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# Roulette and wheel games

posted in: Roulette

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 and alternate between red and black, with number 1 being red. There is also a green pocket numbered 0. In most roulette wheels in the United States but not in Europe, there is a second zero compartment marked 00, also colored green.If a player bets on a single number and wins, the payout is 35 to 1. The bet itself is returned, so in total it is multiplied by 36. (In a lottery one would say ‘the prize is 36 times the cost of the ticket’, because in a lottery the cost of the ticket is not returned additionally.)

A player can bet on numbers, combinations, ranges, odds/evens, and colors.

## History of Roulette

Early roulette table, ca. 1800

The first form of roulette was first 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. Roulette was brought into the U.S. in the early 1800s, and again in order to increase house odds a second zero, “00”, was introduced – although 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.

## Types of Roulette

There are two types of roulette, American roulette and European roulette. The difference between the two types is the number of 0’s on the wheel. American roulette wheels have two “0’s”, zero and double-zero, which increases the house advantage to 5.3%. In European roulette there is only one zero, giving the house an advantage of 2.7%.

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 also 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.

## Board depiction (American Roulette)

 0 ↔ 00 1- 18 1st 12 1 2 3 ← 4 5 6 ← odd 7 8 9 ← 10 11 12 ← red 2nd 12 13 14 15 ← 16 17 18 ← blk 19 20 21 ← 22 23 24 ← even 3rd 12 25 26 27 ← 28 29 30 ← 19- 36 31 32 33 ← 34 35 36 ← ↑ ↑ ↑

## Bet odds table (American Roulette)

(in addition to the mentioned payout the bet is returned)

Bet name Winning spaces Payout Odds of winning
(against)
Expected value
(on a \$1 bet)
0 0 35 to 1 37 to 1 -\$0.053
00 00 35 to 1 37 to 1 -\$0.053
1 1 35 to 1 37 to 1 -\$0.053
2 2 35 to 1 37 to 1 -\$0.053
36 36 35 to 1 37 to 1 -\$0.053
Row 00 0, 00 17 to 1 18 to 1 -\$0.053
Row 3 1, 2, 3 11 to 1 11.667 to 1 -\$0.053
Row 6 4, 5, 6 11 to 1 11.667 to 1 -\$0.053
Row 9 7, 8, 9 11 to 1 11.667 to 1 -\$0.053
Row 36 34, 35, 36 11 to 1 11.667 to 1 -\$0.053
Column 1 1, 4, 7, …, 34 2 to 1 2.167 to 1 -\$0.053
Column 2 2, 5, 8, …, 35 2 to 1 2.167 to 1 -\$0.053
Column 3 3, 6, 9, …, 36 2 to 1 2.167 to 1 -\$0.053
First 12 1, 2, 3, …, 12 2 to 1 2.167 to 1 -\$0.053
Middle 12 13, 14, 15, …, 24 2 to 1 2.167 to 1 -\$0.053
Last 12 25, 26, 27, …, 36 2 to 1 2.167 to 1 -\$0.053
Odd 1, 3, 5, …, 35 1 to 1 1.111 to 1 -\$0.053
Even 2, 4, 6, …, 36 1 to 1 1.111 to 1 -\$0.053
Red 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 12,
14, 16, 18, 19, 21, 23,
25, 27, 30, 32, 34, 36
1 to 1 1.111 to 1 -\$0.053
Black 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11,
13, 15, 17, 20, 22, 24,
26, 28, 29, 31, 33, 35
1 to 1 1.111 to 1 -\$0.053
1 to 18 1, 2, 3, …, 18 1 to 1 1.111 to 1 -\$0.053
19 to 36 19, 20, 21, …, 36 1 to 1 1.111 to 1 -\$0.053
five number bet 0, 00, 1, 2, 3 6 to 1 6.6 to 1 -\$0.079

Note also that 0 and 00 are neither odd nor even in this game.

## House Edge

The house average or house edge is the amount the player loses relative to a bet, on average. If a player bets on a single number in the American game there is a probability of 1/38 that the player receives 36 times the bet (35 times the bet plus the return of the bet itself), so the player ends up, on average, losing 5.26% on each bet:

( (probability * payout) / bet ) – 1 = expected value as fraction of bet

For example, betting \$10 on a single number on an American wheel:

( ((1/38) * 360) / 10 ) – 1 = -0.0526

The house has the same edge on all of the other kinds of bets, except for the five number bet where the house edge is considerably higher (7.89% on an American wheel).

The house edge should not be confused with the hold. The hold is the total amount that the house wins from a player. While the house might have an edge of 5.26%, if a player keeps playing until his or her bankroll is exhausted, the house will enjoy a hold of 100%.

## Called Bets

There are a number of series in roulette that have special names attached to them. These are placed by betting a set amount per series (or multiples of that amount). They are based on the way in which certain numbers lie next to each other on the roulette wheel. Not all casinos offer these bets.

#### Voisins (“Neighbors”)

This is a name for the numbers which lie between 22 and 25 on the wheel including 22 and 25 themselves. The series is 22,18,29,7,28,12,35,3,26,0,32,15,19,4,21,2,25 (on a single zero wheel).

9 chips or multiples thereof are bet.

#### Tiers (“The third”)

This is the name for the numbers which lie on the opposite side of the wheel between 27 and 33 including 27 and 33 themselves. The series is 27,13,26,11,30,8,23,20,5,24,16,33 (on a single zero wheel).

6 chips or multipes thereof are bet.

#### Orphelins (“Orphans”)

These numbers make up the two slices of the wheel outside the Tiers and Voisins. They contain a total of eight numbers, the Orphans comprising 17,34,6 and the Orphelins being 1,20,14,31,9.

8 chips or multiples thereof are bet.