Roulette has often been called the King of Casino Games, probably because it has been around longer than any other current form of casino gambling. The game of roulette has changed very little in Europe since 150 years ago when it became extremely popular in Germany and Monte Carlo.
Today, only roulette and craps offer “called bets.” At craps, when the dice are in the air, many casinos allow the dealers to accept late “called” or “verbal” bets, provided that the player is in the process of tossing chips or cash onto the layout to cover the bet or the player has chips in the rail in front of them.
At roulette, a player may ask for a Basket bet, which covers 0, 1, 2, 3 and the dealer will place the chips on the layout for them, as it is too long a reach for most players. However, when betting what are sometimes referred to as the French numbers, a different standard is adopted. Understanding roulette announced bets and call bets is important for all players.
At many European casinos, roulette dealers offer a higher standard of service than at any other casino game, and accept “call bets” (sometimes also referred to as “announced bets” when the player must actually place the bet on the table to cover the wager) that cover a wide aspect of different wagers. Dealers must be well-trained and extremely talented to handle the barrage of wagers that often come in verbally as the ball is spinning. A table inspector (floor supervisor or pit boss in North America) oversees each game and must also be adept at understanding every call bet made and accepted.
Call bets involve players known to the casino, who have the means to cover each wager, and often run into much higher limits than casual players have ever considered. Each wager has a specific name and cover exact numbers, often based on where they lay on the roulette wheel itself or the table layout. Not every casino offers either call bets or announced bets, although most can take a wager amount from a player and place it for them on the layout.
Call Bets vs. Announced Bets
It’s important to understand the difference between a call bet and an announced bet. In a call bet the player isn’t required to actually place any money on the table. The player simply announces his or her wager and then the croupier marks the bet for them. In other words, with a call bet the casino is actually extending credit to the player each time that bet is made.
In most cases, you won’t see people make true call bets. In some areas of the world, such as in the UK, it’s actually illegal to allow players to place bets on credit, making these bets impossible. Many other casinos will feel uncomfortable extending credit instantly at the roulette table, even if it is legal for them to do so.
Instead, most high rollers today make what are known as announced bets. These bets still allow the player to call out their bet. However, the player must immediately place enough money on the table to cover the cost of the bet in order to guarantee it will be accepted.
This is still simpler for the player than making a complex series of bets, as they will not have to place the money on each individual spot on the table they wish to bet on. They simply must have the money on the table in order to make the bet.
Functionally, call bets and announced bets are identical, at least for our purposes. In both cases the basic idea is that players are calling out bets rather than betting by placing chips on individual spots on the table layout.
Types of Call Bets
To be completely accurate, any bet on the table can be a call bet. It doesn’t seem to make much sense to call out the fact that you want to bet on red or an individual number. However, since there is some risk of your bet not being accepted (a call or announced bet is only valid when and if the croupier acknowledges it), simple bets are best made by placing your bets on the table as normal.
When people talk about call bets, they’re usually talking about the kinds of bets that cover unusual patterns of numbers – those which would be cumbersome for a player to bet on without the croupier’s help.
Some of the most common call bets are the famous French bets. You’ll actually see a place on the layout for the French bets on some European roulette tables (sometimes called French roulette tables), though it’s still common to ask the croupier to handle these bets for the player.
The French Numbers
Unlike North American roulette players, who place more emphasis on single numbers, European roulette players are very fond of betting sections of the wheel and groups of numbers, all based on how the numbers are arranged on the wheel itself:
0-32-15-19-4-21-2-25-17-34-6-27-13-36-11-30-8-23-10-5-24-16-33-1-20-14-31-9-22-18-29-7-28-12-35-3-26 (the single-zero wheel)
Voisins du Zero
The largest section of the wheel is sometimes referred to as Voisins du Zero, or neighbors of zero, which covers seventeen pockets – the numbers from 22 to 25 (22,18,29,7,28,12,35,3,26,0,32,15,19,4,21,2,25).
This wager takes nine chips (or multiples of nine). It is not a wager of seventeen chips with a single chip on each number. Instead, the nine chips are split between several bets: 1 chip on the splits of 4/7, 12/15, 18/21, 19/22, and 32/35; 2 chips on the 1, 2, and 3 trio, and 2 chips on the corner of 25/26/28/29.
The numbers closest to zero are sometimes referred to as Jeu zero, or zero game, which covers seven numbers – 12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32, and 15. This wager takes four chips (or multiples of four). The four chips are split between several bets: 1 on the splits of 12/15, 0/3, and 32/35; 1 on 26 straight up. A similar wager with five chips includes 19 straight up and is called zero spiel naca.
Le tiers du cylinder
Another very popular bet is Le tiers du cylinder, or thirds of the wheel, and covers 12 numbers placed as 6 splits This bet, most often called tiers, takes six chips (or multiples of six). The six chips are split between several bets: 5/8, 10/11, 13/16, 23/24, 27/30, and 33/36. This wager is sometimes referred to as the small series, or series 5/8.
Orphelins, or orphans, are the two groups of numbers outside Voisins and Tiers – 1, 20, 14, 31, 9 and 17, 34, 6. This bet takes five chips (or multiples of five). The five chips are split between 31/34, 17/20, 14/17, and 6/9 with a single chip straight up on 1.
When a player asks for the neighbors, the wager includes the number asked for and the two numbers on either side of it. The bet takes five chips with a single chip straight up on each, such as “four and the neighbors”, which would be the five numbers 15, 19, 4, 21, and 2.
The player may also include a string of numbers such as 11, 10, 8 and the neighbors, which includes the wheel section 13-36-11-30-8-23-10-5-24, a total of nine numbers covered. This wager is 15 chips. The center-most number (8) has 3 chips bet straight up, the next four numbers closest to 8 (11, 30, 23, 10) have two chips bet straight up, and the four outlying numbers (13, 36, 5, 24) have a single chip bet straight up on them.
A final call bet is a wager on the numbers (0-36) ending in the number called. For instance, final 1 is a wager on 1, 11, 21, 31, which makes it a four chip wager. Final zero is a wager on 0, 10, 20, 30, and thus also a four chip wager. Final 7 is just a three chip wager since it covers only 7, 17, and 27.
In North American casinos, players place their own wagers and bet maximums are often quite small compared to casinos in Europe. A casino in Reno might have a $1,000 maximum win limit, so $1000 can be bet on outside even-money wagers, but inside numbers are bet for much less. Often, the straight-up wager limit is $25 ($875 payoff), so a player asking for 21 to the max might have a $25 chip placed for them by the dealer.
In Europe, some casinos allow a $1,000 max wager on a straight-up bet, so a player asking for 32 to the maximum could receive a full complete wager on every possible inside bet that involved 32. This would include a total of 12 wagers: $1000 straight up on 32; $2,000 on the splits of 32/19, 32/31, 32/33, 32/35; $3,000 on 31, 32, and 33 street; $4,000 on four corner bets, $6,000 on two six-line bets. The wager total would then be $40,000. A marker is placed on the full complete to the maximum number, in this case 32, to signify the wager.
Any number from 28 to 36 creates a payoff, although not always a profit for the player. However, if 32 should spin, the player will win $392,000. Any number called as a complete wager can be accommodated for the player, although different numbers will require different total wagers. In addition, a full complete can be wagered for less than the maximum.
For instance, should the player wish to bet in increments of $100 instead of $1000, a 32 full complete wager would be $4,000 instead of $40,000.
Most wagers of this type are for a single spin, and the original wager is returned to the player on a winning spin unless the player specifically asks for their wager to remain in play. Bets placed on the layout by the player will always remain in play for the next spin.
Before you play on any roulette table, make sure you understand the table maximum and minimum bets, and always ask if announced or call bets are allowed.