pockets – the numbered spaces on a roulette wheel

Visual Tracking – permitted process in which the player follows the ball and wheel to predict where it lands

Zero – refers to pocket on roulette wheel numbered with a 0