The Basics of Roulette

Roulette has offered glamour, mystery and excitement to casino-goers since the 17th century. The game is simple in concept – a spinning wheel with numbered slots and a small ball that lands on one of them when the wheel comes to a stop – yet it can provide an unexpected level of depth for serious players.

The roulette cylinder was first introduced in a primitive form in the 17th century by French physicist and philosopher Blaise Pascal. His intention was to create a perpetual motion machine, but his accidental discovery took the gambling world by surprise and the game quickly caught on.

A standard roulette wheel contains thirty-six compartments – called frets by roulette croupiers – that are numbered nonconsecutively from 1 to 36 in red and black colors, with the exception of the 0 and 00 pockets (which are green on American tables). Between the numbers there are alternating gaps painted red and black.

Before the wheel is spun, a player places bets by placing chips on the betting mat – the precise location and terms of which are shown by markers on the table. Players can place bets on individual numbers, groups of numbers forming squares on the mat and other combinations. Bets on six or fewer numbers are called “Inside bets”; those on 12 or more are called “Outside bets”.

Once the wheel and ball come to rest, the dealer marks the winning number on the betting mat, clears off losing bets and pays winners. Winning bets must be cashed out as soon as possible to avoid missing any more wins on future spins. It is tempting to dip into your winnings for future bets, but doing so won’t improve your odds more than coincidental luck.

The best online casinos offer a wide variety of roulette games, with some even offering live dealers in real time. You can play for free or with real money, and many sites also allow you to try out different versions of the game to see which one you prefer. Regardless of the type of roulette you choose, it’s important to set a budget before playing and stick with it.