The game of roulette has been played for over 300 years in its current style with just a few modifications. When the game was first introduced and played in Paris during the late 1700’s the house had a 5.26% edge over players due to the use of what are sometimes called “house numbers,” the zero and double zero.
At the time, the standard roulette wheel was approximately 30 inches across and featured a moving spindle housing 38 numbered slots and a small ivory ball that came to rest in one slot, signifying the winning number. The wheel head was alternately painted red and black, including numbers 0, 00, and 1 through 36. The payoff on the layout for individual numbers was set at 35 to 1, and wagers placed on the outside (odd, even, red, black, etc.) lost when the ball landed in the zero or double zero slot.
Soon thereafter the zero and double zero slots were painted green, to reduce confusion, and the game grew in popularity. To differentiate themselves from other gaming provinces, some casinos in Germany began using single-zero wheels, and they are standard in European casinos today.
Roulette offers two distinct ways to bet on the outcome of the spinning ball. Players may choose their own, individually colored chips and set the value of those chips to match their bankroll. These chips are most often wagered on the inside of the betting layout on individual numbers or combinations of numbers. Each of these wagers has a particular name and payoff:
|One number – Straight up||35 to 1|
|Two numbers – Split||17 to 1|
|Three numbers – Street||11 to 1|
|Four numbers – Corner||8 to 1|
|Six numbers – Six line||5 to 1|
Players are not restricted to inside or outside wagers, but outside bettors usually don’t get a color, they bet standard casino chips on their choices, including even-money bets:
|Odd or Even||1 to 1|
|Red or Black||1 to 1|
|1-18 or 19-36||1 to 1|
En Prison Rules
European roulette features a rule called En Prison (or La Partage) , which applies to those even-money wagers. When zero is spun on the wheel, instead of losing the entire wager on an even-money, outside bet, the wager is placed in prison. On the very next spin, if the player’s original choice wins, they receive their wager back. This may seem complicated, but it’s quite simple. Suppose the player has a $10 bet on black and zero (the green color) is spun. The $10 is imprisoned for one spin. If the next spin is black, the player gets their $10 back. If red or green spins, the entire bet is lost.
At some casinos, La Partage (the divide) is used instead of En Prison. With La Partage, even-money wagers are removed from play when zero is spun and half the wager is immediately returned to the player. Each of these rules results in a substantial reduction in house odds for even-money bet players to 1.35% .
Players are expected to place their own wagers on American roulette games, but European roulette games also feature what are sometimes referred to as “French Bets.” Each wager covers specific numbers corresponding to sections of the roulette wheel. While the numbers on the betting layout are consecutive, from 0 to 36, the numbers on the roulette wheel itself alternate red to black and follow this pattern: 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.
Call Bets and Announced Bets
Another aspect of European roulette is the use of Announced bets, where a player states a wager amount and a commonly used bet section such as Voisins du zéro (neighbors of zero). This specific wager covers the 17 consecutive numbers on the wheel of: 22,18,29,7,28,12,35,3,26,0,32,15,19,4,21,2,25
This wager is made in multiples of 9 chips, and they are placed on the layout by the dealer in this manner: 1 chip on splits of 4/7, 12/15, 18/21, 19/22 and 32/35; 2 chips on the trio of 0, 2, 3; and the corner bet of 25, 26, 28 and 29.
An Announced bet is one made by the player who has enough cash or chips on the layout to cover his wager. The croupier may or may not actually place the wager, since they are trained to know the exact payoffs for each bet. Instead, the wager may be noted beside the layout, and acknowledged by the game Inspector.
A Call bet is one that is accepted on credit, where chips or cash are not visible, and are not accepted in the United Kingdom and some other jurisdictions. Other popular Call bets that are accepted include the following:
- Jeu zéro (zero game) – 12, 35, 3, 26, 0, 32, 15
- Le tiers du cylindre (Thirds of the wheel) – 27,13,36,11,30,8,23,10,5,24,16,33
- Orphelins (orphans) – 17,34,6 and 1,20,14,31,9
- Neighbors – 3 consecutive numbers (5 chip wager) or 5 consecutive numbers (15 chips)
- Final Bets – Straight-up wager on all numbers ending in the “final” number announced
- Full Completes – 40-unit wager on all possible bets on a chosen number
European roulette is sometimes considered a leisurely, stately way to enjoy an evening of gambling. Of course for the croupier, with many announced bets, the game is all-consuming and requires great skill to continually handle multiple players, bets, and pay all winning wagers correctly.