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Roulette - how to play the game    

To Begin With

The principle of this game is very easy for all people to grasp, in fact many people who will never gamble in their lives still know how a Roulette wheel works. A white ball is spun around the rim of the wheel as the carousel turns in the other direction. When the ball runs out of steam it rolls down the sloping sides of the wheel's base and collides with the metal frame of the carousel. The carousel is divided up into 37 slots that are labelled with numbers from 0 to 36 alternating red and black as well high and low numbers. The ball eventually comes to rest in one of the slots and the number of that slot is the winning number.

1 2 3
4 5 6
7 8 9
10 11 12
13 14 15
16 17 18
19 20 21
22 23 24
25 26 27
28 29 30
31 32 33
34 35 36
1st Col. 2nd Col. 3rd Col.

The winning number has several properties which may affect bets placed on the Roulette table layout. Unless it is Zero, it will either be High or Low, Red or Black, Odd or Even. It will also be in a particular Dozen and Column.

As you can see from the Roulette layout to the left, the numbers on the wheel are displayed in this regular form on the table which is almost identical where ever you are in the world. You notice that there is more to bet on than just numbers. There are:

  • Even Chances - Red, Black, etc.
  • Dozens - 1 to12, 13 to 24, 25 to 36
  • Columns - 1st, 2nd, 3rd
  • Numbers - 1,2,3,4 etc.
  • Splits - Between adjacent numbers
  • Streets - Strips of three numbers
  • Corners - The corner of four numbers
  • Six-Lines - Strips of six numbers

In order to place a bet you must first exchange cash money (from your wallet) or cash plaques obtained from some sort of cash transfer mechanism at the cash desk, for coloured Roulette chips. This you do at the table you want to play at and no where else. The chips will all be worth the same amount each, for example, £1.

Now you are ready to play. When the dealer says, "place your bets", you put your chips where ever you like. You have until a few moments before the ball drops into the next winning number to complete your betting. You will be warned by the dealer as they announce, "no more bets please".

When you finish playing you have to exchange any remaining coloured chips that you have for cash chips at the table at which you are playing. These cash chips can be changed for real cash at the cash desk.

Roulette is essentially a really easy game but if you still want to practice before playing for real then all online casinos offer a free mode where you can learn the different bets and payouts for free.

What do the different bets mean?

Even Chances Chips placed on Red, Black, Odd, Even, High and Low are all even chance bets. This means that winning bets are paid at evens, in other words you are paid an extra amount equal to your bet.

Dozens Numbers from 1 - 12 are in the 1st Dozen, 13 - 24 in the 2nd and 25 - 36 in the 3rd. Winning bets are paid at odds of 2-1, that means you win twice as much as you staked.

Columns Numbers forming columns along the table layout are said to be in one of the three column bets. i.e. 1,4,7,10,13,16,19,22,25,28,31,34 are all in the 1st column. Winning bets are paid at odds of 2-1.

Numbers This can also be called straight-up. The simple bet of placing a chip, or chips, on a number. If you are a winner here, you will be paid at 35-1. (E.g. three chips worth £1 each placed on a winning number will win 3x35=105 chips or the equivalent of £105 in cash chips)

Splits Chips can be placed on the line between two numbers and will return a winner if either of the two numbers are the winning number. The odds paid here are 17-1. This is the same effective odds as playing single numbers.

Streets A line of three numbers like 4,5,6 or 22,23,24 is called a street. To make this bet place one chip on the left border line of the left number. (E.g. For 4,5,6 this is the line separating 4 and the 1st Dozen) The odds paid here are 11-1. This is the same effective odds as playing single numbers.

Corners These are corners between four numbers. (E.g. 28,29,31,32) Paid at odds of 8-1. This is the same effective odds as playing single numbers.

Six-Lines Six numbers that form a wide line across the table. (E.g. 13,14,15 and 16,17,18) A chip is placed on the corner of 13 and 16 with the 2nd Dozen. Paid at odds of 5-1. This is the same effective odds as playing single numbers.

French Bets and Call Bets

Roulette has been around for more than two hundred years in one form or another and in that time it has picked up some curiosities. These are dying out because of the inexperience of new staff and new players.

French Bets These come from the French version of the game where it is difficult to play many numbers due to the fact that there are no coloured chips to tell players' bets apart. Thus one bet covers many numbers and also a section of the Roulette wheel itself. The image shows how a European wheel is split up into sections that are the main French Bets.

The European Roulette Wheel order

Voisons du Zero For convenience this has been shortened to just Voisins, pronounced 'Vwazon'. All the numbers from 22 to 25 inclusive.

Tiers du Cylindre This is shortened to Tiers, pronounced 'Te-yair'. Numbers from 27 to 33 inclusive.

Orphelins and Orphans These orphans are so called because they don't belong in either of the two main bets. They are generally played as one bet. Numbers 1, 20, 14, 31, 9 and 17, 34, 6.

Finale Another French bet fast dying out is the Finale. 'Seven finale' means that you wish to bet numbers the 7, 17 and 27, or numbers that end in seven.

Call bets An extension of the French bets, which are 'called out' to the dealer, is the Call Bet. These are more precise in that the player can identify any discrete section of the wheel. By far the most popular is the Neighbour bet. 'Eight neighbours' is a five piece bet that implies one piece (chip) on each of 11, 30, 8, 23, 10. So 8 is the centre of the call bet.