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Roulette is a casino game named after the French word meaning little wheel.Needless to say this wheel itself has been the subject of much interest and mythology, having been the place where hopes were pinned and fortunes won or lost over the centuries.It is the most quintessential of casino games.It is also more complicated than most imagine – it’s not simply about putting it all on red or black.So if you’re new to the world of roulette, here’s a strategy guide.


In the game, players may choose to place bets on either a single number, various groupings of numbers, the colors red or black, whether the number is odd or even, or if the numbers are high (19–36) or low (1–18). Interestingly, the sum of all the numbers on the roulette wheel (from 0 to 36) is 666, which is the "Number of the Beast

To determine the winning number and color, a croupier spins a wheel in one direction, then spins a ball in the opposite direction around a tilted circular track running around the circumference of the wheel. The ball eventually loses momentum, passes through an area of deflectors, and falls onto the wheel and into one of 37 (in French/European style roulette) or 38 (in American style roulette) colored and numbered pockets on the wheel.

Roulette Wheel

The wheel contains the numbers 1-36 in alternating red and black pockets and either one of two zero pockets (the 0 and 00). The single zero wheel is commonplace outside the Americas where the double zero wheel is favoured, which confers a slightly higher house advantage. In fact, that additional 00 pocket doubles the house edge in the long run. At some point zero and double zero were given a green square to clearly distinguish them.

The order of the numbers on the roulette wheel has nothing to do with their arithmetic value. This is one of the secrets that makes roulette such a balanced game – at least in theory. The sequence of numbers is carefully designed, and manages to accomplish several things at once:

  • The sequence is confusing. It is extremely hard for a person to take a look at the wheel and see any relation between the numbers and sectors. That is why it’s almost impossible to notice any bias, and bet on a specific sector as a result. Although pros surely know how the sequences go, to the average eye, it all looks completely random.
  • Red and black alternate completely. No matter the type of wheel, two adjacent pockets should always have different colours. This is an absolute must.
  • Low (1-18) and High (19-36) numbers alternate as much as possible. You will rarely see a low and a high number next to each other in European roulette – the only exception being 5 and 10. The American wheel doesn’t do a pretty good job at this, and there are many low and high numbers that are adjacent to each other. That is why the European wheel is known to be the better balanced of the two.
  • Even and Odd numbers are evenly distributed along the wheel. No more than two even or odd numbers are next to each other in the European wheel.

Roulette Layout

The cloth covered betting area on a roulette table is known as the layout. The layout is either single zero or double zero. The European style layout has a single zero, and the American style layout is usually a double zero. The American style roulette table with a wheel at one end is now used in most casinos. The French style table with a wheel in the centre and a layout on either side is rarely found outside of Monte Carlo.

The layout is where all chips change hands.

  • Players place their bets and after each outcome the dealer sweeps away all losing bets, often with a rake, then divvies out the winnings accordingly.
  • Each number on the wheel has its corresponding square on the layout including the zeros. The red, black, even, and odd squares are self-explanatory. 1 to 18 and 19 to 36 which are sometimes seen as manque or passe respectively mean a bet will win if the ball lands on any number within those ranges.
  • The 1st 12 section corresponds naturally enough to the first twelve numbers of the 36, or the first third. And so on for 2nd and 3rd 12. Although an in-depth look at betting practices will be the subject of a subsequent feature, it’s worth noting that a player’s bets are not confined to one number or square –they can be split across several numbers, different colours, and different areas.
  • Depending upon where the chips are placed in relation to the lines between the numbers, it can signify a pair of numbers or a trio for example: a chip placed on the dividing line between 5 and 8 splits the bet between the two numbers; one placed on the bottom border of the 10 in the image above would split the bet over 10, 11 and 12.