The roulette wheel is arguably the most iconic image in casino culture, with a long history in the business and a firm favourite amongst gambling newbies and casino sharks alike. The game is beautiful in its simplicity and the luck based game always gives a thrilling and nail biting experience.
One of nail-bitings roulette is a firm favourite is how easy it is to learn the rules and the even playing ground regardless of whether the players are beginners or experience on the casino floor.
The wheel consists of a spinning disk with compartments around the edge where the numbers are allocated, this wheel spins around the base of a bowl. The colours alternate between red and black with the number ‘0’ usually being green. On American tables there can be a ‘00’ compartment too, which makes the odds slightly worse than the European game.
The roulette wheel first took its form as a science project in the 17th Century for French mathematician Blaise Pascal, who came up with the design as a way to illustrate perpetual motion. Although the machine failed, it formed the basis for the future of the roulette wheel.
Sometime in the 18th Century, a game using a version of Pascal’s wheel was starting to be used in illegal parlours around the world, and was even picked up by casinos in Monte Carlo – the area where roulette found its spiritual home.
Over the years, casinos wanted to improve the house edge to improve the casino’s takings, which is why some wheel have two zeros, adding another figure to be factored into the odds. This is more typical of American wheels, while French roulette is a lot more in line with the classic.
As gambling restrictions were severe so long ago, the only places to legally play roulette were Las Vegas and Monte Carlo, but by the 1970s, restrictions were eased across the world and is now one of the most iconic casino games in the world.
How to Play
On the roulette wheel are the numbers zero through to 36 in a random order, with the colours alternating between black and white and with zero being green. There is a corresponding betting mat that has all the number printed, a black tile and a red tile, and some other specifications that vary depending on whether the house is playing European or American Style.
Players place their bets on the betting mat using chips, placing them on the number or specification they wish to bet on, they may place several bets. The croupier then announces ‘no more bets’ and spins the ball around the wheel, until it comes to a natural stop on a number.
These are bets that are located on the inside of the roulette table, based arojund the numbers or small groupings of numbers.
A bet placed on one number
A bet placed on two numbers, positioned on the line between two numbers, the numbers must be positioned next to each other on the table.
Any three numbers in a horizontal line.
The chip is placed on the corner of four joined squares, to bet on four numbers.
Similar to a street bet, except the bet is on two horizontal lines. The lines must be next to each other on the table.
Outside bets are on the outside of the roulette table, usually used to bet on a larger portion of the wheel. These are low-risk but with a lower payout.
Bet on either the 1st, 2nd or 3rd set of 12 numbers.
Like the dozen bet, the bet is placed on 12 numbers, but the numbers are grouped in the vertical columns on the table.
Bet on either black or red.
Similar to the colours bet but with the proposition that the number will be either bwteen 1 and 18 or 19 and 36/7.
Another even bet, the bet is whether the number will be odd or even.
Odds and Probabilities
There are two types of roulette table, one with one zero and one with two zeros. The game has fixed probabilities and requires next to no skill.
With a single zero roulette wheel, there are 37 possible outcomes and each result is independent of the one before.
The wider the scope of numbers, the more likely a win but the lower the odds. For example, betting on either black or red gives a 48.65% chance of winning, but with odds of 18/37, there isn’t much return.
But betting on a single number has odds of 1/37, because of the 2.7% chance of that number coming up.
Here are the odds and probabilities for a single zero wheel.
With a double zero roulette wheel, there are 38 possible outcomes, again, with each result being independent from the one before.
The same principles as the one zero wheel apply, but as you’ll see from the odds and probabilities table below, the house has more of an edge thanks to the introduction of an extra number, meaning there is less chance that the ball will land on any one number.
How Casinos Make Money Off Roulette
In the simplest terms, the casino makes money by cashing out less than the value of the true probability of winning. By paying you back less than what true odds dictate, the casino gets the favourable balance of the odds and pay back.
For example: if the odds of winning are 1 in 37, the casino will cash out as if the odds were 35/1. In monetary terms, if you placed a $10 bet on red and won, the casino will give you back $20, when in reality it should be approximately $10.56.