The Basics of Roulette

Roulette is a casino game in which players bet on which red or black numbered compartments of a revolving wheel the ball will enter when it comes to rest. There are a number of betting options, with inside bets having lower house edges and higher payouts. Outside bets are much harder to predict. A basic strategy can help you get started, but it’s important to understand the rules and odds of each bet before placing your chips.

The simplest way to play is by placing bets in groups of numbers. Each group covers a particular section of the wheel. For example, a bet on one of the three dozen groups—which contain all of the numbers between 13 and 24—will cover more than half of the wheel. These bets are known as staking systems and are the most popular in casinos. In fact, it is difficult to walk into a casino and not see someone placing a bet on one of these.

A dealer spins a revolving wheel in one direction and rolls a small ball in the opposite direction around a tilted circular track that runs around the outer edge of the wheel. The ball is then released into a numbered compartment of the wheel. The rim of the wheel is divided into thirty-six compartments, painted alternately red and black and numbered nonconsecutively from 1 to 36. There is also a green compartment, which carries the sign 0, and on American wheels two additional green compartments, which carry the signs 0 and 00.

Roulette is widely believed to have been invented by 17th-century French physicist Blaise Pascal as part of his efforts to develop a perpetual motion machine. Other theories claim that the game was derived from a Chinese board game and introduced to France by Dominican monks. In any event, roulette became a popular game in casinos and gambling dens across Europe from the late 18th century.

Despite its reputation as a high-odds game, roulette is actually a low-edge game when played properly. A good strategy can limit the house’s advantage to a few percentage points, but even in this case, it requires a substantial bankroll to make money. Fortunately, there are a few easy-to-follow strategies that can help you beat the house and win more frequently.