Roulette 101

Roulette is a popular game across the world, stemming from Frenchman Blaise Pascal’s creation of the “little wheel” in the 1600s. His pursuit to engineer a perpetual motion machine led to the roulette wheel that is found on casino floors today.
As the wheel spins one direction, there is a ball that rolls the opposite. The wheel originally had 36 pockets for the ball to fall into, but later a zero pocket was added, followed by a double zero pocket. The additional pockets give the house a better edge, and therefore were less pleasing to patrons. Due to this, many European countries use a wheel with only one zero, but the double zero wheel is most common in the U.S.
We took a lesson from Director of Table Games John Sheldon at the Avi Casino. He said roulette is a popular game, even for beginners because there are some very simple bets that are possible to get started. He said many people also like the game because most everyone has a lucky number or date they want to wager on.
The roulette table is a long felt board that and looks a little similar to a craps table from afar. There is a vertical electronic board that displays all the recent numbers that have been rolled, and the spinning wheel at one end is the distinguishing factor.
This game is all about numbers, and knowing the payouts. There are 38 numbers on the wheel and the playing board, but the numbers on the board do not match the order of the numbers on the wheel. The placement of numbers on the wheel is standard everywhere. Two consecutive numbers will not be beside each other on the wheel and every other number is red or black. The zero and double zero pockets on the wheel are green. The payout to bet on a single number is 35 to 1, which gives the house an edge since there are 38 numbers total.
The numbers on the playing board will be in order going across in rows with 3 numbers to a row. That makes twelve rows, three columns, and three quadrants on the board, which you may bet on as groups of numbers.
A row or “street” pays 11 to 1, two rows together or a “double street” pays 5 to 1, and a “basket” which is the first row with the addition of the two zero spaces above it, pays 6 to 1. Columns and quadrants both have 12 numbers in them and pay 2 to 1.
There are two non-numbered bets you can make in roulette— odd/even or red/black— which both pay even money. You may also bet on the top or bottom half of numbers— 1-18 or 19-36— which pays even money as well.
There are other patterns you may bet on the board, but these are the most common. You may see a regular roulette player “snaking” their chips from the top of the board to the bottom to cover a lot of numbers. If you want to stray from the usual bets, just remember the payouts and whether you are actually giving yourself a better possibility of winning or just breaking even.
Sheldon said a smart bet is to bet on two quadrants. You will have two-thirds of the numbers covered and it pays 2 to 1, so you will win even money as long as the ball falls on one of the 24 numbers in the quadrants you chose. You could also bet on one quadrant and one column which both still pay 2 to 1. This will give you four less numbers covered than betting on two quadrants, but you will have four numbers that are covered twice and therefore would payout twice.
Sheldon said a common strategy among players is to bet on a color streak. If one color has come up a few times in a row (which you can see on the electronic board), he said most players will bet with the streak.
Betting on color as well as numbers lends a couple of options. You can play it safe and bet the opposite color of your number to “hedge” your bet, but remember color bets only pay even money so you will want to put more money on the color than your number or else you will only break even. Your other option would be to bet the same color as your number and hope to win big.
To place a bet you will set your own chips on the number or space that you would like to bet on. If you set your chips on the line between two numbers you are then splitting your bet between both numbers, a payout of 17 to 1. Likewise if you set your chips on the line between two rows or columns, you are splitting

your bet amongst both. If you cannot reach the space you would like to bet on you may ask someone to place your chips for you. Each player will have their own color of chips so the dealer will not be confused who the bet is for. The Avi has seven different colors of chips, and therefore seven people can play at once.
There are maximum and minimum bets according to which spaces you are betting on. The minimum bet is $5 on the outside or inside, and the max bet is $25 on the inside and $500 on the outside. There is a max bet of $250 on the quadrant line. Inside bets would be those on individual numbers, and outside bets would be on anything that pays even money or 2 to 1.
Each bet is only good for one round, and the dealer will pay out and take away chips once the ball drops in a pocket. Remember to pick up your winnings each time or place a new bet with them.

Etiquette

  • Wait to place new bets until all winners have been paid for the last round.
  • Don’t knock over stacks of chips on the playing board.
  • If there are already chips on the number you want to bet, stack your chips on top, do not put them to the side or the dealer may be unsure of what you are betting on.
  • You may still place bets as the ball is spinning on the wheel, but as the ball slows the dealer will wave you off. Do not try to sneak in a bet after this point.