What Is Roulette?

Roulette is a casino game that involves spinning a small ball around a wheel. Players place bets on which numbered compartment of the revolving wheel the small, hard ball will land in.

Unlike craps where there are 100 or so decisions per hour and blackjack where there are 60 hands per hour, roulette moves at a more leisurely pace.


There are several theories about the origin of roulette. One is that it was invented by a French mathematician, Blaise Pascal, as part of his efforts to develop a perpetual motion machine. Another is that the game was first played in gambling houses in France, and later popularised in America by the owners of casinos in Bad Homburg and Monte Carlo.

Regardless of its exact origin, the game’s design and gameplay are unmistakably influenced by two very similar games that were popular in 17th century Europe. These games were called Roly Poly and Even-Odd, and they both involved spinning a wheel and betting on the outcome. Blaise Pascal was a gambler, so he was likely familiar with these games. He may also have used them in his attempts to create a perpetual motion machine.


Roulette is a game of chance that has a number of betting options. The croupier spins a wheel that has numbered pockets, and players place chips on the table indicating what they want to bet on (numbers, section, colour or proposition). The odds tell players their potential payout.

Many players use various systems to beat the game, especially on even-money bets. However, these systems are not foolproof and can lead to large financial losses. For instance, a player who employs a martingale strategy will double his or her bet after every loss until he or she wins. The doubling can quickly lead to huge losses, and the player will eventually run out of money or hit the table limit. A casino usually posts a maximum and minimum stake for roulette games, and these limits apply separately to inside and outside bets.


Roulette has many different variations that vary in their wheel layout, betting rules, available bets, and payouts. Some offer a friendly house edge and high payouts, while others have higher probabilities but smaller payouts. It’s important to compare these variants before choosing one.

Several betting systems have been developed over the years, especially for even-money bets. However, none of them help players beat the game in the long run. The best way to play roulette is to set a budget before starting the game and stick to it.

Online casinos feature a wide range of roulette games. These include French roulette, which resembles European roulette but includes the addition of two rules—En prison and La Partage. Another variation is Multi Wheel Roulette, a Playtech production that allows players to bet on six wheels simultaneously.


Payouts in roulette vary depending on the type of wager you place. For instance, a corner bet pays 8 to 1 and requires the player to place a chip at the intersection of four numbers. This type of bet is not suitable for risk-averse players. It also carries a high house edge of 7.9%.

Moreover, the payout odds are displayed in the form of X:1 and indicate how much you will win for every dollar you bet. This makes it easy to calculate your potential winnings.

The odds of winning a straight-up bet on a European roulette wheel are 35 to 1, while the odds on an American wheel are 37 to 1. This difference reflects the lower probability percentage of winning on outside bets.


Depending on where you live, you may be required to pay taxes on your winnings from roulette or other forms of gambling. In the US, any casino winnings over $600 are subject to reporting and withholding taxes, so it’s important to understand how much you can win without triggering this requirement. The IRS generally considers electronic table games to be a form of slots, but online casinos that feature a live dealer can treat their roulette and blackjack offerings as true table games for tax purposes. This can make a significant difference in how much you are required to report.