The Basics of Roulette

Roulette is an intriguing game that attracts both the expert and the novice. Its high payoffs make it appealing to the risk-taking gambler. However, the house edge is quite high.

Attempts have been made to beat the house edge by using betting systems. Some, such as Edward O. Thorp (the developer of card counting) and Claude Shannon, use information theory to predict wheel performance.


The origins of roulette are a bit of a mystery. There was likely some form of wheel based game going back a long way, but the modern version was probably invented in Europe in the 17th century. It was influenced by two games that were popular at the time, Roly Poly and Even-Odd.

It spread throughout the European continent until it reached the United States in the 1800s. It was greeted with a cold shoulder, however, as American casino proprietors were not too happy about the low house edge of five percent. This prompted them to reinstitute the double zero version, now known as American roulette. This is the version most commonly played today. It also is the one most often found in online casinos.


Roulette is a game of chance involving a revolving disc-like device called a roulette wheel. Players place bets on the numbers or groups of numbers, with different odds and payouts for winning bets. These bets are divided into inside and outside bets.

Before the croupier spins the wheel, players place their chips on a betting mat in the areas that represent each type of bet. They can bet on individual numbers, small groups of numbers, red or black, odd or even, 1-18/19-36, and dozens.

Roulette requires no specialized skills to play, but you can make the experience more fun with a strategy. Some players try to beat the house edge with betting systems like Martingale and D’Alembert, which involve doubling your bet after each loss until you hit the house limit.


There are a number of variations on this classic game. But the fundamental principles of roullette are pretty much the same regardless of which variation you play.

Whether you play European roulette or American roulette, you will be playing on a wheel with 38 pockets, one of which is green. American wheels, however, have an extra green division labelled 0 which gives the house an edge over the player.

Many roulette players have attempted to beat the house using various betting strategies. The most popular is the martingale strategy, which involves doubling bets after every loss until you win. This type of strategy is very risky, however, and will eventually lead to a large financial loss.


When betting on roulette, players can place a variety of bets. Some bet on individual numbers, while others choose to bet on groups of numbers such as the first, second or third dozen or even and odd. Each bet type has different payout odds.

Some bets have lower winning probabilities than others, while some have higher house edges. Knowing the odds of a roulette bet can help you make wiser gambling decisions.

In the end, however, the game is a matter of chance. While the house edge is a constant, it can be mitigated by following a strategy and understanding how to calculate the probability of your bets. The process is quite simple: divide the number of possible outcomes by the number of bets placed.


The payout odds of roulette are displayed in the form of X:1 and represent the probability that a wager will win for each dollar bet. These odds are calculated based on the types of bets made and the house edge.

The simplest bet is straight, which means betting on one specific number and pays 35:1. Its chance of winning is 2.70% in European roulette and 2.63% in American roulette.

Players wishing to place outside bets choose to bet on larger positional groupings of pockets, the pocket color, or whether the number is odd or even. These bets pay 2-1. Regardless of the type of bet, you should always maintain your budget and avoid dipping into winnings for future bets. This can lead to a large financial loss over time.