The Basics of Roulette

Roulette is a casino game with a variety of betting options. Players can bet on a single number, various groupings of numbers, the color red or black, whether a number is odd or even, and if it is high (19-36) or low (1-18). The game’s popularity increased in the 1800s, when a French mathematician developed a series of algorithms for the game that helped make the house edge lower.

Roulette rules vary slightly between versions, and knowing the differences will help you maximize your chances of winning. The most popular roulette variation is European, which has a single zero pocket to dramatically lower the house edge, making it one of the most lucrative casino games around.

The game’s wheel consists of a solid wooden disk slightly convex in shape. Around its rim are metal separators, called frets or compartments by roulette croupiers, that have thirty-six colored pockets numbered nonconsecutively from 1 to 36. A green compartment, painted a different color from the rest of the wheel, marks the single zero. A second green pocket, labelled 00, marks the double zero. The game became hugely popular in France’s illegal gambling dens, and spread expeditiously to New Orleans and then the US.

A Straight Up bet pays 35:1. The odds of winning are low, but the payout is massive. Other bets include the column, which pays 2 to 1. In this bet you wager on one of the three ’12’ rows on the roulette felt, and win if the ball hits any numeral in your chosen row.

The Labouchere system is a popular strategy for novice players, requiring you to set a desired profit amount and then increase your stake each time you lose. It’s not guaranteed to work, but it can reduce your losses and keep you in the game longer.