Roulette is a casino and gambling game (Roulette is a French word meaning “small wheel”). A croupier turns a round roulette wheel which has 37 or 38 separately numbered pockets in which a ball must land. The main pockets are numbered from 1 to 36 alternate between red and black, but the pockets are not in numerical order around the wheel, and there are instances of consecutive numbers being the same color. There is also a green pocket numbered 0, and in most roulette wheels in the United States but not in Europe, there is a second green pocket marked 00.
If a player bets on a single number and wins, the payout is 35:1, meaning that for each dollar bet, one wins an additional $35.00. After determining winning wagers and paying them off, casinos commonly leave winning bets on the table. The player is not obliged to leave that bet down, but if removing it should wait until the glass pawn (or other similar marker) has first been removed by the croupier. Other betting options, with lower payoffs, include bets on multiple numbers in various combinations or ranges, on all odd or all even numbers, or by color
The first form of roulette was devised in 17th century France, by the mathematician Blaise Pascal, who was supposedly inspired by his fascination with perpetual motion devices. In 1842, fellow Frenchmen François and Louis Blanc added the “0” to the roulette wheel in order to increase house odds. In the early 1800s, roulette was brought into the U.S. where, to further increase house odds, a second zero, “00”, was introduced. (In some forms of early American roulette the double-zero was replaced by an American Eagle.) In the 1800s, roulette spread all over both Europe and the U.S., becoming one of the most famous and most popular casino games. Some call roulette the “King of Casino Games”, probably because it was associated with the glamour of the casinos in Monte Carlo. (François Blanc actually established the first casinos there).
A legend tells about François Blanc, who supposedly bargained with the devil to obtain the secrets of roulette. The legend is based on the fact that if you add up all the numbers on the roulette wheel (from 1 to 36), the resulting total is “666”, which is the “Number of the Beast” and represents the devil.
There are two types of roulette, American and European. The difference between the two is the number of 0’s on the wheel. American roulette wheels have two “0’s”, zero and double-zero, which increase the house advantage to 5.3%. In European roulette there is only one zero, giving the house an advantage of 2.7%. This means that, in the long run, one loses money twice as fast playing American roulette than European roulette. The two versions also use chips differently. American roulette uses so-called “non-value” chips, meaning that all chips belonging to the same player are of the same value determined at the time of the purchase, and the player cashes in the chips at the roulette table. European roulette uses standard casino chips of differing values as bets, which can make the game more confusing for both the croupier and the players.
A traditional European roulette table is much larger than an American roulette table, and the croupier uses a long tool called a rake to clear out the chips and to distribute winnings. In American roulette the croupier collects and distributes chips by hand. There is actually a third type of roulette wheel in use. It is a hybrid of the two versions described above, and is the only kind of wheel that is legal in the United Kingdom. This wheel has an American (English language) layout and a single zero. When a single-zero wheel is used in the United States, it is almost always this type.